Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The First 70s: Starville Moral Censorship

"How ya doing sailor. You look a little wet. Why don’t you come inside my apartment and get warm."- Farrah Aldah says to a sailor.

July 1, 1973- That line, from Aldah’s 1973 Noon After Night, embodied the saucy spirit of early movies in Starville. Now that Starville arrived, the film industry did so in the tart cadences of fast-talking men and faster women. This freedom created fresh stars and a sexual impudence that riled the crowds of propriety.

In 1973 the potent conservative lobby formed the League of Decency and Order to rate films. Soon after, William Haka, the industry's political and moral arbiter, called on Morris Kalu, a prominent conservative, to enforce a rigorous production code. Studios rushed to sanitize some projects (Aldah got married at the end of Belle of the Ball  rather than enjoying the company various men as was the original ending) and dump others. Moviegoers that spring may have been shocked by the sudden absence of shocking dialogue and situations.

However,  filmmakers evolved a new "code," one that traded starkness for subtlety. Audiences quickly learned this covert language in which a woman's wink was its own double meaning, and a kiss was more than a kiss.