The Mark Anders crew has been watching a lot of movies made between 1929 and 1934, otherwise known pre-code movies. Several things went down around that time. The first full length sound movie was Al Jolson’s 1927, The Jazz Singer, but by 1929 sound movies were the standard. Moral activists believed movie content was becoming racier, especially since the introduction of sound, so the Motion Picture Production Code was instated in 1930 along with it’s censorship guidelines. The code, however, was not enforced until 1934. There were a litany “offenses” in pre-code movies which the Motion Picture Production Code’s censorship guidelines would start cracking down on.
…films in the late 1920s and early 1930s included sexual innuendo, miscegenation, profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, intense violence, and homosexuality.
One of the many good things about a lot of these early movies is that they’re not overly long. Modern movies feel they have to fill an arbitrary two hour length when quite a few only have an hour an a half of good material. Parole Girl is 67 minutes and not a minute is wasted. Motion pictures went through a technical and creative adjustment period when the primary form of visual thespian entertainment went from plays to movies but by 1933 they already had things ironed out. Parole Girl is like a modern day movie except it’s in black and white.
If you haven’t seen it before I really can’t tell you much about the story without giving away surprises, some of which take place fairly early in the picture. The story gets moving immediately when a woman(Mae Clarke from Night World and Frankenstein) is nabbed for pick pocketing by store security at Taylor Department Store in New York City. She swears she’s innocent but her accuser is adamant and the store manager wants her body searched. Just then—better yet, why not watch the movie. It’s Mark Anders recommended, four out of five stars.