LGBTQ* Film/Movie History
THE HAYS CODE
(also known as the Motion Picture Production Code)
* The Motion Picture Production Code — a series of decency and censorship codes produced by the motion picture board — were used from 1934-1968
— Also know as the Hays Code (named after Hollywood’s chief censor, Will H. Hays)
* The code was established before movies were given ratings by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)
* Fines would be given to film producers, directors and theaters showcasing films which contained anything with violations to the Code.
* Smart directors/actors moved around these codes, placing subtle hints and insider lingo throughout the films
* The Code Restricted:
—> Open-Mouth Kissing
—> Lustful Embrace
—> Depictions of “white slavery”
—> Sexual “Perversion” (namely, homosexuality on screen)
What’s so Queer about it?
— Guess which “code” violation was the LAST to be dropped? You guess it: Sexual Perversion. Homosexual representation is film was still punishable/worth of a fine until the bitter end of the code.
(Personal Note: I highly recommend reading Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet or watching the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet *which is also on YouTube in multiple parts*)