History UsefulNotes / TheHaysCode

23rd Nov '17 2:39:16 AM LondonKdS
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Since the Code did not apply to the stage, aspiring screenwriters could (and did) write plays about subjects too sexy or politically controversial for Hollywood. In New York (at least), stage censorship--though not unheard of--was far less of a threat than it had been in the 1920s (when Creator/MaeWest was jailed and the Wales Padlock Act was passed), and comedies quite freely made fun of the movie censors. [[http://kirk.is/2009/09/06/ One particular pin-up image]] was created specifically to see someone could break every single Code provision in a single still.

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Since the Code did not apply to the stage, aspiring screenwriters could (and did) write plays about subjects too sexy or politically controversial for Hollywood. In New York (at least), stage censorship--though not unheard of--was far less of a threat than it had been in the 1920s (when Creator/MaeWest was jailed and the Wales Padlock Act was passed), and comedies quite freely made fun of the movie censors. [[http://kirk.is/2009/09/06/ One particular pin-up image]] was created specifically to see if someone could break every single Code provision in a single still.
28th Oct '17 5:40:17 PM jormis29
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** Cartoons could occasionally get away with breaking the law; such examples include the ''WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker'' cartoon "The Screwdriver" and Creator/TexAvery's "Thugs With Dirty Mugs" (which was [[BannedInChina banned in Manitoba, Canada]] because the censors there thought the cartoon made light of violent crime).

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** Cartoons could occasionally get away with breaking the law; such examples include the ''WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker'' cartoon "The Screwdriver" and Creator/TexAvery's "Thugs With Dirty Mugs" "WesternAnimation/ThugsWithDirtyMugs" (which was [[BannedInChina banned in Manitoba, Canada]] because the censors there thought the cartoon made light of violent crime).
14th Oct '17 5:01:19 PM ViKomprenas
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During the later years of UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centered around big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy made vocal sections of the public call for the government to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that films did not qualify for First Amendment protection[[note]]The ruling in the 1915 case, ''Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio'', said essentially that because film was a purely commercial endeavor, it therefore had no artistic merit, and thus could not count as free speech. [[DoubleStandard Live theatre operated under the same auspices, but had 1st Amendment protection--a fact conveniently ignored by the Court.]] The decision was overturned in 1952 by ''Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson''.[[/note]]. Congress began to consider creating a national censorship board akin to the ones found in several states both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision.

to:

During the later years of UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centered around big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy made vocal sections of the public call for the government to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that films did not qualify for First Amendment protection[[note]]The protection.[[note]]The ruling in the 1915 case, ''Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio'', said essentially that because film was a purely commercial endeavor, it therefore had no artistic merit, and thus could not count as free speech. [[DoubleStandard Live theatre operated under the same auspices, but had 1st Amendment protection--a fact conveniently ignored by the Court.]] The decision was overturned in 1952 by ''Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson''.[[/note]]. [[/note]] Congress began to consider creating a national censorship board akin to the ones found in several states both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision.
14th Oct '17 5:00:31 PM ViKomprenas
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During the later years of UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centered around big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy made vocal sections of the public call for the government to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that films did not qualify for First Amendment protection[[note]]The ruling in the 1915 case, ''Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio'', said essentially that because film was a purely commercial endeavor, it therefore had no artistic merit, and thus could not count as free speech. [[DoubleStandard Live theatre operated under the same auspices, but had 1st Amendment protection--a fact conveniently ignored by the Court.]][[/note]]. Congress began to consider creating a national censorship board akin to the ones found in several states both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision.

to:

During the later years of UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centered around big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy made vocal sections of the public call for the government to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that films did not qualify for First Amendment protection[[note]]The ruling in the 1915 case, ''Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio'', said essentially that because film was a purely commercial endeavor, it therefore had no artistic merit, and thus could not count as free speech. [[DoubleStandard Live theatre operated under the same auspices, but had 1st Amendment protection--a fact conveniently ignored by the Court.]][[/note]].]] The decision was overturned in 1952 by ''Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson''.[[/note]]. Congress began to consider creating a national censorship board akin to the ones found in several states both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision.
2nd Oct '17 9:05:47 PM jamespolk
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But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Film/JohnnyGuitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Creator/SamuelFuller and Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.

to:

But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Film/JohnnyGuitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Creator/SamuelFuller and Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', ''Film/{{Imitation Of Life|1959}}'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.
27th Sep '17 12:03:44 PM Hedging
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Added DiffLines:

** In the 1935 film adaptation of Literature/DavidCopperfield, when the thief who robs young David of his money takes off in his cart, the authorities are shown chasing after him, something not present in the original novel and very obviously added to comply with the code.
6th Sep '17 3:01:28 PM LongTallShorty64
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UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema stretched from around 1928 to 1933, and the contrast between films made before and after the Hays Code was enacted shows the impact censorship had on American cinema. Films like Creator/HowardHawks' ''{{Film/Scarface 1932}}'' were far more brazen and upfront about DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster, lacking the DoNotDoThisCoolThing tacked-on correctives seen in films like ''Film/AngelsWithDirtyFaces'' (though even during this era, with Hawks' film, the studio added scenes and changed the title to ''Scarface: The Shame of the Nation'' to appease local censorship boards). The landscape was also less politically correct, as actors and actresses played all kinds of roles. Lots of pre-Code films have a surprisingly feminist slant; working women are even regarded with sympathy and affection. William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors such as Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. 1930's ''Morocco'' even featured the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.

to:

UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema stretched from around 1928 to 1933, and the contrast between films made before and after the Hays Code was enacted shows the impact censorship had on American cinema. Films like Creator/HowardHawks' ''{{Film/Scarface 1932}}'' were far more brazen and upfront about DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster, lacking the DoNotDoThisCoolThing tacked-on correctives seen in films like ''Film/AngelsWithDirtyFaces'' (though even during this era, with Hawks' film, the studio added scenes and changed the title to ''Scarface: The Shame of the Nation'' to appease local censorship boards). The landscape was also less politically correct, as actors and actresses played all kinds of roles. Lots of pre-Code films have a surprisingly feminist slant; working women are even regarded with sympathy and affection. William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' ''Film/HeroesForSale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors such as Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. 1930's ''Morocco'' even featured the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.
29th Jul '17 8:33:30 PM Ramidel
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Added DiffLines:

** During the dying years of the Code, the famous line in ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968'', "God damn you all to Hell!" was presented to the censors as not being blasphemous, because Taylor was literally calling on God to damn humanity to Hell for what they'd done. It managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar get past the radar]], though as mentioned, the Code was already on its way out by then.
21st Jul '17 1:33:34 PM ironballs16
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** This forced a change to the ending of ''Literature/TheBadSeed''. In the novel and stage play, Christine gives an overdose of sleeping pills to her dangerous sociopathic daughter Rhoda, and Christine shoots herself, but Rhoda survives, with the implication [[TheBadGuyWins she will kill again]] (especially now that her mother, the only person aware of her true nature, is gone). The film version has Christine survive her suicide attempt, while Rhoda dies in a contrived and implausible KarmicDeath (she goes to the lake to find the penmanship medal for which she killed a boy, and a tree is struck by lightning and falls on her).

to:

** This forced a change to the ending of ''Literature/TheBadSeed''. In the novel and stage play, Christine gives an overdose of sleeping pills to her dangerous sociopathic daughter Rhoda, and Christine shoots herself, but Rhoda survives, with the implication [[TheBadGuyWins she will kill again]] (especially now that her mother, the only person aware of her true nature, is gone). The film version has Christine survive her suicide attempt, while Rhoda dies in a contrived and implausible KarmicDeath (she goes to the lake to find the penmanship medal [[DisproportionateRetribution for which she killed a boy, boy]], and a tree [[BoltOfDivineRetribution is struck by lightning lightning]] and falls on her).
10th Jul '17 10:53:56 AM JulianLapostat
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But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Creator/SamuelFuller and Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.

to:

But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', ''Film/JohnnyGuitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Creator/SamuelFuller and Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.
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