Lewis, John. Hollywood V. Hardcore: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York and London: New York UP, 2000. 135-191.Chapter 4, titled Hollywood v. Soft Core, examines arguably the most influential year of film censorship to date. In this year, MPAA president Jack Valenti issued a press release to stating that a new production code/ move rating system would be put into place. The same system is still used today to rate films. The chapter does a good job of outlining the events of how this code came into place. The author explains how the "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" was denied by the PCA but began production anyway, anticipating that change was to come. It talks about the controversy over the language such as "screw" and "hump the hostess" were debated and the issues Valenti faced with content regulation. In the end of the meeting, Warner Brothers appealed the PCA's preliminary ruling to deny Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and the film was released. Because of the films amazing success, it marked a point in history where the industry was beginning to understand that the Production Code was a dated system. The film was released with a warning stating "for adults only" and ranked third in the box office list in 1966 behind two other mature-themed pictures. This chapter is very useful and entertaining in its explanation of the pressures and challenges that Valenti faced when negotiating the new rating system. It offers a very in depth perspective and takes the reader on a film by film journey of the controversy.
Doherty, Thomas. Pre-Code Hollywood. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. 319-346.The twelfth chapter of Pre-Code Hollywood examines the Hollywood Cinema during an era when Joseph I. Breen and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributers of America began to enforce what is known as the Hays Production Code. The chapter gives accounts of events leading up to the adoption of the code and how it was recieved by filmmakers and the public. It gives a good representation of the extent that the Roman Catholic Church and the "National Legion of Decency spearheaded a renewed and more aggressive crusade to clean up [the film industry." Going into detail, the authors explains many of the church's tactics to try to curb its followers away from the film industry, going as far as to station people outside of theaters to make sure that Catholics weren't going to see movies that the church deemed objectionable.The NRA Code is the next turn of the chapter. Bringing up the court case ruling in Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, where the government considered the film industry as purely a business and not a tool for public opinion. This marked the beginning of more federal power over censorship, rather than relying on local state regulation. One trade press manager summed the situation up by stating, "the whole world has gotten the idea that Hollywood is Hell's home office and Hays is the District Manager.” In order to lessen the influence of the Catholic Church the MPPDA granted the Production Code Administration autonomy and power. This meant that the PCA would have to approve of a film before the banks would fund it. Joseph I. Breen was put in charge and effectively enforced the Code, even reportedly stating, "I am the Code". Many movies that carried the tones of pre-Code Hollywood were refused by the Breen Office. The chapter goes further into explaining the effect it had on Hollywood film budgets and box office sales and gives an overall impression that films were more boring post-Code. The end of the chapter briefly explains how the 60's marked a period where the Code was considered dated. This chapter is a good indicator of the type of censorship environment that the country was used to before the making of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It puts the era into a good context for considering the challenges that faced Mike Nichols and Ernest Lehman when the film was being made and released.