Hollywood films pre-1930s censorship

This video is shows part of the film Red-Headed Woman from 1932 with Jean Harlow; see also here.

By Charles Bogle:

Forbidden Hollywood: three films from Hollywood’s pre-Production Code era

14 June 2007

Forbidden Hollywood, vol. 1, Turner Classic Movies Archives, 2006

Turner Classic Movies Archives has released a boxed set of three movies generally credited with hastening enforcement of the Hollywood Production Code.

Waterloo Bridge (1931), Red-Headed Woman (1932) and Baby Face (1933) feature three working class women who use men to better themselves economically and/or socially.

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]

Revisiting Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen & The Production Code Administration (2007). How the American establishment censored Hollywood during its “Golden Age”: here.

The BBC sound archive: here.

1 thought on “Hollywood films pre-1930s censorship

  1. Pingback: Hollywood collaboration with Hitler | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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