Production Code Film History

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The Motion Picture Production Code was a set of moral guidelines that were created by the film industry that applied to most United States motion pictures released by the major studios. The five major studios of the time, MGM, Warner, Paramount, RKO, and Fox were seeking control of the industry, trying to force out the smaller production companies. Also known as the Hays Code, the guidelines to which the code was to follow were completed in 1930. In 1934, Hollywood started to enforce these policies in productions. The Production Code, changed the course of film history forever, vastly affecting numerous films in the time, both of large and small productions.

To prelude the Production Code, the court case of Mutual vs. Ohio,, which occurred
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One of the most popular characters during this time, which is still featured on numerous types of appeal today, Betty Boop famously, went under some reinvention during this era. Initially, Betty Boop which is an imaged cartoon character created by Max Fletcher, and animated by Frim Gatwick., target audience was adults, aiming towards Boop’s carefree flapper attitude. Before the code, Boop was seen wearing short shirks and low necklines. However, the day after the code went into effect, Boop transformed into a husbandless housewife in some scenes and a career girl in others. This feature of Betty only wore full dresses or long skirts. Even as time progressed, Betty transformed more into the stereotypical pre-World War 2 women. Betty stopped wearing gold bracelets and hoop earrings, in addition to her hair becoming less curly. She also transformed into a more mature and wiser individual. The once target audience of adults quickly changed into being aimed at children and teenagers. This ultimately led to the downfall of popularity of Betty. Betty Boop made a final attempt to bring Betty into the swing era in 1939. However, with the emergence of Disney’s Mickey Mouse, and Popeye, children had many more options to choose from, allowing for Betty to be chosen…show more content…
It nearly guaranteed a movie was G-rated, creating an environment that allowed for all family members to watch a movie. However, this prevented many directors and movie-makers from making films that would challenge social norms and discuss controversial issues. The Production Code also made shows very unrealistic, for an example in I Love Lucy which was produced by Jess Oppenheimer. Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky (Desi Arnaz) slept in separate beds throughout the show. In fact, Lucille Ball was pregnant in real life and the show decides to have her be pregnant in the show as well. However, the writers of the show refused to use the word pregnant and would only use the word “expecting”. This example shows just how watched and under fire writers were during this time, having to be sure they would not say anything that would be deemed controversial.

All in all, the Production Code, also known as the Hays Code played a major role in the development of films. From 1934-1954, the Code restricted many famous shows such as Betty Boop and I Love Lucy. The everlasting affects of the Production Code can still be felt today with the institution of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) film rating system. This allows for studios to make films they want, and allow for distinction of material between
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