The true story of the life of the movies first femme-fatale, Theda Bara, who made over 40 films, only a handful of which survive. Born in America, her film producers insisted she was an ... See full summary »
Hugh Munro Neely
Robert S. Birchard
Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema (2007)
*** (out of 4)
Pretty good documentary covering the early period of cinema and how
sexuality brought forth the Hays Code and then the Production Code, as
well as others, who tried to act for everyone by pushing their morals.
The documentary covers shorts from as early as the 1890s all the way up
to the Hays Code being put into place. If you're unfamiliar with this
era then this documentary is a must see as it pretty much goes into all
the basic information someone would need to know. We learn about the
earliest days when films were censored from state to state and how
scandals like Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle caused Hollywood to try and shape
up and keep negative news out of the media. We hear the fate of stars
such as Pickford, Dietrich, Bow, Brooks and Mae West. We learn how
directors like Cecil B. DeMille would push limits with his star Gloria
Swanson. The documentary does a nice job at giving us this basic
information and it's strongest points is when it discusses how certain
stars got fed up by Hollywood trying to control their private lives.
The bad reputations of Bow and Brooks are discussed and we learn about
the likes of John Gilbert who would crash and burn while trying to
fight the system. The documentary does jump over certain underground
films that were fighting the system, which is a shame since the
exploitation genre, even more adult and pornographic materials, were
being released underground. TENDER HEARTS, INTOLERANCE, THE CHEAT, WHY
CHANGE YOUR WIFE, THE SHEIK, THE LADY, IT, BABY FACE, THE WILD PARTY
and SHE DONE HIM WRONG are just a few of the clips shown.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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