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Negative portrayals of clergymen


kingrat

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I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG portrays the priest, Muni's brother, in a negative light. He means well, but he trusts anyone in a position of authority, and all the advice he gives his brother is disastrously wrong. The Code would mandate portrayal of the clergy in a postive way.

 

What other pre-Codes show clergymen negatively? There's the Rev. Mr. Davidson in the various versions of RAIN.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This isn't really a negative portrayal of the clergy, but it is intriguing.

 

In the 1933 Clark Gable/Jean Harlow film "Hold Your Man," the lead characters are married at the end by a preacher. In the main version, the clergyman was black; however, MGM apparently thought white southern audiences would not accept this, so in versions of the film shipped to the south, a white clergyman was used. (And said clergyman was portrayed by longtime star Henry B. Walthall, who appeared in many films, notably "The Birth Of A Nation," and was a Metro character actor until his death in the mid-thirties.)

 

For more on this, go to http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/174666.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was curious too, so I did a little research and came up with these silents and pre-codes:

 

 

The White Rose (1923) Minister gets a girl pregnant

 

The Pilgrim (1923) escaped convict mistakenly given job as minister (played for laughs)

 

Body and Soul (1925) minister is a really bad man?deeply involved in illegal gambling, sexually abuses a young woman, etc?

 

Scarlet Letter (1926) minister has a love child with a woman

 

The Sea Bat (1930) escaped convict pretends to be priest and has an affair

 

Miracle Woman (1932) a woman pretends to be a true Christian minister, but is really a con artist (though she repents in the end)

 

Shanghai Express (1932) preacher is very intolerant and judgemental of Shanghai Lily?s sinful lifestyle though he comes around in the end

 

There are probably a lot more than this--I can't imagine they would have included a provision like that in the Code for just these few films...

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> {quote:title=Scottman wrote:}{quote}

> THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (1933) Stanwyck is a missionary in China. She is very naive

>

> and judgmental, but begins to see the light (so to speak) by the end of the film

 

I think this film has two separate meanings: He converted her by means of the ?Stockholm Syndrome?, and she converted him by accepting him as an equal.

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One of the major films that caused the Code ruling was ?Rain? (1932), which had been a big broadway play. In the film ?Scarface? (1932), the gangsters attend the play (I suppose in Chicago).

 

?Rain? was revived in 1953 as ?Miss Sadie Thompson?, as one of the early Code-breaking films of the 1950s.

 

If you listen carefully to the narrated introduction to ?Duel in the Sun? (1946), you?ll hear a special disclaimer to avoid trouble with the Code, when the narrator explains that the bad Walter Houston character is not a ?real? preacher.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=Scottman wrote:}{quote}

> > THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (1933) Stanwyck is a missionary in China. She is very naive

> >

> > and judgmental, but begins to see the light (so to speak) by the end of the film

>

> I think this film has two separate meanings: He converted her by means of the Stockholm Syndrome, and she converted him by accepting him as an equal.

 

A kind of "Shanghai Syndrome"? :P It did take her a bit of time, though to accept Yen as a an equal.

She had trouble understanding the Chinese culture. When she put up her life as bond for the loyalty of Mah Li, and when Mah Li does sell out Yen, Megan still does not believe that she is bound by her agreement (not unlike the Edith Hardy character in THE CHEAT).

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