& How to Watch Them:
Christopher Strong (1933): This one’s about a love affair between a female pilot and a member of British Parliament. And it’s as good as that description makes it sound. Also, if you’ve ever seen that photo of Katharine Hepburn wearing a crazy silver moth costume that the internet loves so much, it’s from this movie, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940): Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball play rival dancers but in kind of an empowered female sort of way. O’Hara is a classical ballerina and Lucille Ball is, well, promiscuous, so that dichotomy gets a lot of play. There’s also some pretty fun 1940s burlesque if that’s your thing. And if you need any extra motivation to watch this, you should probably know that Lucille Ball’s character’s name is Bubbles.
Dear Dorothy Arzner,
If we lived in a fair and just world, your name would be more than just the answer to "who invented the boom mic?" at bar trivia. You would be mentioned alongside DeMille and Fleming and Lubitsch and any of the other -- ahem -- men who, like you, successfully made the transition from silent film to talkies. You'd be lauded for directing one of the best (and bawdiest) Pre-Code movies with The Wild Party. You'd get more credit for launching the career of Lucille Ball in Dance, Girl, Dance and creating the proto-Katharine Hepburn role in Christopher Strong. You'd certainly be recognized more for being the first woman to join the DGA. Oh, and for having directed more movies within the studio system than any woman ever.
And at the very least, you'd be given some sort of respectful high five for fucking Joan Crawford.