Warner Archive DVDs are a bit basic, aren't they? Remember those days when DVDs used to claim interactive menus were a Special Feature? Warner Archive do.This isn’t our first encounter with the Hays Code. This was the document which came into force in 1934, and delineated precisely what sort of behaviour was unacceptable in Hollywood movies for the next three decades. It was also, by implication, the marker for the end of Hollywood’s Pre-Code era – that glorious four-year stretch between 1930 and 1934 when mild immorality ran wild on the big screen. It’s an era of filmmaking that’s been frequently celebrated by the British Film Institute, most notably in BFI Southbank's excellent 2014 season, Breaking The Code.

Shortly after that season took place, The Belated Birthday Girl bought me a four-pack of Pre-Code DVDs as a birthday present. Forbidden Hollywood Volume 7 was one of a small-run series of collections by the Warner Archive label. It contained one film from the BFI season, and three others that were unfamiliar to me. A lovely present, of course, but like most of the discs in our joint collection it was a question of when we would find the time to watch them.

That time turned out to be April 2021. My MostlyFilm colleague and Porn Valley High alumnus, FilmFan, set up the hashtag #PreCodeApril on Twitter, and invited everyone he knew to watch some Pre-Code films and write about them. If you follow the hashtag, you can see it’s been a roaring success: half the images in my timeline this month have been in black and white, as Film Twitter has rushed to post countless stills and GIFs from these films to accompany their reviews.

I don’t really do film reviews on Twitter. So here they are.

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MOSTLYFILM: Netflix i Chłód

Karol Kopiec. It's explained in the article, honestly.The whole internet loves MostlyFilm, a lovely website that loves everything apart from late period Steven Moffat!

*7 years later*

We regret to inform you the website is dead

It was a good run, let's be honest. When a bunch of refugees from Film Unlimited (including myself) first floated the idea of running our own movie blog back in 2011, we had no idea how long we could sustain it. It's amazing looking back at those first posts and realising that between us, we were churning out five new pieces of content every week. It took quite a long time, but gradually that enthusiasm wore off: the frequency dropped off to three posts a week, and then irregularly, while the editor's task of coordinating all the people involved became less and less fun.

For the last couple of months, the site has been kinda just been sitting there while we've been batting around a few ideas for a reboot, and eventually coming to the conclusion that we're more or less spent. A lesser website would have just pulled down the shutters at that point and walked away. We, however, are not a lesser website. We are Europe's Best Website. And so, over the next three weeks (taking us into the start of 2018), MostlyFilm will see one final burst of activity - a series of posts looking back on the last seven years, wrapping up a number of our ongoing series, and continuing to do things that you wouldn't expect from a site that's mostly about film.

And on the topic of doing things that you wouldn't expect, this lap of honour starts with a piece of mine called Netflix i Chłód, in which I review the half a dozen Polish stand-up comedy specials available on Netflix. The prospect of providing Red Button Bonus Content for that is a little daunting, but I'll see what I can do.

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MOSTLYFILM: It's Just A Show

Your Mads for this season of MST3K: Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester, and Patton Oswalt as TV's 'Son Of TV's Frank'. One day, theses will be written on how Oswalt has managed to blag a role for himself on every single TV show he's a fan of.Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back, and on the whole I think I'm happy about that. I last wrote about the show here in 2008, when a cheap DVD of the movie spin-off was finally released, almost a decade after it had been taken off the air. And now, almost a decade after that, series creator Joel Hodgson has assembled a new cast and hurled fourteen new episodes of the show onto Netflix.

Over on MostlyFilm, I've written a piece entitled It's Just A Show, looking back at the history of MST3K and forward to its new incarnation. Meanwhile, over here in the Red Button Bonus Content, I've got the usual playlist of trailers and whatnot that you might expect. But there's a wee problem with that...

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MOSTLYFILM: Babycart On The Ray Of Blu

Possibly a little too monochrome for use in the MostlyFilm piece, not to mention the wrong shape. But I like it.We've been here before, at least a little bit. A dozen or so years ago, a short festival of Japanese cinema called Wild Japan played in London, and almost inevitably I got to write about it on here. Included in the writeup is a review of Shogun Assassin, which I finally got to see in a cinema for the first time, after years of watching sub-par home video copies. Even then, they had to project the film from a DVD, owing to various problems with getting hold of a 35mm print. At the time, I said "Enjoyable as it was to see this projected on a big screen, I'm sure someone could clean up in cinemas with a decent restored print in the future."

Well, that still hasn't happened. But what we do have now is a Blu-ray box set from Criterion containing a high-definition (though still unrestored) copy of Shogun Assassin, plus beautifully cleaned-up copies of the two original films that it was constructed from, as well as their four sequels. Packaged under the original series title of Lone Wolf And Cub, it's in the shops right now.

I've reviewed the whole damn thing on MostlyFilm, in an article entitled Babycart On The Ray Of Blu. And as this is another MostlyFilm piece referencing a large number of films, it's accompanied here by some Red Button Bonus Content featuring a playlist of trailers for all of them and more. Caution: the trailers are reasonably representative of the levels of violence and sex to be found in the films, so be careful where you watch them.

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MOSTLYFILM: Call Of Heroes

Wandering adventurer Eddie Peng and action director Sammo Hung. According to the Yahoo! News page I, um, borrowed this picture from, Sammo made Eddie do 53 takes of one particular stunt until he got it right. He's like the David Fincher of flying kicks to the head, if you will.I'm never quite sure what to do about Fridays.

As you're probably aware, MostlyFilm generally publishes on three days a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You're probably also aware that whenever I contribute a piece to Europe's Best Website, I like to include a post of backup material here as well, in a healthy spirit of cross-promotion. When the original piece goes up on a Monday or a Wednesday, it's nice and easy: I'll post my backup the day after, in the gap between two MostlyFilm posts, and everyone's happy.

But what about when MostlyFilm publishes me on a Friday? Well, there are several possible options. Sometimes I post my backup material on the same day, or the day after, or leave it until the following week. Or, on the odd occasion, I forget to do it altogether and have to hurriedly cobble together something nearly a fortnight after the original article.

Which is why my review of the excellent Hong Kong action movie Call Of Heroes appeared on MostlyFilm on Friday January 6th, and this backup piece is appearing some thirteen days later. Sorry about that. Anyway, I've got some video clips for you featuring several of the people involved in the film, in case you were interested in finding out what they'd done before this one.

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MOSTLYFILM: The Samurai Trilogy

The illustration accompanying my MostlyFilm review of The Samurai Trilogy features Yuko Shimizu's beautiful cover art for the box set. This picture here, however, shows how my screener copy was packaged, which is much less visually exciting.I've been a long-time fan of what Criterion do with home video releases. I was saying as much back in March 2000, a time when apparently a list of ten randomish DVDs from my collection could be passed off as meaningful content. One of those DVDs was the Criterion release of Rushmore, and it allowed me to list the things I liked about their standards of film presentation. I didn't get to mention the one thing I didn't like, though: it was that Criterion only released discs in the US, so I had to deal with the hassle of ordering these already expensive editions from overseas, and then battling with HMRC's demands for import fees on top.

Jump forward to earlier this year, and the announcement that Criterion were setting up shop in the UK. Inevitably, Europe's Best Website was on the case immediately. From day one, MostlyFilm has been reviewing Criterion UK's releases as they hit the shelves, covering movies as diverse as Only Angels Have Wings, L'Avventura, Here Comes Mr Jordan, Dr Strangelove, The In-Laws and many more.

And now it's my turn, as I've just posted a review there of Criterion's restoration of The Samurai Trilogy, a single epic story told across three films released between 1954 and 1956. As usual, I'll be providing Red Button Bonus Content for the piece here, including trailers and posters for all three films, plus the opportunity to buy a couple of related books - the Eiji Yoshikawa novel the trilogy was based on (originally published as a daily newspaper serial over several years), and its real-life leading character's Samurai For Dummies manual, The Book Of Five Rings.

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MOSTLYFILM: Psychomania

If you believe the Spanish poster art for Psychomania, this is apparently what George Sanders looks like. As you'll see if you read the MostlyFilm piece, this is astonishingly only the *second* most inaccurate piece of promotional art associated with the film.It's there in my bio at the end of every article I write for MostlyFilm: "his specialist subjects are Asian cinema, cult movies and TV, and watching foreign films without the benefit of subtitles." So far in 2016, I've written quite a bit that falls into the first and last of those categories, but nothing that really counts as culty.

Well, today that changes, with a review I've written of Psychomania, one of the cultiest of British movies. Ignore the ridiculously inaccurate poster image over on the left there: if you have a vague memory of an undead Nicky Henson misbehaving on a motorcycle while his devil-worshipping mother Beryl Reid tuts in the background, then you've probably already seen Psychomania in a late night telly slot and doubted the evidence of your own eyes. (Much like I did when I first saw it over three decades ago, as you'll see.)

Psychomania is currently doing a tiny tour of UK cinemas as part of the Scalarama festival, but the big news is that it's just about to come out in a lavishly restored Blu-ray/DVD set with tons of bonus features. And speaking of bonus features, I've assembled a wee YouTube playlist of related bits and bobs as backup material for the MostlyFilm article.

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As mentioned in the review of A Touch Of Zen, here's a screengrab from my Video CD of Dragon Inn. Note the sensitivity with which it fits a 2.35:1 image into a 4:3 frame.Last week, the website Dulwich OnView referred to that place I sometimes contribute to as "the acclaimed film blog Mostly Film." I think that's a rather lovely thing to be honoured with, even though The Belated Birthday Girl keeps on trying to ruin it by asking "acclaimed by whom, exactly?"

Still, I feel a little bad about trying to grab some of that acclaim for myself. After all, there are only three articles I ever write for it. The most obvious one is I Went To See Some Movies Abroad And Couldn't Quite Understand What They Were Saying, which I've managed to get published in 21 minor variations so far. Close behind that comes I Went To A Film Festival And Saw So Many Films That I'm Going Way Over My Allotted Word Count (and there'll be another one of those coming next week).

But there's a third type you may have missed, which is this: I Saw An Old Film And A New Film That Were Somehow Related To Each Other, And The Old One Was Better. I wrote it on the very first day of Mostly Film's existence, comparing Repo Man with Repo Chick. Subsequently I've done the same with the two versions of Maniac, and the various exploitation documentaries of Mark Hartley. And now, in a weekend where two Taiwanese swordplay epics have been released in the UK, I've written a pair of articles comparing them - Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 2015 cinema outing The Assassin, and King Hu's 1971 Blu-ray debutante A Touch Of Zen.

Yes, the old one was better. But read both articles anyway, and enjoy the Red Button Bonus Content here.

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MOSTLY FILM: Love Is In The Ground

MONIKA + ROB 4 LYFEI wasn't really planning to do a new thing for Mostly Film, it just happened that way. I had a bit of a gap in last Friday morning's schedule, and the editor suddenly announced that unless anyone had any better ideas, there wouldn't be a new piece going up on Monday.

As it happened, I knew that a film I'd already namechecked on the site over four years ago - Jörg Buttgereit's grim necrophile comedy Nekromantik 2 - was, astonishingly, about to get a legitimate release in the UK. So I laid my hands on a, let's say, less legitimate copy, rewatched it for the first time in over two decades, smashed out a thousand or so words of instant reaction and had it in the editorial inbox by later that afternoon.

The review is now up on the site under the title of Love Is In The Ground, simply because this had been posted a few days earlier. Looking back on it now, in the calm after the frenzy of its creation, it strikes me that at least one more read through on my part could have been a useful thing, to pick up carelessnesses like the sentence which contains the word 'really' twice. (Amusingly, that sentence was picked up by Mostly Film's Facebook team and used as a pull quote to cement my shame.) It also strikes me now that the whole piece fails to really acknowledge at any point that necrophilia is not nice. Kids! Monika M. is a professional, do not try to imitate her. Besides, she has a hacksaw.

Anyway, as the piece was written in a bit of a rush, the Red Button Backup Content for it has been hurled together at similar speed (and is also a bit late, sorry). Want to see a tasteful collection of film clips on the subject of sex with dead people? Then here you go.

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MOSTLY FILM: Criterioner Among Thieves

Terry Gilliam, yesterday. (Actually, last month, in response to an internet rumour that he'd just died. Technically, those bad reviews he's complaining about started with the ones for Brazil...)I have to admit, my DVD buying habits have slowed down dramatically compared with the time when I wrote Dr Spank's DVD Clinic. Still, it looks like the 2000 version of me had the right idea when it came to special editions: "If there's one company that can be relied on to do DVDs right, it's Criterion, who specialise in buying up the rights to classic movies and producing the best possible package for DVD and laserdisc release."

I don't buy as many DVDs as I used to, but I believe that's still the case - certainly some of the finest special editions in my collection come from Criterion. So today, on Mostly Film, I'm one of the contributors to an article called Criterioner Among Thieves, a title based around a pun so terrible that I could have written it. Six of the site's regulars have chosen their favourite film from The Criterion Collection and talked a bit about it - see if you can guess in advance which one ends up writing more about Criterion's presentation than the actual film.

I'm only responsible for one-sixth of the content in the article, so I'll limit my traditional Red Button Bonus Material for it on this site to a simple YouTube playlist of video relating to all six of the entries.

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