Wednesday, September 25, 2013

now it's hollywoods's turn part three

A Queer History of the United States... Keep in mind that that list of Hays Code precepts I listed in my last post was only a fraction of the code! It also had specific guidelines like ''pictures shall not imply that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.'' So, adultery or non marital sex could never be shown as being normal, neutral or positive. One might think that that covered Gays and Lesbians, since they could not be married but it did not because Gay and Lesbian love and sex fell under the category of  ''perversion'' which had it's own precept. They had all the bases covered!
    The Hays Code was formally adopted by the movie industry in March of 1930. In July of 1934 all films had to have a certificate confirming that they met code standards before they could be released. So, all Hollywood films made From about the mid 1930's were heavily censored and therefore a false image of reality. The industry did not begin to challenge the code until the mid 1950's. You will find no mention of LGBT's in any film made during that time or any other ''taboo'' subject. However, I suspect that writers, directors and producers did find creative and clever ways to get things in.
    In part two of this posting I said that the Hays Code was a kind of self regulation that was instigated by the clergy, but it did have some government ''precursors'' as well. Thirty-seven states had introduced movie censorship bills in 1921. These states had been encouraged by a 1915 Supreme Court case : Mutual Film Corporation vs. Industrial Commission of Ohio that concluded that free speech did not apply to motion pictures.

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