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Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager
Fri, Jun 14, 2019
The Motion Picture Production Code was created by religious leaders in 1930 with cooperation from the heads of all the major Hollywood studios. It came about as a response to public outcry over the moral turpitude on display from the still-young movie capital, both on and off the screen. The code comprised a set of moral standards for the content of major studio releases; the studio heads signed on because of the reasonable belief that if they didn't help clean their own houses, the government would step in.
Nonetheless, the studio heads, already wise to the fact that sex sells, ignored the Code until it was given teeth in 1934 by an amendment requiring certificates of approval from local censorship boards for each film before they could be released—usually into theaters that were also owned by the major studios. Once MGM, Paramount, Warner Bros., and the others were forced into cutting kisses, lowering hemlines, and turning every criminal character into a conduit for a morality lesson, independently owned theaters and the earliest indie studios jumped to fill the void with sin-soaked entertainment.
This summer, the Wex will present two back-to-back, monthlong series highlighting the saucy films to come out of independent studios in the first half of the 20th century, under the banner B-Movie Mania! A Low Budget Summer. It all begins Friday, July 5, with Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture, which features new restorations created in a partnership between Kino Lorber Films, Something Weird, and the Library of Congress. The trailer for the series is below. You'll find details on film selections and dates here.