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Production Policies In Hollywood And The Catholic Church

1683 words - 7 pages

To what extent was the Catholic Church the leading establishment to alter production policies in Hollywood during the great depression
A. Plan of Investigation
The research question that will be evaluated is, to what extent was the Catholic Church the leading establishment to alter production policies in Hollywood during the great depression? While the Great Depression was a time of grief, it was additionally an era of new opportunities. The institution of Hollywood and the Catholic Church were two separate entities during the Great Depression. The two institutions disagreed on how society should conduct itself, through the means of entertainment. However, arguably, the Catholic Church ...view middle of the document...

Because of this, Hollywood began to dictate American culture. The characters that Americans viewed on screen resembled the society that they resided in; movies began to be much raunchier, full of sexually suggestive comedies and gang related violence.

In 1930, William Hays drafted the Production Code, also known as the Hays Code. William Hays was the owner of The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. This was set in place to censor films, since many people believed that producers took too much leeway in examining “impure love”. Impure love was love considered immoral by society, and was deemed unacceptable to be portrayed in a beautiful way. Many groups, such as the Catholic Church, considered such movies inappropriate, and threatened to boycott Hollywood motion pictures. Another group that contributed to the change in Hollywood was the WTCU (The Women’s Christian Temperance Union). They worried that people watching the movies would become addicted to the screen, the same way that people were becoming addicted to alcohol. Much like the Catholic Church, their aim was to purify movies. However, unlike the Catholic Church their main focus was to protect the purity and educational values of children. Also, they agreed that there needed to be a line drawn between moral and immoral ideas portrayed on screen, and believed that the crime rates were rising due to the violence seen in movies. Both groups demanded that Hollywood clean up their act, and if they didn’t, they would lose a large amount of attendance from Catholics and other religious groups. In 1933, under the control of the Most Reverend Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, the Catholic Church formed the Legion of Decency. The Legion of Decency had 9 million members who protested the indecency in Hollywood films and stopped attending them.

Since the Production Code of 1930 was not enough for the Catholic Church, in July of 1934, the Hays Office reacted to these protests by beginning to regulate films even more so. This regulation was achieved by the creation of the Breen Office, directed by Joseph I. Breen, which evaluated scripts and granted a “seal of approval”. The “seal of approval” dictated what films Hollywood could permit to theatres. Ultimately, the Production Code ended up being very influential to society.

C. Evaluation of Sources

The origin of the first source is a webpage written by S., McKeil, and S. Mintz. This source had information from history textbooks, annotated documents and many primary sources throughout the full website of “Digital History”. Steven Mintz, who was responsible for the historical content in this webpage, is the director at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Teaching Center. The purpose of this webpage is to give a background behind the history of Hollywood during the Great Depression. Values that can be found from this source are that Steven Mintz is very credible and the...

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