Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 26, 1996 - Performing Arts - 336 pages
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Hollywood Censored examines how hundreds of films - Mae West comedies, serious dramas, and films with a social message - were censored and often edited to promote a conservative political agenda during the golden era of studio production in the 1930s. After a series of sex scandals rocked the movie industry in 1922, the Hollywood moguls hired Will Hays to clean the image of movies. As movie "czar, " Hays tried a variety of ways to regulate films before adopting a formal code. Written in 1930 by a St. Louis priest and a Catholic layman, the Production Code stipulated that movies stress proper behavior, respect for government, and "Christian values" - thereby challenging the moguls' staunch belief that movies entertain, not preach morality. The Catholic Church further reinforced these efforts by launching its Legion of Decency in 1934. Intended to force Hays and Hollywood to censor movies more rigorously, the Legion engineered the appointment of Joseph Breen as head of the Production Code Administration. For the next three decades, Breen, Hays, and the Catholic Legion of Decency virtually controlled the content of all Hollywood films. Becounting one of the most fascinating eras of Hollywood, Hollywood Censored is based on an extensive survey of original studio records, censorship files, and Legion archives.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Restricting Entertainment The Movies Censored
3
The Hays Office and a Moral Code for the Movies
21
Sex Sex and More Sex
50
Movies and Modern Literature
84
Beer Blood and Politics
107
Legions March on Hollywood
149
Sex with a Dash of Moral Compensation
198
Film Politics and Industry Policy
244
Conclusion
292
Working Draft of the Lord Quigley Code Proposal
302
Films Condemned by the Legion of Decency
309
Selected Bibliography
311
Filmography
321
Index
327
Copyright

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