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This paper explores the depiction of seduction, passion and female costuming in the Hollywood Production Code of the 1930 era. It suggests that although the code prohibited most sexy behavior from women, the studios continued to flaunt sex in their pictures. It also pinpoints many of the causes of the Production Code of 1934 administration, and discusses the history of the code from it's beginnings in the 1920s to its end in the 1960s.
From the Paper:""The complete spectrum of vice, not sex alone, infested the films " an epicurean spirit of enthusiastic indulgence in activities illegal, forbidden, and stimulating," meant that by 1930 Hollywood was in desperate need of regulation (Doherty 103). State and City censors passed legislation against certain films, beginning with Chicago in 1907, in response to public protests (Bernstein 1). Censorship boards were established to review and license moral and decent films; by 1922 six states had organized censorship boards (Jowett 25). Hollywood's self-regulation policies functioned as a middle ground between the industry and their enemies, reform groups and state regulatory agencies (Jacobs 87). The result of self-regulation was the Production Code of 1930; a document loosely outlining the principles filmmakers should follow in order to produce moral films. Sklar writes, that the Code was written with "the precise aim of uniting religious morality with box-office necessity" (173). This document was based on the "Don'ts and Be Carefuls" of 1927, an earlier attempt at influencing Hollywood to include less sex and violence in their features (Vasey 104). The Code was divided into two parts; one outlining the moral vision films should contain, and the other a precise listing of forbidden material (Doherty 7). The Production Code could not have arrived at a worse possible time for Hollywood. In 1930 the studios were still making money, despite the depression, but by 1932 theater attendance had dropped, dragging down the industry's profits (Black 73). Their initial efforts were mainly motivated by a fear of a boycott during the worst years of the Depression, but once they realized what the audience wanted to see, they could no longer afford to censor potential box-office stars like Mae West (Cook 283)."
Cite this Essay:
Pre-Code Hollywood (2003, January 26) Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/essay/pre-code-hollywood-16337/
"Pre-Code Hollywood" 26 January 2003. Web. 30 January. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/essay/pre-code-hollywood-16337/>