History UsefulNotes / TheHaysCode

29th Jul '17 8:33:30 PM Ramidel
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Added DiffLines:

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

to:

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

to:

But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', ''Film/JohnnyGuitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Creator/SamuelFuller and Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.
10th Jul '17 1:55:48 AM bjex
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** In some cases, this had the effect of preventing religion being depicted ''at all'', for fear of being deemed mocking after the fact.

to:

** In some cases, practice, this had the effect of preventing restricting religion from being depicted ''at all'', for fear of being deemed mocking after the fact.



** Under the first version of the Code, drug use was allowed only if the story was a cautionary tale against drug abuse...or if the druggie got what they deserved for doing it in the first place (this was why ''Reefer Madness'' managed to be released, even if the message that drugs are bad was artificial and tacked-on). Illegal narcotics were strictly prohibited, no matter what the circumstances.

to:

** Under the first version of the Code, drug use was allowed only if the story was a cautionary tale against drug abuse...abuse, or if the druggie got what they deserved for doing it in the first place (this was why ''Reefer Madness'' managed to be released, even if the message that drugs are bad was artificial and tacked-on). Illegal narcotics were strictly prohibited, no matter what the circumstances.



* Topics considered [[ValuesDissonance "perverse"]] could not be discussed or depicted in any way. Such topics included--but were not limited to--gayness, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases.
** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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. And this was done despite the fact that the Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay "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.

to:

* Topics considered [[ValuesDissonance "perverse"]] could not be discussed or depicted in any way. Such topics included--but were not limited to--gayness, to-- homosexuality, miscegenation (interracial relationships), bestiality, and venereal diseases.
** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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. And Ironically, this was done despite the fact that the Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay "inherent dignity of "foreign foreign peoples"]] and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred of course, this didn't really help nonwhites who were American non-whites (especially not [[YellowPeril the Japanese]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.UsefulNotes/WorldWarII).



* 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.
** This rule and the blasphemy rule led 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. (Rhett's famous line in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' was considered a big deal back then because of this rule.)

to:

* 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. \n* Profanity In addition, profanity of any kind was prohibited.
** This rule and the blasphemy rule These rules led 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. (Rhett's famous line in ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' was considered a big ''big'' deal back then then, because of this rule.)
6th Jun '17 8:45:35 AM jamespolk
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But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk, who kept pushing the boundaries 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 continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Elia Kazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.

to:

But even in the period of the worst censorship, several films and directors managed to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar subvert it]]. The Creator/PrestonSturges comedy ''The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'' is a case in point; the film stars Betty Hutton as a good-time girl who gets impregnated by a GI Soldier [[RefugeInAudacity and gives birth to seven children]]. Creator/MartinScorsese, in his documentary on American movies of the same period, noted that some filmmakers used cinematic means and subtlety to suggest complex themes (and even subvert censorship mandates). This always involved the usage of subtext, MeaningfulBackgroundEvent, and StylisticSuck in the HappyEnding, which often made such endings very unconvincing to audiences and helped them sense [[DownerEnding the subtext]] lying just underneath. Scorsese cites films like ''Johnny Guitar'', which was a major TakeThat to the WitchHunt and the RedScare, and directors like Samuel Fuller Creator/SamuelFuller and Douglas Sirk, Creator/DouglasSirk, who kept pushing the boundaries of content. Fuller's ''The Steel Helmet'', ''Film/TheSteelHelmet'', made in 1950, was the first film that addressed the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War, and he continued to make anti-racist films throughout that decade. His FilmNoir, ''Film/PickupOnSouthStreet'', provoked the ire of J. Edgar Hoover himself--but Fuller had the friendship of 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck, who backed him through all this. Douglas Sirk's ''Imitation of Life'', made in 1959, was the most successful Universal film until ''Airport'', and it portrayed the reality of race relations in pre-Civil Rights era with a stark eye. Elia Kazan, Creator/EliaKazan, on the other hand, pushed the boundaries of sexuality with films like ''Baby Doll'', ''A Face in the Crowd'', and ''Film/SplendorInTheGrass''.
11th May '17 10:10:07 PM Madrugada
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** This rule almost got the WesternAnimation/CensoredEleven short "Clean Pastures" banned in the time it was released, as it showed a burlesque of religion with black people depicted as angels going to Heaven (not to mention glorifying gambling and jazz in the same mention as Heaven, both of which were considered taboo back then).

to:

** This rule almost got the WesternAnimation/CensoredEleven short "Clean "Green Pastures" banned in the time it was released, as it showed a burlesque of religion with black people depicted as angels going to Heaven (not to mention glorifying gambling and jazz in the same mention as Heaven, both of which were considered taboo back then).
7th May '17 6:20:40 PM Golondrina
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* Topics considered [[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.

to:

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



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

to:

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



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

to:

In the years since its creation, the MPAA rating system has itself been criticized by many people--notably film critic Creator/RogerEbert and the filmmakers of ''Film/ThisFilmIsNotYetRated''--for doling higher ratings based on depictions of sex, homosexuality, gay people, or other controversial topics (and obscenity, to a certain extent) than depictions of violence. Other complaints note the lack of transparency about exactly ''why'' certain films get the ratings they do (for example, several films listed with "nothing offensive" as the whole MPAA content description have received PG ratings).
5th Apr '17 9:01:17 PM Mdumas43073
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[[quoteright:256:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/code_8475.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:256: Assuming ViewersAreMorons, 19341968]]

''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.

to:

[[quoteright:256:http://static.[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/code_8475.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:256:
org/pmwiki/pub/images/hays_code_notice.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:
Assuming ViewersAreMorons, 19341968]]

''The Hays Code'' (the was the informal name for The Motion Picture Production Code), Code, adopted in 1930 but not seriously enforced until 1934, 1934. The Code 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 with UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfHollywood.
18th Feb '17 4:07:48 PM DavidDelony
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** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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. And this was done despite the fact that the Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay 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.

to:

** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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. And this was done despite the fact that the Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay inherent "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.
18th Feb '17 12:18:17 PM Pamina
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** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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.
*** The Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay 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.

to:

** Studios used the explicitly racist ban on depicting miscegenation to justify the exclusion of non-white actors from employment: they reasoned that the 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.
*** The
Muni. And this was done despite the fact that the Code actually advocated for the [[FairForItsDay inherent dignity of "foreign peoples"]] and insisted that their cultures not be undeservedly slurred. This slurred this didn't really help nonwhites who were American (especially not [[YellowPeril the Japanese]] during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII), but still.
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