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TO MAY 30
These days, you can show anything you want in a movieprovided your film isn’t distributed by one of the big companies that belong to the Motion Picture Association of America, which requires its members to label their product G, PG, PG-13, R, or NC-17. Standards were even stricter under the so-called Hays Code, instituted in 1934 by the MPAA’s predecessor (headed by former U.S. Postmaster General Will Hays). Before that, however, things could get pretty wild. This series revisits some of the highlights of the bad old days, from a 1929 musical that features a ribald chorus line (Applause, at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9) to a tale of deadly rivalries among group of women canteen workers stranded in France during World War I (The Mad Parade, at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29). The dramas include 1931’s Night Nurse (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 2), with Barbara Stanwyck as a nurse who protects two youngsters from the family chauffeur’s murderous designs; 1932’s The Purchase Price (at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8), in which a showgirl (Stanwyck again) tries to flee her previous life by becoming a mail-order bride; 1932’s The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 13), the tale of a young woman who fools around, gets pregnant, runs away with a troublemaker, and then dumps him; and 1933’s Cocktail Hour (at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22), in which a woman tries to show her sexist boss that women can have all the freedom enjoyed by men. Among the musicals is 1934’s Dames (at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27), with Joan Blondell singing to a stack of men’s underwear. See City List for details. At the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)