Last year, PEPS officially declared July #CleanMovieMonth. We decided to make it an annual celebration. Many months are dedicated to celebrating history or bringing awareness. #CleanMovieMonth is dedicated to both. It’s a month-long celebration of Code films, specifically cinema sealed during the Breen era (1934-1954). Frequent PEPS readers know that PEPS is always dedicated to Breen era films. However, during #CleanMovieMonth, we are inviting you to join the celebration, too! The idea of the Motion Picture Production Code was first announced by Martin J. Quigley at a meeting in Chicago in July of 1929, so the Code was really born in July. On July 15, 1934, the Code began to be enforced as the Production Code Administration, with Joseph I. Breen as its leader, was formed. Thus, July is dedicated to celebrating Code films and clean cinema!
This is a year of special anniversaries, since it has been ninety years since Martin Quigley’s idea presentation and eighty-five years since the formation of the PCA. We are especially celebrating the eighty-fifth anniversary of the PCA’s formation, since it marked the beginning of the twenty-year period of film decency which we call the Breen Era. Although it has not been eighty-five years of solid decency, due to the deterioration of the Code during the Shurlock Era (1955-1968), the years of Code-enforcement are still something about which to rejoice. In honor of this anniversary, we are calling this July #CleanMovieMonth85.
I won’t be publishing daily articles again this year, but we will feature a lot of special articles about the Code and why it made movies so wonderful. In honor of this strictly-Code month, I will suspend Breening Thursdays, since I want to focus on nothing but the movies which were breened by Mr. Breen himself! Instead, every Thursday in July I will publish a Code Concepts article, a new series which I am beginning. I will write about one specific aspect of the Code in each one, focusing on fundamentals to clarify one point. However, I will still be publishing my other two weekly series throughout #CleanMovieMonth85!
To join this celebration, watch only American films released between July 15, 1934, and October 14, 1954. This is the greater Breen era, and it is the era of the Code’s best enforcement. It can be hard to determine the cut-off line in 1954, so any movie from 1954 is acceptable. Pre-Code films from 1934 are easily distinguished by the lack of an MPPDA Certificate No. in the credits. The first Code film was The World Moves On. The purpose of this is to really study these movies, how they are related to the Code, and how they differ from movies from other times. You can read the complete Code and its revisions here. If you have a blog, you can write articles during the month to document your thoughts on and reactions to the movies you are watching, linking back to this post and using the banner at the top of this article. Use the hashtag #CleanMovieMonth85 to share your thoughts on the films you are watching on social media. You can have a weekly roundup to discuss your reactions to the experiment, or you can wait until the end of the month and write one article about your findings. Last year was very successful! Click here to see the full roster of participation from July of 2018.
The purpose of the experiment is to immerse yourself in the Code era and its films. For anyone who enjoys classic films, it shouldn’t be too much of a chore, since those twenty years are considered part of Hollywood’s Golden Era. This is a good opportunity to re-watch your old favorites and discover some new classics! If you have to watch an un-Code film, such as for a blogathon, that’s fine. You can watch a few films made outside of the Breen era, but try to keep them to a minimum. This exercise can make you really appreciate how wonderful decent movies were. If you can’t start at the beginning of July, that’s fine. If, for instance, you don’t hear about this celebration until part-way through July, you can still join and enjoy watching exclusively Code films for the rest of the month. Even just a week of only Code films is a good experiment!
You can support #CleanMovieMonth85 by sharing this article on your website and on social media, using #CleanMovieMovement on social media, and posting the banner on your website to spread the word. In addition, wear or display the colors light blue and yellow. These are the colors of the Clean Movie Movement, which encompasses PEPS, the L. A. Soprani Sisters, our singing duo, and the Legion of Scriveners for Reform, a new endeavor which we are going to launch this month. These colors represent the morning sun, since the Clean Movie Movement’s motto is, “The Code can make the sun rise on a new day of pure entertainment!” In addition, if you live in Southern California, you can attend my PowePoint presentation with bestselling Hollywood historian Mark Vieira, Pre-Code vs. Pro-Code! It will be an amicable debate about the effect of the Code and Joseph I. Breen on Hollywood before and after the PCA was formed, taking place June 23 at 2 PM in the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s the perfect precursor to #CleanMovieMonth85. If you can’t attend, you can share the event!
Click here to join the blogathon we are hosting in July in honor of #CleanMovieMonth85, The Favorite Code Film Blogathon!
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 #CleanMovieMonth85 to spread the word.
- Start looking for Code films you want to watch!
- Notice the way movies relate to the Code, including the compliances and the violations.
- Try to determine what Code classification the films you watch deserve, referring to the article I wrote on this subject for guidelines.
- 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 August 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!
- Keep checking back here to see the announcement of August’s special month, #AMonthWithoutTheCode, which we will be hosting again this year. It will be the opposite of July; we won’t watch any Code movies to see what life is like without them, in contrast to #CleanMovieMonth85!
Participants So Far
Movie Critic of Movies Meet Their Match
Sally Silverscreen of 18 Cinema Lane
Crystal Kalyana of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood
Join #CleanMovieMonth Today!
Follow us to bring back the Code and save the arts in America!
Only the Code can make the sun rise on a new day of pure entertainment!