Evan's Reviews > Sin in Soft Focus: Pre-Code Hollywood

Sin in Soft Focus by Mark A. Vieira
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bookshelves: movies-reference, movies-non-reference, __in-my-collection, sexuality

Firstly, the photo reproductions in this book are second-to-none. Just ravishing. The nitrate halo imagery of the film stills of that era can never be duplicated, but at least they're reproduced faithfully here.

Secondly, the text is pithy and to-the-point. This is a good basic primer on the relatively lax Hayes Code era of the early '20s up to 1934 when the strict Breen Office Production Code enforcement went into effect to severely curb sexual, violent and subversive content in Hollywood movies. Ironically, in my view, the strict institution of the '34 Code actually resulted in some ways in better movies (eg, comedy writing got better as writers had to be wittier to skirt the code). This is not the fashionable view now, since the tendency is to favor the rebellious streak in art and culture. But, yes, the pre-Code era, as it's called, was filled with tremendously great films, especially from 1932 to 1934.

There are more comprehensive and scholarly treatments of this subject, from a textual point of view, but this is a good compromise marriage of solid primer text and incomparable illustration.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 13, 2009 – Shelved
May 13, 2009 – Shelved as: movies-reference
May 13, 2009 – Shelved as: movies-non-reference
June 2, 2009 – Shelved as: __in-my-collection
June 3, 2009 – Shelved as: sexuality

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