Films like SHANGHAI EXPRESS now filed under the subject heading of Pre-Code Hollywood, were nevertheless simple stories that were more honest, open about morals and sex, about language and approach, about almost everything. They did not know they were “illicit” until they were labeled as such by puritanical lawmakers, who put the kibosh on freedom of expression and the spotlight on censorship. This very honesty, when viewed today, washes over us like refreshing water over our watching eyes. For me, Pre-Code movies carry an added luster of truth and realism with them. They don’t disguise the truth of the human condition—they expose it.