Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The Sins of Hollywood
Faced with the growing threat of government censorship and the ongoing pressure of church leaders, the motion picture industry realized they would have no choice but to agree to a self-censorship program. In fact, since the early 1920s, the industry already had a loosely-rendered list of 13 prohibitions that included nudity, crime, gambling, and illicit love.
Hollywood hired Will Hays, the former National Chairman of the Republican Party, who also was a Presbyterian elder, to oversee the enforcement of the Production Code. The Production Code became known as the Hays Code when Joseph Brene, a Roman Catholic newspaper man with deep ties to the Catholic church, was hired as the new Production Code administrator. Now both the Protestant church and Catholic church had direct and indirect influence and control of every film Hollywood would produce from the 1930s through the 1960s.
Hollywood had capitulated for its own survival and accepted a form of censorship. You can only imagine how they must have felt. For the most part, the films that Hollywood produced in the 1920s and early 1930s contained virtually no nudity, violence, sexuality or graphic violence. What were they being punished for? Perhaps the lifestyles of a few directors and actors created a backlash against Hollywood. Can you imagine if Hollywood told the Church what they could preach and proclaim in their pulpits? Do you think we would protest? Consider it an injustice? Whether we like to admit it or not, the Body of Christ imposed censorship and control on Hollywood.