Pre-Code Hollywood

Pre-Code Hollywood? What´s that? The term appeared while reading about the movies being based on the character, Tom Sawyer, created by Mark Twain. We also check on miscegenation, sexual innuendo, risqué and beacon

Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the brief era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound pictures in 1929 and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines in 1934, usually labeled, although inaccurately, as the "Hays Code". Although the Code was adopted in 1930, understanding was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until 1934, with the establishment of the PCA. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws and popular opinion than strict adherence to the Hays Code, which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers.
As a result, films in the late 1920s and early 1930s included sexual innuendo, miscegenation, profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, intense violence, and homosexuality. Many of Hollywood's biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell and Edward G. Robinson got their start in the era.
Beginning in late 1933 American Roman Catholics launched a campaign against what they deemed the immorality of American cinema. This, plus a potential government takeover of film censorship and social research seeming to indicate that movies which were seen to be immoral could promote bad behavior, was enough pressure to force the studios to capitulate to greater supervision.

In 1922, after some risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted beacon of rectitude and Presbyterian elder William H. "Will" Hays to rehabilitate Hollywood's image. Hays, later nicknamed the motion picture "Czar", was paid the then-extravagant sum of $100,000 a year (equivalent to more than $1.4 million in 2014 dollars).
Hays introduced a set of recommendations in 1924, which the studios were advised to notice, and asked filmmakers to describe to his office the plots of pictures they were planning.
The Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen, but also to promote traditional values. Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as attractive and beautiful, presented in a way that might arouse passion, nor be made to seem right and permissible. All criminal action had to be punished, and neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit sympathy from the audience. Authority figures had to be treated respectfully, and the clergy could not be portrayed as comic characters or villains. Under some circumstances, politicians, police officers and judges could be villains, as long as it was clear that they were the exception to the rule.
The entire document contained Catholic undertones and stated that art must be handled carefully because it could be "morally evil in its effects" and because its "deep moral significance" was unquestionable. The Catholic influence on the Code was initially kept secret.
barbara stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck

Vocabulario
Innuendo: The term sexual innuendo has acquired a specific meaning, namely that of a "risque" double entendre by playing on a possibly sexual interpretation of an otherwise innocent uttering. For example: "We need to go deeper" can be seen as both a request for further inquiry on any given issue or a request to go deeper into an orifice.
Risqué: verging on indecency.
Beacon: a source of guidance.

En preparación
Robo de cadáveres (El propósito de los robos de cadáveres, especialmente en el siglo 19, fue vender los cuerpos para disección o clases de anatomía en los centros médicos. En vocabulario body snatching o resurrectionists. Estos temas aparecen después de leer Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer, de Mark Twain.)

Recursos
"Gay" in Pre-Code Hollywood, “Sex perversion” was forbidden during our grandfathers’ era.

It was the same in Argentina during the military dictatorship; some people had the job of dictating what movies we could see. Killing people was OK but seeing a woman´s breasts was devastating.