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

TV-MA | | Documentary | TV Movie 3 March 2008

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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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herself - Narrator (voice)
...
Himself - Interviewee
Jonathan Kuntz ...
Himself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Interviewee
Camille Paglia ...
Herself - Interviewee
...
Himself - Interviewee (as Hugh Hefner)
...
Himself - Interviewee
Will H. Hays ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Will Hayes)
...
Himself - Interviewee
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Interviewee
Mark Vieira ...
Himself - Interviewee (as Mark A. Vieira)
...
Various Roles (archive footage)
...
Various Roles (archive footage)
...
Various Roles (archive footage)
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Storyline

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 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... Written by Huggo

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Documentary

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TV-MA
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Release Date:

3 March 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hollywood prohibido  »

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(archive clips)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included in Warner Home Video's 2008 DVD set "TCM Archives - Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Vol. 2". See more »

Connections

References Gambling Lady (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Performed by the orchestra
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User Reviews

Great Look at Great Period
14 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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

**** (out of 4)

Another brilliant documentary from Turner Classic Movies. This one deals with Hollywood from 1930-1934 when movies pushed the limits on sex, drugs and various sinful things. The film talks about how two Priests came up with the "rules" of what you could or couldn't do and then talks about Hollywood broke all of them and tried to push the limits of what you could show. The Hayes Code finally broke through in 1934 when the Catholic Church jumped in and started boycotting the films and telling their followers that it was a sin to watch these movies. John Landis, Jonathan Kuntz, Leonard Maltin, Rudy Behlmer, Hugh Hefner and Jack Valenti are among the people interviewed for this film, which does a great job at telling the story of the Pre-Code movies. We get clips from countless films including The Divorcée, Night Nurse, The Public Enemy, Midnight Mary and various others. These types of documentaries still upset me since a religious group or a group of people can have so much control on what others do. Needless to say, the Catholic Church should have been looking in their own closet instead of going after Hollywood. Some of the early history is also talked about and this includes the scandal caused by Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle and his rape trial. If you aren't familiar with this great part of Hollywood history then this film does a great job at introducing it. Complicated Women is another Turner doc that covers this era.


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