I'll bet that some of you are wondering why a film nudity site is featuring a movie from the thirties, but you more savvy types realize that there was some nudity in Hollywood in the early talkies. There were censorship standards set way back in the silent era, established as early as 1922, but the original rules were voluntary and thus often ignored. The so-called "Hays Code," an elaborately detailed production code consisting of rules for what could and could not be portrayed on screen, was formalized in 1930, but originally lacked any teeth for enforcement. That era came to an end in 1934 when the American Catholic church announced the creation of the Legion of Decency, which encouraged the production of moral films and promptly condemned any film with an immoral message or content. The Legion's activism hit the film industry in two vulnerable areas. First, the Legion's threats to boycott objectionable films went directly for the purse strings. Second, the Legion threatened to involve the federal government in official censorship. The industry's leaders saw the handwriting on that wall. They knew the Legion was powerful, and realized that self-censorship was a far more attractive alternative to draconian government interference, so they created a formal procedure to administer the code. All films released after July 1, 1934, had to get script approval before production could begin, and each film was later required to obtain a "seal of approval." Failure to comply resulted in a $25,000 fine for the studio, and non-compliant films were banned from distribution. Joseph Breen, new head of the Production Code Administration (which later became the MPAA), was assigned the responsibility for overseeing the process.

That process basically kept nudity out of American movies for approximately the next thirty years. The Legion did not begin to lose its grip on Hollywood until the early sixties. The unfinished Something's Got to Give was to have featured a skinny dip from Marilyn Monroe in 1962. Marilyn's death temporarily scotched the snake of mainstream nudity, but other films carried on. Cleopatra featured a modest look at Liz Taylor's bum in 1963, and The Pawnbroker managed to sneak fairly substantial nudity into arthouse theaters in 1964 despite a "condemned" rating from the Legion. Despite these efforts and a rapidly liberalizing culture in the mid sixties, it was not until 1968 that the Production Code was officially replaced with the first version of the current rating system.

But that's a story for another day. Today's tale concerns not post-Code nudity, but the bit of flesh that snuck in here and there between the adoption of the toothless Code in 1930 and its acquisition of teeth in July of 1934, a period representing four years of leftover 1920s hedonism. There were the notorious Fay Wray scenes in King Kong (1933), Claudette Colbert's breasts in The Sign of the Cross (1932), Myrna Loy's bath in The Barbarian (1933), full frontal and rear underwater nudity from Maureen O'Sullivan's body double in Tarzan and his Mate (1934), and Hedy Lamarr's notorious frontal nude scenes and breast close-ups in the Czech-made Ecstasy (1932). And there was Delores Del Rio's bum in Bird of Paradise (1932), our subject for today.

There are two key bits of sexuality in this film. The first is an erotic dance which Del Rio performs for her fellow South Sea Islanders, wearing only a lei on the top half of her body. Although the lei was firmly (and unrealistically) affixed to her bosom, the dance was obviously sexual in nature, and Del Rio's breasts were jiggling and almost exposed. The second scene featured actual nudity. Del Rio (as a native) teases Joel McCrae (as a visiting yachtsman) into joining her for a midnight swim. He strips down to very minimal shorts, and she seems to be wearing nothing at all. Although the scene was filmed underwater at night, there is no mistaking the sight of bare female buttocks, so the scene could not have been included if the film had been made two years later. Yet Hollywood was unconcerned with the Production Code rules in 1932, and so was the public in large part, as illustrated by the fact that Bird of Paradise was not a German or Czech arthouse film, but a mainstream American entertainment from RKO. It was produced by David O Selznick, who produced Gone With the Wind. It was directed by King Vidor, who directed The Wizard of Oz. That's as middle-American as it gets.


What about the movie? Pure crap, although you may be amused by its naiveté. Some upper-crust American sailors, dressed in their best Princeton blazers and smoking their most sophisticated pipes, maneuver their yacht into the harbor of a stereotypical South Seas Island. Joel McCrae is pulled overboard by a wayward line when an enormous shark appears in the harbor, and is about to be drowned when Delores Del Rio cuts the line and saves his sorry ass. He is immediately smitten, and decides to say on the island after his colleagues sail off in their blue blazers. Unfortunately for him, Del Rio can only marry a prince for some reason or another and is therefore promised to the island's Big Kahuna, who seems to be the only available candidate. McCrea's yachting pals had previously counseled him to “run for Prince on the Democratic ticket,” but their cavalier advice offered no practical help, so he ends up kidnapping her during a ritual dance and spiriting her off to an uninhabited island where they start to play house. The Kahuna eventually kidnaps her back and it's not long before both Del Rio and McCrae are tied to palm trees, awaiting some fate worse than death, or at least as bad. Meanwhile, the yachting swells have realized that McCrae might need their assistance, so they turn their schooner around and rescue the star-crossed lovers before they can be consigned to whatever unpleasant fate the islanders had prepared for them. Blah, blah. Volcano explodes. Yadda, yadda. To make a long story short, the only way there can be peace between the islanders and the yachtsmen is if Del Rio agrees to jump in the volcano as a sacrifice to the local Lava God. She does, and the film ends with her self-sacrifice!


The film may have been eminently watchable in 1932, but it's just quaint now. The acting and musical styles come from an earlier time, and the filming techniques are primitive. The boat used for exterior establishing shots and the boat used for the deckside discussions are obviously not the same ship. The "sailors" never get their manly blazers wet at any time. Del Rio spends the entire film speaking gibberish or clumsily mispronouncing her attempts at English. The dialogue supplies more than a few cringe-worthy moments, especially when Skipper Johnson, Skeets, Mac, and the other blazer-clad lads grasp their cigarette holders, polish their spats, down their drinks, and discuss the "carefree" islanders.

Apart from the nudity, there is one other element of historical interest. Future wolfman Lon Cheney Jr., then known as Creighton Cheney, made a very early appearance in this film, playing a bit part as one of Skippy's crewmen. (Far right.)

The only thing worthwhile about the film, excluding the elements with historical significance, is some impressive location footage which was really lensed somewhere in the South Pacific.  The actors actually interact with waterfalls and coves, but not with the shark or the volcano, which seem to come from stock footage. Stock or not, the shark is real and that seems to be real lava flowing from a real exploding volcano. I assume those sights, so familiar to us now from basic cable, were new and exotic sights for many Americans in 1932. 


Film Clips:



Delores Del Rio





  • Two from Century Hotel: long time Fun House favorite Mia Kirshner (zipped .avi) and Lindy Booth (zipped .avi).

  • In case you missed it elsewhere, the Keeley Hazell sex tape. (Zipped .wmv.) (Check out Other Crap for more info.)

  • Eliza Dushku's almost-nude scene in 2007's Nobel Son. (Zipped .avi)




Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.





Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.






The Hole (2001)

The Hole (2001) is a thriller staring Thora Birch, Keira Knightly, Desmond Harrington and Laurence Fox. As the film opens, we see an obviously worse for wear woman running down a country lane. She enters a stately school, dials a phone number, and screams. We realize it is Thora Birch, she is in a public school, and her and three other students had been missing. Cut to Thora being questioned by a shrink.

Let me give a spoiler warning here. I recommend this film, and would hate to spoil this for anyone who might want to see it.

As her story unfolds, we learn something about what has happened. Four students decided to spend their spring break locked in an abandoned bunker to avoid a field trip or going home. Her story is clearly not the entire one, however, as we still don't know what has happened to the other three students. We do learn that she evidently had something to do with planning the stay in the bunker, and did so to get next to the biggest heartthrob in the school. When the three days ended, the guy who helped her plan it didn't show up to let them out. We then move through other versions of the story, and discover that the other three students are dead. Thora's first version implicates her friend Daniel Brockleback as the murderer.

End Spoilers

Think of this as "Lord of the Flies meets Rashomon." I enjoyed the narrative structure far more than if it had been told linearly, and found the film genuinely involving. All leads gave strong performances.

This is a C. Most genre lovers found it satisfactory. IMDb says 6.3. That score holds across all the demographics.

Keira Knightley shows breasts flashing one of the guys, and also on a slab in the morgue, both in the film, and (more so) in the deleted scenes.






"The Best of Bizarre" volumes 5 and 6

In this Byner-ploitation set a pre-SNL Victoria Jackson is seen in her granny panties.

The other IDs are:

Judy Foster

Gayleen Smith

the heavily stacked Laura Dickson

Irene Walters



One may remember two of the above, Gayleen Smith and Irene Walters, from Fireballs.

Gayleen Smith

Irene Walters



"Enter... Zombie King!" (2003)

Grade-z zombie direct-to-video from Canada,  with masked wrestlers as the heroes. Or were they just too embarrassed to be seen in this stinker? Future WWE woman wrestler Beth Phoenix plays one of the killer zombies.

Sophia Gerodimos

Taylor Flook

Ilona Verseghy







Today we wrap our "Sexy Movie" adventure. We have more of Amber Ambrose, the top-billed star in her only screen credit. I personally would like to see more of her, but at least she is getting it on and revealing all in these caps and five zipped .wmv clips.




Notes and collages

The Supernatural Ladies

Drew Barrymore

in Doppelganger

I did the shower scene from this film some weeks ago so I didn't reprise a new collage of that for this set.

Check out the "dirty dancing" scene in the third collage; when I was in my mid-twenties I was big into "dirty dancing" in nightclubs: Ms. Barrymore would have gotten my attention in a club.





A young Tyra Banks, upside down

Here's a surprise. More see-throughs from Lindsay Lohan

Carmen Montes in the immortal cinema classic, Snakewoman

Fata Morgana in Snakewoman. Gee, if wonder if that could be a fake name.

A bikini-clad Jessica Biel shows off the results of her work-out regimen.

Summer Nguyen in The Pet. (A slaveploitation film.)

Andrea Edmondson, also in The Pet. (She's the lead slave.)

Hope James in Corrupted Minds. "This art film tells the story of Canadian filmmakers coming to Detroit to make a documentary depicting the Motor City as a typical third world hell-hole. The project's leader hides Detroit's good points, since he knows its the bad points that sell."

Candace Posluszny in Corrupted Minds

Christina Spotts in Corrupted Minds

Eva Wilson in Corrupted Minds

Kim Poirier in The Rats





Pat's comments in yellow...
Last night on the Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe Awards, there were a few twists.  The Best Comedy and Best Comic Actress awards went to "Ugly Betty" and its star, America Ferrera, beating out such glamorous big names as two stars of "Desperate Housewives."  Ferrera said every day, girls tell her they're inspired by Betty, who "truly brings a new face to television."
*  Although it's a face that's better suited for radio.
Helen Mirren won matching Best Actress awards for movies and TV, for "The Queen" and "Elizabeth I," playing the current Queen Elizabeth and her ancestor, the first Queen Elizabeth. 
*  Britain has passed a law that all old queens must be played by either Helen Mirren or Ian McKellan.


Newly-released secret documents from Britain's National Archives revealed that in the mid-1950s, France considered joining the United Kingdom.  French Prime Minister Guy Mollet was an Anglophile who admired Britain for its welfare state and its help in two World Wars, and he wanted their military support against Egyptian-funded separatists in French Algeria.  Mollet thought there would be no problem with France accepting the British Queen.  A history professor at the Sorbonne in Paris said he was stunned at how preposterous this idea was, and it would not have gone down well with the French. 
*  And yet, it would never have occurred to them to fight back.
Liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich said now that Democrats are back in charge of Congress, he wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine that forced broadcasters to present all sides of an issue, which in practicality meant they avoided airing anything controversial at all

* We'll soon have to air every viewpoint, no matter how insane, which is why we're reporting on Dennis Kucinich.