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.
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.
- Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Comm’n of Ohio
- Joseph Burstyn v. Wilson
- United States v. Paramount Pictures
- Hitchcock and the Censors (Screen Classics) by John Billheimer
- Freedom of the Screen: Legal Challenges to State Film Censorship, 1915-1981 by Laura Wittern-Keller
- The Miracle Case: Film Censorship and the Supreme Court by Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond J. Haberski, Jr.
- The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder: The First Amendment and the Censor’s Dilemma by Bob Corn-Revere
- Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration by Thomas Doherty