Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound in the late 1920s and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code (usually labeled, albeit inaccurately after 1934, as the “Hays Code”) censorship guidelines. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) and the major studios, and popular opinion than strict adherence to the Hays Code, which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers.
As a result, films in the late 1920s and early 1930s included sexual innuendo, miscegenation, profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, intense violence and homosexuality.
Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson, 1994)
Gloomy Sunday (Rolf Schübel, 2003)
The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003)
The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008)
”Having Matt as my older brother kind of sucks because he is a rockstar and I’m not and it’s always been that way… but there this one time when I was in high school and he was in New York, he called me up because he had a horrible nightmare, this nightmare was awesome: He was being attacked by this guy in the street and he said I came out of nowhere with an axe and I saved his life. It’s just that made me realize my brother saw something in me that I sometimes don’t see in myself.” - Tom Berninger