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Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)

TV-MA
TV Movie | 68 min | Documentary

Various film historians, film makers, and cultural commentators discuss the cultural, political, economic and religious reasons for what is known as the pre-code era of Hollywood movie making in the early 1930s, and those same factors ...See moreVarious film historians, film makers, and cultural commentators discuss the cultural, political, economic and religious reasons for what is known as the pre-code era of Hollywood movie making in the early 1930s, and those same factors which resulted in the drastic turn to working under the code for the twenty or so years starting in 1934. The "code" is the Hollywood Production Code of 1930 (also known as the Hays Code, so named for Will H. Hays, the first head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America), which was developed in order for movie making in Hollywood to run smoothly in the face of increased outside censors. The code was largely ignored until 1934, when its enforcement was overseen by Joseph I. Breen who took over from Hays and who had a different agenda of moral purity. During those four years, pre-code Hollywood movies are characterized by their rawness and pushing the envelope of sexuality and moral ambiguity (with the depraved side often winning), which were not allowed under the code. What happened to the distribution of pre-code movies during the years that the code was enforced, the reasons for the slow breakdown of the code in the early to mid 1950s, and the reasons for renewed interest in pre-code movies later in the century are also discussed. Written by Huggo See less
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Updated Mar 3, 2008

Release date
Mar 3, 2008 (United States)

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32 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Valerie Spencer
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John Landis
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Jonathan Kuntz
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Rudy Behlmer
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Jerry Beck
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Camille Paglia
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Hugh Hefner
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Jack Valenti
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Will H. Hays
Himself (archive footage) (as Will Hayes) Himself (archive footage) (as Will Hayes)   See fewer
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Jeffrey Vance
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Molly Haskell
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Mark Vieira
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Norma Shearer
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Clark Gable
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Barbara Stanwyck
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Joan Crawford
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Ann Dvorak
Vivian Revere Kirkwood (archive footage) Vivian Revere Kirkwood (archive footage)   See fewer
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Walter Huston
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Wallace Ford
Detective Ed Fitzpatrick (archive footage) Detective Ed Fitzpatrick (archive footage)   See fewer
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Jean Harlow
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Paul Muni
James Allen (archive footage) James Allen (archive footage)   See fewer
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Tony Maietta
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Greta Garbo
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Joseph I. Breen
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Joel McCrea
John Neville Jr. (archive footage) John Neville Jr. (archive footage)   See fewer
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Constance Bennett
Valerie West (archive footage) Valerie West (archive footage)   See fewer
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Miriam Hopkins
Ivy Pearson (archive footage) Ivy Pearson (archive footage)   See fewer
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Myrna Loy
Gertie Waxted (archive footage) Gertie Waxted (archive footage)   See fewer
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Loretta Young
Madeleine Walters West (archive footage) Madeleine Walters West (archive footage)   See fewer
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Warren William
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Ruth Chatterton
Alison Drake (archive footage) Alison Drake (archive footage)   See fewer
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Mae West
Tira (archive footage) Tira (archive footage)   See fewer
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7.5 / 10 | 298 votes