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Pre-Code Hollywood - Wikipedia Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture ...
Pre-Code Hollywood - Wikipedia PreCode redirects here Hollywood S Leading Men The Ultimate Collection For other uses see Precode disambiguation Films made in the preCode era frequently presented people in sexually suggestive or provocative situations and did not hesitate to display women in scanty attire In this publicity photo Dorothy Mackaill plays a secretaryturnedprostitute in Safe in Hell a 1931 Warner Bros film directed by William Wellman Gangster films such as The Public Enemy starring James Cagney pictured here and Little Caesar starring Edward G Robinson were a mainstay of the preCode releases of the Hollywood studios The antihero characters could transgress societys rules in a way that the audience could not but always paid for their crimes at the end of the film PreCode musicals took advantage of their backstage stories to show women in states of dress – in skimpy rehearsal clothes changing in dressing rooms or onstage in tight or revealing costumes – which were beyond those considered decent for women in ordinary life This shot is from the trailer for Warner Bros 42nd Street in which auditioning women show their legs for the director PreCode Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound pictures in 19291 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines popularly known as the Hays Code in mid1934 Although the Code was adopted in 1930 oversight was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1 1934 with the establishment of the Production Code Administration PCA Before that date movie content was restricted more by local laws negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee SRC and the major studios and popular opinion than strict adherence to the Hays Code which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers As a result films in the late 1920s and early 1930s included depictions of sexual innuendo miscegenation profanity illegal drug use promiscuity prostitution infidelity abortion intense violence and homosexuality Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such preCode films as Female Baby Face and RedHeaded Woman Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy Little Caesar and Scarface were seen by many as heroic rather than evil Along with featuring stronger female characters films examined female subject matters that would not be revisited until decades later in US films Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds in some cases without significant repercussions and drug use was a topic of several films Many of Hollywoods biggest stars such as Clark Gable Barbara Stanwyck Joan Blondell and Edward G Robinson got their start in the era Other stars who excelled during this period however like Ruth Chatterton who decamped to England and Warren William the socalled king of PreCode who died in 1948 would wind up essentially forgotten by the general public within a generation 2 Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934 American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema This plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater oversight Contents 1 Origins of the Code 19151930 1 1 Earliest attempts for the Code 1 2 Creation of the Code and its contents 1 3 Enforcement 2 Early sound film era 3 Hollywood during the Great Depression 4 Social problem films 4 1 Political releases 5 Crime films 5 1 Birth of the Hollywood gangster 5 2 Prison films 5 2 1 Chain gang films 6 Sex films 6 1 Promotion 6 2 Content 7 Comedy 7 1 Cartoons 8 Musicals 9 Horror and science fiction 10 Exotic adventure films 11 Newsreels and documentaries 12 Beginning of Code era July 1 1934 12 1 Precode Donts and Be Carefuls as proposed in 1927 13 After the Code era – Motion Picture Association of America film rating system MPAA 14 Contemporary screenings 15 Home video 16 See also 17 References 18 External links Origins of the Code 19151930edit Will Hays was recruited by the studios in 1922 to help clean up their Sin City image after a series of scandals especially the Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle manslaughter trial 3 Earliest attempts for the Codeedit In 1922 after some risqué films and a series of offscreen scandals involving Hollywood stars the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder William H Will Hays a figure of unblemished rectitude to rehabilitate Hollywoods image Hays later nicknamed the motion picture Czar was paid the thenlavish sum of 100000 a year equivalent to more than 1 4 million in 2014 dollars 456 Hays Postmaster General under Warren G Harding and former head of the Republican National Committee3 served for 25 years as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America MPPDA where he defended the industry from attacks recited soothing nostrums and negotiated treaties to cease hostilities 7 Hollywood mimicked the decision Major League Baseball had made in hiring judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as League Commissioner the previous year to quell questions about the integrity of baseball in wake of the 1919 World Series gambling scandal The New York Times called Hays the screen Landis 4 Hays introduced a set of recommendations dubbed The Formula in 1924 which the studios were advised to heed and asked filmmakers to describe to his office the plots of pictures they were planning 8 The Supreme Court had already decided unanimously in 1915 in Mutual Film Corporation v Industrial Commission of Ohio that free speech did not extend to motion pictures9 and while there had been token attempts to clean up the movies before such as when the studios formed the National Association of the Motion Picture Industry NAMPI in 1916 little had come of the efforts 10 Creation of the Code and its contentsedit In 1929 an American Roman Catholic layman Martin Quigley editor of the prominent trade paper Motion Picture Herald and Father Daniel A Lord a Jesuit priest created a code of standards which Hays liked immensely11 and submitted it to the studios 712 Lords concerns centered on the effects sound film had on children whom he considered especially susceptible to their allure 11 Several studio heads including Irving Thalberg of MetroGoldwynMayer MGM met with Lord and Quigley in February 1930 After some revisions they agreed to the stipulations of the Code One of the main motivating factors in adopting the Code was to avoid direct government intervention 13 It was the responsibility of the Studio Relations Committee headed by Colonel Jason S Joy to supervise film production and advise the studios when changes or cuts were required 1415 The Code was divided into two parts The first was a set of general principles which mostly concerned morality The second was a set of particular applications which was an exacting list of items that could not be depicted Some restrictions such as the ban on homosexuality or the use of specific curse words were never directly mentioned but were assumed to be understood without clear demarcation Miscegenation the mixing of the races was forbidden It stated that the notion of an adultsonly policy would be a dubious ineffective strategy that would be difficult to enforce 16 However it did allow that maturer minds may easily understand and accept without harm subject matter in plots which does younger people positive harm If children were supervised and the events implied elliptically the code allowed what Brandeis University cultural historian Thomas Doherty called the possibility of a cinematically inspired thought crime 17 This 1932 promotional photo of Joan Blondell was later banned under the thenunenforceable Motion Picture Production Code The Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen but also to promote traditional values 18 Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as attractive and beautiful presented in a way that might arouse passion nor be made to seem right and permissible 14 All criminal action had to be punished and neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit sympathy from the audience 4 Authority figures had to be treated respectfully and the clergy could not be portrayed as comic characters or villains Under some circumstances politicians police officers and judges could be villains as long as it was clear that they were the exception to the rule 14 The entire document contained Catholic undertones and stated that art must be handled carefully because it could be morally evil in its effects and because its deep moral significance was unquestionable 16 The Catholic influence on the Code was initially kept secret why19 A recurring theme was throughout the audience feels sure that evil is wrong and good is right 4 The Code contained an addendum commonly referred to as the Advertising Code which regulated film advertising copy and imagery 20 Enforcementedit On February 19 1930 Variety published the entire contents of the Code and predicted that state film censorship boards would soon become obsolete 21 However the men obligated to enforce the code Jason Joy who was the head of the Committee until 1932 and his successor Dr James Wingate were seen as generally ineffective 1522 The very first film the office reviewed The Blue Angel which was passed by Joy without revision was considered indecent by a California censor 23 Although there were several instances where Joy negotiated cuts from films and there were indeed definitealbeit looseconstraints a significant amount of lurid material made it to the screen 24 Joy had to review 500 films a year using a small staff and little power 22 The Hays office did not have the authority to order studios to remove material from a film in 1930 but instead worked by reasoning and sometimes pleading with them 25 Complicating matters the appeals process ultimately put the responsibility for making the final decision in the hands of the studios themselves 15 One factor in ignoring the Code was the fact that some found such censorship prudish This was a period in which the Victorian era was sometimes ridiculed as being naïve and backward 14 When the Code was announced The Nation a liberal periodical attacked it 26 The publication stated that if crime were never presented in a sympathetic light then taken literally law and justice would become the same Therefore events such as the Boston Tea Party could not be portrayed And if clergy were always to be presented positively then hypocrisy could not be examined either 27 The Outlook agreed and unlike Variety predicted from the beginning the Code would be difficult to enforce 27 Clara Bow a popular silentfilm star who made the transition to sound lifts her skirt on the poster for the 1929 film The Saturday Night Kid Skirtlifting was one of many suggestive activities detested by Hays 28 Additionally the Great Depression of the 1930s motivated studios to produce films with racy and violent content which boosted ticket sales 14 Soon the flouting of the code became an open secret In 1931 The Hollywood Reporter mocked the code and Variety followed suit in 1933 In the same year as the Variety article a noted screenwriter stated that the Hays moral code is not even a joke any more its just a memory 15 Early sound film eraedit Although the liberalization of sexuality in American film had increased during the 1920s29 the preCode era is either dated to the start of the sound film era or more generally to March 1930 when the Hays Code was first written 130 Over the protests of NAMPI31 New York became the first state to take advantage of the Supreme Courts decision in Mutual Film vs Ohio by instituting a censorship board in 1921 Virginia followed suit the following year32 and eight individual states had a board by the advent of sound film 3334 Many of these boards were ineffectual By the 1920s the New York stage a frequent source of subsequent screen material had topless shows performances were filled with curse words mature subject matter and sexually suggestive dialogue 35 Early during the sound system conversion process it became apparent that what might be acceptable in New York would not be so in Kansas 35 In 1927 Hays suggested studio executives form a committee to discuss film censorship Irving G Thalberg of Metro Goldwyn Mayer MGM Sol Wurtzel of Fox and E H Allen of Paramount responded by collaborating on a list they called the Donts and Be Carefuls based on items that were challenged by local censor boards and which consisted of eleven subjects best avoided and twentysix to be handled very carefully The Federal Trade Commission FTC approved the list and Hays created the SRC to oversee its implementation 3637 However there was still no way to enforce these tenets 4 The controversy surrounding film standards came to a head in 1929 138 Director Cecil B DeMille was responsible for the increasing discussion of sex in cinema in the 1920s 3940 Starting with Male and Female 1919 he made a series of films that examined sex and were highly successful 39 Films featuring Hollywoods original It girl Clara Bow such as The Saturday Night Kid released four days before the October 29 1929 market crash highlighted Bows sexual attractiveness 41 1920s stars such as Bow Gloria Swanson and Norma Talmadge freely displayed their sexuality in a straightforward fashion 42 Hollywood during the Great Depressionedit The Great Depression presented a unique time for filmmaking in the United States The economic disaster brought on by the stock market crash of 1929 changed American values and beliefs in various ways Themes of American exceptionalism and traditional concepts of personal achievement selfreliance and the overcoming of odds lost great currency 43 Due to the constant empty economic reassurances from politicians in the early years of the Depression the American public developed an increasingly jaded attitude 44 Unemployed men in 1931 The Depression profoundly influenced preCode Hollywood both financially and artistically The cynicism challenging of traditional beliefs and political controversy of Hollywood films during this period mirrored the attitudes of many of their patrons 45 Also gone was the carefree and adventurous lifestyle of the 1920s 46 After two years the Jazz Age seems as far away as the days before the war F Scott Fitzgerald commented in 1931 47 In the sense noted by Fitzgerald understanding the moral climate of the early 1930s is complex Although films experienced an unprecedented level of freedom and dared to portray things that would be kept hidden for several decades many in America looked upon the stock market crash as a product of the excesses of the previous decade 48 In looking back upon the 1920s events were increasingly seen as occurring in prelude to the market crash 49 In Dance Fools Dance 1931 lurid party scenes featuring 1920s flappers are played to excess Joan Crawford ultimately reforms her ways and is saved less fortunate is William Bakewell who continues on the careless path that leads to his ultimate selfdestruction 49 For Rain or Shine 1930 Milton Ager and Jack Yellin composed Happy Days Are Here Again The song was repeated sarcastically by characters in several films such as Under Eighteen 1931 and 20000 Years in Sing Sing 1933 Less comical was the picture of the United States future presented in Heroes for Sale that same year 1933 in which a hobo looks into a depressing night and proclaims Its the end of America 50 Heroes for Sale was directed by prolific preCode director William Wellman and featured silent film star Richard Barthelmess as a World War I veteran cast onto the streets with a morphine addiction from his hospital stay In Wild Boys of the Road 1933 the young man played by Frankie Darrow leads a group of dispossessed juvenile drifters who frequently brawl with the police 51 Such gangs were common around 250000 youths traveled the country by hopping trains or hitchhiking in search of better economic circumstances in the early 1930s 52 A crowd gathers around American Union Bank in New York City during a bank run early in the Great Depression The mob mentality displayed in bank runs was portrayed in films like American Madness 1932 where Frank Capra depicted the thin line between investor confidence and panic in Hoovers America 53 Complicating matters for the studios the advent of sound film in 1927 required an immense expenditure in sound stages recording booths cameras and movietheater sound systems not to mention the newfound artistic complications of producing in a radically altered medium The studios were in a difficult financial position even before the market crash as the sound conversion process and some risky purchases of theater chains had pushed their finances near the breaking point 54 These economic circumstances led to a loss of nearly half of the weekly attendance numbers and closure of almost a third of the countrys theaters in the first few years of the depression Even so 60 million Americans went to the cinema weekly 55 Apart from the economic realities of the conversion to sound were the artistic considerations Early sound films were often noted for being too verbose 256 In 1930 Carl Laemmle criticized the walltowall banter of sound pictures and director Ernst Lubitsch wondered what the camera was intended for if characters were going to narrate all the onscreen action 56 The film industry also withstood competition from the home radio and often characters in films went to great lengths to belittle the medium 57 The film industry was not above using the new medium to broadcast commercials for its projects however and occasionally turned radio stars into short feature performers to take advantage of their builtin following 58 Seething beneath the surface of American life in the Depression was the fear of the angry mob portrayed in panicked hysteria in films such as Gabriel Over the White House 1933 The Mayor of Hell 1933 and American Madness 1932 53 Massive wide shots of angry hordes comprising sometimes hundreds of men rush into action in terrifyingly efficient uniformity Groups of agitated men either standing in breadlines loitering in hobo camps or marching the streets in protest became a prevalent sight during the Great Depression 53 The Bonus Army protests of World War I veterans on the capital in Washington D C on which Hoover unleashed a brutal crackdown prompted many of the Hollywood depictions Although social issues were examined more directly in the preCode era Hollywood still largely ignored the Great Depression as many films sought to ameliorate patrons anxieties rather than incite them 59 Hays remarked in 193260 The function of motion pictures is to ENTERTAIN This we must keep before us at all times and we must realize constantly the fatality of ever permitting our concern with social values to lead us into the realm of propaganda the American motion picture owes no civic obligation greater than the honest presentment of clean entertainment and maintains that in supplying effective entertainment free of propaganda we serve a high and selfsufficing purpose Social problem filmsedit Hays and others such as Samuel Goldwyn obviously felt that motion pictures presented a form of escapism that served a palliative effect on American moviegoers 61 Goldwyn had coined the famous dictum If you want to send a message call Western Union in the preCode era 61 However the MPPDA took the opposite stance when questioned about certain socalled message films before Congress in 1932 claiming the audiences desire for realism led to certain unsavory social legal and political issues being portrayed in film 62 Warren William described by Mick LaSalle as one of the singular joys of the PreCode era63 played industrialist villains in several preCode films and his gangsterfreeing lowlife character in The Mouthpiece 1932 reflected much of Americas views of lawyers at the time 64 The length of preCode films was usually comparatively short65 but that running time often required tighter material and did not affect the impact of message films Employees Entrance 1933 received the following review from Jonathan Rosenbaum As an attack on ruthless capitalism it goes a lot further than more recent efforts such as Wall Street and its amazing how much plot and character are gracefully shoehorned into 75 minutes 66 The film featured preCode megastar Warren William later dubbed the king of PreCode2 at his magnetic worst67 playing a particularly vile and heartless department store manager who for example terminates the jobs of two longstanding male employees one of whom commits suicide as a result He also threatens to fire Loretta Youngs character who pretends to be single to stay employed unless she sleeps with him then attempts to ruin her husband after learning she is married 68 Films that stated a position about a social issue were usually labeled either propaganda films or preachment yarns In contrast to Goldwyn and MGMs definitively Republican stance on social issue films Warner Brothers led by New Deal advocate Jack L Warner was the most prominent maker of these types of pictures and preferred they be called Americanism stories 626970 PreCode historian Thomas Doherty has written that two recurring elements marked the socalled preachment yarns The first is the exculpatory preface the second is the Jazz Age prelude 71 The preface was essentially a softened version of a disclaimer that intended to calm any in the audience who disagreed with the films message The Jazz Age prelude was almost singularly used to cast shame on the boisterous behavior of the 1920s 71 Cabin in the Cotton 1932 is a Warner Bros message film about the evils of capitalism The film takes place in an unspecified southern state where workers are given barely enough to survive and taken advantage of by being charged exorbitant interest rates and high prices by unscrupulous landowners 72 The film is decidedly anticapitalist73 however its preface claims otherwise71 In many parts of the South today there exists an endless dispute between rich landowners known as planters and the poor cotton pickers known as peckerwoods The planters supply the tenants with the simple requirements of everyday life and in return the tenants work the land year in and year out A hundred volumes could be written on the rights and wrongs of both parties but it is not the object of the producers of Cabin in the Cotton to take sides We are only concerned with the effort to picture these conditions In the end however the planters admit their wrongdoing and agree to a more equitable distribution of capital 73 A famous scene from It Happened One Night in which Claudette Colbert hitchhikes using an unorthodox method to attract a ride after Clark Gables failure to get one with his thumb The avaricious businessman remained a recurring character in preCode cinema In The Match King 1932 Warren William played an industrialist based on reallife Swedish entrepreneur Ivar Kreuger himself nicknamed the Match King who attempts to corner the global market on matches Williams vile character Paul Kroll commits robbery fraud and murder on his way from a janitor to a captain of industry 7475 When the market collapses in the 1929 crash Kroll is ruined and commits suicide to avoid imprisonment 74 William played another unscrupulous businessman in Skyscraper Souls 1932 David Dwight a wealthy banker who owns a building named after himself that is larger than the Empire State Building 76 He tricks everyone he knows into poverty to appropriate others wealth 74 He is ultimately shot by his secretary Verree Teasdale who then ends the film and her own life by walking off the roof of the skyscraper 77 Americans mistrust and dislike of lawyers was a frequent topic of dissection in social problem films such Lawyer Man 1933 States Attorney and The Mouthpiece 1932 In films such as Paid 1930 the legal system turns innocent characters into criminals The life of Joan Crawfords character is ruined and her romantic interest is executed so that she may live free although she is innocent of the crime for which the district attorney wants to convict her 64 Religious hypocrisy was addressed in such films as The Miracle Woman 1931 starring Barbara Stanwyck and directed by Frank Capra Stanwyck also portrayed a nurse and initially reluctant heroine who manages to save via unorthodox means two young children in danger from nefarious characters including Clark Gable as a malevolent chauffeur in Night Nurse 1931 78 Many preCode films dealt with the economic realities of a country struggling to find its next meal In Blonde Venus 1932 Marlene Dietrichs character resorts to prostitution to feed her child and Claudette Colberts character in It Happened One Night 1934 gets her comeuppance for throwing a tray of food onto the floor by later finding herself without food or financial resources 79Joan Blondells character in Big City Blues 1932 reflects that as a chorus girl she regularly received diamonds and pearls as gifts but now must content herself with a corned beef sandwich 79 In Union Depot 1932 Douglas Fairbanks Jr puts a luscious meal as the first order of business on his itinerary after coming into money 80 Political releasesedit In the preCode film Gabriel Over the White House 1933 a U S President makes himself dictator – part of what the 1930s trade papers dubbed the dictator craze Early in the Depression many Americans desired politicians who could give them something beyond empty reassurances and hollow promises 81 Given the social circumstances politically oriented social problem films ridiculed politicians and portrayed them as incompetent bumblers scoundrels and liars 82 In The Dark Horse 1932 Warren William is again enlisted this time to get an imbecile who is accidentally in the running for Governor elected The candidate wins the election despite his incessant embarrassing mishaps Washington MerryGoRound portrayed the state of a political system stuck in neutral 82Columbia Pictures nearly released the film with a scene of the public execution of a politician as the climax before deciding to cut it 83 Cecil B DeMille released This Day and Age in 1933 and it stands in stark contrast to his other films of the period Filmed shortly after DeMille had completed a fivemonth tour of the Soviet Union This Day and Age takes place in America and features several children torturing a gangster who got away with the murder of a popular local shopkeeper 8485 The youngsters are seen lowering the gangster into a vat of rats when the police arrive and their response is to encourage the youths to continue this The film ends with the youngsters taking the gangster to a local judge and forcing the magistrate to conduct a trial in which the outcome is never in doubt 86 The need for strong leaders who could take charge and steer America out of its crisis is seen in Gabriel Over the White House 1933 about a benevolent dictator who takes control of the United States 87Walter Huston stars as a weakwilled ineffectual president likely modeled after Hoover who is inhabited by the archangel Gabriel upon being knocked unconscious 8889 The spirits behavior is similar to that of Abraham Lincoln The president solves the nations unemployment crisis and executes an Al Caponetype criminal who has continually flouted the law 88 Dictators were not just glorified in fiction Columbias Mussolini Speaks 1933 was a 76minute paean to the Fascist leader narrated by NBC radio commentator Lowell Thomas After showing some of the progress Italy has made during Il Duces 10year reign Thomas opines This is a time when a dictator comes in handy90 The film was viewed by over 175000 jubilant people during its first two weeks at the cavernous Palace Theater in Albany New York 91 The election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR in 1932 quelled the public affection for dictators 91 As the country became increasingly enthralled with FDR who was featured in countless newsreels it exhibited less desire for alternative forms of government 92 Many Hollywood films reflected this new optimism Heroes for Sale despite being a tremendously bleak and at times antiAmerican film ends on a positive note as the New Deal appears as a sign of optimism 93 When Wild Boys of the Road 1933 directed by William Wellman reaches its conclusion a dispossessed juvenile delinquent is in court expecting a jail sentence However the judge lets the boy go free revealing to him the symbol of the New Deal behind his desk and tells him things are going to be better here now not only here in New York but all over the country 94 A boxoffice casualty of this hopefulness was Gabriel Over the White House which entered production during the Hoover era malaise and sought to capitalize on it By the time the film was released on March 31 1933 FDRs election had produced a level of hopefulness in America that rendered the films message obsolete 95 Adolf Hitlers rise to power in Germany and his regimes antiSemitic policies significantly affected American preCode filmmaking Although Hitler had become unpopular in many parts of the United States Germany was still a voluminous importer of American films and the studios wanted to appease the German government 96 The ban on Jews and negative portrayals of Germany in the Fatherland even led to a significant reduction in work for Jews in Hollywood until after the end of World War II As a result only two social problem films released by independent film companies addressed the mania in Germany during the preCode era Are We Civilized and Hitlers Reign of Terror 97 In 1933 Herman J Mankiewicz and producer Sam Jaffe announced they were working on a picture to be titled Mad Dog of Europe which was intended to be a fullscale attack on Hitler 98 Jaffe had quit his job at RKO Pictures to make the film Hays summoned the pair to his office and told them to cease production as they were causing needless headaches for the studios 99 Germany had threatened to seize all the properties of the Hollywood producers in Germany and ban the import of any future American films 100101 Scenes showing guns pointed at the camera as in this shot from The Great Train Robbery 1903 were considered inappropriate by New York State censors in the 1920s and usually removed Crime filmsedit Main article PreCode crime films In the early 1900s the United States was still primarily a rural country especially in selfidentity 102D W Griffiths The Musketeers of Pig Alley 1912 is one of the earliest American films to feature urban organized crime 103 Prohibitions arrival in 1920 created an environment where anyone who wanted to drink had to consort with criminals104 especially in urban areas Nonetheless the urbancrime genre was mostly ignored until 1927 when Underworld which is recognized as the first gangster movie105 became a surprise hit According to the Encyclopedia of Hollywood entry on Underworld The film established the fundamental elements of the gangster movie a hoodlum hero ominous nightshrouded city streets floozies and a blazing finale in which the cops cut down the protagonist Gangster films such as Thunderbolt 1929 and Doorway to Hell 1930 were released to capitalize on Underworlds popularity102 with Thunderbolt being described as a virtual remake of the film 106 Other late 1920s crime films investigated the connection between mobsters and Broadway productions in movies such as Lights of New York 1928 Tenderloin 1928 and Broadway 1929 107 The Hays Office had never officially recommended banning violence in any form in the 1920sunlike profanity the drug trade or prostitutionbut advised that it be handled carefully 8 New Yorks censor board was more thorough than that of any other state missing only around 50 of the countrys 1000 to 1300 annual releases 108 From 1927 to 1928 violent scenes removed were those in which a gun was pointed at the camera or at or into the body of another character Many shots where machine guns were featured scenes where criminals shot at law enforcement officers some scenes involving stabbing or knife brandishing audiences considered stabbings more disturbing than shootings most whippings several involving choking torture or electrocution and any scenes which could be considered educational in their depiction of crime methods Sadistic violence and reaction shots showing the faces of individuals on the receiving end of violence were considered especially sensitive areas 109 The Code later recommended against scenes showing robbery theft safecracking arson the use of firearms dynamiting of trains machines and buildings and brutal killings on the basis that they would be rejected by local censors 37 The publics fascination with gangsters in the early 1930s was bolstered by the extensive news coverage of criminals like Al Capone and John Dillinger upon whom were based such characters as Scarface portrayed by Paul Muni 1932 Birth of the Hollywood gangsteredit No motion picture genre of the PreCode era was more incendiary than the gangster film neither preachment yarns nor vice films so outraged the moral guardians or unnerved the city fathers as the high caliber scenarios that made screen heroes out of stone killers 110 PreCode historian Thomas P Doherty In the early 1930s several reallife criminals became celebrities Two in particular captured the American imagination Al Capone and John Dillinger Gangsters like Capone had transformed the perception of entire cities 110 Capone gave Chicago its reputation as the locus classicus of American gangsterdom a cityscape where bulletproof roadsters with tommyguntoting hoodlums on running boards careened around State Street spraying fusillades of slugs into flower shop windows and mowing down the competition in bloodspattered garages Capone appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1930 110 He was even offered 7figure sums by two major Hollywood studios to appear in a film but declined 111 Dillinger became a national celebrity as a bank robber who eluded arrest and escaped confinement several times He had become the most celebrated public outlaw since Jesse James 112 His father appeared in a popular series of newsreels giving police homespun advice on how to catch his son Dillingers popularity rose so quickly that Variety joked that if Dillinger remains at large much longer and more such interviews are obtained there may be some petitions circulated to make him our president 113 Hays wrote a cablegram to all the studios in March 1934 mandating that Dillinger not be portrayed in any motion picture 114 The genre entered a new level following the release of Little Caesar 1931 which featured Edward G Robinson as gangster Rico Bandello 102115Caesar along with The Public Enemy starring James Cagney as Tom Powers and Scarface 1932 featuring Paul Muni as Tony Comante were by standards of the time incredibly violent films that created a new type of antihero Nine gangster films were released in 1930 26 in 1931 28 in 1932 and 15 in 1933 when the genres popularity began to subside after the end of Prohibition 116 The backlash against gangster films was swift In 1931 Jack Warner announced that his studio would stop making them and that he himself had never allowed his 15yearold son to see them 117 In Little Caesar 1931 Rico Edward G Robinson confronts Joe Douglas Fairbanks Jr for wanting to leave the gang Generally considered the grandfather of gangster films118 in Little Caesar Robinson as Rico and his close friend Joe Massara Douglas Fairbanks Jr move to Chicago Joe wants to go straight and meets a woman Rico however seeks a life of crime and joins the gang of Sam Vettori He rises to the rank of boss of the crime family After becoming concerned his friend will betray him he threatens him at which point Joes girlfriend goes to the police Unable to bring himself to kill Joe and eliminate the witness against him Rico goes into hiding He is coaxed out by the police who publish that he is a coward to the press Rico is killed in a blaze of gunfire his last words are Mother of mercy is this the end of Rico119 Robinson was initially cast in a small role but persuaded the films producer to let him play the lead 120 Wingate who then headed New Yorks censorship board told Hays that he was flooded with complaints from people who saw kids in theaters nationwide applaud the gang leader as a hero 121 The success of Little Caesar inspired Foxs The Secret Six 1931 and Quick Millions 1931 and Paramounts City Streets 1931 but the next big Hollywood gangster would come from Warners 122 William Wellmans The Public Enemy 1931 released by Warner Brothers features another careerdefining performance this time James Cagney as Tom Powers The film is similar to the template set in Little Caesar in that it follows Powers from his rise to his eventual fall in the world of crime The film was partially based on the real life of Chicago gangster Dion OBanion 123 Cagneys character is contrasted with his puritanical brother who wants him to go straight their mother is at the center of the conflict Tom Powers is egotistical amoral heartless ruthless and extremely violent 124 The bestremembered scene in the picture is referred to as the grapefruit scene when Cagneys girlfriend Mae Clarke angers him during breakfast he shoves half a grapefruit in her face 124 Instead of scenes from the film its trailer contained a voiceover warning of the pictures intensity and showed a gun being fired directly at the camera 125 The infamous grapefruit scene in The Public Enemy 1931 with James Cagney and Mae Clarke Cagney was even more violent towards women in the gangster film Picture Snatcher 1933 in one scene he knocks out an amorous woman whose feelings he does not reciprocate and violently throws her into the backseat of his car 126 In April 1931 the same month as the release of The Public Enemy Hays recruited former police chief August Vollmer to conduct a study on the effect gangster pictures had on children After he had finished his work Vollmer stated that gangster films were innocuous and even overly favorable in depicting the police 127 Although Hays used the results to defend the film industry127 the New York State censorship board was not impressed and from 1930 through 1932 removed 2200 crime scenes from pictures 128 Some critics have named Scarface 1932 as the most incendiary preCode gangster film 129130 Directed by Howard Hawks and starring Paul Muni as Tony Camonte the film is partially based on the life of Al Capone and incorporates details of Capones biography into the storyline 129 The film begins with Camonte working for Johnny Lovo Osgood Perkins but hes dissatisfied with being a subordinate and hes also attracted to Lovos girlfriend Poppy Karen Morley He has an unhealthily controlling relationship with his sister Francesca Ann Dvorak – whom he expects to remain chastethat many critics have described as incestuous 131 Lovo warns Camonte to leave the North Side alone as it is controlled by a rival mob but he ignores this warning and launches a series of executions and extortions that result in a war with the North Side gang Camonte then forcefully takes the gang over from Lovo who tries unsuccessfully to kill him for this Camontes attempt to kill Lovo is more successful and Poppy happily becomes his girl When Camonte finds Francesca in a hotel room with his closest friend coinflipping gangster Guino Rinaldo George Raft he kills Rinaldo in a rage Afterward he becomes despondent when he learns that the couple had wanted to surprise him with the news that they had gotten married Both Osgood Perkins and Paul Muni light a match for Karen Morleys cigarette in the trailer for Scarface 1932 Morley chooses Munis light symbolically spurning her boyfriend for the fastrising gangster The production of Scarface was troubled from the start The Hays office warned producer Howard Hughes not to make the film132 when it was completed in late 1931 the Hays office demanded numerous changes including a conclusion where Comante was captured tried convicted and hanged and that the film carry the subtitle Shame of a Nation 128 Hughes sent the film to numerous state censorship boards saying he hoped to show that the film was made to combat the gangster menace 126 After he was unable to get the film past the New York State censor board then headed by Wingate126 even after the changes Hughes sued the New York board and won allowing him to release the film in a version close to its intended form 134 When other local censors refused to release the edited version the Hays Office sent Jason Joy around to them to assure them that the cycle of gangster films of this nature was ending 135 Scarface provoked outrage mainly because of its unprecedented violence but also for its shifts of tone from serious to comedic 136Dave Kehr writing in the Chicago Reader stated that the film blends comedy and horror in a manner that suggests Chico Marx let loose with a live machine gun 131 In one scene Camonte is inside a cafe while a torrent of machinegun fire from the car of a rival gang is headed his way when the barrage is over Camonte picks up one of the newly released tommy guns the gangsters dropped and exhibits childlike wonder and unrestrained excitement over the new toy 126 Civic leaders became furious that gangsters like Capone who was also the inspiration for Little Caesar120 were being applauded in movie houses all across America 102 The screenplay adapted by Ben Hecht who was a journalist in Chicago contained biographical details for Munis character in Scarface that were so obviously taken from Capone and the detail so close that it was impossible not to draw the parallels 129 One of the factors that made gangster pictures so subversive was that in the difficult economic times of the Depression there already existed the viewpoint that the only way to get financial success was through crime 137 The Kansas City Times argued that although adults may not be particularly affected these films were misleading contaminating and often demoralizing to children and youth 138 Exacerbating the problem some cinema theater owners advertised gangster pictures with a singular irresponsibility Reallife murders were tied into promotions and theater lobbies displayed tommy guns and blackjacks 139 The situation reached such a nexus that the studios had to ask exhibitors to tone down the gimmickry in their promotions 139 Prison filmsedit Prison films of the preCode era often involved men and women who were unjustly incarcerated and films set in prisons of the north tended to portray them as a bastion of solidarity against the crumbling social system of the Great Depression 140 Sparked by the reallife Ohio penitentiary fire on April 21 1930 in which guards refused to release prisoners from their cells causing 300 deaths the films depicted the inhumane conditions inside prisons in the early 1930s 140 The genre was composed of two archetypes the prison film and the chain gang film 141 In the prison film large hordes of men move about in identical uniforms resigned to their fate they live by a well defined code 142 In the chain gang film Southern prisoners were subjected to a draconian system of discipline in the blazing outdoor heat where they were treated terribly by their ruthless captors 140 I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang starring Paul Muni 1932 was based on the autobiographical memoirs of Robert E Burns who was himself a fugitive when the picture was released The film was a powerful agent for social change The prototype of the prison genre was The Big House 1930 143 In The Big House Robert Montgomery plays a squirmy inmate who is sentenced to six years after committing vehicular manslaughter while under the influence His cell mates are a murderer played by Wallace Beery and a forger played by Chester Morris The picture features future staples of the prison genre such as solitary confinement informers riots visitations an escape and the codes of prison life The protagonist Montgomery ends up being a loathsome character a coward who will sell anyone in the prison out to get an early release 144 The film was banned in Ohio the site of the deadly prison riots that inspired it 145Numbered Men The Criminal Code Shadow of the Law Convicts Code and others from no less than seven studios followed 146 However prison films mainly appealed to men and had weak box office performances as a result 145 Studios also produced childrens prison films that addressed the juvenile delinquency problems of America in the Depression The Mayor of Hell for instance featured kids killing a murderously abusive reform school overseer without retribution 147 Chain gang filmsedit The most searing criticism of the American prison system was reserved for the depiction of Southern chain gangs with I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang being by far the most influential 148 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang which is based on the true story of Robert E Burns is by far the most famous of the early 1930s chain gang films 149 In the first half of 1931 True Detective Mysteries magazine had published Burns work over six issues and it was released as a book in January 1932 150 Decorated veteran James Allen Paul Muni returns from World War I a changed man and seeks an alternative to the tedious job that he left behind He travels the country looking for construction work His ultimate goal is to become involved in construction planning Allen follows a hobo he met at a homeless shelter into a cafe taking him up on his offer of a free meal When the hobo attempts to rob the eatery Allen is charged as an accessory convicted of stealing a few dollars and sentenced to ten years in a chain gang The men are chained together and transported to a quarry to break rocks every day Even when unchained from each other shackles remain around their ankles at all times Allen convinces a large black prisoner who has particularly good aim to hit the shackles on his ankles with a sledgehammer to bend them He removes his feet from the bent shackles and in a famous sequence escapes through the woods while being chased by bloodhounds On the outside he develops a new identity and becomes a respected developer in Chicago He is blackmailed into marriage by a woman he does not love who finds out his secret When he threatens to leave her for a young woman he has fallen in love with she turns him in His case becomes a cause célèbre and he agrees to turn himself in under the agreement that he will serve 90 days and then be released He is tricked however and not freed at the agreed upon time This forces him to escape again and he seeks out the young woman telling her that they cannot be together because he will always be hunted The film ends with her asking him how he survives and his ominous reply from the darkness I steal 151 Although based on reality Chain Gang changes the facts slightly to appeal to Depressionera audiences by making Allens return home one to a country that is struggling economically even though Burns returned to the roaring twenties 152 The films bleak antiestablishment ending shocked audiences 153Laughter in Hell a 1933 film directed by Edward L Cahn and starring Pat OBrien was inspired in part by I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang 154 OBrien plays a railroad engineer who kills his wife and her lover in a jealous rage and is sent to prison The dead mans brother ends up being the warden of the prison and torments OBriens character OBrien and several others revolt killing the warden and escaping with his new lover Gloria Stuart 155156 The film rediscovered in 2012157 drew controversy for its lynching scene in which several black men were hanged Reports vary if the blacks were hanged alongside other white men or by themselves The New Age an African American weekly newspaper film critic praised the filmmakers for being courageous enough to depict the atrocities that were occurring in some Southern states 156 The titles of preCode films were often deliberately provocative Though violent Safe in Hell 1931 was a socially modern thoughtful film 158159 Sex filmsedit Main article PreCode sex films Promotionedit As films featuring prurient elements performed well at the box office after the crackdown on crime films160 Hollywood increased its production of pictures featuring the seven deadly sins 161 In 1932 Warner Bros formed an official policy decreeing that two out of five stories should be hot and that nearly all films could benefit by adding something having to do with ginger 162 Filmmakers including the shrewd Mae West began putting in overly suggestive material they knew would never reach theaters in hopes that lesser offenses would survive the cuttingroom floor MGM screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart said Joy and Wingate wouldnt want to take out too much so you would give them five things to take out to satisfy the Hays Officeand you would get away with murder with what they left in 163 Films such as Laughing Sinners Safe in Hell The Devil is Driving Merrily We Go to Hell Laughter in Hell and The Road to Ruin were provocative in their mere titles 161 Studios marketed their films sometimes dishonestly by inventing suggestive tag lines and lurid titles even going so far as to hold inhouse contests for thinking up provocative titles for screenplays 164 Commonly labeled sex films by the censors these pictures offended taste in more categories than just sexuality 161 According to a Variety analysis of 440 pictures produced in 1932–33 352 had some sex slant with 145 possessing questionable sequences and 44 being critically sexual Variety summarized that over 80 of the worlds chief picture output was flavored with bedroom essence 162 Attempts to create films for adults only dubbed pinking wound up bringing large audiences of all ages to cinemas 165 Some objected to publicity photos such as this 1932 shot of Ina Claire posing suggestively on a bed Posters and publicity photos were often tantalizing 166 Women appeared in poses and garb not even glimpsed in the films themselves In some cases actresses with small parts in films or in the case of Dolores Murray in her publicity still for The Common Law no part at all appeared scantily clad 167 Hays became outraged at the steamy pictures circulating in newspapers around the country 168 The original Hays Code contained an oftenignored note about advertising imagery but he wrote an entirely new advertising screed in the style of the Ten Commandments that contained a set of twelve prohibitions 169 The first seven addressed imagery They prohibited women in undergarments women raising their skirts suggestive poses kissing necking and other suggestive material The last five concerned advertising copy and prohibited misrepresentation of the films contents salacious copy and the word courtesan 28 Studios found their way around the restrictions and published increasingly racy imagery Ultimately this backfired in 1934 when a billboard in Philadelphia was placed outside the home of Cardinal Dennis Dougherty Severely offended Dougherty took his revenge by helping to launch the motionpicture boycott which would later facilitate enforcement of the Code 170 A commonly repeated theme by those supporting censorship and one mentioned in the Code itself171 was the notion that the common people needed to be saved from themselves by the more refined cultural elite 172 Despite the obvious attempts to appeal to redblooded American males most of the patrons of sex pictures were female Variety squarely blamed women for the increase in vice pictures173 Women are responsible for the everincreasing public taste in sensationalism and sexy stuff Women who make up the bulk of the picture audiences are also the majority reader of the tabloids scandal sheets flashy magazines and erotic books the mind of the average man seems wholesome in comparison Women love dirt nothing shocks em Jean Harlow seen here on a 1935 Time cover was propelled to stardom in preCode films such as Platinum Blonde Red Dust and RedHeaded Woman PreCode female audiences liked to indulge in the carnal lifestyles of mistresses and adulteresses while at the same time taking joy in their usually inevitable downfall in the closing scenes of the picture 174 While gangster films were claimed to corrupt the morals of young boys vice films were blamed for threatening the purity of adolescent women 165 Contentedit In preCode Hollywood the sex film became synonymous with womens pictures Darryl F Zanuck once told Wingate that he was ordered by Warner Brothers New York corporate office to reserve 20 of the studios output for womens pictures which inevitably means sex pictures 175 Vice films typically tacked on endings where the most sinfilled characters were either punished or redeemed Films explored Codedefying subjects in an unapologetic manner with the premise that an endreel moment could redeem all that had gone before 176 The concept of marriage was often tested in films such as The Prodigal 1931 in which a woman is having an affair with a seedy character and later falls in love with her brotherinlaw When her motherinlaw steps in at the end of the film it is to encourage one son to grant his wife a divorce so she can marry his brother with whom she is obviously in love The older woman proclaims the message of the film in a line near the end This the twentieth century Go out into the world and get what happiness you can 177 In Madame Satan 1930 adultery is explicitly condoned and used as a sign for a wife that she needs to act in a more enticing way to maintain her husbands interest 178 In Secrets 1933 a husband admits to serial adultery only this time he repents and the marriage is saved 178 The films took aim at what was already a damaged institution During the Great Depression relations between spouses often deteriorated due to financial strain marriages lessened and husbands abandoned their families in increased numbers 179 Marriage rates continually declined in the early 1930s finally rising in 1934 the final year of the preCode era and although divorce rates lowered this is likely because desertion became a more common method of separation 180 Consequently female characters such as Ruth Chattertons in Female live promiscuous bachelorette lifestyles and control their own financial destiny Chatterton supervises an auto factory without regret 175 In The Divorcee 1930 starring Norma Shearer a wife discovers that her husband played by Chester Morris has been cheating on her In reaction she decides to have an affair with his best friend played by Robert Montgomery When the husband finds out he decides to leave her After pleading with him to stay the wife unleashes her frustrations upon him and in a moment of inspiration reveals her desire to live a fearless sexually liberated life without him According to at least one film historianwho this was the motion picture that inspired other films centering upon sophisticated female protagonists who stayed out late had affairs wore revealing gowns and who basically destroyed the sexual double standard by asserting themselves both within society and in the bedroom From The Divorcee onward there developed a trend toward a sophistication in womens pictures that would continue unabated until the end of the PreCode era in mid1934 181 One of the most prominent examples of punishment for immoral transgressions in vice film can be seen in The Story of Temple Drake based on the William Faulkner novel Sanctuary In Drake the title character Miriam Hopkins a cold vapid party girl the daughter of a judge is raped and forced into prostitution by a backwoods character and according to preCode scholar Thomas Doherty the film implies that the deeds done to her are in recompense for her immorality 182 Later in court she confesses that she killed the man who raped and kept her She faints after this confession upon which her lawyer carries her out leading to a happy ending 183 In the RKO film Christopher Strong Katharine Hepburn plays an aviator who becomes pregnant from an affair with a married man She commits suicide by flying her plane directly upwards until she breaks the world altitude record at which point she takes off her oxygen mask and plummets to earth 184 Strong female characters often ended films as reformed women after experiencing situations in which their progressive outlook proved faulty 175 Marlene Dietrichs open bisexuality caused an uproar In 1933 her studio Paramount signed a largely ineffectual agreement not to depict women in mens clothes in their films 185 Female protagonists in aggressively sexual vice films were usually of two general kinds the bad girl or the fallen woman 186 In socalled bad girl pictures female characters profited from promiscuity and immoral behavior 187Jean Harlow an actress who was by all reports a lighthearted kind person offscreen frequently played bad girl characters and dubbed them sex vultures 188 Two of the most prominent examples of bad girl films RedHeaded Woman and Baby Face featured Harlow and Stanwyck In RedHeaded Woman Harlow plays a secretary determined to sleep her way into a more luxurious lifestyle and in Baby Face Stanwyck is an abused runaway determined to use sex to advance herself financially 189 In Baby Face Stanwyck moves to New York and sleeps her way to the top of Gotham Trust 190 Her progress is illustrated in a recurring visual metaphor of the movie camera panning ever upward along the front of Gotham Trusts skyscraper Men are driven mad with lust over her and they commit murder attempt suicide and are ruined financially for associating with her before she mends her ways in the final reel 191 In another departure from post Code films Stanwycks sole companion for the duration of the picture is a black woman named Chico Theresa Harris whom she took with her when she ran away from home at age 14 192 RedHeaded Woman begins with Harlow seducing her boss Bill LeGendre and intentionally breaking up his marriage During her seductions he tries to resist and slaps her at which point she looks at him deliriously and says Do it again I like it Do it again193 They eventually marry but Harlow seduces a wealthy aged industrialist who is in business with her husband so that she can move to New York Although this plan succeeds she is cast aside when she is discovered having an affair with her chauffeur in essence cheating on her paramour Harlow shoots LeGendre nearly killing him When she is last seen in the film she is in France in the back seat of a limousine with an elderly wealthy gentleman being driven along by the same chauffeur 194 The film was a boon to Harlows career and has been described as a trash masterpiece 195196 Cinema classified as fallen woman films was often inspired by reallife hardships women endured in the early Depression era workplace The men in power in these pictures frequently sexually harassed the women working for them Remaining employed often became a question of a womans virtue In She Had to Say Yes 1933 starring Loretta Young a struggling department store offers dates with its female stenographers as an incentive to customers Employees Entrance was marketed with the tag line See what out of work girls are up against these days 186 Joy complained in 1932 of another genre the kept woman film which presented adultery as an alternative to the tedium of an unhappy marriage 197 Until 1934 nudity involving civilized women which was understood to mean white women was generally banned but permitted with uncivilized women which was understood to mean nonwhite women 198 Filmmaker Deane Dickason took advantage of this loophole to release a quasipornographic documentary Virgins of Bali in September 1932 which concerns a day in the life of two Balinese teenagers who are presumably uncivilized 199 The films introduction notes that Balinese women were normally topless and only covered their breasts for ceremonial duties Doherty commented dryly that fortunately for Dickason his films two stars rarely performed ceremonial duties Typical of the film is the first scene where the two girls take a bath in the river while Dickason narrators talking breathlessly about how the two girls bathe their shamelessly nude bronze bodies 200Virgins of Bali which consisted almost entirely of scenes of Balinese women in various states of undress under the guise of showing what daily life in Bali was like was an immensely popular film with men at the time and almost single handedly made Bali into a popular tourist destination 201 Homosexuals were portrayed in such preCode films as Our Betters 1933 Footlight Parade 1933 Only Yesterday 1933 Sailors Luck 1933 and Cavalcade 1933 202 Although the topic was dealt with much more openly than in the decades that followed the characterizations of gay and lesbian characters were usually derogatory Gay male characters were portrayed as flighty with high voices existing merely as buffoonish supporting characters 203 A rare example of a homosexual character not being portrayed in the standard effeminate way albeit still negatively was the villain Murder Legendre played by Bela Lugosi in White Zombie 1932 the Frenchman who mastered the magical powers of a Bokor voodoo sorcerer Legendre is hired by a wealthy plantation owner Charles Beaumont Robert Frazer to turn the woman he desires into a zombie only to be informed later that Legendre desires him and is going to transform him into a zombie In films like Ladies They Talk About lesbians were portrayed as rough burly characters but in DeMilles The Sign of the Cross a female Christian slave is brought to a Roman prefect and seduced in dance by a statuesque lesbian dancer 204 Fox nearly became the first American studio to use the word gay to refer to homosexuality but the SRC made the studio muffle the word in the soundtrack of all footage that reached theaters 205 Mae West is sometimes erroneously called the reason for the Production Code 206 Even under the Code she managed to wear an almost transparent dress in Go West Young Man 1936 Bisexual actress Marlene Dietrich cultivated a crossgender fan base and started a trend when she began wearing mens suits She caused a commotion when she appeared at the premiere of The Sign of the Cross in 1932 in a tuxedo complete with top hat and cane 207 The appearance of homosexual characters was at its height in 1933 in that year Hays declared that all gay male characters would be removed from pictures Paramount took advantage of the negative publicity Dietrich generated by signing a largely meaningless agreement stating that they would not portray women in male attire 208 In the harsh economic times of the early Depression films and performers often featured an alienated cynical and socially dangerous comic style As with political films comedy softened with the election of FDR and the optimism of the New Deal Characters in the preCode era frequently engaged in comedic duels of escalating sexual innuendo 209 In Employees Entrance a woman enters the office of a scoundrel boss who remarks Oh its you I didnt recognize you with all your clothes on 210 Racial stereotypes were usually employed when ethnic characters appeared Blacks in particular were usually the butt of the wisecrack never the author The most acknowledged black comedian was Stepin Fetchit whose slowwitted comedic character was only meant to be successful in an unintentional manner with himself as the punchline 211 The New York stage was filled with ribald humor and sexually offensive comedy when movie producers started to put wisecracks in their sound pictures they sought New York performers 35212 Popular comics such as the Marx Brothers got their start on Broadway in front of live audiences 213 Censors complained when they had to keep up with the deluge of jokes in pictures in the early 1930s some of which were designed to go over their heads 212 The comic banter of some early sound films was rapidfire nonstop and frequently exhausting for the audience by the final reel 213 The Marx Brothers in the early 1930s Chico top Harpo Groucho and Zeppo Duck Soup 1933 is generally considered their finest picture 214 Mae West had already established herself as a comedic performer when her 1926 Broadway show Sex made national headlines Tried and convicted of indecency by the New York City District Attorney she served eight days in prison 215 West carefully constructed a stage persona and carried it over into her interviews and personal appearances 216 Despite her voluptuous physique most of her appeal lay in her suggestive manner She became a wordsmith in the art of the comeon and the seductive line and despite her obvious appeal to male audiences was popular with women as well 217218 Over the cries of the censors219 West got her start in the film Night After Night 1932 which starred George Raft and Constance Cummings as a Texas Guinanesque supporting character She agreed to appear in the film only after producers agreed to let her write her own lines 220 In Wests first line on film after a hat check girl remarks Goodness what beautiful diamonds West replies Goodness had nothing to do with it dearie 221 Raft who had wanted Texas Guinan herself for the role that went to West later wrote In this picture Mae West stole everything but the cameras 222 She went on to make She Done Him Wrong in 1933 which became a huge box office hit grossing 3 million against a 200000 budget223 and then nine months later wrote and starred in Im No Angel 224 She became such a success that her career saved Paramount from financial ruin 215219 The arrival of sound film created a new job market for writers of screen dialogue Many newspaper journalists moved to California and became studioemployed screenwriters This resulted in a series of fasttalking comedy pictures featuring newsmen 225The Front Page later remade as the much less cynical and more sentimental postCode His Girl Friday 1940 was adapted from the Broadway play by Chicago newsmen and Hollywood screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur It was based on Hechts experiences working as a reporter for the Chicago Daily Journal 226 The Marx Brothers had been stage performers since the early 1900s By the 1930s their act consisted of wisecracking leader Groucho the chronically silent Harpo the overly ethnic Chico and the strangely normal Zeppo The plot of the seminal comedy Duck Soup 1933 is quite convoluted Grouchos plebeian character is named king of the fictional Freedonia and he is pursued by two bumbling spies played by Chico and Harpo Zeppo plays a typically normal secretary Grouchos con artist character leads Freedonia into war with neighboring Sylvania The plot essentially exists to provide a framework for several comedic bits and long sketches The film was unsuccessful at the box office and the anarchic zaniness and subversive nature of the comedy in the film would be unmatched in the brothers postCode work which was more standardly burlesque 227228229 Betty Boop in 1933 and 1939 Dancers rehearsing in abbreviated clothing in 42nd Street 1933 illustrates the allure of the backstage musical The By a Waterfall number from Busby Berkeleys Footlight Parade 1933 which also highlighted James Cagneys dancing talents Cartoonsedit Theatrical cartoons were also covered by the Production Code According to Leonard Maltin In early 1933 a Georgia theater owner wrote to Film Daily The worst kicks we have are on smut in cartoons They are primarily a kid draw and parents frequently object to the filth that is put in them incidentally without helping the comedy The dirtiest ones are invariably the least funny Betty Boop thus underwent some of the most dramatic changes after the Code was imposed gone was the garter the short skirt the décolletage 230 Musicalsedit As sound pictures became the norm in Hollywood the backstage film musical was a natural subject for the new medium Not only could the studios present singing and dancing to their audiences – many of whom were unlikely to have ever seen a stage musical before – but the PreCode film musicals also tended to feature shapely young female chorus girls wearing skimpy rehearsal clothing which revealed parts of the body which were still not normal to see on the street and hinted at other parts in a way that normal fashion did not allow 231 But even if this could be considered to be exploitative use of the female body the PreCode movie musicals were generally not derogatory in their presentation of the physical virtues of their women but celebratory with Busby Berkeleys spectacular musical numbers being especially and wittily so Berkeley avoided fetishizing his female performers 232 Chorus boys too were generally well built healthylooking virile specimens but even so they never got nearly the attention that the women did As well as these obvious displays of male and female sexual potential – and the flirting and courting that went with it – PreCode musicals also featured the energy and vitality of their youthful featured actors231 as well as the comedic abilities of the many older character actors in Hollywood who were often cast as producers agents Broadway angels financial backers and stingy rich relatives and brought a light – if often stereotypical – touch to these films Some PreCode musicals The Jazz Singer 1927 The Broadway Melody 1929 Gold Diggers of Broadway 1929 lost The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Good News 1930 Showgirl in Hollywood 1930 Dancing Lady 1933 Footlight Parade 1933 42nd Street 1933 Going Hollywood 1933 Gold Diggers of 1933 Dames 1934 Flirtation Walk 1934 Hips Hips Hooray 1934 Murder at the Vanities 1934 Wonder Bar 1934 Horror and science fictionedit Unlike silentera sex and crime pictures silent horror movies despite being produced in the hundreds were never a major concern for censors or civic leaders When sound horror films were released however they quickly caused controversy Sound provided atmospheric music and sound effects creepyvoiced macabre dialogue and a liberal dose of bloodcurdling screams which intensified its effects on audiences and consequently on moral crusaders 233234 The Hays Code did not mention gruesomeness and filmmakers took advantage of this oversight However state boards usually had no set guidelines and could object to any material they found indecent 235 Although films such as Frankenstein and Freaks caused controversy when they were released they had already been recut to comply with censors 236 Boris Karloff in Frankenstein 1931 The monsters brutality and the doctors declaration that Now I know what it feels like to be God shocked many moviegoers By the time of Bride of Frankenstein 1935 the Code was in full effect 237238 Comprising the nascent motion picture genres of horror and science fiction the nightmare picture provoked individual psychological terror in its horror incarnations while embodying group sociological terror in its science fiction manifestations The two main types of preCode horror pictures were the single monster movie and films where masses of hideous beasts rose up and attacked their putative betters Frankenstein and Freaks exemplified both genres 239 The preCode horror cycle was motivated by financial necessity Universal in particular buoyed itself with the production of horror hits such as Dracula 1931 and Frankenstein then followed those successes up with Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932 The Mummy 1932 and The Old Dark House 1932 Other major studios responded with their own productions 233 Much like the crime film cycle however the intense boom of the horror cycle was ephemeral and had fallen off at the box office by the end of the preCode era 240 While Joy declared Dracula quite satisfactory from the standpoint of the Code before it was released and the film had little trouble reaching theaters Frankenstein was a different story 241 New York Pennsylvania and Massachusetts removed the scene where the monster unintentionally drowns a little girl and lines that referenced Dr Frankensteins God complex 242Kansas in particular objected to the film The states censor board requested the cutting of 32 scenes which if removed would have halved the length of the film 235 Paramounts Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1931 played to the Freudian theories popular with the audience of its time Fredric March played the splitpersonality title character Jekyll represented the composed superego and Hyde the lecherous id Miriam Hopkinss coquettish bar singer Ivy Pierson sexually teases Jekyll early in the film by displaying parts of her legs and bosom 243 Joy felt the scene had been dragged in simply to titillate the audience 242 Hyde coerces her with the threat of violence into becoming his paramour and beats her when she attempts to stop seeing him She is contrasted with his wholesome fiancée Muriel Rose Hobart whose chaste nature dissatisfies Marchs baser alter ego 244 The film is considered the most honored of the PreCode horror films 245 Many of the graphic scenes between Hyde and Ivy were cut by local censors because of their suggestiveness 246 Sex was intimately tied to horror in many preCode horror movies In Murders in the Rue Morgue an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poes classic tale which has little in common with the source material Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist who tortures and kills women trying to mix human blood with ape blood during his experiments His prized experiment an intelligent ape named Erik breaks into a womans secondfloor apartment window and rapes her 247 In Murders in the Rue Morgue 1932 the shadow of the apes hand appears over head of Camille Sidney Fox as it enters her room What follows has been dubbed interspecies miscegenation by film historian Thomas Doherty 243 In Freaks director Tod Browning of Dracula fame helms a picture that depicts a traveling circus populated by a group of deformed carnival freaks Browning populated the movie with actual carnival sideshow performers including midgets dwarfs hermaphrodites Siamese twins and most awful the armless and legless man billed as the living torso 248 There is also a group of Pinheads who are depicted as fortunate in that they are not mentally capable enough to understand that they disgust people 248 But the truly unsavory characters here are the villains the circus strongman Hercules and the beautiful highwire artist Cleopatra who intends to marry and poison Hans the midget heir who is enamored of her At a dinner celebrating their union one of the freaks dances on the table as they chant gooblegobble gobble gobble one of us one of us we accept her we accept her Disgusted Cleopatra insults Hans and makes out with Hercules in front of him When the freaks discover her plot they exact revenge by mutilating Cleopatra into a freak 249 Although circus freaks were common in the early 1930s the film was their first depiction on screen 248 Browning took care to linger over shots of the deformed disabled performers with long takes of them including one of the living torso lighting a match and then a cigarette with his mouth The film was accompanied by a sensational marketing campaign that asked sexual questions such as Do the Siamese Twins make love What sex is the halfman halfwoman and Can a full grown woman truly love a midget250 Surprisingly given its reaction to Frankenstein the state of Kansas objected to nothing in Freaks 251 However other states such as Georgia were repulsed by the film and it was not shown in many locales 252 The film later became a cult classic spurred by midnight movie showings253 but it was a boxoffice bomb in its original release 254 In Island of Lost Souls 1932 an adaptation of H G Wells sciencefiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau Charles Laughton plays yet another mad scientist with a God complex 255 As Moreau Laughton creates a mad scientists island paradise an unmonitored haven where he is free to create a race of manbeasts and Lota a beastwoman he wants to mate with a normal human male A castaway lands on his island providing him an opportunity to see how far his science experiment the barely clothed attractive Lota has come The castaway discovers Moreau vivisecting one of the beastmen and attempts to leave the island He runs into the camp of the manbeasts and Moreau beats them back with a whip The film ends with Lota dead the castaway rescued and the manbeasts chanting Are we not men as they attack and then vivisect Moreau 256 The film has been described as a rich mans Freaks due to its esteemed source material 257 Wells however despised the movie for its lurid excesses It was rejected by 14 local censor boards in the United States and considered against nature in Great Britain where it was banned until 1958 257258 Exotic adventure filmsedit Dolores del Río dances almost topless in Bird of Paradise 1932 PreCode films contained a continual recurring theme of white racism 259 In the early 1930s the studios filmed a series of pictures that aimed to provide viewers a sense of the exotic an exploration of the unknown and the forbidden These pictures often imbued themselves with the allure of interracial sex according to preCode historian Thomas Doherty At the psychic core of the genre is the shiver of sexual attraction the threat and promise of miscegenation 259 Films such as Africa Speaks were directly marketed by referencing interracial sex moviegoers received small packets labeled Secrets which contained pictures of naked black women 260 As portrayals of historic conditions these movies are of little educational value but as artifacts that show Hollywoods attitude towards race and foreign cultures they are enlightening 259 The central point of interest in The Blonde Captive 1931 a film which depicted a blonde woman abducted by a savage tribe of Aboriginal Australians was not that she was kidnapped but that she enjoys living among the tribe 260 The lack of black characters in films highlights their status in Jim Crow America 261 In Bird of Paradise a white American man Joel McCrea enjoys a torrid affair with a Polynesian princess Dolores del Río The film created a scandal when released due to a scene featuring del Río swimming naked 262Orson Welles said del Río represented the highest erotic ideal with her performance in the film 263 The white protagonist in Tarzan the Ape Man 1932 is the King of the African Jungle Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller is a monosyllabic halfnaked jungle creature whose attractiveness is derived from his physical prowess throughout the movie he saves Jane Maureen OSullivan from danger and she swoons in his arms 264 When Janes father warns her hes not like us she responds hes white as evidence to the contrary 265 In the racy 1934 sequel Tarzan and His Mate the last word meaning both a status and a biological function266 men come from the U S with fancy gowns and other accoutrements to woo and clothe the braless barely clothed Jane again played by OSullivan hoping to lure her away from the savage Tarzan 267 He detests the fancier clothing and tears it off The film included a skinnydipping scene with extensive nudity with a body double standing in for OSullivan 268 Breen then head of the SRC objected to the scene and MGM the movies producer decided to take their case to the appeals review board The board consisted of the heads of Fox RKO and Universal After watching the scene several times the board sided with Breen and the MPPDA and the scene was removed but MGM still allowed some uncut trailers and a few reels to stay in circulation 269 MGM marketed the film primarily towards women using taglines such as270 Girls Would you live like Eve if you found the right Adam Modern marriages could learn plenty from this drama of primitive jungle mating If all marriages were based on the primitive mating instinct it would be a better world Tarzan and His Mate 1934 Ethnic characters were portrayed against stereotype in Massacre 1934 The protagonist Richard Barthelmess is a Native American who performs in a Wild West Show in full Indian garb but then slips into a suit and speaks in American slang once the show is over 271 He has a black butler who is atypically intelligent his character merely plays dumb by slipping into a stereotypical slowwitted negro character when it suits him rather than being genuinely unintelligent 272 Films such as The Mask of Fu Manchu 1932 Shanghai Express 1932 and The Bitter Tea of General Yen 1933 explored the exoticism of the Far East by using white actors not Asians in the lead roles The white actors frequently looked absurd in yellowface makeup next to genuine Asians so the studios would cast all the Asian parts white 273 Generally Yellow Peril stereotypes dominated the portrayal of Asian characters who were almost always villains 274 The American scholar Huang Yunte wrote that the character of Charlie Chan a ChineseAmerican detective aided by his bumbling Americanized Number One Son were virtually the only positive examples of Asian characters in Hollywood in this period 274 The actress Anna May Wong complained in a 1933 interview about the prevalence of Yellow Peril stereotypes in Hollywood saying Why is it that the screen Chinese is always the villain And so crude a villain – murderous treacherous a snake in the grass We are not like that How could we be with a civilization that is so many times older than the West275 In Fu Manchu Karloff plays the evil Chinese mad scientist and gangster Dr Fu Manchu who wants to find the sword and mask of Genghis Khan which will give him the power to control the countless hordes of Asians and lead them into battle against the West 276 Fu is a sexual deviant who engages in ritual torture and has occult powers 277 Several times the film seems to suggest Fu is engaged in an incestuous relationship with his equally evil daughter Fah Lo See Myrna Loy which plays up a central theme of the Yellow Peril fears the alleged abnormal sexuality of Asians 274 In a scene cut from the film due to its depiction of miscegenation the film shows Fus depraved daughter violating one of the chaste good characters 278 Fu is eventually conquered but not before he temporarily lays his hand on the sword and proclaims to a vast PanAsian army made up of Asians and Muslims Would you have maidens like this referring to Karen Morley for your wives Then conquer and breed Kill the white man and take his women276 Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express The Chinese warlord General Henry Chang Warner Oland in the 1932 film Shanghai Express who is presented as being not only as Eurasian but as having a menacing asexuality that places him outside of the conventionally defined world of Western sexuality and racial order making him as dangerous to the Western characters who he has taken hostage as much as the fact that he is a vicious warlord 279 Though Chang is Eurasian he takes pride in his Chinese heritage while rejecting his American heritage which confirms his Eastern identity 279 Wartorn China circa 1931 is presented as a hell which a diverse group of Westerners must travel through on a nightmarish train trip from Beijing to Shanghai which takes a turn for the worse when the train is hijacked by Chang and his men 280 The film strongly hints that Chang is bisexual who not only wants to rape the heroine Shanghai Lily Marlene Dietrich but also the hero Captain Donald Doc Harvey Clive Brook 279 When the German opium smuggler Erich Baum Gustav von Seyffertitz insults Chang the result is a scene where the warlord commits a symbolic rape as the sadistic Chang clearly takes sexual pleasure in branding Baum with a redhot poker 281 After he is branded the symbol of slavery the once proud Baum becomes notably cowed and submissive towards Chang who in a certain sense now owes him which reflected the ultimate Yellow Peril fear of Westerners becoming the slaves of the East and its perverted sexuality 282 Later on Chang does actually rape Hui Fei Anna May Wong 283 Gina Marchetti suggests that Changs desire to blind Harvey is not only meant literally but is also a metaphor for castration which even under the more permissive Production code in effect in 1932 would have been a taboo subject 284 In a marked contrast to Changs twisted sexuality and his almost effeminate polish the British Army Captain Harvey is a resolutely heterosexual ruggedly tough soldier with a deep romantic streak who more than amply proved his manliness in the trenches of World War I presenting a model of Western masculinity and strength 285 At several times the film hints that Shanghai Lily and Hui Fei are more than best friends and are in fact engaged in a lesbian relationship so when the film ends with Lily choosing Harvey as her lover this serves as a testament to his manly Western sex appeal which redeems her from her life as a prostitute 286 At the same time that Shanghai Express embraces Yellow Peril stereotypes through the character of Chang it also to some extent undermines them through the character of Hui who is shown crying inconsolably after being raped by Chang which gives her a certain humanity and allows the audience to sympathize with her 283 Hui is a courtesan who is looked down upon by all Western characters except for her best friend Lily on the account of her race and profession but she is shown as possessing dignity and a willingness to stand up for herself 287 Several scenes seemed to suggest that Shanghai Lily and Hui are more attracted to one another then either are to Captain Harvey as the two women exchange longing glances more than once through this may be suggesting Huis sexuality is not quite normal most people in 1932 would considered bisexuality to be unnatural 288 At one point Hui wears a tight cheongsam dress which clearly reveal her erect nipples which definitely captures Lilys interest 289 The same criticism might be applied to Lily but the film ends with Lily embracing heterosexual love by kissing Harvey while Hui walks off into the distance alone sadder as a result of losing her best friend to Harvey and because she was raped but otherwise unchanged 290 Finally it is Hui who saves Harvey in the climax from being blindedrapedcastrated at the hands of Chang by killing Chang Hui explains the killing as her way of regaining the selfrespect that Chang had taken away from her 291 Frank Capras The Bitter Tea of General Yen was not quite the same type of film Stanwyck plays a missionary who goes to civilwartorn China and meets the titular general played by Nils Asther after his car kills the driver of her rickshaw When she is knocked unconscious in a riot he takes her out of the rabble and onto a train car She has lurid horrorthemed symbolic dreams about the General in which she is both titillated and repulsed by him The film breaks precedent by developing into an interracial love story but his army ends in ruins Yen kills himself at the films conclusionby drinking poisoned tearather than be captured and killed 292 Capra adored the script and disregarded the risk of making a film that broke Californias and 29 other states laws concerning the portrayal of miscegenation Cinematographer Joseph Walker tested a new technique he created which he dubbed Variable Diffusion in filming the picture This rendered the entire picture in very soft focus 175 Newsreels and documentariesedit Main article Newsreel From 1904 until 1967 when television finally killed them off newsreels preceded films In the early soundfilm era they lasted around eight minutes and featured highlights and clips of the worlds biggest stories Updated twice a week by the five major studios they became a highly profitable enterprise in 1933 newsreels had a total box office take of almost 19 5 million against an outlay of under 10 million 293 The soundfilm era created the narrator among the first was Graham McNamee who provided voiceover during the clips often delivering hackneyed jokes while delineating the onscreen action 294 Sound newsreel interviews and monologues featured famous subjects unaccustomed to the new medium These clips changed public perception of important historical figures depending on their elocution the sound of their previously unheard voices and their composure in front of the camera 295 Around 12 newsreel theaters were soon created around the United States the most successful being the Embassy Newsreel Theater on Broadway The Embassy was a 578seat facility that presented fourteen 45–50 minute programs a day running from 10 in the morning until midnight 296 It was noted for its discerning intellectual audience many of whom did not attend motionpicture theaters 297 All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 one of the first American films to portray the horrors of World War I received great praise from the public for its humanitarian antiwar message The most gripping news story of the preCode era was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby on the evening of 1 March 1932 298 As the child was already enormously famous before the kidnapping the event created a media circus with news coverage more intense than anything since World War I Newsreels featuring family photos of the child the first time private pictures had been conscripted for public service299 asked spectators to report any sight of him On May 12 1932 the childs body was found less than five miles from the Lindbergh home 298300 Although newsreels covered the most important topics of the day they also presented humaninterest stories such as the immensely popular coverage of the Dionne quintuplets300 and entertainment news at times in greater detail than more pressing political and social matters 301 Some of the images impact belies their historical accuracy nearly all ceremonies and public events that were filmed for newsreels in the early sound era were staged and in some cases even reenacted For instance when FDR signed an important bill a member of his cabinet was called away before the staged reenactment began so the film shows him absent at the time of the signing although he had been present 302 The newsreels of FDR were staged to hide his hobbled gait caused by polio 303 Caught between the desire to present accurate hardhitting news stories and the need to keep an audience in the mood for the upcoming entertainment newsreels often softpedaled the difficulties Americans faced during the early years of the Great Depression 304 FDR in particular received favorable treatment from Hollywood with all five of the major studios producing proFDR shorts by late 1933 These shorts featured some of the studios lesser contract talent extolling the virtues of FDR created government and social programs 305 Roosevelt himself was a natural before the camera The newsreels were instrumental to the success of his initial campaign and his enduring popularity while in office 303 He was described by Variety as the Barrymore of the Capital 70 Taking advantage of the existence of 30 years of newsreels archives were filmmakers who made early sound era documentaries World War I was a popular topic of these pictures and spawned the following documentaries The Big Drive 1933 World in Revolt 1933 This is America 1933 and Hells Holiday 1933 306 The most prescientclarification needed preCode World War I documentary was aptly called The First World War 1934 and was the most critically and commercially successful documentary of the era Filmmakers also made featurelength documentaries that covered the dark recesses of the globe including the Amazon rainforest Native American settlements the Pacific islands and everywhere in between Taking advantage of audiences voyeuristic impulses aided by the allowance of nudity in tribal documentaries the filming of lands untouched by modernity and the presentation of locales never before filmed these movies placated Depression era American audiences by showing them lifestyles more difficult than their own 307 Also captured were Arctic expeditions in films such 90° South and With Byrd at the South Pole and SubSaharan Africa in the safari films of Martin and Osa Johnson among others 308 Some exploitation style documentaries purported to show actual events but were instead staged elaborate ruses The most prominent of which was Ingagi 1931 a film which claimed to show a ritual where African women were given over to gorillas as sex slaves but instead was mostly filmed in Los Angeles using local blacks in place of natives 309Douglas Fairbanks mocked the phoniness of many preCode documentaries in his parody Around the World in 80 Minutes with Douglas Fairbanks in one scene of which he filmed himself wrestling a stuffed tiger doll then a tigerskin rug 310 Opposing these films was the travelogue which was shown before features and served as a short saccharine form of cinematic tourism 311 Beginning of Code era July 1 1934edit Precode Donts and Be Carefuls as proposed in 1927edit The Code enumerated a number of key points known as the Donts and Be Carefuls312 Resolved That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association irrespective of the manner in which they are treated Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words God Lord Jesus Christ unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies hell damn Gawd and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture The illegal traffic in drugs Any inference of sex perversion White slavery Miscegenation sex relationships between the white and black races Sex hygiene and venereal diseases Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette Childrens sex organs Ridicule of the clergy Willful offense to any nation race or creed And be it further resolved That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized The use of the flag International relations avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another countrys religion history institutions prominent people and citizenry Arson The use of firearms Theft robbery safecracking and dynamiting of trains mines buildings etc having in mind the effect which a toodetailed description of these may have upon the moron Brutality and possible gruesomeness Technique of committing murder by whatever method Methods of smuggling Thirddegree methods Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime Sympathy for criminals Attitude toward public characters and institutions Sedition Apparent cruelty to children and animals Branding of people or animals The sale of women or of a woman selling her virtue Rape or attempted rape Firstnight scenes Man and woman in bed together Deliberate seduction of girls The institution of marriage Surgical operations The use of drugs Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or lawenforcing officers Excessive or lustful kissing particularly when one character or the other is a heavy PreCode films began to draw the ire of various religious groups some Protestant but mostly a contingent of Roman Catholic crusaders 313Amleto Giovanni Cicognani apostolic delegate to the Catholic Church in the United States called upon Roman Catholics in the United States to unite against the surging immorality of films As a result in 1933 the Catholic Legion of Decency headed by the Reverend John T McNicholas later renamed the National Legion of Decency was established to control and enforce decency standards and boycott films they deemed offensive 314315 They created a rating system for films that started at harmless and ended at condemned with the latter denoting a film that was a sin to watch 316 I wish to join the Legion of Decency which condemns vile and unwholesome moving pictures I unite with all who protest against them as a grave menace to youth to home life to country and to religion I condemn absolutely those salacious motion pictures which with other degrading agencies are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land Considering these evils I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality Catholic Legion of Decency Pledge317 The Legion spurred several million Roman Catholics across the U S to sign up for the boycott allowing local religious leaders to determine which films to protest 315318 Conservative Protestants tended to support much of the crackdown particularly in the South where anything relating to the state of race relations or miscegenation could not be portrayed Although the Central Conference of American Rabbis joined in the protest it was an uneasy alliance given the heavy presence of Jewish studio executives and producers which it was felt had inspired at least some of the vitriol from the Catholic groups 319 Hays opposed direct censorship considering it UnAmerican He had stated that although there were some tasteless films in his estimation working with filmmakers was better than direct oversight and that overall films were not harmful to children Hays blamed some of the more prurient films on the difficult economic times which exerted tremendous commercial pressure on the studios more than a flouting of the code 320 Catholic groups became enraged with Hays and as early as July 1934 were demanding that he resign from his position which he did not although his influence waned and Breen took control with Hays becoming a functionary 321322 The PCA seal of approval in the 1930s The Seal appeared before every picture approved by the MPPDA The Payne Study and Experiment Fund was created in 1927 by Frances Payne Bolton to support a study of the influence of fiction on children 323 The Payne Fund Studies a series of eight324 books published from 1933 to 1935 which detailed five 5 years of research aimed specifically at the cinemas effects on children were also gaining publicity at this time and became a great concern to Hays 320325326 Hays had said certain pictures might alter that sacred thing the mind of a child that clean virgin thing that unmarked state and have the same responsibility the same care about the thing put on it that the best clergyman or the most inspired teacher would have 327 Despite its initial reception the main findings of the study were largely innocuous It found that cinemas effect on individuals varied with age and social position and that pictures reinforced audiences existing beliefs 328329 The Motion Picture Research Council MPRC led by honorary vice president Sara Delano Roosevelt mother of President Franklin D Roosevelt330 and executive director the Rev William H Short331 which funded the study was not pleased An alarmist summary of the studys results written by Henry James Forman appeared in McCalls a leading womens magazine of the time and Formans book Our Movie Made Children which became a bestseller publicized the Payne Funds results emphasizing its more negative aspects 319332 The social environment created by the publicity of the Payne Fund Studies and religious protests reached such a fever pitch that a member of the Hays Office described it as a state of war 333 However newspapers including The Plain Dealer Cleveland New Orleans Times Picayune Chicago Daily News Atlanta Journal Saint Paul Dispatch the Philadelphia Record and Public Ledger the Boston American and New Yorks Daily News Daily Mirror and Evening Post all lambasted the studies 334 When discussing the Supreme Courts 1915 decision film historian Gregory Black argues that the efforts of reformers might have been lessened had filmmakers been willing to produce films for specialized audiences adults only family no children but the movers and shakers of the industry wanted or needed the largest possible market 335 The most provocative pictures were the most profitable with the 25 of the motion picture industrys output that was the most sensational supporting the cleaner 75 336 By 1932 there was an increasing movement for government control 337 By mid1934 when Cardinal Dougherty of Philadelphia called for a Catholic boycott of all films and Raymond Cannon was privately preparing a congressional bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans which would introduce Government oversight the studios decided they had had enough 338 They reorganized the enforcement procedures giving Hays and the recently appointed Joseph I Breen a devout Roman Catholic head of the new Production Code Administration PCA greater control over censorship 339 The studios agreed to disband their appeals committee and to impose a 25000 fine for producing distributing or exhibiting any film without PCA approval 4 Hays had originally hired Breen who had worked in public relations in 1930 to handle Production Code publicity and the latter was popular among Catholics 340 Joy began working solely for Fox Studios and Wingate had been bypassed in favor of Breen in December 1933 341342 Hays became a functionary while Breen handled the business of censoring films 343 Breen was an extreme antiSemite344 who was quoted as stating that Jews are probably the scum of the earth 318345 When Breen died in 1965 the trade magazine Variety stated More than any single individual he shaped the moral stature of the American motion picture 346 Although the Legions impact on the more effective enforcement of the Code is unquestionable its influence on the general populace is harder to gauge A study done by Hays after the Code was finally fully implemented found that audiences were doing the exact opposite of what the Legion had recommended Each time the Legion protested a film it meant increased ticket sales unsurprisingly Hays kept these results to himself and they were not revealed until many years later 347 In contrast to big cities boycotts in smaller towns were more effective and theater owners complained of the harassment they received when they exhibited salacious films 348 Many actors and actresses such as Edward G Robinson Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable continued their careers apace after the Code was enforced However others such as Ruth Chatterton who decamped to England around 1936 and Warren William who died relatively young in the 1940s who excelled during this period are mostly forgotten today 2349 After the Code era – Motion Picture Association of America film rating system MPAAedit Scenes such as this in which a man is about to kiss a woman in bed in her nightgown Warren William and Ann Dvorak in 1932s Three on a Match were proscribed by the Production Code After 1934 a scene such as this would not appear in a Hollywood film for decades Censors like Martin Quigley and Joseph Breen understood that a private industry code strictly enforced is more effective than government censorship as a means of imposing religious dogma It is secret for one thing operating at the preproduction stage The audience never knows what has been trimmed cut revised or never written For another it is uniformnot subject to hundreds of different licensing standards Finally and most important private censorship can be more sweeping in its demands because it is not bound by constitutional due process or freeexpression rulesin general these apply to only the governmentor by the command of churchstate separation there is no question that American cinema today is far freer than in the heyday of the Code when Joe Breens blue pencil and the Legion of Decencys everpresent boycott threat combined to assure that films adhered to Catholic Church doctrine 350 Termed by Breen as Compensating moral value the maxim was that any theme must contain at least sufficient good in the story to compensate for and to counteract any evil which relates 17 Hollywood could present evil behavior but only if it were eradicated by the end of the film with the guilty punished and the sinner redeemed 17 PreCode scholar Thomas Doherty summarized the practical effects351 Even for moral guardians of Breens dedication however film censorship can be a tricky business Images must be cut dialogue overdubbed or deleted and explicit messages and subtle implications excised from what the argot of film criticism calls the diegesis Put simply the diegesis is the world of the film the universe inhabited by the characters existing in the landscape of cinema Diegetic elements are experienced by the characters in the film and vicariously by the spectator nondiegetic elements are apprehended by the spectator alone The job of the motion picture censor is to patrol the diegesis keeping an eye and ear out for images languages and meanings that should be banished from the world of film The easiest part of the assignment is to connect the dots and connect what is visually and verbally forbidden by name More challenging is the work of the textual analysis and narrative rehabilitation that discerns and redirects hidden lessons and moral meanings Shirley Temple a rising star in 1934 was advertised as an attraction that will serve as an answer to many of the attacks that are being hurled at pictures 352 The censors thus expanded their jurisdiction from what was seen to what was implied in the spectators mind In The Office Wife 1930 several of Joan Blondells disrobing maneuvers were strictly forbidden and the implied image of the actress being naked just offscreen was deemed too suggestive even though it relied upon the audience using their imaginations so postCode releases of the film had scenes which were blurred or rendered indistinct if allowed at all 17 Following the July 1 1934 decision by the studios put the power over film censorship in Breens hands he appeared in a series of newsreel clips promoting the new order of business assuring Americans that the motionpicture industry would be cleansed of the vulgar the cheap and the tawdry and that pictures would be made vital and wholesome entertainment 353 All scripts now went through PCA347 and several films playing in theaters were ordered withdrawn 333354 The first film Breen censored in the production stage was the Joan Crawford film Forsaking All Others 355 Although Independent film producers vowed they would give no thought to Mr Joe Breen or anything he represents they caved on their stance within one month of making it 356 The major studios still owned most of the successful theaters in the country3 and studio heads such as Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures had already agreed to stop making indecent films 357358 In several large cities audiences booed when the Production seal appeared before films 356 But the Catholic Church was pleased and in 1936 Pope Pius XI stated that the U S film industry has recognized and accepts its responsibility before society 4 The Legion condemned zero films produced by the MPPDA between 1936 and 1943 359 A coincidental upswing in the fortunes of several studios was publicly explained by Code proponents such as the Motion Picture Herald as proof positive that the code was working 360 Another fortunate coincidence for Code supporters was the torrent of famous criminals such as John Dillinger Baby Face Nelson and Bonnie and Clyde that were killed by police shortly after the PCA took power Corpses of the outlaws were shown in newsreels around the country alongside clips of Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly in Alcatraz 361 Among the unarguably positive aspects of the Code being enforced was the money it saved studios in having to edit cut and alter films to get approval from the various state boards and censors The money saved was in the millions annually 362 A spate of more wholesome family films featuring performers such as Shirley Temple took off 352 Leo Gorcey and James Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces 1937 Stars such as James Cagney redefined their images Cagney played a series of patriots and his gangster in Angels with Dirty Faces 1937 purposefully acts like a coward when he is executed so children who had looked up to him would cease any such admiration 361 Breen in essence neutered Groucho Marx removing most of his jokes which directly referenced sex although some sexual references slipped through unnoticed in the Marx Brothers postCode pictures 363 In the political realm films such Mr Smith Goes to Washington 1939 in which James Stewart tries to change the American system from within while reaffirming its core values stand in stark contrast to Gabriel Over the White House where a dictator is needed to cure Americas woes 364 Some preCode movies suffered irreparable damage from censorship after 1934 When studios attempted to reissue films from the 1920s and early 1930s they were forced to make extensive cuts Films such as Animal Crackers 1930 Mata Hari 1931 Arrowsmith 1931 and A Farewell to Arms 1932 exist only in their censored versions Many other films survived intact because they were too controversial to be rereleased such as The Maltese Falcon 1931 which was remade a decade later with the same name and thus never had their master negatives edited 365 In the case of Convention City 1933 which Breen would not allow to be rereleased in any form the entire film remains missing Although it has been rumored that all prints and negatives were ordered destroyed by Jack Warner in the late thirties366 further research shows the negative was in the vaults as late as 1948 when it was junked due to nitrate decomposition 367 Contemporary screeningsedit In the 1980s New York City Film Forum programmer Bruce Goldstein held the first film festivals featuring preCode films 368 Goldstein is also credited by San Francisco film critic Mick LaSalle as the person to bring the term preCode into general use 369 UCLA ran several series of preCode films during the 2000s showcasing films which had not been seen for decades and not available on any home media 370 In 2014 the British Film Institute ran a 21film season titled Hollywood Babylon Early Talkies Before the Censors at the BFI Southbank 371372 Home videoedit In the 1990s MGM released several preCode films on laserdisc and VHS The Forbidden Hollywood Collection included Baby Face Beauty and the Boss Big Business Girl Blessed Event Blonde Crazy Bombshell Dance Fools Dance Employees Entrance ExLady Female Havana Widows Heroes for Sale Illicit Ive Got Your Number Ladies They Talk About Lady Killer Madam Satan Night Nurse Our Dancing Daughters Our Modern Maidens The Purchase Price RedHeaded Woman Scarlet Dawn Skyscraper Souls The Strange Love of Molly Louvain They Call It Sin and Three on a Match 373374 The sexually charged Baby Face 1933 starred Barbara Stanwyck who had it and made it pay 51 MGMUA and Turner Classic Movies also released other preCode films such as The Divorcee Doctor X A Free Soul Little Caesar Mystery of the Wax Museum Possessed The Public Enemy Red Dust remade in 1953 as Mogambo and Riptide under other labels In 1999 the Roan GroupTroma Entertainment released two preCode DVD collections PreCode Hollywood The Risqué Years 1 featuring Of Human Bondage Millie and Kept Husbands and PreCode Hollywood 2 featuring Bird of Paradise and The Lady Refuses Warner Bros Home Video has released a number of their preCode films on DVD under the Forbidden Hollywood banner To date ten volumes have been released Volume 1 December 5 2006 includes Baby Face RedHeaded Woman and Waterloo Bridge 375 Volume 2 March 4 2008 includes The Divorcee A Free Soul Three on a Match Female and Night Nurse 349 Volume 3 March 24 2009 featured six films from William Wellman Other Mens Women The Purchase Price Frisco Jenny Midnight Mary Heroes for Sale and Wild Boys of the Road 376 Volume 4 August 9 2012 includes Jewel Robbery Lawyer Man Man Wanted and They Call It Sin Volume 5 August 9 2012 includes Hard to Handle Ladies They Talk About The Mind Reader and Miss Pinkerton Volume 6 April 2 2013 includes The Wet Parade Downstairs Mandalay and Massacre 377 Volume 7 April 30 2013 includes The Hatchet Man Skyscraper Souls Employees Entrance ExLady378 Volume 8 October 28 2014 includes Blonde Crazy Strangers May Kiss Hi Nellie Dark Hazard379 Volume 9 October 27 2015 includes Big City Blues Hells Highway The Cabin in the Cotton When Ladies Meet380 Volume 10 April 19 2016 includes Guilty Hands The Mouthpiece Secrets of the French Police The Match King and Ever in My Heart 381 Universal Home Video followed suit with the PreCode Hollywood Collection Universal Backlot Series box set April 7 2009 It includes The Cheat Merrily We Go to Hell Hot Saturday Torch Singer Murder at the Vanities and Search for Beauty together with a copy of the entire Hays Code There have been numerous releases of manufacturedondemand DVDRs with Warner also issuing various preCoders individually and as dualfilm sets via their Warner Archive Collection imprint These include PreCode Double Feature March 29 2012 with The Crash and Registered Nurse Dorothy Mackaill PreCode Double Feature March 29 2012 with Bright Lights and The Reckless Hour Turner have also released MOD DVDs including PreCode Double Feature May 17 2012 with The Song of Songs and This Is the Night Columbia Pictures PreCode Collection TCM November 25 2014 includes Ten Cents a Dance Arizona Three Wise Girls Shopworn and Virtue See alsoedit Film in the United States portal List of preCode films Studio system Video nasty Referencesedit Notes a b c LaSalle 2002 pg 1 a b c d Turan pg 371 a b c Siegel & Siegel pg 190 a b c d e f g Yagoda Ben HOLLYWOOD CLEANS UP ITS ACT The curious career of the Hays Office americanheritage com accessed October 11 2012 Gardner 2005 pg 92 available online Inflation Calculator DaveManuel com Retrieved October 30 2015 a b Doherty pg 6 a b Prince pg 20 Jowett essay in Bernstein pg 16 Butters Jr pg 149 a b Smith pg 38 Jacobs pg 108 Prince pg 21 a b c d e LaSalle Mick PreCode Hollywood Archived 20090618 at the Wayback Machine GreenCine com accessed October 4 2010 a b c d Doherty pg 8 a b Doherty pg 7 a b c d Doherty pg 11 Butters Jr pg 188 Black pg 43 Doherty pg 107 Black pg 44 a b Black pg 51 Black pp 50–51 Jacobs pg 27 Black pg 52 Black pp 44–45 a b Black pg 45 a b Doherty pp 111–12 Benshoff & Griffin pg 218 Doherty pg Hollywood S Leading Men The Ultimate Collection 2 Black pg 30 Butters Jr pg 148 LaSalle 1999 pg 62 Vieira pp 7–8 a b c Butters Jr pg 187 Vieira pg 8 a b Prince pg 31 Butters Jr pg 189 a b Siegel & Siegel pg 379 Black pp 27–29 Parkinson pg 42 Jeff & Simmons pg 6 Black pg 27 Doherty pg 16 Doherty pp 24–26 Doherty pp 16–17 Doherty pg 20 Doherty pg 22 Doherty pp 22–23 a b Doherty pg 23 Doherty pp 26–27 a b Turan pg 375 McElvaine vol 1 pg 311 a b c Doherty pg 40 Doherty pg 17 Doherty pg 18 McElvaine Vol 1 pg 448 a b Doherty pg 34 Doherty pg 36 Doherty pp 36–37 Doherty pp 41–44 Doherty pg 45 a b Doherty pg 46 a b Doherty pg 49 LaSalle 2002 pg 148 a b Doherty pg 60 Turan pg 370 Rosenbaum Jonathan Employees Entrance review Chicago Reader accessed October 7 2010 Doherty pg 71 Turan pg 374 Doherty pg 54 a b Doherty pg 79 a b c Doherty pg 50 Doherty pp 50–51 a b Doherty pg 51 a b c Doherty pg 59 Kehr Dave The Nation Seeing Business Through Hollywoods Lens The New York Times July 14 2002 accessed October 9 2010 Hall Mourdant Skyscraper Souls 1932 – A Bankers Ambition The New York Times August 5 1932 accessed October 9 2010 LaSalle 2002 pg 150 Doherty pp 61–62 a b Doherty pg 56 Doherty pp 57–58 Doherty pp 70–77 Kehr Dave Gabriel over the White House review in The Chicago Reader accessed October 30 2010 a b Doherty pg 63 Doherty pg 64 Doherty pg 65 Monahan Kaspar High Schoolers Smash Rule Of Gangland – Save City From Mobsters In DeMille Film At Penn The Pittsburgh Press September 16 1933 accessed October 9 2010 Doherty pg 66 Black pg 137 a b Doherty pp 73–75 Hall Mordaunt Gabriel Over the White House review in The New York Times April 1 1933 accessed October 20 2010 Doherty pg 76 a b Doherty pg 77 Doherty pg 85 Doherty pg 89 Doherty pg 92 Doherty pg 75 Black pg 144 Doherty pg 97 Doherty pp 98–99 Doherty pp 100–101 Doherty pg 101 Charges Nazis Here Using Threats to Halt Production of mad Dog of Europe Jta org 19331023 Retrieved 20130627 Scholar asserts that Hollywood avidly aided Nazis nytimes com June 26 2013 accessed December 11 2016 a b c d Siegel & Siegel pg 165 Shadoian pg 29 Leitch pg 22 Kehr Dave Underworld film review Chicago Reader accessed October 11 2010 Leitch pg 23 Hughes p xii Prince pg 23 Prince pp 23–28 a b c Doherty pg 139 Doherty pg 140 Doherty pg 137 Doherty pg 142 Doherty pp 137–38 Siegel & Siegel pg 359 Black pg 110 Leitch pg 24 Dirks Tim Little Caesar profile filmsite org accessed October 15 2010 Canby Vincent FILM VIEW Annual Report On the Mob New York Times December 4 1988 accessed October 15 2010 a b Little Caesar review at Film4 com accessed October 14 2010 Black p 115 Vieira pg 33 Hughes pp xiii 4 a b Dirk Tim The Public Enemy review at filmsite org accessed October 15 2010 Hughes pg 8 a b c d Doherty pg 150 a b Black pg 123 a b Smith pg 51 a b c Doherty pg 148 Ebert Roger of Scarface The Chicago SunTimes December 9 1983 Scarface review in Variety December 31 1931 accessed October 15 2010 Wood Bret Scarface review tcm com accessed November 1 2010 a b Kehr Dave Scarface review at Chicago Reader accessed October 15 2010 Vieira pg 69 Corliss essay in Schatz p 159 Black pg 131 Doherty pp 149–50 Doherty pg 151 Black pg 109 a b Doherty pg 153 a b c Doherty pg 158 Doherty pg 159 Doherty pp 159–160 Druker Don The Big House Chicago Reader 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and drama This art of the motion picture combining as its does the two fundamental appeals of looking at a picture and listening to a story at once reached sic every class of society Thus it is difficult to produce films intended for only certain classes of people Films unlike books and music can with difficulty be confined to certain selected groups Doherty pp 106–07 Massey pg 71 Doherty pg 126 Doherty pg 127 a b c d Vieira pg 118 Doherty pg 113 Doherty pp 113–114 a b Doherty pg 114 McElvaine Vol 2 pg 1055 McElvaine Vol 1 pp 310–311 LaSalle M 2000 Complicated Women Sex and Power in PreCode Hollywood New York NY St Martins Press page 12 Doherty pp 117–118 Black Gregory D Hollywood Censored Cambridge University Press 1994 Doherty pg 128 Profile Christopher Strong Archived 20121017 at the Wayback Machine timeout com accessed November 11 2010 Doherty pp 124–125 a b Doherty pg 131 Doherty pg 132 LaSalle 1999 pg 127 LaSalle Mick Baby Face now better and racier than ever before February 3 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Decency TIME June 11 1934 accessed October 21 2010 Jowett Jarvie and Fuller p 93 PreCode Hollywood before the censors British Film Institute Retrieved October 30 2015 a b Black pg 149 a b Doherty pg 322 a b Black pg 150 United Press Movie Critic asks Film Czar to Quit The Pittsburgh Press July 7 1934 accessed October 21 2010 Associated Press Church Critics of Movies Call for Ousting of Will Hays Gettysburg Times July 10 1934 accessed October 21 2010 Jowett Jarvie and Fuller p xvi See Jowett Jarvie and Fuller pg 92 Frequently this number is mistakenly given as nine nine were announced but only eight were ever released Jacobs pg 107 Massey pg 75 Lewis pg 133 Massey pg 29 Jowett Jarvie and Fuller p 5 Doherty p 323 Saettler pg 229 Massey pp 29–30 Jowett Jarvie and Fuller pp 94–95 a b Jacobs p 106 Black pg 154 Black pg 18 Richard Corliss essay reprinted in Schatz pg 144 Butters Jr p 191 Doherty pp 321 324–325 Corliss essay in Schatz pg 149 Doherty pp 8 9 Butters Jr pg 190 Jeff & Simmmons pg 55 Ross pg 270 Jacobs pg 109 Smith pg 60 LaSalle 1999 pg 192 Black pg 39 Doherty pg 98 For more discussion of Breens antisemitism see Doherty 2009 chapter 10 in the Further reading section Doherty pg 9 a b LaSalle pg 201 Doherty pp 324–325 a b Kehr Dave Critics Choice – New DVDs Forbidden Hollywood The New York Times March 11 2008 accessed September 20 2011 Heins Marjorie The Miracle Film Censorship and the Entanglement of Church and State fepproject org accessed October 4 2010 Doherty p 10 a b Doherty p 333 Doherty pp 328–30 Doherty pg 331 Doherty pg 329 a b Doherty p 334 United Press Will Hays Confers with Film Leaders Berkeley Daily Gazette July 10 1934 accessed October 20 2010 Stir in Hollywood Evening Post July 21 1934 accessed October 20 2010 Corliss essay in Schatz pg 151 Doherty pg 336 a b Doherty pg 339 Doherty pg 335 Gardner 1988 pp 114–116 118–120 Doherty pp 341–342 Vieira pg 6 Vieira pp 211–212 230 Where is Convention City hiding chiseler org accessed August 9 2015 LaSalle Mick Bruce Goldstein Introduces The Tingler sfgate com July 10 2009 accessed October 17 2010 LaSalle Mick A Gift Idea – An Interview With Rialtos Bruce Goldstein sfgate com December 21 2008 accessed October 17 2010 Turan Kenneth Back when Hollywood played it fast and sassy Los Angeles Times January 27 2008 accessed December 28 2010 PreCode Hollywood The Forgotten Genre Huffington Post Retrieved 18 April 2017 Hollywood behaving badly the outrageous films of the earlytalkie era The Telegraph Retrieved 18 April 2017 Nichols Peter M Home EntertainmentsVideo Fast Forward Rent Now Buy Later The New York Times March 24 1991 accessed September 20 2011 James Caryn Movies Used to Be Really Good by Being Bad The New York Times May 30 1993 accessed September 20 2011 Kehr Dave Hollywood Treasures Boxed Tinned and Ready for Viewers December 19 2006 accessed September 20 2011 Kehr Dave On the William Wellman Depression Express The New York Times March 20 2009 accessed September 20 2011 Laz Forbidden 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Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films Fourth Edition Continuum 2001 ISBN 082641267X Butters Jr Gerard R Banned in Kansas motion picture censorship 1915–1966 University of Missouri Press 2007 ISBN 0826217494 Chan Anthony Perpetually Cool The Many Lives of Anna May Wong Lanham Rowman & Littlefield 2003 ISBN 0810859092 Doherty Thomas Patrick PreCode Hollywood Sex Immorality and Insurrection in American Cinema 1930–1934 New York Columbia University Press 1999 ISBN 0231110944 Gardner Eric The Czar of Hollywood Indianapolis Monthly Emmis Publishing LP February 2005 ISSN 08990328 available online Gardner Gerald The Censorship Papers Movie Censorship Letters from the Hays Office 1934 to 1968 Dodd Mead 1988 ISBN 0396089038 Hughes Howard Crime Wave The Filmgoers Guide to the Great Crime Movies I B Tauris 2006 ISBN 1845112199 Huang Yunte Charlie Chan The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History New York W W Norton 2010 ISBN 0393340392 Jacobs Lea The Wages of Sin Censorship and the Fallen Woman Film 1928–1942 Madison University of Wisconsin Press 1997 ISBN 0520207904 Jeff Leonard L & Simmons Jerold L The Dame in the Kimono Hollywood Censorship and the Production Code The University Press of Kentucky 2001 ISBN 0813190118 Jowett Garth S Jarvie Ian C and Fuller Kathryn H Children and the movies media influence and the Payne Fund controversy Cambridge University Press 1996 ISBN 0521482925 LaSalle Mick Complicated Women Sex and Power in PreCode Hollywood New York St Martins Press 2000 ISBN 0312252072 LaSalle Mick Dangerous Men PreCode Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man New York Thomas Dunne Books 2002 ISBN 0312283113 Leitch Thomas Crime Films Cambridge University Press 2004 ISBN 0511040288 Lewis Jen Hollywood V Hard Core How the Struggle Over Censorship Created the Modern Film Industry NYU Press 2002 ISBN 0814751423 Lim Shirley Jennifer I Protest Anna May Wong and the Performance of Modernity Chapter title A Feeling of Belonging Asian American Womens Public Culture 1930–1960 New York New York University Press 2005 pp 104–175 ISBN 0814751938 Massey Anne Hollywood Beyond the Screen Design and Material Culture Berg Publishers 2000 ISBN 1859733166 Marchetti Gina Romance and the Yellow Peril Los Angeles University of California Press 1994 ISBN 9780520084957 McElvaine Robert S editor in chief Encyclopedia of The Great Depression Volume 1 A–K Macmillan Reference USA 2004 ISBN 0028656873 McElvaine Robert S editor in chief Encyclopedia of The Great Depression Volume 2 L–Z Macmillan Reference USA 2004 ISBN 0028656881 Parkinson David History of Film Thames & Hudson 1996 ISBN 050020277X Prince Stephen Classical Film Violence Designing and Regulating Brutality in Hollywood Cinema 1930–1968 Rutgers University Press 2003 ISBN 0813532817 Ross Stephen J The Seen The Unseen and The Obscene PreCode Hollywood Reviews in American History The Johns Hopkins University Press June 2000ISBN missing Schatz Thomas Hollywood Social dimensions technology regulation and the audience Taylor & Francis 2004 ISBN 0415281342 Shadoian Jack Dreams & dead ends the American gangster film Oxford University Press 2003 ISBN 0195142918 Siegel Scott & Barbara The Encyclopedia of Hollywood 2nd edition Checkmark Books 2004 ISBN 0816046220 Smith Sarah Children Cinema and Censorship From Dracula to the Dead End Kids WileyBlackwell 2005 ISBN 1405120274 Turan Kenneth Never Coming to a Theater Near You A Celebration of a Certain Kind of Movie Public Affairs 2004 ISBN 1586482319 Vasey Ruth The world according to Hollywood 1918–1939 University of Wisconsin Press 1997 ISBN 0299151948 Vieira Mark A Sin in Soft Focus PreCode Hollywood New York Harry N Abrams Inc 1999 ISBN 0810982285 Further reading Doherty Thomas Patrick Hollywoods Censor Joseph I Breen and the Production Code Administration New York Columbia University Press 2009 ISBN 0231143583 External linksedit The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 PreCode Film from Bright Lights Film Journal Sexual Classic Films at Filmsite org PreCode Film at the UCLA Film & Television Archive Turner Classic Movies Lets Misbehave A Tribute to Precode Hollywood 9 Outrageous and Uncensored Precode Horror Films You Should See Now PreCode Hollywood before the censors