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Friday, April 26

Author and fine art photographer Mark A. Vieira will sign copies of his newest book, Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era at the Billy Wilder on Friday night. Vieira takes a chronological approach to this crucial four-year period between 1930 and 1934 in which the major Hollywood studios had yet to enforce the censorship they negotiated with the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. These pictures were daring and lurid in a way that can still raise eyebrows, as evidenced by the evening’s double feature.

First up is The Sign of the Cross, an epic of early Christianity which displays director Cecil B. DeMille’s signature mix of salaciousness and piety. Shockingly violent for its era, the film features a deliciously demented performance by Charles Laughton as Nero and a sexy supporting turn by Claudette Colbert.

Only Yesterday, the second feature of the evening, is less well known but equally impressive. Margaret Sullavan stars as an unwed mother seduced by the same man twice. John Stahl based this 1933 film on both Stefan Zweig’s novel, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and Frederick Lewis Allen’s Only Yesterday: An Informed History of the Nineteen-Twenties.

Both will screen in 35mm. UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., April 26, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

Also opening Friday: Avengers: Endgame; The Baker’s Wife; Body at Brighton Rock; Chasing Portraits; Christ Stopped at Eboli; JT Leroy; Knock Down the House; The White Crow

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