Women In Hollywood: Pre Code And Post War Eras

2361 words - 9 pages

Slowly she asked "Is anyone there?" as she walked down the dark deserted road. When she heard a loud sound she turned abruptly trying again "Hello?" Met with only silence she picked up here pace almost running down the dirt road. Her nerves had just began to calm when she heard "WRRRREEENNNNNRRRRRRR" as a chainsaw started behind her. Running she started looking behind her hoping that whoever it was, wouldn’t catch her. With her lack of concentration she tripped over her high heels and face plants into the dirt, giving the murderer a chance to catch up. Slowly he lowered the chainsaw and began cutting --CUT -- This is a common plot used in horror movies today. Movies have changed over the years. They were different five years ago, fifty years ago, and even a almost a century ago. Technologies have unthinkable things possible. They have allowed us to re-sink "the unsinkable ship." They have allowed us to see dinosaurs in all their brutal glory. We have seen imaginary creatures, only ever mentioned in stories brought to life. Movies have moved so far from the 1920's and 1930's. They have developed ideals, rules and even standards; but where did they begin? Did movies just fall out of the sky? Did they just come into being? No they began slowly, silently moving towards a new era, the era we today call "Pre-code Hollywood"
The idea of Hollywood, before it was Hollywood as we know it seems foreign. However, it did exist and was known as "Pre-code." Pre-code Hollywood refers to the era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound in the late 1920's and the enforcement of the Hays Code censorship guidelines, which went into effect on June 13, 1934 (Association of Motion Picture Producers 1934). During this era before there was a set of rules that had been agreed on they had the United States Motion Picture Production Code of 1930. In most cases this production code was referred to as Hays' code after its creator Will H. Hayes. (Doherty 1999). The need for these rules started in 1915, when the United states Supreme Court ruled that "Motion pictures were not an art form and thus not covered under the first amendment" (Reed 2003). The Hays' code consisted of several provisions and three "General Principles." First, no picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin. Second correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented. Third law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation (Miller 1994). Although these principles were part of the Hays' code (and open to much ridicule) they did find their way into "the code." It also put restrictions on nudity, adultery, murder, and cruelty. The reason for the need in these rules was the introduction of "talkies"
"Talkies" are...

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