Hollywood Censored

With the Great Depression and evaporating income cinema attendance fell drastically, to counter this trend Hollywood became more and more violent and sexy, to a point that a call for censorship of some kind was in the air. Indeed the better organized catholic minority created the Catholic Legion of Decency and the clergy admonished their Sunday church goers to boycott certain cinemas and films. Hollywood became to be viewed as a place of the damned and sinful.

But Hollywood did certainly not want the government to step in. The studios therefore decided to engage in their own self-censorship. They hired Will Hayes, who had been a Republican and Presbyterian, non-smoker, non-drinker, but wired to power in Washington and Wall Street. He was expected to “clean up” Tinsel town. A production code was commissioned and written by two Catholics. This, of course, came as a challenge to script writers and directors and one can say that Hollywood’s most creative era was due to this production code.

Directors : Clara Kuperberg & Julia Kuperberg
Production: Wichita Films
Producers: Clara Kuperberg & Julia Kuperberg
Network: OCS
Year : 2015
Time : 52 minutes


Thomas Doherty
Author of Hollywood’s CensorPre-Code Hollywood

Craig Detweiler
American Film Historian and professor at Pepperdine University