So to Speak podcast: Alfred Hitchcock and Hollywood’s Production Code

August 12, 2021

Hollywood’s Motion Picture Production Code, popularly referred to as the Hays Code, loomed over films in every stage of movie production from 1934 to 1968. Scripts were reviewed and altered. Actors and filmmakers were forced to redo entire scenes. Editors were asked to cut dialogue and scenes from films. Music was changed. Ultimately, directors had to be cognizant of the censors at all times.

In this episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we interview three prominent guests to track the history of film censorship and the eventual demise of the Hays Code.

John Billheimer, author of “Hitchcock and the Censors (Screen Classics),” explains Alfred Hitchcock’s unique methods for dealing with controversial subject matter.

Laura Wittern-Keller is a professor in the History department at the University at Albany and author of several books on film censorship, including “Freedom of the Screen: Legal Challenges to State Film Censorship, 1915-1981” and “The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court.”

Bob Corn-Revere, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, is a frequent guest on the show. His forthcoming book “The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder: The First Amendment and the Censor’s Dilemma,” is due out in October.

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