Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930--1934

Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930--1934

by Thomas Doherty
     
 

ISBN-10: 0231110944

ISBN-13: 9780231110945

Pub. Date: 08/28/1999

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Pre-Code Hollywood explores the fascinating period in American motion picture history from 1930 to 1934 when the commandments of the Production Code Administration were violated with impunity in a series of wildly unconventional films--a time when censorship was lax and Hollywood made the most of it. Though more unbridled, salacious, subversive, and just plain bizarre…  See more details below

Overview

Pre-Code Hollywood explores the fascinating period in American motion picture history from 1930 to 1934 when the commandments of the Production Code Administration were violated with impunity in a series of wildly unconventional films--a time when censorship was lax and Hollywood made the most of it. Though more unbridled, salacious, subversive, and just plain bizarre than what came afterwards, the films of the period do indeed have the look of Hollywood cinema--but the moral terrain is so off-kilter that they seem imported from a parallel universe.

In a sense, Doherty avers, the films of pre-Code Hollywood are from another universe. They lay bare what Hollywood under the Production Code attempted to cover up and push offscreen: sexual liaisons unsanctified by the laws of God or man, marriage ridiculed and redefined, ethnic lines crossed and racial barriers ignored, economic injustice exposed and political corruption assumed, vice unpunished and virtue unrewarded--in sum, pretty much the raw stuff of American culture, unvarnished and unveiled.

No other book has yet sought to interpret the films and film-related meanings of the pre-Code era--what defined the period, why it ended, and what its relationship was to the country as a whole during the darkest years of the Great Depression ... and afterward.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231110945
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Series:
Film and Culture Series
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
1440L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
1On the Cusp of Classical Hollywood Cinema1
2Breadlines and Box Office Lines: Hollywood in the Nadir of the Great Depression21
3Preachment Yarns: The Politics of Mere Entertainment39
4Dictators and Democrats: The Rage for Order69
5Vice Rewarded: The Wages of Cinematic Sin103
6Criminal Codes: Gangsters Unbound, Felons in Custody137
7Comic Timing: Cracking Wise and Wising Up171
8News on Screen: The Vividness of Mechanical Immortality197
9Remote Kinships: The Geography of the Expeditionary Film221
10Primitive Mating Rituals: The Color Wheel of the Racial Adventure Film253
11Nightmare Pictures: The Quality of Gruesomeness295
12Classical Hollywood Cinema: The World According to Joseph I. Breen319
App. 1The Text of the Production Code347
App. 2Particular Applications of the Code and the Reasons Therefore [Addenda to 1930 Code]361
App. 3Amendments365
App. 4The Critical and Commercial Hits of 1930-1934369
Notes373
Index411
Film Index425

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