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Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era…
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Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934): When Sin Ruled the… (edição: 2019)

de Mark A. Vieira (Autor)

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453445,147 (3.58)Nenhum(a)
It's classic Hollywood -- uncensored. Filled with rare images and untold stories from producers, censors, stars, exhibitors, and the movie-going public, Forbidden Hollywood is the ultimate guide to a gloriously entertaining and strikingly modern time in early American films: the Pre-Code era. "Pre-Code" -- a catchy misnomer for the days before a strict code of censorship purified the content of Hollywood films -- encompasses movies made from 1930 through 1934, when Hollywood censors were lax or absent. But there was already a Production Code in place, the result of a collaboration between Catholic bishops, Protestant politicians, and Jewish-American film producers with the aim of preventing federal censorship. The Code prohibited violent, vulgar, or sexual content in films. It was well intentioned, but no one abided by it, especially after the Great Depression began to keep filmgoers away from theaters. The easiest way to lure them back was with sex and violence. For the next four years -- before a grassroots movement caused the Code to be fully instated -- sinful cinema ruled the screen. Forbidden Hollywood is a history of Pre-Code like none other because it tells the story of the era by taking the reader there. Through the text you will eavesdrop on conferences between producers and writers, read nervous telegrams from executives to censors, and listen to conversations between censors and directors, where artistic decisions meant shifts in power -- and money -- when one third of a nation was desperate. You will see how these decisions were so artfully wrought as to fool some of the people just long enough to get films into theaters. You will read what theater managers thought of such craftiness. You will read letters from a variety of fans as they, depending on community standards, applauded creativity or condemned crassness. The book spotlights twenty-three films which author and film historian Mark A. Vieira identifies as the definitive list of movies that brought on strict enforcement of the Code in 1934, including a loincloth-clad Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan and His Mate; Barbara Stanwyck climbing the corporate ladder on her own terms in Baby Face; a group of misfits out for revenge in Freaks; and Paul Muni leading the crime world in the original Scarface. More than 200 newly restored (and some never-before-published) photographs throughout illustrate pivotal moments in the careers of such stars as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich, and Jean Harlow, completing a definitive portrait of an unforgettable era in filmmaking.… (mais)
Membro:winterreise
Título:Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934): When Sin Ruled the Movies (Turner Classic Movies)
Autores:Mark A. Vieira (Autor)
Informação:Running Press Adult (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 269 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Film, 1930s

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Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era (1930-1934) (Turner Classic Movies): When Sin Ruled the Movies de Mark A. Vieira

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Forbidden Hollywood traces the Pre-Code years in Hollywood right after the Silent Film years. Of course, these risqué movies all were filmed in black and white. So many young and unknown actresses rose to fame in this era: Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, and many others. The 1934 Code that outlined what was acceptable in films: violence, sex, topics, and language. The book includes pictures of these beautiful actresses in their pictures and scenes from Scarface with Paul Muni. The book covers all the problems and the solutions to many of the banned films. ( )
  delphimo | Jan 9, 2021 |
If you want a scholarly book on pre-Code films that is the best at explaining the historical context, read “Pre-Code Hollywood” by Thomas Patrick Doherty. If you want one that combines fanboy enthusiasm, great anecdotes, and understands how empowering the period was to women, read “Complicated Women” by Mick LaSalle. If you want one with extraordinary pictures, has great balance, and gives the best insights into the audience reactions at the time, read this one, “Forbidden Hollywood” by Mark Viera.

Viera’s book, building upon what he published previously (“Sin in Soft Focus”) is the newest of the three, having been published in 2019, and he takes full advantage of this to include photos that are simply fantastic. This is a very handsome book and leafing through its pages is an absolute joy. If you’re new to the pre-Code films this would be a great book to start with, because its beautiful visuals communicate the emotion and feeling of the era, as if the people involved were looking through time at you.

On top of that, Viera focuses on 20-25 films, giving the reader information about the origin of the script, comments from the cast/director/studio heads, how it ran up against conservative criticism, and how it was commented on by viewers across America in letters to movie magazines. It’s a very well researched account with plenty of new information, giving the book a great balance. His chapter on “The Sign of the Cross” is particularly impressive, and I also loved reading about “Convention City,” a film that was unfortunately lost, literally destroyed by censors. Reading comments like the one from B.P. McCormick of Canon City, Colorado, objecting to the use of the directness of saying a mother is “having a baby” in film, is eye-opening, and there are many others.

There are some odd chapter divisions in trying to break things out by major film, but then including several other films in the chapter, and the book sometimes gets a little too much into the details of the specifics of the process, but these are quibbles. I have to say, it would also have been nicer if it had dealt a little more with the issue of race in these films, though it touches on it.

My biggest criticism, however, is how it makes a point of softening the view of Joseph Breen, a political reactionary and anti-Semite who between mid-1934 and 1954 single-handedly had the most power over content produced in America. Not only did he ruin a lot of movies in that interval by dogmatically imposing his own narrow-minded views on them, but he had pre-1934 movies censored – many irrecoverably, to the master negative (which Viera himself does acknowledge). It’s mind-boggling to me that Viera feels Breen’s legacy is the subject of a misconception though, pointing out his industry friendships over his tenure as evidence of his “not being a lifelong anti-Semite,” without a shred of reflection that during this time, Breen held all the power. It’s as if he was seeking some kind of artificial happy ending, and unprotected as the industry was by the Supreme Court between 1915 (Mutual Film vs. Industrial Commission of Ohio which ruled the films were not protected under the First Amendment) to 1952 (the case involving Rossellini’s The Miracle which overturned it), there was no recourse, resulting in a dark period for the freedom of expression.

That’s what makes the pre-Code era such a delight though. While the salacious aspects of films in this period were played up in the effort to boost sagging box office numbers because of the Depression, they touched on so many other things, challenging traditional gender roles and the institution of marriage, acknowledging sexual pleasure and freedom, satirizing businessmen, the police, and the justice system, and showing that sometimes evil did win in this world. That’s what made the films so “dangerous” in the eyes of the Midwest Catholics who led the charge to put a lid on all this. Viera is successful in capturing at least some of this, and he’s certainly successful in capturing the joy of these old films, and for that I’m very happy he published this book.

Quotes:
On censorship, this extracted from the 1930 book Censored by Morris L. Ernst and Pare Lorentz, speaking of Will Hays (who was a pussycat compared to Breen, making it ironic that the Production Code is referred to as the Hays Code):
“A man used to the ways of political subterfuge, with no especial literary or scientific background, Will Hays particularly epitomizes the class-conscious, fearful yet aggressive spirit that has made the American movie an industry, and little else. Search hard and find a man more fitted to handle petty politicians, middle-aged meddling prudes, and aggressive financiers. The controllers, the movie barons are satisfied with his work. We can expect no fight for freedom, taste, or mature thought in this product so long as the Bishop of Hollywood chants his platitudes and swings his incense pot of purity.”

On “dangerous ideas”, this from Father Daniel Lord, who drafted the original Production Code:
“These authors are injecting into basic stories an underlying philosophy of life. These stories discuss morals, divorce, free love, unborn children, relationships outside of marriage, single and double standards, the relationship of sex to religion, marriage and its effects upon the freedom of women. These subjects are fundamentally dangerous.”

On sex, from Tallulah Bankhead in an interview with Gladys Hall of Motion Picture magazine:
“When I first started to make pictures, I was said to be trying to ‘do a Garbo.’ A fatal thing to say about anyone. If there’s anything the matter with me now, it’s certainly not Hollywood’s state of mind about me. The matter with me is I haven’t had an affair for six months. Six months is a long, long while. I want a man!” ( )
2 vote gbill | Jul 29, 2020 |
4.0 stars

The pictures are swooningly beautiful and worth checking out even if you don't read the text. The text was full of direct quotes from trade publications, interoffice memos, and other such primary sources from the time; this makes the book a great look at attitudes of the time instead of a 21st century point of view.

However, I felt the chronology of the whole thing choppy and unclear, which is why it's only getting four stars from me. ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
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It's classic Hollywood -- uncensored. Filled with rare images and untold stories from producers, censors, stars, exhibitors, and the movie-going public, Forbidden Hollywood is the ultimate guide to a gloriously entertaining and strikingly modern time in early American films: the Pre-Code era. "Pre-Code" -- a catchy misnomer for the days before a strict code of censorship purified the content of Hollywood films -- encompasses movies made from 1930 through 1934, when Hollywood censors were lax or absent. But there was already a Production Code in place, the result of a collaboration between Catholic bishops, Protestant politicians, and Jewish-American film producers with the aim of preventing federal censorship. The Code prohibited violent, vulgar, or sexual content in films. It was well intentioned, but no one abided by it, especially after the Great Depression began to keep filmgoers away from theaters. The easiest way to lure them back was with sex and violence. For the next four years -- before a grassroots movement caused the Code to be fully instated -- sinful cinema ruled the screen. Forbidden Hollywood is a history of Pre-Code like none other because it tells the story of the era by taking the reader there. Through the text you will eavesdrop on conferences between producers and writers, read nervous telegrams from executives to censors, and listen to conversations between censors and directors, where artistic decisions meant shifts in power -- and money -- when one third of a nation was desperate. You will see how these decisions were so artfully wrought as to fool some of the people just long enough to get films into theaters. You will read what theater managers thought of such craftiness. You will read letters from a variety of fans as they, depending on community standards, applauded creativity or condemned crassness. The book spotlights twenty-three films which author and film historian Mark A. Vieira identifies as the definitive list of movies that brought on strict enforcement of the Code in 1934, including a loincloth-clad Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan and His Mate; Barbara Stanwyck climbing the corporate ladder on her own terms in Baby Face; a group of misfits out for revenge in Freaks; and Paul Muni leading the crime world in the original Scarface. More than 200 newly restored (and some never-before-published) photographs throughout illustrate pivotal moments in the careers of such stars as Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Marlene Dietrich, and Jean Harlow, completing a definitive portrait of an unforgettable era in filmmaking.

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