By Charles Bogle:
14 June 2007
Turner Classic Movies Archives has released a boxed set of three movies generally credited with hastening enforcement of the Hollywood Production Code.
The cover on the set promises the “nudity, adultery, and prostitution” that made Hollywood enforce its production code, but this viewer is more inclined to believe that the three movies’ greatest threat to the Code’s commandments was their portrayal of a society riven by economic and social inequality and the narrow range of options for advancement available to a working class woman.
One of the films adds to that threat by leaving its leading character unpunished, indeed, at the top of the social ladder, by the movie’s end. …
The conjuncture of sound and the Depression brought a profound change to Hollywood and censorship.
The combination of economic slump and ‘talking pictures’ seemed particularly dangerous.
Hearing spoken words seemed more morally threatening, at least to certain religious leaders (especially Catholic ones), than reading titles or lips in silent movies.
THE HOLLYWOOD CLASSIC SECRET: ABORTIONS A look at the morality clauses that dictated “secret procedures” for the brightest stars of the 20s through 50s. [Vanity Fair]
The BBC sound archive: here.
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