RED-HEADED WOMAN (1932) B/W 74m dir: Jack Conway

w/Jean Harlow, Chester Morris, Lewis Stone, Leila Hyams, Una Merkel, Henry Stephenson, Charles Boyer

From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "The outstanding fact is that M-G-M has turned out an interesting dissertation on a thoroughly provocative subject. Jean Harlow, hitherto not highly esteemed as an actress, gives an electric performance.

"Ethics of the subject are sufficient to make a church deacon gulp and stammer. Heroine (Harlow) is a home wrecker, a vicious vamp and a destroyer of peace, and the wages of sin in her case are paid in the final close-up in strange and wonderful coin.

"Picture is handled with a curious blend of bluntness and subtlety. Some of the 'vamping' sequences, and there are plenty of them, are torrid. But the overall effect is conveyed with a great deal of fancy skating over very thin ice and its very candor is disarming."

RED-HEADED WOMAN was, in fact, so raw in its representation of sexuality that it became one of the films which led to the Production Code clampdown two years later in 1934. As described in The Dame in the Kimono by Leonard J. Leff and Jerold L. Simmons: "The 'fairy sweet flower of sex' blossomed throughout [pre-Code] Hollywood. Paramount had She Done Him Wrong and Sanctuary; MGM, Red Dust and Red-Headed Woman; Sam Goldwyn, Nana; and RKO, Ann Vickers --- all controversial pictures with sexual themes."