Author: McKenzy Woodworth

Class and Organized Crime in the Era of the Production Code: An Analysis of the Portrayals of White vs. Blue Collar Crime in Gangster Films

In the 1930s, the gangster flick ruled the movie theaters of America – however, only thanks to the films’ strenuous journey through the Production Code review process. A set collection of rules and regulations concerning what could and could not be portrayed on screen or implied through the cinematography or writing scenes or characterization of characters, the Production Code greatly influenced the way that organized crime and violence were portrayed in films during its reign. For instance, murder was something the Code was designed to make studios approach the topic in a way that would not “inspire imitation,” or cause audience members to get the idea that might be capable of executing brutal killings as well.[1] This fear of portraying something on screen that viewers might imitate most likely stemmed in part from the Payne Fund Studies conducted in the late 1920s and early 1930s, looking into the impact of films on the behavior of children in juvenile-correction centers, male graduate students and their wives, and young college professors.[2] This study drove the Hays Office …

McKenzy Woodworth is a rising junior and a Cinema Studies major.