Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Remembering the Hays Code — Movie Censorship from 1930-1968

posted by Nell Minow

NPR’s Bob Mondello has an excellent essay on the Hays Code, which governed Hollywood films from 1930-1968, when it was replaced by the MPAA rating system.
A reaction to some provocative films in the days of the early talkies, the code was named for the former Postmaster Will Hays, who created it at the request of the movie studios.

Among those considerations: that no picture should ever “lower the moral standards of those who see it” and that “the sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.” There was an updated, much-expanded list of “don’ts” and “be carefuls,” with bans on nudity, suggestive dancing and lustful kissing. The mocking of religion and the depiction of illegal drug use were prohibited, as were interracial romance, revenge plots and the showing of a crime method clearly enough that it might be imitated.

There was very little about violence in the Code but there were restrictions that seem quaint today in other areas — for example, it prohibited portrayals of clergy that made them appear corrupt or foolish. There are legendary stories of battles over whether Rhett Butler would be allowed to say “I don’t give a damn” in “Gone With the Wind” (he was) or whether Bette Davis could get away with murder in “The Letter” (she wasn’t). And writer-directors like Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges prided themselves on getting past the censors with subtle double entendres.
The Code was abandoned 40 years ago in favor of the ratings system. While it is very far from perfect, it does have the advantage of making it possible for movies to cover a wider range of subjects and characters.



Previous Posts

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wrong About Critics, Wrong About Movies, Wrong About Faith
I am not going to give the people behind the idiotic and offensive press release I recently received the recognition of identifying them by name, but the claim that they make is one I have heard often enough I need to respond. The headline: Film Critics Don't Get Faith Films. This shows no understan

posted 2:36:30pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Disney Announced a New Animated Film for 2016: Moana
Entertainment Weekly reports that Disney has announced a new animated feature to be released in 2016: "Moana," with a Polynesian heroine in search of a fabled island. With Disney greats Ron Clements

posted 1:59:28pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Manners at the Movie Theater
Here's a cute reminder on movie theater manners. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Dz5Qwd93VpE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:38am Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Ted Melfi of "St. Vincent"
Writer/director Ted Melfi got Bill Murray to appear in his first film by calling him. Murray does not have an agent or a manager. He has an 800 number. And Melfi left message after message until Murray finally called back and asked Melfi to pick him up at the airport. Apparently his pitch skills (an

posted 12:55:48pm Oct. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.