Tag Archives: films

Film censorship in the US

Reading The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, a book about  the telecommunication industry in the US from the telephone onwards, I learnt something about censorship in Hollywood. Between 1930 and 1968, the film industry imposed a set of moral guidelines known as the Motion Picture Production Code on itself, out of fear of regulation. Among the forbidden things were swearing, “Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette,” White slavery, and Miscegenation.

There was also a list of topics that were to be treated very carefully, such as “Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron),” Sympathy for criminals, Attitude toward public characters and institutions, and The institution of marriage. The industry also enforced the code itself.

It is fascinating that this was official policy. Of course it should come as no surprise that some things were not exactly right in the US of that time. As regards film censorship, Norway has also set itself up for some serious ridicule (in 1980!).

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Cross-cultural differences in movie posters

Weird Star Wars Posters From Around the World. (H/t Pawel Doligalski)

These must tell us something important about Hungary (to the right) and Russia, but I am not sure what. Even stranger ones here, introduced with the words: “Go to Eastern Europe, or Japan, and you’ll find posters that have absolutely nothing to do with the film, and everything to do with melting a hole in your brain.” I highly recommend going to the second page of the article.

Part of the explanation (far from all!):

During Poland’s Communist era, movie distributors couldn’t get hold of Hollywood’s publicity materials – so commissioned homegrown graphic designers to create them instead. The results were often abstract, beautiful and always a little bizarre.

Or very bizarre. Also, that does not explain Thor in China. There should be a science of this.