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Thou Shalt Not: A Primer to Pre-Code Hollywood


Saturday, December 07, 2013


2:00pm to 3:30pm


Mark Taper Auditorium



Reservations not required. Doors open 15 minutes prior to the start of the program. 


In 1930, a set of moral censorship guidelines known as the Production Code was drafted by members of the film industry to be applied to movies made in the United States. "The Code" as it was sometimes referred to was supposed to be Hollywood's way of keeping morally objectionable film content in-check without interference from the Federal Goverment. However, from 1930-1934 filmmakers largely ignored this list of "don'ts and be carefuls" resulting in storytelling that could be shocking, provocative, modern, and forward thinking - elements that would be drastically toned down in Hollywood productions once "the Code" was enforced. Now known as the pre-Code era, the films from this time would largely be buried in studio vaults until the home distribution market resurrected them in all their glory. 

Join Christina Rice, LAPL's own photo librarian and author of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel (University Press of Kentucky) for a brief introduction to this era of Hollywood filmmaking. The lecture will be followed by a screening of a pre-Code gem starring Ann Dvorak, Joan Blondell, and Bette Davis as childhood friends who are reunited years later, causing Dvorak's life to derail after she's the third to light her cigarette on a match. Copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel  will be available for purchase and signed by the author.  

Presented by the Fiction & Literature Department. Sponsored by Photo Friends.