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Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Using the same mix of accessibility and insider knowledge he used so successfully in Complicated Women, author and film critic Mick LaSalle now turns his attention to the men of the pre-Code Hollywood era.

The five years between 1929 and mid-1934 was a period of loosened censorship that finally ended with the imposition of a harsh Production Code that would, for the next th
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 11th 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published November 1st 2002)
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Community Reviews

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This was a fascinating read despite it not being as good as Complicated Women. Let's face it; the women of the Pre-Code era were a hell of a lot more interesting overall simply because what was being done for women was progressive and refreshing in that time. They suffered much more of asetback once the Code was enforced because patriarchal ideas were being established again instead of opposed. The men are still fascinating though and the book does a great job of going into all the different way ...more
Even better than Complicated Women, I have to say. Maybe because the material isn't so well known? Pre-Code films (and its history) are usually about the women, so it was interesting to read about its impact on men and their roles. Plus, LaSalle was a lot funnier in this than in his previous book. I laughed out loud more than once at some of his snarky comments--he really doesn't like Al Jolson, for example: "[A] boy get hit by a truck, causing Jolson to serenade him in the hospital with "Little ...more
I first read this book and its precursor Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood in 2003. At that time, I had only seen a handful of Pre-Code cinema. What these two Pre-code books by Mick Lasalle did were catapult me into a passion for Pre-Code cinema that has lasted to this day. I still use this book as a reference and I love to go back and re-read it.
I cannot recommend his Pre-Code books highly enough!
Sep 20, 2010 Ashley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This book is beautifully written with loads of information, insightful commentary, and wonderful touches of humor. I enjoyed this one even more than its companion book, Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood. As I stated in my review for that book, I don't agree entirely with all of LaSalle's conclusions regarding the detrimental effect of the Production Code. However, I enjoyed this book immensely. It offers a window into another time and really captures the spirit of Pre-Code H ...more
Jill Hutchinson
I am a great fan of early film, especially the pre-Code era and this book added to my knowledge of the careers of those actors who were at the top of the heap during those days. The author offers a plethora of insider information regarding players. many of whom are practically forgotten today and provides the reason why some, such as Clark Gable, went on to a long and historic career, and why others, like Ramon Navarro, lost their popularity with the movie audience. The tone of pre-Code film sui ...more
Brian DiNitto
I loved hearing how these films connected with the culture of the time.
Interesting insight into pre-code leading men. It was overall a quick read. The book is only about 200 pages long. I picked this up to read up on Fredric March, one of my new found favorite leading men.

Being a classic movie buff, it was fascinating to learn about the typecasting of the pre-code Clark Gable. The book also offers a different viewpoint of John Gilbert's film demise. (It wasn't his voice)

What's driven me to read this repeatedly has been the merging of meticulous research, observation, and the author's genuine love of this period in film history. Pre-code Hollywood is a fascinating subject, and LaSalle's work, with it's engaging, vivid tone, sets a very amusing mood for it, which makes reading it a breeze.
Couldn’t put it down! Fascinating account of many actors, good observations, very astute, lots of descriptions of films. Includes Barthelmess, Barrymore, Warren William, John Gilbert, Ramon Novarro, as well as the usual suspects.
Jan 22, 2010 Margali marked it as couldn-t-finish
Shelves: movies
I think this book would have been more interesting if I had seen a lot more of the movies the author was discussing. As it was, I added a few movies to my Netflix queue, but didn't feel like finishing the book.
Jan 05, 2008 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of pre-code movies
A fascinating account of pre-code Hollywood, looking at the male stars and how different they were from those who followed them, getting so much more scope to show their emotions and go against stereotypes.
Once again LaSalle blows me away with his transcendent writings. Brings me right to such a fabulous era. As always if you are interested in such an era and the musings around it.It's a must to read.
Nov 30, 2008 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: film history buffs
Much better than Complicated Woman. Book is more organized and focused and provided more than just the common knowledge information that Complicated Women had.
Apr 30, 2008 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of old movies and handsome actors.
Shelves: non-fiction-film
As good as LaSalle's "Complicated Women." A fun, entertaining, informative read. Great stills too. I hope TCM makes a documentary of it as they did of the earlier book.
Another great book by LaSalle on 1920s/1930s Hollywood. I couldn't get into this one as much as with "Complicated Women," but it was still a great work.
Nancy L.
That rare follow-up book that's every bit as good as the original ( Complicated Women).
James Cagney, Clark Gable, and Warren William...need I say more?
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Mick LaSalle is an American film critic and the author of two books on pre-code Hollywood. As of March 2008[update], he has written in excess of 1550 reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle,[1] and he has been podcasting them since September 2005.[2]

LaSalle is the author of Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, a history/critical study of the actresses who worked in the film indu
More about Mick LaSalle...
Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses Ann Harding - Cinema's Gallant Lady Joan Crawford: The Enduring Star

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