• Joan Bennett (left) with a pack of backwoods ragamuffins

On Friday at 7 PM, Block Cinema at Northwestern University will screen Wild Girl, a recently restored comic western directed by Raoul Walsh. Released in 1932, the film comes from a fascinating period of Hollywood cinema—the years following the introduction of sound and prior to the implementation of the Hays Code, the system of self-censorship that would govern mainstream movies for another three decades. It also comes from a prolific time in Walsh’s career, a three-year period wherein he signed eight feature films and did uncredited reshoots for a few others. As evidenced by two of his 1933 efforts Sailor’s Luck and The Bowery (both of which screened in Chicago in the past few years), these years saw the director at his most carefree and vulgar. Luck and Bowery come on like a loudmouthed stranger buying a round for everyone in the bar; they’re brash, unsubtle, and eager to please. And based on the half-hour I saw on Monday (before an unexpected fire drill ended the press screening early), Wild Girl seems just as high-spirited as those two films, if not necessarily as coarse.