Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Silent Cinema Blogathon: Cabiria (1914)

indexIt’s the Silent Cinema Blogathon, hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – follow the link to get the full list of blogs participating and movies being reviewed.
Join the fun.

Now, here at Karavansara, we go for pulp adventure, historical fiction and other less-than-sophisticated forms of entertainment, and it is therefore fitting that we take a look at a movie that was the mother of all sword & sandal flicks, of all the historical movie fantasies and Greco-Roman “peplums”.
A movie that almost exactly one century ago, was the first movie to be shown in the White House.

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Pre-Code Blogathon – (the return of) Madam Satan

The Pre-Code Blogathon is an online event hosted by the blogs pre-code.com and Shadows and Satin – a number of blogs are taking part, each one posting about a pre-Code movie or related topic.
Karavansara is taking part in this game by looking back (again) at that weird Cecil B. DeMille extravaganza – Madam Satan.

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Click on the banner for a full list of the blogs participating in the event

But first, a quick recap about the Code – the Hays Code was enforced in the 1930s, as a response to the wild, unchecked and scandal-ridden image Hollywood had acquired in the 1920s.
Will H. Hays, the czar of all the rushes had been appointed guardian of Hollywoodland’s morality, and the guidelines – very strict guidelines – that his office enforced on behalf of the production companies themselves: the movie moguls had in fact decided that a central censorship system was probably better than the previous practice of state-by-state censorship regulations.
But between the founding of the Hays Office and the actual application of the rules, there was a brief time in which deregulation was (supposedly) absolute – the Pre-Code era.
When Hollywood was wild – and when Cecil B. DeMille was asked by Louis B. Mayer to do a musical, and he produced a movie called Madam Satan.

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Sunday with Madam Satan

tumblr_lln0tg8CNf1qbbjxvo1_500Today’s media clip comes from a movie by Cecil B. DeMille in which a masked ball takes place during a party on an airship.
And then the airship crashes.
It’s a DeMille musical extravaganza, so it’s spectacular and features great set-pieces.

The movie is called Madam Satan, was produced in 1930 and apparently caused no end of trouble with the censors – lots of exposed female flesh, and after all, the plot revolves around a woman re-inventing herself as a masked femme-fatale to seduce back her unfaithful husband.
Racy stuff.
Especially in the 1930s.

Here’s a few samples from that strange movie…

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