Hollywood, Film & Politics
Chapter 4: Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang: Hollywood, Sex and Violence
“My constituents can’t read but they can understand pictures.” —Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall “There were a lot of things the censors wouldn’t let me do in the movies that I had done on stage. They wouldn’t even let me sit on a guy’s lap and I’d been on more laps than a napkin.” —Mae West “We went back four times before we got an R.… We had to get rid of a few thrusts when he’s having sex with the apple pie. The MPAA was like ‘Can he thrust two times instead of four?’” —Warren Zide, producer of American Pie “I think it’s unfortunate that the value judgments by the MPAA allow for graphic violence, homophobia, and aggression against women.… All the things we see in a PG-13 film and are acceptable. This just typifies how our rating system is broken.” —Lee Hirsch, director of the documentary Bully When the author was growing up in New York in the 1940s–50s, my parents could send me to the neighborhood movie theater with little, if any, anxiety. Saturday matinees were re- served for youngsters, and attendants were present in the theater. Parents relied more or less on appropriate film content since movies in those days were under the supervision of the Production Code, an industry-wide set of guidelines that controlled the making of Hol- lywood films. Parents were secure in knowing that their youngsters were not going to see films like Spring Breakers (2012) with sexual content and the...
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