Dame in the Kimono: Hollywood, Censorship, and the Production Code from the 1920s to the 1960s

Leonard J. Leff, Author Grove/Atlantic $0 (350p) ISBN 978-1-55584-224-6
To protect American eyes from the depravity of flapper-era films such as Virgins in Cellophane , the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association developed the ``Production Code.'' This excellent, lively study examines the ``raucous debate'' sparked by the Code over the morals and ideals of American movies. English professor Leff (Oklahoma State) and American history professor Simmons (University of Nebraska) present the course censorship took in 11 troublesome films from Gone with the Wind to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , showing the Code to have been ``as integral to movie-making as soundstages and back lots.'' The authors focus on Joe Breen, the power behind the Code-enforcing Hays Office, whose tough yet benevolent censorship left him ``caught between the need to uphold the Code and the desire to relax its more unreasonable standards.'' Filled with hilarious anecdotes, this is an important chronicle of film history. Photos not seen by PW . (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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