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Old 05-26-2011, 12:51 PM
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Clairveaux Clairveaux is offline
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Default Re: The 1958 takeover of the Catholic Church (rare footage)

I saw the same things with my grandmother, aunts, etc, but they were not devoted to the Church only out of fear. I agree that they did run those countries like tyrants at times but to reject everything they stood for is also wrong.

Here is just the first page of a 3 page 1980 Time article about the Legion of Decency.

The Catholic film office and its ratings Review are no more
It is Christmas Eve 1962. Faint echoes of Silent Night twinkle through the frosty air. As Father Patrick J. Sullivan of the Roman Catholic film office recalls the scene, he is off in a small New Jersey parish hearing confessions. Suddenly he is summoned for an urgent phone call. Gregory Peck is on the line, wanting to know why on earth the church has rated his forthcoming film To Kill a Mockingbird unsuitable for teenagers. The priest explains that the ending seems to justify the sin of lying, even though it is in a good cause. As Sullivan remembers it, before Mockingbird is released, the final scene is altered slightly. The church gives the film an "adults and adolescents" rating and, later, an award.
That is how things went during the three decades when Catholicism's Legion of Decency (later the Catholic film office) exercised vast moral sway over U.S. film making—in league with Hollywood's own self-censoring agency, the Production Code Administration (P.C.A.). The church's ultimate weapon was an ungentlemanly C (for condemned) rating, a box-office kiss of death partly because U.S. Catholics used to take a public pledge at Mass, once a year, to boycott movies that were designated trash.
In the system in use till 1958, films were labeled A-l (suitable for general patronage) or A-2 (morally unobjectionable for adults); shady flicks got a B (objectionable in part for all). Thus armed, the Legion had leverage both before production and during final editing. For instance, an epilogue was added to the film version of Tea and Sympathy so the kind schoolmaster's wife (Deborah Kerr), who helped the troubled schoolboy learn about love, could allude to the guilt she felt afterward. Not till 1953 did a major studio make a profit on a movie with the scarlet letter C: that film was Otto Preminger's saucy The Moon Is Blue.
Last week the U.S. Catholic Church closed down its film office. It also ceased publication of the biweekly film Review, which since 1935 had carried unsigned critiques, as well as ratings, on 16,251 feature films. The official reason for the shutdown is financial, but the office clearly fell victim to changes in the law, public morality, the movie business and the church itself.
In the freewheeling Hollywood of the early 1930s, two Catholics wrote a moral code for the industry. It forbade not only overt sex and brutality but sympathy for any evildoers and even the very word "damn" (Gone With the Wind got a special P.C.A. dispensation). As the film industry created the P.C.A., the church created the National Legion of Decency. Soon it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began. The major studios owned some 70% of first-run theaters and refused to distribute any film that did not have P.C.A. approval. Over the next 33 years the P.C.A. gave its seal to only five movies the church had rated C. Films like the superpure Miracle on 34th Street got a B simply because a major character was divorced and unrepentant. The whole system was possible, remarks President Gordon Stulberg of Polygram Pictures, because in those years "there was still a kind of national morality."


Read more: Religion: A Scrupulous Monitor Closes Shop - TIME

Last edited by Clairveaux : 05-26-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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