History UsefulNotes / TheHaysCode

8th Jan '16 6:12:48 PM MCanter89
Is there an issue? Send a Message
[[caption-width-right:256: Assuming ViewersAreMorons, 1934-1968]]
to:
[[caption-width-right:256: Assuming ViewersAreMorons, 1934-1968]] 1934–1968]]

UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema, before censorship was actively enforced, stretched from around 1928-1933. The contrast between the films made before and after censorship 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 with actors and actresses playing all kinds of roles. Much of the content is surprisingly feminist, with working women being regarded with sympathy and affection. A film like William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors like Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. The film ''Morocco'' (1930) famously features the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.
to:
UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema, before censorship was actively enforced, stretched from around 1928-1933.1928–1933. The contrast between the films made before and after censorship 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 with actors and actresses playing all kinds of roles. Much of the content is surprisingly feminist, with working women being regarded with sympathy and affection. A film like William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors like Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. The film ''Morocco'' (1930) famously features the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.

** The ending of ''Literature/TheBadSeed'' was changed; 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 sees 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:
** The ending of ''Literature/TheBadSeed'' was changed; 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 again]] (especially now that her mother, the only person aware of her true nature, is gone.) gone). The film version sees 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.

* Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- wasn't allowed. It was the reason why in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.
to:
* Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- – pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- – wasn't allowed. It was the reason why in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.

** While depicting men and women in bed together wasn't strictly forbidden -- it was in the "be careful" section rather than the "don't" section -- SleepingSingle became a universal trope and remained such until the 1960s.
to:
** While depicting men and women in bed together wasn't strictly forbidden -- – it was in the "be careful" section section, rather than the "don't" section -- – SleepingSingle became a universal trope and remained such until the 1960s.

*** Frollo in the 1939 adaptation of ''Film/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', who became a judge (predating the Disney version by several decades).
to:
*** Frollo in the 1939 adaptation of ''Film/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', who became a judge (predating (pre-dating the Disney version by several decades).

* {{Revenge}} in modern times was not permitted, as it might glorify violence (specifically murder). Historical settings might allow it -- particularly where there was no law to punish the offender. This means that Westerns were the only movies allowed to have revenge as a theme or premise.
to:
* {{Revenge}} in modern times was not permitted, as it might glorify violence (specifically murder). Historical settings might allow it -- – particularly where there was no law to punish the offender. This means that Westerns were the only movies allowed to have revenge as a theme or premise.

As the Court loosened the reins, domestic filmmakers also mounted serious challenges to the Code in the 1960s. ''Film/ThePawnbroker'' featured an artistically-essential topless scene and ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf'' featured equally-essential harsh language. Against the considerable critical acclaim of these films and overwhelming public sentiment, the Hays Code tried to bend – with those films being made "special exceptions" -- but this "bending" opened the door for every daring filmmaker of the day to petition their own films for similar consideration. Furthermore, this change of criteria encouraged the film company executives to gradually lose their enthusiasm to cooperate with the Code themselves: it was one thing for the Code to object to specific content with an agreed-upon criteria, but it was quite another for those censors to be de facto film critics to arbitrarily determine whether their films were of good enough quality to allow them to be exceptions.
to:
As the Court loosened the reins, domestic filmmakers also mounted serious challenges to the Code in the 1960s. ''Film/ThePawnbroker'' featured an artistically-essential topless scene and ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf'' featured equally-essential harsh language. Against the considerable critical acclaim of these films and overwhelming public sentiment, the Hays Code tried to bend – with those films being made "special exceptions" -- – but this "bending" opened the door for every daring filmmaker of the day to petition their own films for similar consideration. Furthermore, this change of criteria encouraged the film company executives to gradually lose their enthusiasm to cooperate with the Code themselves: it was one thing for the Code to object to specific content with an agreed-upon criteria, but it was quite another for those censors to be de facto film critics to arbitrarily determine whether their films were of good enough quality to allow them to be exceptions.

Another example of mocking the Hays Code goes all the way back to 1942 in a classic WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, "A Tale of Two Kitties", in which the cats [[Creator/AbbottAndCostello Babitt and Catstello]] plot to devour the ever-prepared Tweety Bird. At one point, Catstello is on a ladder to Tweety's nest and struggling with his fear of heights, while from the ground, Babitt starts pushing his buttons by yelling, "Give me the Bird! Give me the Bird!" – to which Catstello turns to the audience to say, "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd [[FlippingTheBird give 'im the boid all right]]". The really fun thing here is that animated shorts like this showed many different examples of breaking the Code – such as excessive violence ([[BloodlessCarnage though completely bloodless, of course]]), and (what was then) harsh language – simply because they were animated in ways that took everything to a level of pure parody; rules were subverted, but in as overt a way as possible. (A non-animation example of this sort of Hays Code subversion would be Film/TheThreeStooges shorts, which were able to be the first to satirize UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in Hollywood.)
to:
Another example of mocking the Hays Code goes all the way back to 1942 in a classic WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, "A Tale of Two Kitties", in which the cats [[Creator/AbbottAndCostello Babitt and Catstello]] plot to devour the ever-prepared Tweety Bird. At one point, Catstello is on a ladder to Tweety's nest and struggling with his fear of heights, while from the ground, Babitt starts pushing his buttons by yelling, "Give me the Bird! Give me the Bird!" – to which Catstello turns to the audience to say, "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd [[FlippingTheBird give 'im the boid boid, all right]]". The really fun thing here is that animated shorts like this showed many different examples of breaking the Code – such as excessive violence ([[BloodlessCarnage though completely bloodless, of course]]), and (what was then) harsh language – simply because they were animated in ways that took everything to a level of pure parody; rules were subverted, but in as overt a way as possible. (A possible (a non-animation example of this sort of Hays Code subversion would be Film/TheThreeStooges shorts, which were able to be the first to satirize UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in Hollywood.) Hollywood).

While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved (one of the very few film critics who tends to support the MoralGuardians in many cases) makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code, with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 have a difficult case to make.[[/note]]
to:
While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved (one of the very few film critics who tends to support the MoralGuardians in many cases) makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code, with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 25–28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, 1948–53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 1966–69 have a difficult case to make.[[/note]]
13th Dec '15 12:32:44 PM Josef5678
Is there an issue? Send a Message
** TheReveal in ''{{Rebecca}}'' suffered as a result of this. Originally [[spoiler:the cruel and faithless Rebecca is murdered by her husband Maxim]], but in Creator/AlfredHitchcock's 1940 film version [[spoiler:her death is accidental, but is covered up by Maxim because he feels nobody will believe he is innocent of the crime.]]
to:
** TheReveal in ''{{Rebecca}}'' ''Literature/{{Rebecca}}'' suffered as a result of this. Originally [[spoiler:the cruel and faithless Rebecca is murdered by her husband Maxim]], but in Creator/AlfredHitchcock's 1940 film version [[spoiler:her death is accidental, but is covered up by Maxim because he feels nobody will believe he is innocent of the crime.]]

* The law must be respected and upheld. Occasionally cartoons could get away with breaking the law, such as the 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). * Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- wasn't allowed. It was the reason why in ''GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.
to:
* The law must be respected and upheld. Occasionally cartoons could get away with breaking the law, such as the WoodyWoodpecker ''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). * Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- wasn't allowed. It was the reason why in ''GoneWithTheWind'', ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.

* Topics considered "perverse" were not to be discussed, including homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases. The explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation was used to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment, on the principle that the code was breached if ''either actor or character'' was of a differing race. Anna May Wong, the leading Chinese-American actress of the time, was rejected as female lead in ''Literature/TheGoodEarth'' because the male lead was white actor Paul Muni. (In balance, it should also be noted that the Code ''did'' advocate for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insist that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred, but this didn't really help nonwhites who were American.) The bestiality ban is also worthy of note, as it was part of the reason for changes to ''RedHotRidingHood'''s original ending, which showed the Wolf forced into marriage by [[DirtyOldWoman the Grandma]], then years later, taking his half-human, half-lupine children to the nightclub to see Red perform (though the original ending, much like the "erection takes", exist on a DirectorsCut that was sent to overseas soldiers).
to:
* Topics considered "perverse" were not to be discussed, including homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases. The explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation was used to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment, on the principle that the code was breached if ''either actor or character'' was of a differing race. Anna May Wong, the leading Chinese-American actress of the time, was rejected as female lead in ''Literature/TheGoodEarth'' because the male lead was white actor Paul Muni. (In balance, it should also be noted that the Code ''did'' advocate for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insist that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred, but this didn't really help nonwhites who were American.) The bestiality ban is also worthy of note, as it was part of the reason for changes to ''RedHotRidingHood'''s ''WesternAnimation/RedHotRidingHood'''s original ending, which showed the Wolf forced into marriage by [[DirtyOldWoman the Grandma]], then years later, taking his half-human, half-lupine children to the nightclub to see Red perform (though the original ending, much like the "erection takes", exist on a DirectorsCut that was sent to overseas soldiers).

These rules could be slightly skirted in film adaptations; for example, they managed to keep the famous line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" in ''GoneWithTheWind'' because the (mild) swearing was in the original novel. This was especially true for faithful adaptations of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays, which were probably considered too artistically significant to censor; ''{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, something normally prohibited by the Office.
to:
These rules could be slightly skirted in film adaptations; for example, they managed to keep the famous line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" in ''GoneWithTheWind'' ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' because the (mild) swearing was in the original novel. This was especially true for faithful adaptations of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays, which were probably considered too artistically significant to censor; ''{{Hamlet}}'', ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, something normally prohibited by the Office.

Indeed, the mere fact that censorship had to be so rigorously enforced in the first place is a testament to the levels and frequency with which directors and screenwriters tried to resist it. Even a classic like ''RebelWithoutACause'' featured a barely concealed homosexual as a sympathetic character (while BuryYourGays is enforced, it's clearly treated as a tragedy). Genre films tended to fall BeneathSuspicion; as such, directors of FilmNoir or TheWestern tended to have a freer hand than, say, people who made OscarBait or the EpicMovie or TheMusical. Also, the BMovie tended not to be taken seriously by MoralGuardians, and films like ''The Big Combo, Detour, Film/TouchOfEvil, Murder by Contract,'' and ''The Crimson Kimono'' tend to have more progressive and interesting content than the A-movies that they played with on a Double bill.
to:
Indeed, the mere fact that censorship had to be so rigorously enforced in the first place is a testament to the levels and frequency with which directors and screenwriters tried to resist it. Even a classic like ''RebelWithoutACause'' ''Film/RebelWithoutACause'' featured a barely concealed homosexual as a sympathetic character (while BuryYourGays is enforced, it's clearly treated as a tragedy). Genre films tended to fall BeneathSuspicion; as such, directors of FilmNoir or TheWestern tended to have a freer hand than, say, people who made OscarBait or the EpicMovie or TheMusical. Also, the BMovie tended not to be taken seriously by MoralGuardians, and films like ''The Big Combo, Detour, Film/TouchOfEvil, Murder by Contract,'' and ''The Crimson Kimono'' tend to have more progressive and interesting content than the A-movies that they played with on a Double bill.

Another example of mocking the Hays Code goes all the way back to 1942 in a classic WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, "A Tale of Two Kitties", in which the cats [[Creator/AbbottAndCostello Babitt and Catstello]] plot to devour the ever-prepared Tweety Bird. At one point, Catstello is on a ladder to Tweety's nest and struggling with his fear of heights, while from the ground, Babitt starts pushing his buttons by yelling, "Give me the Bird! Give me the Bird!" – to which Catstello turns to the audience to say, "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd [[FlippingTheBird give 'im the boid all right]]". The really fun thing here is that animated shorts like this showed many different examples of breaking the Code – such as excessive violence ([[BloodlessCarnage though completely bloodless, of course]]), and (what was then) harsh language – simply because they were animated in ways that took everything to a level of pure parody; rules were subverted, but in as overt as way as possible. (A non-animation example of this sort of Hays Code subversion would be Film/TheThreeStooges shorts, which were able to be the first to satirize UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in Hollywood.)
to:
Another example of mocking the Hays Code goes all the way back to 1942 in a classic WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, "A Tale of Two Kitties", in which the cats [[Creator/AbbottAndCostello Babitt and Catstello]] plot to devour the ever-prepared Tweety Bird. At one point, Catstello is on a ladder to Tweety's nest and struggling with his fear of heights, while from the ground, Babitt starts pushing his buttons by yelling, "Give me the Bird! Give me the Bird!" – to which Catstello turns to the audience to say, "If the Hays Office would only let me, I'd [[FlippingTheBird give 'im the boid all right]]". The really fun thing here is that animated shorts like this showed many different examples of breaking the Code – such as excessive violence ([[BloodlessCarnage though completely bloodless, of course]]), and (what was then) harsh language – simply because they were animated in ways that took everything to a level of pure parody; rules were subverted, but in as overt as a way as possible. (A non-animation example of this sort of Hays Code subversion would be Film/TheThreeStooges shorts, which were able to be the first to satirize UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in Hollywood.)
20th Nov '15 6:06:13 PM Luigifan
Is there an issue? Send a Message
** TheReveal in ''{{Rebecca}}'' suffered as a result of this. Originally [[spoiler: the cruel and faithless Rebecca is murdered by her husband Maxim]], but in Creator/AlfredHitchcock's 1940 film version [[spoiler:her death is accidental, but is covered up by Maxim because he feels nobody will believe he is innocent of the crime.]]
to:
** TheReveal in ''{{Rebecca}}'' suffered as a result of this. Originally [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the cruel and faithless Rebecca is murdered by her husband Maxim]], but in Creator/AlfredHitchcock's 1940 film version [[spoiler:her death is accidental, but is covered up by Maxim because he feels nobody will believe he is innocent of the crime.]]

** For this reason, ''Disney/TheAdventuresOfIchabodAndMrToad'' portrayed [[Literature/TheWindInTheWillows Toad]] as being framed for theft, whereas in the book (and all future adaptations) he actually DOES steal the motorcar.
to:
** For this reason, ''Disney/TheAdventuresOfIchabodAndMrToad'' portrayed [[Literature/TheWindInTheWillows Toad]] as being framed for theft, whereas in the book (and all future adaptations) adaptations), he actually DOES ''does'' steal the motorcar.

* Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- wasn't allowed. It was the reason why, in ''GoneWithTheWind'' when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.
to:
* Portrayals of nudity, and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even the aftermath of sexual activity -- pregnancy and the resulting childbirth -- wasn't allowed. It was the reason why, why in ''GoneWithTheWind'' ''GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.

** While depicting men and women in bed together wasn't strictly forbidden--it was in the "be careful" section rather than the "don't" section--SleepingSingle became a universal trope and remained such until the 1960s.
to:
** While depicting men and women in bed together wasn't strictly forbidden--it forbidden -- it was in the "be careful" section rather than the "don't" section--SleepingSingle section -- SleepingSingle became a universal trope and remained such until the 1960s.

*** Frollo in the 1939 adaptation of ''Film/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', who became a judge (predating the Disney version by several decades)
to:
*** Frollo in the 1939 adaptation of ''Film/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', who became a judge (predating the Disney version by several decades)decades).

* {{Revenge}} in modern times was not permitted as it might glorify violence (specifically murder). Historical settings might allow it -- particularly where there was no law to punish the offender. This means that Westerns were the only movies allowed to have revenge as a theme or premise. * Topics considered "perverse" were not to be discussed, including homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases. The explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation was used to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment, on the principle that the code was breached if ''either actor or character'' was of a differing race. Anna May Wong, the leading Chinese-American actress of the time, was rejected as female lead in ''Literature/TheGoodEarth'' because the male lead was white actor Paul Muni. (In balance, it should also be noted that the Code ''did'' advocate for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insist that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred, but this didn't really help nonwhites who were American.) The bestiality ban is also worthy of note, as it was part of the reason for changes to ''RedHotRidingHood'''s original ending which showed the Wolf forced into marriage by [[DirtyOldWoman the Grandma]], then years later, taking his half-human, half-lupine children to the nightclub to see Red perform (though the original ending, much like the "erection takes", exist on a DirectorsCut that was sent to overseas soldiers).
to:
* {{Revenge}} in modern times was not permitted permitted, as it might glorify violence (specifically murder). Historical settings might allow it -- particularly where there was no law to punish the offender. This means that Westerns were the only movies allowed to have revenge as a theme or premise. * Topics considered "perverse" were not to be discussed, including homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases. The explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation was used to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment, on the principle that the code was breached if ''either actor or character'' was of a differing race. Anna May Wong, the leading Chinese-American actress of the time, was rejected as female lead in ''Literature/TheGoodEarth'' because the male lead was white actor Paul Muni. (In balance, it should also be noted that the Code ''did'' advocate for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insist that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred, but this didn't really help nonwhites who were American.) The bestiality ban is also worthy of note, as it was part of the reason for changes to ''RedHotRidingHood'''s original ending ending, which showed the Wolf forced into marriage by [[DirtyOldWoman the Grandma]], then years later, taking his half-human, half-lupine children to the nightclub to see Red perform (though the original ending, much like the "erection takes", exist on a DirectorsCut that was sent to overseas soldiers).

Furthermore, the ability of the MPAA to enforce the Code over all films shown in the US had essentially been neutered in 1948 with the US Supreme Court's "Paramount Decision" (read more about that in UsefulNotes/FallOfTheStudioSystem). Among many other things, this decision ended the ability of the "Big 5" (MGM, Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers and RKO) studios to practice "vertical integration": the ownership of movie production, distribution, and exhibition. All the majors chose to sell their theater chains, which meant they technically lost all say into what could be shown in those theaters. The new theater owners were no more eager to incur the wrath of the US government than the Big Five had been. However, the Supreme Court itself began to undercut the purpose of the Code (to prevent federal government censorship of the film industry), beginning in 1952 with the "Miracle Decision". The Italian film, ''The Miracle'' by Roberto Rossellini had controversial use of religious imagery, and its American release provoked a severe outcry. The victory in court began to give film in the United States First Amendment protection as an artistic medium. In the 1960s, a wave of European (particularly British and Italian films like ''Film/{{Alfie}}'' and ''Film/BicycleThieves'') films that were not subject to the Code started tackling gritty topics which American studios couldn't touch because of the Code. These films were able to be shown in American theaters without the MPAA's prior approval and when they tried to demand those films be censored, the effort often backfired and the Code ended up looking ridiculous. The Supreme Court essentially ended even the attempt to censor these (and all other) films with the 1965 ''Freedman v Maryland'' decision.
to:
Furthermore, the ability of the MPAA to enforce the Code over all films shown in the US had essentially been neutered in 1948 with the US Supreme Court's "Paramount Decision" (read more about that in UsefulNotes/FallOfTheStudioSystem). Among many other things, this decision ended the ability of the "Big 5" (MGM, Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers Brothers, and RKO) studios to practice "vertical integration": the ownership of movie production, distribution, and exhibition. All the majors chose to sell their theater chains, which meant they technically lost all say into in what could be shown in those theaters. The new theater owners were no more eager to incur the wrath of the US government than the Big Five had been. However, the Supreme Court itself began to undercut the purpose of the Code (to prevent federal government censorship of the film industry), beginning in 1952 with the "Miracle Decision". The Italian film, film ''The Miracle'' by Roberto Rossellini Rossellini, had controversial use of religious imagery, and its American release provoked a severe outcry. The victory in court began to give film in the United States First Amendment protection as an artistic medium. In the 1960s, a wave of European (particularly British and Italian films like ''Film/{{Alfie}}'' and ''Film/BicycleThieves'') films that were not subject to the Code started tackling gritty topics which American studios couldn't touch because of the Code. These films were able to be shown in American theaters without the MPAA's prior approval approval, and when they tried to demand those films be censored, the effort often backfired and the Code ended up looking ridiculous. The Supreme Court essentially ended even the attempt to censor these (and all other) films with the 1965 ''Freedman v Maryland'' decision.

While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved (one of the very few film critics who tends to support the MoralGuardians in many cases) makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 have a difficult case to make[[/note]]
to:
While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved (one of the very few film critics who tends to support the MoralGuardians in many cases) makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code Code, with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 have a difficult case to make[[/note]] make.[[/note]]
19th Oct '15 1:19:19 PM Tightwire
Is there an issue? Send a Message
Added DiffLines:
** It was necessary in all romantic scenes for a woman to have at least one foot on the floor, to prevent love scenes in bed. This led to FootPopping becoming popular.
17th Oct '15 6:24:55 AM Morgenthaler
Is there an issue? Send a Message
In 1966, MGM outright defied the Code and released the film ''{{Blowup}}'' (which failed to gain Hays approval due its relatively explicit erotic content). Because the MPAA and the Code could do ''nothing'' to stop MGM from distributing the critically-hailed film (which became a smash hit), and because it had been so long since the Code had been put in place (resulting in a difference in public opinion), other studios soon followed MGM's lead. Also in 1966, Jack Valenti was elected MPAA president with the specific promise to move from the Code to a ratings system, in theory based on the age-appropriate-ness of the film; the MPAA Film Rating System (which, while altered slightly over the years, is still in use to this day) to keep the public happy. The fall of the Hays Code marked the disappearance of the last relic of UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood, and the beginning of the "New Hollywood" era of the late '60s and [[TheSeventies the '70s]].
to:
In 1966, MGM outright defied the Code and released the film ''{{Blowup}}'' ''Film/{{Blowup}}'' (which failed to gain Hays approval due its relatively explicit erotic content). Because the MPAA and the Code could do ''nothing'' to stop MGM from distributing the critically-hailed film (which became a smash hit), and because it had been so long since the Code had been put in place (resulting in a difference in public opinion), other studios soon followed MGM's lead. Also in 1966, Jack Valenti was elected MPAA president with the specific promise to move from the Code to a ratings system, in theory based on the age-appropriate-ness of the film; the MPAA Film Rating System (which, while altered slightly over the years, is still in use to this day) to keep the public happy. The fall of the Hays Code marked the disappearance of the last relic of UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood, and the beginning of the "New Hollywood" era of the late '60s and [[TheSeventies the '70s]].
14th Sep '15 6:55:24 AM DariusAngel
Is there an issue? Send a Message
These rules could be slightly skirted in film adaptations; for example, they managed to keep the famous line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" in ''GoneWithTheWind'' because the (mild) swearing was in the original novel (David O. Selznick was still fined $5000 for it, though). This was especially true for faithful adaptations of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays, which were probably considered too artistically significant to censor; ''{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, something normally prohibited by the Office.
to:
These rules could be slightly skirted in film adaptations; for example, they managed to keep the famous line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" in ''GoneWithTheWind'' because the (mild) swearing was in the original novel (David O. Selznick was still fined $5000 for it, though).novel. This was especially true for faithful adaptations of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays, which were probably considered too artistically significant to censor; ''{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, something normally prohibited by the Office.
1st Sep '15 3:46:07 PM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message
UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema, before censorship was actively enforced, stretched from around 1928-1933. The contrast between the films made before and after censorship shows the impact censorship had on American cinema. Films like the original ''[[{{Film/Scarface1932}} Scarface]]'' by Howard Hawks were far more brazen and upfront about DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster, lacking the DoNotDoThisCoolThing tacked-on correctives seen in films like ''Angels With Dirty Faces'' (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 with actors and actresses playing all kinds of roles. Much of the content is surprisingly feminist, with working women being regarded with sympathy and affection. A film like William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors like Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. The film ''Morocco'' (1930) famously features the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.
to:
UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema, before censorship was actively enforced, stretched from around 1928-1933. The contrast between the films made before and after censorship shows the impact censorship had on American cinema. Films like the original ''[[{{Film/Scarface1932}} Scarface]]'' by Howard Hawks Creator/HowardHawks' ''{{Film/Scarface 1932}}'' were far more brazen and upfront about DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster, lacking the DoNotDoThisCoolThing tacked-on correctives seen in films like ''Angels With Dirty Faces'' ''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 with actors and actresses playing all kinds of roles. Much of the content is surprisingly feminist, with working women being regarded with sympathy and affection. A film like William A. Wellman's ''Heroes for Sale'' (1933) shows a ShellShockedVeteran returning from World War I falling into morphine addiction. Directors like Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. The film ''Morocco'' (1930) famously features the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.
1st Sep '15 3:44:56 PM MarkLungo
Is there an issue? Send a Message
During the later years of the SilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centering on big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy caused vocal sections of the public to call for ''something'' to be done to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that film 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 DID have 1st Amendment protection. This was conveniently ignored by the Court]][[/note]]. This allowed Congress to begin seriously considering putting into place a national censorship board (which several states already had both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision).
to:
During the later years of the SilentAgeOfHollywood UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood and the UsefulNotes/RiseOfTheTalkies, Hollywood became inundated with public complaints about the perceived lewd content of films. Scandals centering on big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy caused vocal sections of the public to call for ''something'' to be done to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that film 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 DID have 1st Amendment protection. This was conveniently ignored by the Court]][[/note]]. This allowed Congress to begin seriously considering putting into place a national censorship board (which several states already had both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision).

10th Aug '15 8:26:15 PM gallium
Is there an issue? Send a Message
** In ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', Mr. Potter appears to go free after stealing $8,000 and generally living a life of greed and contempt for his fellow man. Rumor has it that the original screenplay contained an ending where Potter dies of a heart attack while Clarence stands idly by. This, apparently, was a little ''too'' cruel, so they were allowed to leave it out, which is why it's implied that Mr. Potter is a KarmaHoudini. The ''SaturdayNightLive'' parody of this ending in season 12 is considered a perfect example of [[WhatCouldHaveBeen what should have been]].

Added DiffLines:
** In ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', Mr. Potter appears to go free after stealing $8,000 While depicting men and generally living women in bed together wasn't strictly forbidden--it was in the "be careful" section rather than the "don't" section--SleepingSingle became a life of greed universal trope and contempt for his fellow man. Rumor has it that remained such until the original screenplay contained an ending where Potter dies of a heart attack while Clarence stands idly by. This, apparently, was a little ''too'' cruel, so they were allowed to leave it out, which is why it's implied that Mr. Potter is a KarmaHoudini. The ''SaturdayNightLive'' parody of this ending in season 12 is considered a perfect example of [[WhatCouldHaveBeen what should have been]].1960s.
3rd Jul '15 6:30:51 AM Niria
Is there an issue? Send a Message
Some context added
While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 have a difficult case to make[[/note]]
to:
While many have criticized the code, critic Michael Medved (one of the very few film critics who tends to support the MoralGuardians in many cases) makes a reasonable point: "While many of the specific rules in the old Production Code look thoroughly ludicrous by today’s standards, it is instructive to recall that Creator/AlfredHitchcock and Creator/HowardHawks, Creator/JohnFord and Creator/BillyWilder, Creator/GeorgeCukor and Creator/FrankCapra and Creator/OrsonWelles all somehow managed to create their masterpieces under its auspices." On the other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code with ExecutiveMeddling responsible for flaws even in the greatest films of this time. Even so, Medved also makes the point that after the demise of the Code, motion picture attendance ''fell'' – from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and that attendance has never reached the levels of the post-TV, pre-ratings age since, in absolute numbers (since 2000, for example, attendance in the US & Canada has fluctuated between 25-28 million tickets sold per week). [[note]]Certainly the explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds has helped to ''keep'' attendance down; however, broadcast television had been responsible for the previous disastrous drop, from ~90 million tickets sold per week to ~45 million between 1948-53, and attendance had leveled off for the previous decade. And neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966-69 have a difficult case to make[[/note]]
This list shows the last 10 events of 82. Show all.