Friday, November 7, 2014

Pre-Code Films

Perhaps one of the most interesting periods in film history is the Pre-code era. Pre-code Hollywood is the time period after the introduction of sound in the 1920, and before implementation the Motion Picture Production Code in 1934. This code was the set of moral censorship guidelines in the film industry, however movies that were made between 1920 and 1934 were full of cursing, violence, sex and prostitution, the use of drugs, and homosexuality. Theses movies also often dealt with strong female main characters, and feminine matters.
 This era also birthed gangster films, starting with Underworld. Underworld is the first gangster movie and aired in 1927. “The film established the fundamental elements of the gangster movie: a hoodlum hero; ominous, night-shrouded city streets; floozies; and a blazing finale in which the cops cut down the protagonist."  Ben Hect, the writer of the film, even won an academy award in 1929 at their first ever award ceremony for his work.

This era in film history also resulted in one of my favorite child hood movies, the 1931 Frankenstein. This movie had many controversial scenes probably the most famous is when the monster accidentally drowns the little girl. After the Motion picture production code was used, the second half of that scene was cut in New York Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The iconic line “Its Alive!” was originally written as, “It’s alive It's alive! In the name of God! Now I know what it feels like to be God!" however that was cut as well. Kanas only allowed an edited version of the film to be released; they originally wanted to cut 32 scenes, which would have cut the films running time in half.   

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