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A Note from the Legion of Decency


ginnyfan
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And...don't forget to purchase U.S. War Bonds while on your way to the movie theater to see one of these wholesome movies we have endorsed.

 

(...our boys overseas will thank you)

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I don't know--

 

that  Four's a Crowd seems a little suspect, and any movie with a character named Torchy--  Torchy Blaine in Panama , well do you need any other clues about her?

 

LOL

 

Yeah, and how about that one in the first column..."Give Me a Sailor"???!!!

 

(...if THAT doesn't bring to mind a certain "Oldest Profession", I don't know what DOES!!!)  LOL

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???

 

HOW did GANGS OF NEW YORK get on that list?

 

Sepiatone

 

That would be the 1938 movie starring Ann Dvorak and Charles Bickford and with the same title as Scorsese's 2002 film, Sepia.

 

(...and it's probably on that list because all the bad people in it get their just rewards by the end of it, and just like how all "good wholesome" movies SHOULD end!!!) ;)

 

LOL 

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Just what was the idea of starting this thread?  The Legion alerted Catholics to the content of film, how it was presented and whether there was anything that misrepresented us or our beliefs or condoned what was considered immoral.  They pushed their point of view as did other groups who agreed and disagreed with them as was their right.  One was free to accept or reject these views and promote their own.  

 

What met this criteria in the 1930's was different from the 50's, 60's or later; many classic era films were reclassified later on such as Gone with the Wind  which went from offensive-for obvious reasons-to suitable for teens and adults.  Others, such as The Moon is Blue still are and I can see why.  This is no different from the industry rating system except that it is more stringent.  Plenty of like-minded groups have done the same.

 

As a child, I knew to check the list out before asking to see a film to make certain it was a family film.  I knew some things I was too young to understand or see but would later on.  Time has born this out as I definitely enjoyed some films in maturity that I would not have in my earlier years.  Others I wish I had avoided as the original assessment was still the right one. 

 

Censorship is government requiring a license to produce and display an artistic work or saying when and where it can be done.  It's not voicing dislike for it. 

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As a child, I knew to check the list out before asking to see a film to make certain it was a family film.  I knew some things I was too young to understand or see but would later on.  Time has born this out as I definitely enjoyed some films in maturity that I would not have in my earlier years.  Others I wish I had avoided as the original assessment was still the right one. 

 

Censorship is government requiring a license to produce and display an artistic work or saying when and where it can be done.  It's not voicing dislike for it. 

Actually, it is if it completely reshapes the original story. The Children's Hour, the 1934 film with Merle Oberon and Miriam Hopkins, was nothing to the original story. So much so that William Wyler stated that "Lillian Hellman's play has never been produced as a film." Luckily, he directed the film again in 1961 as the censorship body (the Production Code) was losing its influence. 

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Just what was the idea of starting this thread?  The Legion alerted Catholics to the content of film, how it was presented and whether there was anything that misrepresented us or our beliefs or condoned what was considered immoral.  They pushed their point of view as did other groups who agreed and disagreed with them as was their right.  One was free to accept or reject these views and promote their own.  

 

What met this criteria in the 1930's was different from the 50's, 60's or later; many classic era films were reclassified later on such as Gone with the Wind  which went from offensive-for obvious reasons-to suitable for teens and adults.  Others, such as The Moon is Blue still are and I can see why.  This is no different from the industry rating system except that it is more stringent.  Plenty of like-minded groups have done the same.

 

As a child, I knew to check the list out before asking to see a film to make certain it was a family film.  I knew some things I was too young to understand or see but would later on.  Time has born this out as I definitely enjoyed some films in maturity that I would not have in my earlier years.  Others I wish I had avoided as the original assessment was still the right one. 

 

Censorship is government requiring a license to produce and display an artistic work or saying when and where it can be done.  It's not voicing dislike for it.

 

The point was to simply post something I thought was kind of fun from a newspaper in 1938, something that might evoke a few comments. That's sort of the point of a forum, isn't it? Not everthing has to have a terminally serious edge or point, does it?

 

I was neither voicing a like or dislike for it. The church, or to be more accurate, the newspapers carrying it have absolutely as much right to print this as other papers would a movie review from Roger Ebert. And I, a thinking American, also have a right to accept or dismiss their opinion.

 

I, too, am Catholic and my Archdiocese still does this each week, although they no longer give it such a cool superhero name.

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I hope the tone of the last post wasn't overly harsh. I did edit out something I thought better of saying once I got home and could use the edit function.  I stand by everything else as this thread was not started for any dire attack on religion or its rights. I just wish we could have fun without the heaviness. It was simply something I came across while researching 1938 newspapers for mention of a certain actress and her film. She has three on the unobjectionable list, BTW.

I'm not just Catholic, but an active member of my parish, so I get it.

BTW, a friend of mine told me that when he was young and heard that his parents were going to a film on the objectionable list, he'd always make sure to point it out to them. :)

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a friend of mine told me that when he was young and heard that his parents were going to a film on the objectionable list, he'd always make sure to point it out to them. :)

My mother once told me about the time she went to see THE EXORCIST during its initial release, and there were protestors outside the theater. She said she hurried in lest any of her fellow parishoners were part of the protest.

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As a child, I knew to check the list out before asking to see a film to make certain it was a family film.

 

If I've never heard of a film, I usually check with IMDB or a LEONARD MALTIN review to see if such a film would be suitable for me. If he hates it, I'll usually watch it.  :)

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Just what was the idea of starting this thread?  The Legion alerted Catholics to the content of film, how it was presented and whether there was anything that misrepresented us or our beliefs or condoned what was considered immoral.  They pushed their point of view as did other groups who agreed and disagreed with them as was their right.  One was free to accept or reject these views and promote their own.  

 

What met this criteria in the 1930's was different from the 50's, 60's or later; many classic era films were reclassified later on such as Gone with the Wind  which went from offensive-for obvious reasons-to suitable for teens and adults.  Others, such as The Moon is Blue still are and I can see why.  This is no different from the industry rating system except that it is more stringent.  Plenty of like-minded groups have done the same.

 

As a child, I knew to check the list out before asking to see a film to make certain it was a family film.  I knew some things I was too young to understand or see but would later on.  Time has born this out as I definitely enjoyed some films in maturity that I would not have in my earlier years.  Others I wish I had avoided as the original assessment was still the right one. 

 

Censorship is government requiring a license to produce and display an artistic work or saying when and where it can be done.  It's not voicing dislike for it. 

Star,

 

I understand what you are saying. In fact, the U..S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a movie

review service for those of us who want to check out a film before viewing it for moral guidance.

 

Jake

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My mother once told me about the time she went to see THE EXORCIST during its initial release, and there were protestors outside the theater. She said she hurried in lest any of her fellow parishoners were part of the protest.

 

Man, am I old. Your "mother", eh Holden?! Well, AT LEAST ya didn't say "GRANDmother"!!! LOL

 

I went to see THE EXORCIST the second day of its initial release at the Avco Center Cinema in Westwood CA,  and I TOO remember seeing a few of these protesters while waiting in that long line to see it.

 

I was 21, kinda sorta a Methodist at the time, and so I had NO idea what to expect from this flick with this title, 'cause I had NO idea what all that "exorcism" mumbo-jumbo was all about.

 

After the movie I walked out thinking that it was THE scariest movie I had ever seen, EVEN scarier than THE HAUNTING!

 

(...fast forward about 25 years and the night I watched it on broadcast TV for the second time, and I remember chuckling to myself about how hokey and overblown I THEN thought the thing was) 

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The Legion alerted Catholics to the content of film, how it was presented and whether there was anything that misrepresented us or our beliefs or condoned what was considered immoral.  They pushed their point of view as did other groups who agreed and disagreed with them as was their right.  One was free to accept or reject these views and promote their own.  

 

 

I'm not RC, but I went to a Catholic university. One of my film professors (Henry Herx) also reviewed films for the Catholic News Service. He was a great teacher -- introduced us to Jules and Jim, The Bicycle Thief, and many other classics. In my Demonology class, which was taught by Jesuits, we read and were encouraged to see The Exorcist, which had just come out.  

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I'm Catholic, and I still refer to what the Catholic Church has to say about films. I find it very helpful.

 

That's fine, but the problem with the "Legion of Decency" and the Breen Code was that they forced their personal views of "morality" on everyone else who wanted to see a movie.  When 90% of the crime and romance dramas had nearly identical endings (criminals dead or in jail / wedding bells ringing), it's kind of hard to imagine that the art of storytelling was being enhanced much beyond the Sunday School level.  A lot of the Hollywood movies of that era still managed to be great in spite of it all, but it was often like watching an Olympic swimmer trying to strut his stuff in a wading pool.

 

832008.jpg

 

Uh, uh, sister....Uncle Joe's watching you!

 

 

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I'm Catholic, and I still refer to what the Catholic Church has to say about films. I find it very helpful.

 

That's fine, but the problem with the "Legion of Decency" and the Breen Code was that they forced their personal views of "morality" on everyone else who wanted to see a movie.  When 90% of the crime and romance dramas had nearly identical endings (criminals dead or in jail / wedding bells ringing),

 

I don't like seeing movies in which the crazy mean bad loco killer goes free at the end, after killing a bunch of nice people. I like to see killers either shot by their victims, the police, or maybe fall off a cliff at the end of a movie.

 

In these modern times, if we want to go out to see a movie, we must put up with being forced to see the "views of morality" of all the slasher film producers and directors. No thanks.

 

I didn't go see The Exorcist because I didn't want to be forced to see some actor puking in a color film close-up. No thanks, not for me. I don't want to see anyone puke, p-e-e, or p-o-o-p on film.

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We studied The Exorcist in my Demonology class, because the teacher (a Jesuit) felt it was an accurate depiction of what a exorcism should be, according to the rules of the Church. I think I preferred the book. I had seen too many horror films, from early childhood, to be overly impressed by the movie, though I liked it. Also studied about many other demons, including from other cultures.

 

On a slightly related note, I also studied a lot about Voodoo. One of the best books of my college years was Alfred  Metraux's fascinating book, Voodoo in Haiti. It too deals a little with Catholicism, in the sense that Voodoo is partly a combination of West African religion with Catholicism and a few other influences.  In terms of movies, I really get upset about what they've done to zombies in more recent  films. I think George Romero has a lot to answer for, in turning the original zombies away from the fascinating zombies of Haitian legend (and some say, reality). 

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Pauline Kael did call The Exorcist (in her pan for the film) the biggest recruiting poster for the Catholic Church since Going My Way...

I'm not Catholic. I read the book and watched the movie, several times. I'm a believer. Father Merrin

and Karras confront Evil in a modern time that confirms the believer's faith in the Almighty and the

wisdom of the Bible with the story of man fallen with legions of gone bad Angels cast down to earth.

 

I did not convert. I remain a Baptist.

 

Jake

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