Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir v. HB

Mark Sullivan (
Wed, 29 Jul 1998 13:31:44 -0400 (EDT) For anyone interested in the Hays Office and its administration of the
Hollywood Production Code, I can recommend the book, The Dame in the
Kimono, by Leonard J. Leff and Jerold L. Simmons. It tells in great
detail (from the Office's own papers) the numerous battles between
producers and the Office which shaped American movies from the 1920s to
the 1960s, when it was replaced by the MPAA ratings system.

It doesn't have anything about Out of the Past, but it covers a lot of
other films that would interest this list, including Detective Strory
and The Postman Always Rings Twice, which the Hays office kept from
being made for over 10 years, until the John Garfield/Lana Turner
version came up with enough "compensating moral value." These films
were micromanaged down to the wardrobe--screenwriter Harry Ruskin
explains, "Turner dressed in white so that the public understood that
the girl's pure. She may be playing around with the guy, but she's not
taking her pants off for him." I'm not sure that's what I understood.


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