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Movies and Society

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  1. Movies and Society

  2. Society was local and parochial

  3. Society became more homogenous

  4. Movies reflect the makers’ society

  5. Early Days

  6. Birth of a Nation - 1915

  7. KKK in Wash., DC – 1925

  8. Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio236 U.S. 230 (1915) • State of Ohio passed a law forming a censorship board to review and approve all films • Supreme Court declared that movies were a business, not an art, and thus not protected by the First Amendment • Wrote “They may be used for evil”

  9. Intolerance - 1916

  10. Ben Hur

  11. 1920s Post-World War I

  12. A period of cynicism and breaking with traditions following the great upheavals in society caused by World War I.

  13. Movies used more and more of what put butts in the seats –sex and violence

  14. Manslaughter – 1922orgy scene

  15. Battleship Potemkin – 1925

  16. Metropolis – 1927

  17. 1930s The Great Depression

  18. Movies created a sense of community • People would go to the movies on a regular basis, usually once a week • Movies catered to their regulars • Door prizes like a set of dishes • Sing-alongs • Community announcements

  19. A full evening of entertainment • A cartoon • A newsreel • A short subject, like a travelogue or a comedy short • A movie, sometimes two

  20. Palaces of Entertainment

  21. Movies as morale builders • Upbeat and optimistic • musicals

  22. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town – 1936

  23. Wizard of Oz – 1939

  24. Frankenstein – 1931

  25. King Kong – 1933

  26. Gone with the Wind – 1939

  27. As a backlash against the openness of the Roaring Twenties, many people in society insisted on censorship

  28. Look at these costumes

  29. Tarzan and His Mate - 1932

  30. Look at these costumes Or lack thereof

  31. The Hays Office • Started in 1930 • Run by Will H. Hays • Set standards for movies • Adopted from a list devised by Father Daniel Lord, a Jesuit priest • Had no effective enforcement

  32. Hays’ 3 Principles • No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin • Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.

  33. 3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation. This was followed with specific restrictions

  34. Restrictions • Nakedness and suggestive dances were prohibited. • The ridicule of religion was forbidden, and ministers of religion were not to be represented as comic characters or villains. • The depiction of illegal drug use was forbidden, as well as the use of liquor, "when not required by the plot or for proper characterization."

  35. Methods of crime (e.g. safe-cracking, arson, smuggling) were not to be explicitly presented. • References to alleged sex perversion (such as homosexuality) and venereal disease were forbidden, as were depictions of childbirth. • The language section banned various words and phrases that were considered to be offensive.

  36. Murder scenes had to be filmed in a way that would discourage imitations in real life, and brutal killings could not be shown in detail. "Revenge in modern times" was not to be justified. • The sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld. "Pictures shall not imply that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing." Adultery and illicit sex, although recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to be presented as an attractive option.

  37. Portrayals of miscegenation were forbidden. • "Scenes of Passion" were not to be introduced when not essential to the plot. "Excessive and lustful kissing" was to be avoided, along with any other treatment that might "stimulate the lower and baser element." • The flag of the United States was to be treated respectfully, and the people and history of other nations were to be presented "fairly."

  38. The treatment of "Vulgarity," defined as "low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects" must be "subject to the dictates of good taste." Capital punishment, “third degree methods”, cruelty to children and animals, prostitution and surgical operations were to be handled with similar sensitivity.

  39. Destry Rides Again

  40. Look at the Tarzan costumes now after the Hays Office got involved