Today is the first day of August! Here at PEPS, July was #CleanMovieMonth. We watched, reviewed, and celebrated nothing but films from the Breen era (1934-1954). We took a deep look into the variety of movies which were made during this unique time for Hollywood. We are looking forward to receiving other writers’ thoughts on this time. Click here to read the original announcement of #CleanMovieMonth. Click here to read the finale, in which I did a recap and a summary of every article.
Now, August is going to be the complete opposite. After all that purity, we are going to cast ourselves into the times without the Code. You can watch movies made before and after the Breen era. That means that it’s time to dust off the silent, pre-Code, Shurlock era (1955-1968), and post-Code films which we avoided during July. Remember, the Breen era of the Code lasted from July 15, 1934, to October 14, 1954, so it is American movies from this time which we are going to be avoiding during August.
Why is August #AMonthWithoutTheCode?
We chose August to be #AMonthWithoutTheCode for two reasons. Firstly, it is the month which follows July, #CleanMovieMonth. This experiment will have the greatest effect by coming right after the month of strictly decent films. Secondly, August is Geoffrey Shurlock’s birthday month. Geoffrey M. Shurlock was Joseph Breen’s assistant at the Production Code Administration from 1934-1954. He became the head of the PCA after Mr. Breen’s retirement in 1954. It was during his fourteen-year tenure that the Code decayed. Since his leadership led to the death of the Code and the era of film decency, we think that his birthday month is an appropriate time to study un-Code films (films not made during the Breen era).
How do I participate?
You can start by not watching American movies from the Breen era. When watching un-Code films, don’t watch them mindlessly. You mustn’t overlook or ignore the unCodish elements. Open your eyes to them so that you can compare these films to the Breen era movies you watched in July. Ask yourself, “Are there things in this movie which could be offensive or distasteful to some people? How could these elements have been changed or removed? Would the movie be better, worse, or the same without them? How would breening have changed this movie? Could this movie be a bad influence on some people? Could some people get bad ideas from this movie? Would I feel comfortable watching this movie with my parents, grandparents, or children?”
During and after August, you can write articles about your thoughts on #AMonthWithoutTheCode and the movies you are watching as part of it. You can compare un-Code films with Code films. You can write anything you choose about films which were not made during the Breen era, as long as you make some comparison to the Breen era or mention the Code, the PCA, or something else about self-regulation. Be sure to use the banner I made, include a link to this article, and send me the link. I will republish your article for you!
What if I can’t start at the beginning of August?
That’s fine. If, for instance, you don’t hear about this experiment until part-way through August, you can still join and exclusively watch un-Code films for the rest of the month. The important thing is not how long you watch un-Code films but how you watch them. Even just a week of mindful un-Code film-watching is a good experiment!
How else can I support #AMonthWithoutTheCode?
Share this article on your website and on social media! Use #AMonthWithoutTheCode on social media. Post the banner on your website to spread the word. Write articles about the Code and the difference its absence makes!
What do I do first?
- Leave a comment saying you want to participate.
- If you have a blog, republish this article on it.
- Share this article on social media.
- Use the banner and #AMonthWithoutTheCode to spread the word.
- Avoid Code films (1934-1954) for a whole month.
- Notice the way movies are because the Code was not in place, and consider how the Code would have changed them.
- Write articles or social media posts about the movies you are watching and your thoughts on them.
- Write a conclusive article in the beginning of September about your discoveries from the experiment.
- Be sure to link to this article and send me the links to your articles, which I will republish here!
Join #AMonthWithoutTheCode Today!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!