5.8/10
98
5 user 1 critic

Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema (2007)

An overview of the portrayal and influence of sexuality on film, from the silent era until the administration of the Hayes Code in 1934.

Director:

Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Manaos (1979)
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

At the beginning of this century some owners of rubber plantations in the Amazonas jungle convert a village into one big prison. But the inhabitants have other plans...

Director: Alberto Vázquez Figueroa
Stars: Fabio Testi, Agostina Belli, Jorge Rivero
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A hit-man tries to seduce the mother of a child who witnessed his most recent kill.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Anne Carlisle, Brad Rijn, John Woehrle
Juggernaut (1936)
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

An evil doctor and the greedy wife of a rich man plot to poison him so they can get their hands on his money.

Director: Henry Edwards
Stars: Boris Karloff, Joan Wyndham, Arthur Margetson
Pervirella (1997)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

This is the story of the beautiful young Pervirella. Set in the mythical English land of Condon, the grotesque, power-mad Queen Victoria builds a wall around the country and establishes a "... See full summary »

Directors: Alex Chandon, Josh Collins
Stars: Emily Booth, Ron Drand, Shend
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Ettore Scola
Stars: Vittorio Gassman, Claudine Auger, Mickey Rooney
Mud Zombies (2008)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A poor community in the remote state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, ekes an existence by fishing and picking crustaceans from the local tropical mangroves. Their meagre survival gradually ... See full summary »

Director: Rodrigo Aragão
Stars: Ricardo Araújo, Marcelo Castanheira, Walderrama Dos Santos
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Tony knows nothing but tough times, living in the bleak circus of the slums he calls home amongst denizens of the underworld: the crippled pimp, the lonely housewife, the neighborhood gay ... See full summary »

Director: Khavn
Stars: Timothy Mabalot, Marife Necesito, Jim Rocky Tangco
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In this gothic rendition of the classic fairy tale, a merchant's youngest daughter is held prisoner by a mysterious winged beast.

Director: Juraj Herz
Stars: Zdena Studenková, Vlastimil Harapes, Václav Voska
The Hard Road (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A cautionary tale. At 17, Sherman Oaks high schooler Pam Banner has a baby out of wedlock. The baby is adopted, but Pam's too embarrassed to go back to school, so her dad gets her a job as ... See full summary »

Director: Gary Graver
Stars: Connie Nelson, John Alderman, Catherine Howard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a vacation camp somewhere in the French country, 1960. Marc et Philippe are two of the counsellors. Marc is very virile, while Philippe is more reserved. A night, Marc surprises Philippe... See full summary »

Director: Claude Miller
Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Patrick Bouchitey, Christine Pascal
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A ruthless real-estate tycoon sets his sights on a small fishing village, which he believes he can buy cheaply and turn into a profitable tourist destination. He hires a handsome young ... See full summary »

Director: Atsushi Fujiura
Stars: Megumi Kiyosato, Asami Ogawa, Hiroko Fuji
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  
Director: Bill Zebub
Stars: Lydia Lael, Eidolona, Angelina Martin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herself / Narrator
Chris Basinger ...
Himself
Jeanine Basinger ...
Herself
Cari Beauchamp ...
Herself
Leatrice Joy Gilbert ...
Herself (as Leatrice Gilbert Fountain)
...
Himself
Bob Mitchell ...
Himself
Barry Paris ...
Himself
Maria Riva ...
Herself
Michael Schlesinger ...
Himself
...
Himself
Kevin Thomas ...
Himself
...
Himself
Marc Wanamaker ...
Himself
William Wellman Jr. ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

An overview of the portrayal and influence of sexuality on film, from the silent era until the administration of the Hayes Code in 1934.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 May 2007 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features Carmen (1918) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
While not the best documentary of its type, it's pretty good.
8 June 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Although this is a very recent documentary and only came to DVD in the last few years, I was surprised that it had no captions of any sort. While I can't get mad only at this film, it sure is annoying when you don't have this option if you need it or want it.

I noticed when the film began that it was produced by Hugh Hefner. This seems like a logical choice but also colored the focus of the film a bit--but more about that later.

The film is about the early days of films at the turn of the 19th century up until the implementation of the strengthened Production Code in 1934. However, the bulk of the film really was on the period from 1920-1934. So, early sexuality in films is really glossed over and is given in a very abbreviated fashion. For example, although a brief clip is shown of the very important "May Irwin Kiss", the reason for its importance and the sort of films that immediately followed it really aren't explained. This really is not one of the more educational or exhaustive documentaries on this period and I suggest you look elsewhere for discussions on early sexuality as well as sex in foreign films (where there was often a lot more). Also, the film manages to make broad sweeping comments about the Flappers and sexuality of the 1920s and gives the impression that sex was rampant in the 20s (if only), though this actually represented a small portion of the public and not the US in general. The 20s was not as sexually charged as the documentary alleges nor the mid-late 1930s as prudish as is implied (I am sure people DID manage to still have sex following the implementation of the Production Code).

Another problem I noticed is that the reasons for the Production Code were not given a balanced discussion. Unlike the film's contention that is was mostly about sexual repression and a bit about the violence in films, there was much more to the story. First, as there was no ratings system (and wouldn't be until the late 1960s), movies were for general audiences. So, families might see a wholesome film during the early 1930s, but they could also see a film where topics like abortion and adultery (mostly promoting it) were common and they might see and hear cursing, violence and sex. So, there really needed to be SOMETHING done about films as I assume most parents wouldn't want Junior seeing this content. I would agree that the intrusive Code was a bit extreme and a rating system would have been best. But the film never really explains that SOMETHING needed to be done--considering some of the most egregious examples of inappropriate film content came from family films ("Tarzan and His Mate" had a very length and very sexy nude swimming scene) and religious films (DeMille managed to include bestiality, lesbianism, nudity and VERY graphic violence in "The Sign of the Cross"--a film about the early Church!!).

While this sounds like I hated the documentary, I didn't. But I am also a history teacher and film nut--and this film really isn't the best when it comes to the topic. Such documentaries as "Complicated Women" are better, but frankly I still recommend "Why Be Good" as there really aren't many documentaries that address this topic! A nice BALANCED and THOROUGH discussion of the topic of sexuality in Pre- and Post-Code films would be great. In fact, if you find one, let me know.


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?