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"Borrowed Wives" - Pre-Code Romantic Comedy
released on August 20, 1930
The Actors: Rex Lease (Peter Foley), Vera Reynolds (Alice Blake), Nita Martan (Julia Thorpe), Paul Hurst (Bull Morgan), Robert Livingston (Joe Blair), Charles Sellon (Uncle Henry Foley), Dorothea Wolbert (Aunt Mary), Sam Hardy (G.W. 'Georgie' Parker), Harry Todd (lawyer Winstead), Tom London (policeman Mac), Eddy Chandler (police Sergeant)
Peter, Alice and Hot-Lips Julia
If you are a fan of old movies you are probably familiar with the opening screen for many movies that tells us that the movie has been approved by censors – in the U.S. the Hays Office was where movies were censored. From the mid 1930's until the late 1960's when the Hays Office was replaced by the lettering system, and movies were labeled G, PG, R and so on. During the censoring years every movie must have been designed for a general audience and safe for all ages. The bad guys must always be punished, there must be no foul language, and for goodness sakes, no hint of romance beyond the most basic actions and words. On screen kisses were even limited to three seconds . . . . any longer and it would be much too suggestive. This romantic romp would certainly have been filmed very differently if it were permitted at all. The scene with Paul Hurst and Nita Martan in bed together would have never been allowed, no matter how innocently it was portrayed. If this story were filmed today it would get a PG rating, and by today's standards it is very tame, and more funny than romantic, but I'm confident that back in 1930 it was probably banned in some towns. As our comedy begins we meet two young fellows racing to the airport to meet and marry Alice Blake, and each of the two men has a marriage license purchased and filled out . . . It will be up to Alice to choose which fellow she will marry. Peter has the best reason to marry Alice, he will inherit a fortune if he is married before midnight. Unfortunately Peter is stopped by a motorcycle cop named Bull Morgan, and is delayed getting to the airport. Now, Bull Morgan has a sweetheart also, named Julia . . . . And Julia is 'weak' . . . . . Julia has never met a fellow that she doesn't like to kiss, as we soon see. This leads to that and since Peter didn't get to hook up with Alice to get married, Julia goes with Peter to his uncle's mansion and pretend to be his wife so he can get his fortune. Jealous motorcycle cop Bull Morgan also gets to the mansion, as well as Alice and the other fellow who wants to marry Alice . . . . All of these characters will spend the night in the mansion . . . . Peter and hot-lips Julia in one room and jealous cop Bull Morgan in another room and Peter's girlfriend Alice in yet another room . . . . . a dark and stormy night in Uncle Henry's mansion . . . . Did I mention that the house is haunted? . . . . No one will sleep easy tonight . . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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2014 was an exciting year for me, and I want to say thank you to every visitor that enjoys these old movies as much as I do. Four years ago I found myself with the knowledge to create nice web pages, along with a stack of old public domain movies that I owned and enjoyed. I decided to share them with the world . . . I thought that the 150 or so movies that I had collected were all the public domain movies in existence, but soon discovered more, and with good research and the help of the internet I am still discovering lost classics to share. Thanks to the amazing people at the New Dream Network I am able to share more than 2,000 almost forgotten classics, with many more sitting on my shelf waiting their turn to be added to this web site.
The question that I am asked most often is whether these movies are really public domain, or am I sharing movies that are still copyrighted and owned by movie studios and independent producers. Some folk believe that I am clever enough to share movies still owned by studios and independent producers without them knowing, but that would not be 'clever' . . . . merely 'stupid.' The first month that I started this web site I uploaded the stack of movies that I had on hand that I believed were public domain. Within days, when only a handful of visitors found my site, a movie studio contacted me and let me know that a couple of their copyrighted movies were among my uploads. I quickly apologized and removed them, and I started learning how to research copyright office records instead of taking the word of movie bloggers. To guarantee that I don't make a mistake, and encourage any studio or producer to correct any mistake that I might make, I do not hide the files with cryptic file names like movie pirates do, and I do not host the movies in a small offshore nation to prevent movie studios from finding either me or the movies. Every movie is named and dated and very easy for motion picture studios to search for and find . . . . . And believe me, they are constantly watching. You may have only discovered this web site recently, but all of the movie studios watch my listings very closely, and have since the very early days. Our legal system makes it very easy for movie studio lawyers to quickly shut down an offending web site, and I am a very cautious person who wants to be around for a while, and have no interest in abusing the rights of others. I am also very easy to find . . . . I am a very public person with my face on every page of the web site, and a contact link on every page of the web site, and if you look at the 'meet Jimbo' page you can even easily discover my cell phone number by following the link to my personal pages. The movies that have been here for five years now are still here because they have no current legal owner.
In 2014 the number of friends visiting the site and enjoying the movies tripled, and I am very grateful. One day in 2014 I got an e-mail note from Sir Robert Rietty, a British actor and voice-over specialist who wanted to thank me for sharing movies featuring himself and his famous acting teacher father Victor Rietti. We became e-mail friends, and I was able to find even more of his movies that were in public domain and share them with him and you, and Sir Robert was gracious enough to share behind-the-scenes stories about some of his experiences. I have also been honored to meet and become friends with Canadian director Rex Bromfield, a longtime friend of Richard Burton. Rex shared two experiences with Burton that have never been made public before, and I shared them with you in my reviews of the 1973 Welsh productions starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Divorce His and the sequel Divorce Hers. I was also fortunate in discovering Adrian, a film collector in England, and I have been able to purchase many old British films that I, and indeed most folk outside Britain have never seen or heard of. It appears that 2015 will be the year of British Classics thanks to Adrian. I cannot describe with words how much joy I am enjoying while building this web site and sharing the movies that I love with the rest of the world. Thank you all for sharing in my journey and exploring the stories produced during the first years of motion picture history. The past four years have been an incredible journey, but I suspect that the best is yet ahead of us, so stick around and visit often . . . And don't be shy about sending me a note, I cherish every one and respond to all of them.
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