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Overall, did the Production code provide better entertainment?


musicfan
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Was it so bad to have pictures that the whole family could watch together? (This wasn' t true of some of the pre-code musicals.) And the code did allow female ingenues such as Leslie Caron (in "An American in Paris") and male ingenues such as Fred Astaire (in "The Sky's the Limit") to get away with certain sexual suggestiveness. Of course I didn't agree with the racial discrimination aspect of the Code. What is your opinion?

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I don't know that there are actually many pre-Code films that couldn't be viewed by kids--they are pretty tame by today's standards.

 

 

A favorite scene from The Sky's the Limit:

 

CANTEEN HOSTESS: Joan, darling, one of the acts can?t get here. Can you fill in?

 

JOAN: Oh, sure. That?s why I?m here. I?d like you to meet Mr.--

 

CANTEEN HOSTESS (off Fred): Can he do anything?

 

FRED: I can wash dishes.

 

JOAN (ironic): Oh, Mr. Burton can do anything. Didn?t you say you could, darling?

 

FRED: In a way.

 

CANTEEN HOSTESS (off Joan, to Fred) Could you -- could you do anything with her?

 

FRED (wolfishly): COULD I !

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  • 11 months later...

I think the Code merely forced film makers to invent new and more clever ways of saying what they really wanted to (as in the scene where Garbo slinks about the scenery in Queen Christina, romantically groping objects that remind her of the sexual encounter she has shared with John Gilbert) - which I have to admit I rather like.

 

Today's film making is too in your face for my tastes. I'm an adult male and I have trouble sitting next to my adult father while getting through some of the very adult sex scenes casually tossed into just about every contemporary mainstream movie made today.

 

Classic cleverness that I enjoy includes the following exchange from Wonder Bar.

 

A man is seen dancing closely with a woman as band leader Al Jolson looks on. Suddenly, another man approaches the couple, taps the man on the shoulder and says "May I?" at which point the man dancing leaves his female partner to embrace the other man and dance off screen. Jolson rolls his eyes suggestively and says, "Boys will be boys!"

 

Today the same scene would probably continue with some crude dialogue about what both fellows wanted to do to one another, followed by an on camera illustration of various positions inside a bathroom stall.

 

The power of suggestion is always greater than the reality that shatters the imagination's illusion of secret thoughts. If only someone would tip off film makers today, I might enjoy going to the movies a little bit more and blush a lot less.

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