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Discussion before and after

With a cross-dressing bit player, jokes about hemorrhoids, a leading lady who’s a masochistic kleptomaniac and wall-to-wall civic corruption, this may just be the ultimate pre-Code film. Darryl F. Zanuck was still at Warner Bros. when he bought Rowland Brown’s unpublished story “Bail Bond” and asked him to direct it. When he left Warner Bros. to start 20th Century Pictures, Zanuck took the property with him. It would be the new studio’s third release. Brown drew on his own shadowy past (he may or may not have been a bootlegger) for this tale of a bail bondsman (George Bancroft) with his finger into just about every pie in town. He’s having an affair with a nightclub owner (Judith Anderson, in her feature debut) who secretly manages the city’s mob, but he is led astray by a society girl (Frances Dee) with decidedly kinky tastes. It’s hard to tell which is the bigger surprise, seeing Anderson as a glamour girl or seeing Dee—best known for playing simple, virtuous heroines—as a compulsive liar and sex maniac. BLOOD MONEY was one of the first films condemned by the Legion of Decency and was pulled from exhibition with the arrival of the Production Code enforcement in 1934. (d. Rowland Brown, 65m, 35mm)

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