How far we've come - The Production Code

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Sonic Youth
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Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:30 pm

To perfectly illustrate how destructive the Production Code was:

Joan Blondell, pre-Code

Joan Blondell, post-Code

I rest my case.
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

Big Magilla
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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:06 pm

Universal's Pre-Code Hollywood collection of "6 shocking films from before the rules" (actually they're all Paramount, not universal, films) includes an a delightful unexpected extra, a copy of the notorious Production Code of June 13, 1934.

It's funny and sad at the same time what the blue noses did to the movie industry and what they and we, the public, allowed in the name of propriety. Here are a few samples:


The technique of murder must be presented in a way that will not inspire imitation.

Brutal killings are not to be presented in detail.

Revenge in modern times shall not be justified.


The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.

Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.

Rape is never the proper subject for comedy.

Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.

Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden.

Sex hygiene and venereal disease are not subjects for motion pictures.

Scenes of child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.

Children's sex organs are never to be exposed.


The treatment of low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects should be subject always to the dictate of good taste and a regard for the sensibilities of the audience.


Obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song, joke, or by suggestion (even when likely to be understood only by part of the audience) is forbidden.


Pointed profanity (this includes the words: God, Lord, Jesus, Christ - unless used reverently - Hell, S.O.B. damn, Gawd), or every other profane or vulgar expression, however used, is forbidden.


Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.


Dances which emphasize indecent movement are to be regarded as obscene.


Ministers of religion in their character as ministers of religion should not be used as comic characters or as villains.


The treatment of bedrooms must be governed by good taste and delicacy.


The following subjects must be treated within the careful limits of good taste:

1. Actual hanging or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime.

2. Third degree methods.

3. Brutality and possible gruesomeness.

4. Branding of people or animals.

5. Apparent cruelty to children or animals.

6. The sale of women, or a woman selling her virtue.

7. Surgical operations.

Edited By Big Magilla on 1238634616

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