Tuesday, March 22nd
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From the 1930s to the 1960s, Hollywood censored itself. The Production Code is often remembered as a quaint document that ensured married couples slept in separate beds on screen. But the Production Code was a more complex contract between Hollywood and its diverse global audience. It led filmmakers to create a code for representing sex, violence, and extreme politics. And it helped Hollywood navigate the depression, the rise of Nazism, Soviet communism, World War II, the Cold War, and the Sixties. In late 1960s, Hollywood could no longer make films to address one global audience, and the industry moved from the Production Code to the Rating System. The code ended, but in many ways, the visual language created by the Production Code still informs the way stories are told on screen.
Presented by Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema & Media Studies and Faculty Director of the Online Learning Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School.
He is an award-winning documentary and virtual reality filmmaker, who has shot films in Africa, Asia, and the U.S. His virtual reality docuseries. “The Heart of Puerto Rico,” about artists in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (co-directed with Jean Lee) won the Best VR Film at the AT&T Film Awards. And his documentary, “Dreaming of Jerusalem” (co-directed with Sosena Solomon), about the Jewish Community in Gondar, Ethiopia was a Discovery+ original.
He is the author or editor of six books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. Prof. Decherney has also written for The New York Times, Forbes, Inside Higher Ed, and other publications.
This program is supported by the White Plains Library Foundation.