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The Dame in the Kimono

Hollywood, Censorship, and the Production Code

Leonard J. Leff and Jerold L. Simmons

Publication Year: 2013

" The new edition of this seminal work takes the story of the Production Code and motion picture censorship into the present, including the creation of the PG-13 and NC-17 ratings in the 1990s.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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p. 1-1

The Dame in the Kimono

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pp. 2-3


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p. 4-4


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p. 5-5


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p. v-v


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xi

The research and writing of The Dame in the Kimono involved numerous persons who generously offered their assistance. At the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which houses the Motion Picture Association Production...

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pp. xiii-xvii

When Iva Archer rapped at the door of the swank flat, she sensed that him. The middle of a phone call? A cheese Danish and coffee? What was it? He seemed less the occupant of the flat than a precinct cop assigned to guard it. He talked as he always t...

The Production Code 1922–1934

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1. Welcome Will Hays!

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pp. 3-17

In the late teens of the twentieth century, America lost her innocence. The Great War not only tarnished her ideals but cast doubt on her national goals. Painters and poets, reporters and Rotarians, laborers and politicians-all experienced the bitter ...

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2. Welcome Mae West!

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pp. 18-33

"This burg is probably the mad house of the universe," Breen wrote Hays from Hollywood in August 1931. Press relations were a shambles. Local reporters and free-lancers loved alcohol and hated work; they also ...

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3. Welcome Joe Breen!

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pp. 34-56

Joseph Ignatius Breen "spoke Hollywood." Tough and brash and larger than life, he was "just dumb enough," one associate recalled, and Sons of immigrants, the Breen men were reared on the streets of Philadelphia. One brother graduated from St. Joseph's College and maintained a long association with the Jesuit campus; another be ...

The Production Code Administration 1934–1966

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4. Dead End

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pp. 59-80

"We're off for Hollywood," Princess Tamara purred in The Women, "where dear Mr. Hays will protect me." The Princess Tamaras of the world assumed that it was Will Hays who had tamed the movies; using his administrative skills and Washington contacts, he had ...

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5. Gone With the Wind

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pp. 81-112

Once upon a time at a West Coast dinner party, a fortune-teller sat behind a screen and invited the stars to query him. He revealed all the "intimate details of their private lives," noted an observer, yet they "never learned that the 'palmist' really was ...

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6. The Outlaw and The Postman Always Rings Twice

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pp. 113-144

In March 1941, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" captured the mood of the moment better than all the Gallup polls. Jerome Kern's haunting melody and Oscar Hammerstein' s tender lyrics expressed Americans' yearning for a world seemingly lost ...

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7. The Bicycle Thief

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pp. 145-166

When American GI Rod Geiger returned from Italy in 1945, his bar Rossellini's Open City. Geiger had purchased exclusive United States rights to the film for $13,000; over the next seven years it grossed more than $3 million in American theaters. From such ...

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8. Detective Story and A Streetcar Named Desire

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pp. 167-189

It was the stormiest meeting in the history of the Screen Directors Guild. For six and a half hours on the evening of October 22, 1950, Guild members hurled accusations at one another across the ball room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Then ...

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9. The Moon Is Blue and The French Line

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pp. 190-218

The 1956 Christmas issue of Life featured a portrait of the ideal American woman. A thirty-two-year-old suburban housewife and mother of four, she cooked well, cleaned house better, and was "pretty and popular." Her weekly round of activities included club and ...

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10. Lolita

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pp. 219-246

As Joe Breen cashed his first retirement checks, a boy with sensual lips and light-brown sideburns cut a disc for a Tennessee record com pany. The voice had potential, but jobs were scarce for poor kids with spotty educations, so the boy continued to drive ...

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11. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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pp. 247-271

In Tropic of Cancer, the down-and-out narrator spends months on the skids. He sponges from American expatriates, pimps for French tarts, and concludes that civilization is doomed, that only art and sex especially sex-matter. Tropic of Cancer (author Henry Miller noted) ...

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pp. 272-283

Two mobsters once formed a partnership to take over gambling-and more-in Havana. They met with Cuban officials who blessed the merger, then celebrated on the terrace of a luxury hotel suite. Florida kingpin Hyman Roth ...

Appendix: The Motion Picture Production Code

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pp. 285-300


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pp. 301-339

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 341-348

Selected Filmography

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pp. 349-358

About the Authors

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p. 359-359


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pp. 361-377


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pp. 397-412

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143453
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813190112

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2013