Watch ‘Pre-Code’ Hollywood films on TCM all month

Tod Browning’s “Freaks

Before R-ratings, anti-heroes and gratuitous violence and nudity in mainstream Hollywood movies, there was the Hays Code. As a form of self-policing the industry, virtually every movie released up until 1968 needed that stamp of approval if it wanted distribution. And while it helped produce all of Old Hollywood’s true classics for several decades, it often included ridiculous rulings like not being able to show or flush a toilet on screen, not allowing married couples to be shown sleeping in the same bad or always making sure criminals, even protagonists of the movie, got punished in the end.

But before the Hays Code was nothing, and it was a gloriously weird, scandalous time for the movies. Certain Hollywood films in the early ’30s as “talkies” were rapidly taking hold have since been labeled “Pre-Code” films that never received Hollywood’s stamp of approval.

Every Friday in September,
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