Safe In Hell (1931) - TCM Film Review


Main Character: ✮✮✮✮✮ 

Characters: ✮✮✮✮

Story: ✮✮✮ 

Pace: ✮✮✮ 

I’m so excited to make this into a series for my blog! If you don’t already know, I love Turner Classic Movies! I love the transatlantic accents and old Hollywood glam era. I hope I get to work someday for TCM; o ; 

I added this on my Watch List because I was looking to watch some more Pre-Code films. Pre-code films are basically films that didn’t have restrictions imposed on them on what’s proper and improper in films back in the day. It basically removes any suggestive themes of any kind. Most of the list is pretty good, but if you read all of it carefully, there’s some racism embedded into it, sadly. For example, it doesn’t want any interracial relationships to be shown in films. So Pre-code basically means that before those codes were created, Directors had more creative liberty in what they decide to do with their films. 

I didn’t expect to like this film or even remember it. I know that nothing can really compare to Barbara Stanwyck’s ‘Baby Face’ (1933). But the main character became really likable as the film progressed. 

/// Spoiler alert /// You can’t unlock a happy ending. 

Safe In Hell (1931) - TCM Film Review

Safe In Hell (1931) - TCM Film Review

I didn’t like the whole male gaze going on and it was really cringe-y at first but as the characters interact with each other, you can see genuine friendship happen. It was a really touching moment when all of the ungentlemanly rascals on the island worked together to help the MC during her trial. The self-sacrifice that Gilda (played by Dorothy Mackaill) did in the last scene removes any lingering judgment from the audience about her being an ex-prostitute. It was a surprising feminist counterpoint that I didn’t expect a male director to have at that time. It felt like a movie that you can see today about empowering women. And I was expecting her romantic partner, a sailor, to rescue her but she ends up rescuing him instead. 

Favorite scenes: Gilda in her apartment in her kimono robes and other glamorous wardrobes at the beginning of the film

Honorable mention: Sailor  Carl Bergen (played by Donald Cook) | He was Stanwyck’s Love Interest in ‘Baby Face’ :D 

Safe in Hell (1931) | Directed by William A. Wellman 

Dazed Mari, Mari the Illustrious


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