Sex and Violence examines the history and social dynamics of film censorship in the United States. It examines censorship controversies throughout film history, from the beginning of cinema in the 1890s to the present. The book focuses both on formal censorship systems, including state and local censorship boards and industry self-regulation efforts, to unofficial censorship rendered by pressure groups and powerful social movements. It probes beneath the official rhetoric and explanations, revealing sensitive, festering controversies. The book critically examines dozens of Hollywood's most controversial (and interesting) movies, focusing on recurring issues and censorship themes. The book reveals the social and political processes of vetting films and their effect on film form and content. In addition, it examines the use of sexuality and violence in movies and the effects of movie censorship on those issues. Finally, it analyzes and makes recommendations for dramatic changes in motion picture ratings.
Tom Pollard is Professor of Social Sciences at National University, San Jose Campus, where he teaches classes in film and sociology. He has coauthored two previous books on film (A World in Chaos: Social Crisis and the Rise of Postmodern Film and The Hollywood War Machine: U.S. Militarism and Popular Culture). He also serves as a writer and researcher for historical documentaries, including The Maya Pompeii, Paradise Bent, Crystal Fear/Crystal Clear, Not a Game, and The Canyon War. He has had a lifelong love and interest in movies and film.
Chapter One: Introduction to Movie Censorship; Production Codes Defined; Hidden Codes; Code Wars; Censorship; Sex; Violence; Religion and Politics; Gender Roles; Creating the Couple; Court Rulings; Chapter Two: Pre-Code Hollywood; Penny Arcades; Nickelodeons; National Board of Censorship; Nineteen Teens; Twenties; 1920s Production Codes; Classic Gangsters; Gender Roles; Creating the Couple; Chapter Three: Hays Production Code; Pre-Code; Don'ts and Be Carefuls; Boycott; Hays Code; Screwball Comedy; Broadway; Hays Code Detectives; Westerns; Gangsters; Film Noir; Social Problems; Defiance; Supreme Court; Nuanced Westerns; Youth Rebellion; Catholic Boycott; Code Evasion; Gender Roles; Creating the Couple; Chapter Four: The McCarthy Code; Isolationism; Why We Fight; Social Problems; Film Noir; Table of contents.