As someone who works in media, the trends are clear. The “dark” side of life, graphic violence and graphic sexuality. For every proper thing in life, only so much is needed. Enough food, enough sleep, enough relaxation. Extremes are shown as OK.
Perhaps it is time to create a new Legion of Decency. A commitment among the faithful that also reaches out to others. Hollywood is filling the airwaves with profanity, prostitution, fornication, adultery and hopelessness.
I agree. What is that saying, Garbage in, garbage out?
Thanks for the link, this was very true & interesting. I remember a while ago someone had a link to a Catholic review of The Golden Compass. My memory is bad, but I think it might have also been from the Vatican newspaper. Anyway, it talked about how utterly devoid of hope the film was, & very dark for children.
Interestingly enough, the Vatican saw fit to praise the indie films. Honestly, they’re just better. They’re not too wimpy to show life as it is–all its unattractiveness and ugliness, all its difficulties… and the hope of healing and recovery that Hollywood long ago forgot about, too.
I read a very interesting history magazine article about Hollywood, and the effort to oppose immorality in the movies during the 1920’s and 1930’s.
It was a great article!! I’d never heard of any of this information before.
Just to summarize the article, the author said Hollywood was always hashing sleeze in order to sell tickets for $$$.
After the actor “Fatty” Arbuckle had his scandal in 1921, plus some other similar incidents involving Hollywood actors and actresses, state legislatures threatened to pass bills authorizing censorship boards.
This was made easier at the time, because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a decision, Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio (1915) that “the exhibition of motion pictures is a business pure and simple . . . not to be regarded . . . as part of the press of the country or as organs of public opinion.”
Thus, movies were not protected by the First Amendment!! (This is amazing!!! )
So, Hollywood tried to self-police itself, in order to avoid the state legislatures from passing state movie regulatory board office Acts, and hired President Harding’s former Postmaster General, William Hays, to become the first Motion-Picture “czar” (the newspapers described him as a “czar”), and he ran the MPPDA, more popularly know as the Hays office.
Unfortunately, Hays was really working for Hollywood and was essentially a paid Hollywood Public Relations boy. He did a little, but the suggestions he gave were purely voluntary.
It gets even more interesting because what happened was the Catholic Church in America became involved!!
In 1930, Father Daniel A. Lord, a Jesuit priest and Martin Quigley, a leading Catholic trade publisher, wrote the Motion Picture Production Code (PCA) which was adopted by the Hays Office.
But the PCA was simply ignored by movie producers and the industry.
In 1933, Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S., announced “Catholics are called by God, the Pope, the bishops and the priests to a unified and vigorous campaign for the purification of the cinema.”
Shortly after that statement, the American bishops organized the National Legion of Decency. 7,000,000 to 9,000,000 people, both Catholics and many non-Catholics signed a pledge in which they promised not to see immoral motion pictures.
“Movie attendance dropped significantly nationwide.”
It also probably helped the cause a little that 1933 was during the Great Depression. A lot of Hollywood studios were having financial difficulty.
**For all those naysayers out there that say boycotts have no effect-- well, guess what?? **
In 1933, The Hollywood producers threw in the towel and gave in !!!
“The Legion campaign had not even reached its stride when the producers gave in.”
The PCA, written by a Jesuit priest and a lay Catholic, became part and parcel of the movie industry, and and was enforced with $25,000 dollar fine if a film was exhibited without the PCA’s seal of approval.
Because of financial pressure from the Legion of Decency and the Depression, Hollywood agreed to “censor” itself!!!
(Incredible, given all their talk about First Amendment rights today )
Joseph Ignatius Breen, a “strong-willed Irish-Catholic newspaperman” became the new leader, with Hays being brushed aside. He did a splendid job running the office.
The PCA lasted from 1933-1963, although the power of the Code weakened beginning in when the Supreme Court reversed itself in a 1952 decision, saying movies were in fact protected by freedom of speech and of the press. In 1948, the Studios lost control of the movie theater chains in another Supreme Court decision.
This meant movies could be independently made and distributed rather easily without the PCA’s approval.
Breen retired in 1954, and was replaced with an Englishman, who, in my opinion, was basically a friend of the Hollywood crowd.
Things sort of came apart in 1956 when Eli Kazan and Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll was granted a seal of approval by the PCA.
Then in 1963, Jack Valenti, a former White House aide to President LBJ, became the head of the PCA, junked the PCA, and replaced it with the Ratings System that we still have today.
And it has been downhill ever since then.
**The rating system differs however, because all forms of human activity are permitted to be filmed, whereas the Code specifically described words and acts that were forbidden to be filmed. **
**But the fact is indisputable that for 21 years, a Code that was written by a Jesuit priest and a lay Catholic, based on Catholic Moral Theology, guided Hollywood film making from 1933-1954!!! **
With that change in 1933, Hollywood moguls like Irving Thalberg, David O. Selznick, and Darryl F. Zanuck set out to make films based on literary classics and contemporary novels like David Copperfield, The Good Earth, The Barrets of Wimpole Street (though this film did have a negative portrayal of a morally strict parent), and Gone With The Wind.
A Golden Age of cinema, the “Movie Classics” period, began in 1933.
Hollywood had its greatest year with the films produced in 1939.
Oh, and contrary to public opinon, the Code never said anywhere that if a couple were shown in bed together one of them must always have a foot on the floor.
So how was that?? Isn’t that amazing?? I’ve never heard about this before, and I’m 40.
Hmm, I wonder why . . .
Source: American Heritage, The Magazine of History, Vol. 31, No. 2, Feb. / March 1980 ed. Geoffrey C. Ward (the man that does all the writing for Ken Burns of PBS); “Hollywood Cleans Up Its Act: The curious career of the Hays Office.” Author: Ben Yagoda.
(Warning: This is a secular magazine; some reason the editors of this otherwise excellent magazine included one black & white photo showing backside nudity)
By the way, I just wanted to say that I’m not going to get in a long debate about the First Amendment or the idea of censorship with anyone here.
The reason that most people don’t know about what you wrote is that many people get their information from movies and television. Of course, the media is going to put the most positive spin on their activities.
by the way, the exploits of some actresses in the 1920’s would make Lohan and Spears blush.
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I just watched “Knocked Up,” a movie about fornication. It’s just Hollywood telling everyone it’s normal for young women to go to bars, pick up guys, have sex with them, and deal with the consequences later. Never have I seen a bunch of stupider male perverts.
I liked the movie Knocked Up, but I have to admit that Hollywood depicts males as stupid, incompetents. A lot of women don’t expect men to be better and some guys have bought into the belief that being a real male means being an over sexed jerk.
In defense of the movie though, the father did attempt to take responsibility. The movie did show that having sex can get you pregnant.(sometimes it seems like the media forgets this) Plus the mother suggesting that her daughter get an abortion was presented as something negative.
The only way that Hollywood is going to improve is if we invest in more Catholics becoming directors and producers.
If we invest? Who is this we? Hollywood is becoming irrelevant. You can put a Christ centered short on youtube in a few days. No multimillion dollar budget or “name” actors.