We’re honoring 80 years of the Hays Code with a full month of Forbidden Hollywood Flicks in January.
The Breen Era of the The Hays Code started on July 1st, 1934 thus requiring all films to obtain a Certificate of Approval before being released to the public. Yuck. Thankfully, due to the historical responsibilities of Archival Librarians and Film Restoration Houses we still get to watch all of these racy films.
The Code stated that crime doesn’t pay, but it definitely did in the 1930’s. Weaseling the rich out of their money seemed to be America’s 2nd Favorite pastime and often played center stage with America’s 1st favorite pastime in all the Pre-Code Films. You’ll find murder, adultery, sex, nudity, suicide, temptation and some things just in bad taste. Hence the need for the Hays Code in the first place!
What started it all? In 1922, after several risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder Will H. Hays to rehabilitate Hollywood’s image.