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Kongo

Directed by William Cowen

The Sign of the Cross

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Screening on Film
  • Kongo

    Directed by William Cowen.
    With Walter Huston, Lupe Velez, Conrad Nagel.
    US, 1932, 35mm, black & white, 86 min.
    Print source: Warner Bros.

One of the most shocking and lurid films of the pre-Code era, this underrated gem stars Walter Huston as "Deadlegs" Flint, a ruthless trader in the Congo who seeks revenge on the man who crippled him by tormenting his daughter (Velez), dragging her from a convent to a brothel. Deep in the jungle, Flint rules over a rogue's gallery of grotesques with sex, drugs and alcohol – not to mention – leeches! Not for the fainthearted.

  • The Sign of the Cross

    Directed by Cecil B. DeMille.
    With Fredric March, Claudette Colbert, Charles Laughton.
    US, 1932, 35mm, black & white, 122 min.
    Print source: UCLA

Cecil B. DeMille pulls out all the stops in this tale of early Christians persecuted in ancient Rome. Charles Laughton stars as a leering, lascivious Nero, complete with spit curls. In the words of Paramount's publicity, "Rome burns again! The sets are marvelous and the costumes spell sex. There's Claudette Colbert in a milk bath. And Fredric March using the sensuous Joyzelle [as a dancing slave] to break down the resistance of Elissa Landi [as a virtuous young Christian] – mentally, and how!"

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Vice vs. Virtue in Pre-Code Hollywood

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