History UsefulNotes / TheHaysCode

30th Mar '16 11:01:12 AM Random888
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Added DiffLines:

** The Hays Office had many issues with ''{{Film/Casablanca}}'', most of them related to sexual content. In the unproduced play which the film was based on, the ending featured Lois ([[AdaptationNameChange renamed Ilsa in the film]]) sleeping with Rick for the [[MacGuffin letters of transit]]. The Hays Code put an end to that. Rick and Ilsa's affair in Paris was only allowed because she believed her husband was dead at the time. Still, the censors tried to quash any hint that they might have slept together while in Paris. The Hays Office also objected to Captain Renault's use of the ScarpiaUltimatum, only allowing it after it was toned down so that it's only implied.
9th Mar '16 12:27:43 AM DavidDelony
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* Topics considered "perverse" could not be discussed or depicted in any way. Such topics included--but were not limited to--homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases.

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* Topics considered "perverse" [[ValuesDissonance "perverse"]] could not be discussed or depicted in any way. Such topics included--but were not limited to--homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases.



*** The Code actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American (especially not [[YellowPeril the Japanese]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.

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*** The Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" peoples"]] and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American (especially not [[YellowPeril the Japanese]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.



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29th Feb '16 3:06:08 PM Josef5678
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*** The Code actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American (especially not [[YellowPeril "Japs"]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.

to:

*** The Code actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American (especially not [[YellowPeril "Japs"]] the Japanese]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.
29th Feb '16 9:15:41 AM Prfnoff
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*** The Code actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American, but still.

to:

*** The Code actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American, American (especially not [[YellowPeril "Japs"]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.
29th Feb '16 9:03:16 AM Prfnoff
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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, 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.

to:

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, 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.
25th Feb '16 7:06:56 AM Niria
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Critic Michael Medved, who is one of the very few film critics who supports MoralGuardians in many cases, makes a reasonable point about the Code: "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." But other critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code, and ExecutiveMeddling is responsible for flaws in even 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]]The explosive growth in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds since 1977 has helped keep attendance down. But 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. Neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966–69 have a difficult case to make.[[/note]]

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Critic Michael Medved, who is one of the very few film critics who supports MoralGuardians in many cases, cases and who is more recently a right-wing Talk Radio host, makes a reasonable point about the argument in at least partial support of the Code: "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." But other critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code, and ExecutiveMeddling is responsible for flaws in even 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]]The explosive growth in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds since 1977 has helped keep attendance down. But 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. Neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966–69 have a difficult case to make.[[/note]]
23rd Feb '16 3:31:32 AM StevieWillShowYou
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'''''The Hays Code''''' (the informal name for The Motion Picture Production Code), adopted in 1930 but not seriously enforced until 1934, was a set of rules governing American filmmaking that shaped – and in many ways stifled – American cinema for over three decades. It also happened to completely overlap UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood.

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.

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 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).

In order to stop the government from censoring or banning their product, Hollywood decided to censor films themselves instead. The Hays Code was a set of production directives, voluntarily adopted by all the major studios, designed to prove to Congress and the public that Hollywood had cleaned up its act. Will H. Hays, a former Postmaster General, did not ''create'' the Code, but was the first head of the office of its enforcement, so his name became more-or-less permanently attached to it. Among film-makers, Joseph Breen was the main man behind censorship, and the Hays Code was also known as the Breen Code. The Code placed a number of restrictions on all films to be produced, distributed or exhibited by the members of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), the organization today known as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). These were:
* Crime and immorality may never be portrayed in a positive light. [[CantGetAwayWithNuthin If someone performs an immoral act, they must be punished on screen]].
** 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.

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'''''The ''The Hays Code''''' Code'' (the informal name for The Motion Picture Production Code), adopted in 1930 but not seriously enforced until 1934, was a set of rules governing American filmmaking that shaped – and shaped--and in many ways stifled – American stifled--American cinema for over three decades. It also happened to completely overlap UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood.

UsefulNotes/ThePreCodeEra of Hollywood cinema, before censorship was actively enforced, cinema stretched from around 1928–1933. The 1928 to 1933, and the contrast between the films made before and after censorship 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.) boards). The landscape was also less politically correct with correct, as actors and actresses playing played all kinds of roles. Much Lots of the content is pre-Code films have a surprisingly feminist, with feminist slant; working women being are even 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 such as Josef von Sternberg worked with Creator/MarleneDietrich to create provocative explorations of sexuality and power. The film 1930's ''Morocco'' (1930) famously features even featured the first lesbian kiss in sound cinema.

cinema.

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 centering on centered around big stars (most infamously Creator/FattyArbuckle) and the ensuing media frenzy caused made vocal sections of the public to call for ''something'' to be done the government to rein in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1915 that film films did '''not''' 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 DID have had 1st Amendment protection. This was protection--a fact conveniently ignored by the Court]][[/note]]. This allowed Court.]][[/note]]. Congress began to begin seriously considering putting into place consider creating a national censorship board (which akin to the ones found in several states already had both before and after the ''Mutual'' Decision).

In order to
Decision.

To
stop the government from censoring or banning their product, films, Hollywood decided to censor films do the deed themselves instead. The with the Hays Code was Code, a set of production directives, directives voluntarily adopted by all the major studios, designed to studios that would ostensibly prove to Congress and (and the public public) that Hollywood had cleaned up its act. Will H. Hays, a former Postmaster General, did not ''create'' create the Code, but he was the first head of the office of its enforcement, so his name became more-or-less permanently attached to it. Among film-makers, Amongst filmmakers, Joseph Breen was the main man behind censorship, and the Hays Code was also known as the Breen Code. The Code placed a number of restrictions on all films to be produced, distributed distributed, or exhibited by the members of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), the organization today known as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). These were:
(MPAA).

The Hays Code restrictions were as follows:
* Crime and immorality may could never be portrayed in a positive light. [[CantGetAwayWithNuthin If someone performs performed an immoral act, they must had to be punished on screen]].
** The This forced a change to the ending of ''Literature/TheBadSeed'' was changed; in ''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 sees has Christine survive her suicide attempt, while Rhoda dies in a contrived and implausible KarmicDeath – she (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.her).



** TheReveal in ''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.]]
** Even having morally derelict characters DrivenToSuicide was often disallowed, which changed the originally planned ending of ''Film/AngelFace'' and the circumstances of Billy's death in ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}''.
** 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.
* "Correct standards of life" (for the times) must be presented, unless the plot called for something else. This had the strange repercussion that some directors avoided taking on films that centered on poverty, since it might conflict with the code.
* The law must be respected and upheld. Occasionally cartoons could get away with breaking the law, such as 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).
* 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.
** The ban on anything that could be construed as sexual was what pretty much killed the ''WesternAnimation/BettyBoop'' cartoons. Conversely, the ban made Creator/MaeWest a star, as it made good use of her innuendo-laden humor.
** ''WesternAnimation/RedHotRidingHood'' pushed the limits of what was allowed for fanservice on the silver screen. A lot of the [[SomethingElseAlsoRises sexually-charged wild takes]] had to be removed from prints for general audiences, but were reinstated in copies made for American soldiers fighting overseas during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

to:

** TheReveal in ''Literature/{{Rebecca}}'' suffered as a result of this. Originally this rule. Originally, [[spoiler:the cruel and faithless Rebecca is murdered by her husband Maxim]], but in Creator/AlfredHitchcock's 1940 film version version, [[spoiler:her death is accidental, but is covered up by accidental and Maxim covers it up because he feels nobody will believe he is innocent of the crime.his innocence.]]
** Even having This rule also disallowed morally derelict characters DrivenToSuicide was often disallowed, being DrivenToSuicide, which changed the originally planned ending of ''Film/AngelFace'' and the circumstances of Billy's death in ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}''.
** 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.
* "Correct Films could only present "correct standards of life" (for the times) must be presented, unless the plot called for something else. This had the else.
** One
strange repercussion that of this rule: some directors avoided taking on films that centered on poverty, since as it might conflict could have conflicted with the code.
Code.
* The law must had to be respected and upheld. Occasionally cartoons upheld.
** Cartoons
could occasionally get away with breaking the law, law; such as 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).
* Portrayals of nudity, Nudity and overt portrayals and references to sexual behavior were banned (even between consenting adults). Even adults) could not be shown.
** Under this rule,
the aftermath of sexual activity – pregnancy activity--pregnancy and the resulting childbirth – wasn't childbirth--weren't allowed. It was the reason why in In ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'', when Melanie Hamilton Wilkes was giving birth, she and Scarlett and Prissy were ''literally'' shown only as shadows on a wall.
wall because of this rule.
** The ban on anything that could be construed as sexual was what pretty much killed the ''WesternAnimation/BettyBoop'' cartoons. Conversely, the ban It also made Creator/MaeWest a star, as it her films made good use of her innuendo-laden humor.
** ''WesternAnimation/RedHotRidingHood'' pushed the limits of what was allowed for fanservice on the silver screen. A lot of the [[SomethingElseAlsoRises sexually-charged wild takes]] had to be were removed from prints for general audiences, but were reinstated in copies made for American soldiers fighting overseas during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.



** The word "virgin" was banned for this reason, and it was {{Bowdlerise}}d out of the film versions of ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}'' and ''The Rose Tattoo''. It was mostly because of this word that ''Theatre/TheMoonIsBlue'' ended up being released without Hays Code approval.
** 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.

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** The word "virgin" was banned for this reason, and it was {{Bowdlerise}}d out of the film versions of ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}'' and ''The Rose Tattoo''. It was mostly because of this the usage of that word that led to ''Theatre/TheMoonIsBlue'' ended up being released without Hays Code approval.
** 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 thanks to this rule, and it remained such until the 1960s. 1960s.



* Religion was never to be depicted in a mocking manner. In some cases, this had the effect of preventing religion being depicted ''at all'', for fear of being deemed mocking after the fact.
** This was what almost got the WesternAnimation/CensoredEleven short "Clean Pastures" banned in the time it was released, because it showed a burlesque of religion with black people shown as angels and going to Heaven (not to mention glorifying gambling and jazz in the same mention as Heaven, both of which were considered taboo back then).
** This led to characters who had been [[SinisterMinister less than exemplary]] [[NunTooHoly members of the clergy]] getting new careers in secular fields: Three notable examples:

to:

* Religion was could never to be depicted in a mocking manner. manner.
**
In some cases, this had the effect of preventing religion being depicted ''at all'', for fear of being deemed mocking after the fact.
** This was what rule almost got the WesternAnimation/CensoredEleven short "Clean Pastures" banned in the time it was released, because as it showed a burlesque of religion with black people shown depicted as angels and going to Heaven (not to mention glorifying gambling and jazz in the same mention as Heaven, both of which were considered taboo back then).
** This rule also led to characters who had previously been depicted as [[SinisterMinister less than exemplary]] [[NunTooHoly members of the clergy]] getting new careers in secular fields: fields. Three notable examples:



* Drug use (including alcohol consumption) was banned unless the plot called for it. Under the first code, drug use was only allowed if the story was a cautionary tale against drug abuse or if the druggie gets what he or she deserved for doing it in the first place (it was the reason why ''Reefer Madness'' got to be shown, even if the message that drugs are bad was artificial and tacked-on). Illegal narcotics were strictly prohibited, no matter what the circumstances.
* All detailed (that is, [[DontTryThisAtHome imitable]]) depiction of crime must be removed, such as lockpicking, safe-cracking, or mixing of chemicals to make explosives.
* {{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 ''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).
* The sanctity of marriage was to be upheld.
** It is widely believed that the Code created the ComedyOfRemarriage genre, since it wouldn't count as infidelity if the leads were (temporarily) divorced. However, that genre [[OlderThanTheyThink already existed pre-Code]].
* Blasphemy, including using the name of God as an expletive or exclamation, was not allowed. Using the word "God" was allowed, but only if used in a reverent tone or meaning.
* Profanity of any kind was prohibited. Combined with the previous rule, this would lead to supposedly tough and gritty protagonists using mixtures of UnusualEuphemism and GoshDangItToHeck. Any word stronger than "damn" was completely disallowed, and any usage of profanity was likely to result in a hefty fine. (This is why Rhett's famous line in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' was considered a big deal back then).

to:

* Drug use (including use, including alcohol consumption) was banned consumption, could not be shown unless the plot called for it. it.
**
Under the first code, version of the Code, drug use was only allowed only if the story was a cautionary tale against drug abuse abuse...or if the druggie gets got what he or she they deserved for doing it in the first place (it (this was the reason why ''Reefer Madness'' got managed to be shown, released, even if the message that drugs are bad was artificial and tacked-on). Illegal narcotics were strictly prohibited, no matter what the circumstances.
* All detailed (that is, [[DontTryThisAtHome imitable]]) depiction of crime must had to be removed, such as removed. This included lockpicking, safe-cracking, or the mixing of chemicals to make explosives.
* {{Revenge}} Films could not use {{revenge}} as a theme or premise in stories set during modern times was not permitted, times, since it could be seen as it might glorify glorifying violence (specifically murder). Historical settings might allow it – particularly murder).
** The Code made exceptions for historical settings--particularly
where there was no law to punish the offender. This means that offender--so Westerns were became the only movies allowed to have revenge as a theme or premise.
* Topics considered "perverse" could not be discussed or depicted in any way. Such topics included--but were not to be discussed, including homosexuality, limited to--homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases. The diseases.
** Studios used the
explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation was used to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment, on the principle employment: they reasoned that the code was Code would be 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 the female lead in ''Literature/TheGoodEarth'' because the male lead was white actor Paul Muni. (In balance, it should also be noted that the Muni.
*** The
Code ''did'' advocate actually advocated for the inherent dignity of "foreign peoples" and insist insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred, but this slurred. This didn't really help nonwhites who were American.) American, but still.
**
The bestiality ban is also worthy of note, as it was part of the reason for changes to ''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 perform. (The original ending, much like the "erection takes", exist on a DirectorsCut that was sent to overseas soldiers).
soldiers.)
* The sanctity of marriage was had to be upheld.
** It is widely believed that the The Code created is often credited as creating the ComedyOfRemarriage genre, since it as an act of infidelity wouldn't actually count as infidelity if the leads were (temporarily) divorced. However, But that genre [[OlderThanTheyThink already existed pre-Code]].
pre-Code]], so the credit is unwarranted.
* Blasphemy, including Blasphemy--including using the name of God as an expletive or exclamation, was exclamation--was not allowed. Using the word "God" was allowed, but only if used in a reverent tone or meaning.
* Profanity of any kind was prohibited. Combined with prohibited.
** This rule and
the previous rule, this would lead blasphemy rule led to supposedly tough and gritty tough-and-gritty protagonists using mixtures of UnusualEuphemism and GoshDangItToHeck. Any word stronger than "damn" was completely disallowed, and any usage of profanity was likely to result in a hefty fine. (This is why Rhett's (Rhett's famous line in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' was considered a big deal back then).then because of this rule.)



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 ''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; ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, something normally prohibited by the Office.

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, and comedies quite freely made fun of the movie censors. See also [[http://kirk.is/2009/09/06/ this pin-up image]] created specifically to see if it would be possible to break every single Code provision in a single still.

Even in the period of the worst censorship, however, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert censorship]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point. A film starring Betty Hutton, 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 film-makers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). Naturally, this involved all kinds of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made them very unconvincing to audiences, who sensed [[DownerEnding the real subtext]] underneath. He cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and cites directors like Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk who kept pushing the boundaries in terms of content. Fuller's ''The Steel Helmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he made anti-racist films through the decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself, though 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. Elia Kazan, meanwhile, kept pushing the boundaries in dealing with sexuality, with films like ''Baby Doll, A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.

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 ''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.

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 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 ''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.

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.

In 1966, MGM outright defied the Code and released the film ''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]].

It's important to note that the MPAA rating system has itself been criticized by many people – including film critic Creator/RogerEbert, as well as the filmmakers of ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated'' – for giving films higher ratings for sex, homosexuality, or other controversial topics (and to a certain extent obscenity) than violence. There have also been complaints about the lack of transparency concerning exactly ''why'' certain films get the ratings they do; several films have been rated PG with "nothing offensive" as the whole MPAA description, for example.

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 ''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 likely considered too artistically significant to censor; ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', censor (''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', for instance, was filmed over a dozen times despite its main theme of revenge, revenge being something normally prohibited by the Office.

Office).

Since the Code did not apply to the stage, aspiring screenwriters could and did (and did) write plays about subjects too sexy or politically controversial for Hollywood. In New York (at least), stage censorship – though censorship--though not unheard of – was of--was far less of a threat than it had been in the 1920s, and comedies quite freely made fun of the movie censors. See also [[http://kirk.is/2009/09/06/ this One particular pin-up image]] was created specifically to see if it would be possible to someone could break every single Code provision in a single still.

Even But even in the period of the worst censorship, however, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert censorship]]. it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point. A point; the film starring stars Betty Hutton, 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 film-makers filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). Naturally, this This always involved all kinds the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made them such endings very unconvincing to audiences, who sensed audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the real subtext]] lying just underneath. He Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and cites directors like Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk Sirk, who kept pushing the boundaries in terms of content. Fuller's ''The Steel Helmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he made continued to make anti-racist films through the throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself, though 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. Elia Kazan, meanwhile, kept pushing on the other hand, pushed the boundaries in dealing with sexuality, of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll, A Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.

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

Furthermore, In 1948, the Supreme Court neutered the MPAA's 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 US. The "Paramount Decision" (read more about that in UsefulNotes/FallOfTheStudioSystem). Among 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": own the ownership entirety of movie production, distribution, and exhibition. All the majors chose to sell The major studios sold their theater chains, which meant they technically lost all say 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,
been, though.

But
the Supreme Court itself began to undercut the purpose of the Code (to prevent federal government censorship of the film industry), beginning industry) starting in 1952 with the "Miracle Decision". 1952. The Italian film ''The Miracle'' by Roberto Rossellini, had featured controversial use of religious imagery, and imagery; its American release provoked a severe outcry. The victory Film distributor Joseph Burstyn sued to have the short film's license reinstated in court began to New York, and the Supreme Court did just that in what is now known as the "Miracle Decision", which helped give film in the United States First Amendment protection protections as an artistic medium. In the 1960s, a wave of European films (particularly British and Italian films like ''Film/{{Alfie}}'' and ''Film/BicycleThieves'') films that ''Film/BicycleThieves''), none of which were not subject to the Code started tackling Code, tackled gritty topics which that American studios couldn't touch because of the Code. These films were able to be shown in American theaters could show these films without the MPAA's prior approval, and approval thanks to the Paramount Decision; when they the MPAA tried to demand the censorship of those films be censored, the effort often films, its efforts backfired and the Code ended up looking even more ridiculous. The Supreme Court essentially ended the MPAA's ability to even the attempt to censor these (and all other) films censorship over any film with the 1965 ''Freedman v Maryland'' decision.

As Prior to the Court loosened loosening 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 bend--those films being made were considered "special exceptions" – but exceptions"--but this "bending" opened the door for every daring filmmaker of the day to petition their own films ask for similar consideration. Furthermore, this This change of criteria also encouraged the film company executives to gradually lose their enthusiasm to cooperate stop cooperating with the Code themselves: Code: it was one thing for the Code Code's censors to object to have objections about specific content with that fell into an agreed-upon criteria, but it was quite another for those censors to be de facto act as ''de facto'' film critics to who could arbitrarily determine whether their which films were of good enough quality to allow make them to be exceptions.

"exceptions".

In 1966, MGM outright defied the Code and released the film ''Film/{{Blowup}}'' (which ''Film/{{Blowup}}''--which failed to gain Hays approval due its relatively explicit erotic content). Because content--in direct defiance of the Code. The MPAA and the Code could do ''nothing'' nothing to stop MGM from distributing the critically-hailed film (which 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 hit. Other studios soon followed MGM's lead. lead when it became clear that the public's opinion of the Code had changed. 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 film. The MPAA Film Rating System (which, while eventually replaced the Code, and though it has altered slightly over the years, it is still in use to this day) to keep the public happy. day. The fall of the Hays Code marked the disappearance rid Hollywood of the last [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood Golden Age]] relic of UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood, and marked the beginning of the "New Hollywood" era of the late '60s and [[TheSeventies the '70s]].

It's important to note that In the years since its creation, the MPAA rating system has itself been criticized by many people – including people--notably film critic Creator/RogerEbert, as well as Creator/RogerEbert and the filmmakers of ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated'' – for giving films ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated''--for doling higher ratings for based on depictions of sex, homosexuality, or other controversial topics (and obscenity, to a certain extent obscenity) extent) than depictions of violence. There have also been Other complaints about note the lack of transparency concerning about exactly ''why'' certain films get the ratings they do; do (for example, several films have been rated PG listed with "nothing offensive" as the whole MPAA description, for example.
content description have received PG ratings).



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 1942. In "A Tale of Two Kitties", 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 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 Code--excessive violence ([[BloodlessCarnage though completely bloodless, of course]]), course]]) and (what was then) harsh language – simply language--simply because they were animated in ways that took everything to a level of pure parody; rules 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]]

Compare UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode, which enforced similar restrictions on the ComicBook medium.
----

to:

While many have criticized the code, critic Critic Michael Medved (one Medved, who is one of the very few film critics who tends to support the supports MoralGuardians in many cases) cases, makes a reasonable point: point about the Code: "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 But other hand, some critics contend that films by these directors were made in spite of the Code, with and ExecutiveMeddling is responsible for flaws in 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 ''fell''--from ~44 million per week in 1965 to ~19 million per week in 1969 – and 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 [[note]]The explosive growth since 1977 in broadcast television, cable, and home video of all kinds since 1977 has helped to ''keep'' keep attendance down; however, down. But 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 Neither cable nor home video would enter American homes until the late 70s. Thus, historians Historians who try to blame video for ''causing'' the drop off between 1966–69 have a difficult case to make.[[/note]]

Compare this with UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode, which enforced similar restrictions on the ComicBook medium.
medium.

----
8th Jan '16 6:12:48 PM MCanter89
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[[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
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** 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
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** 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]]
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