Motion Picture, April 1931: Hollywood vs. the Corn Belt   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.23 at 20:13

Current mood: cynicalcynical

carole lombard twentieth century 024a banned front large
carole lombard twentieth century 024a banned back stamp large

Calls for censorship eventually led to strict enforcement of the Production Code not long after Carole Lombard’s breakthrough film “Twentieth Century” (from which the above promotional photo was rejected by Joseph Breen) was released in the spring of 1934. Some censorship came from state boards (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/139874.html), but some of it was self-imposed by Hollywood itself for commercial reasons. The following article, “Are Movies Run By The Middle West?” by Helen Louise Walker, from the April 1931 issue of Motion Picture magazine, provides considerable insight into how the industry viewed the heartland:

motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 00a
motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 01a
motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 02a

That article is chock full of pointed darts about the inhabitants of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and environs, and one wonders what they thought of it. Alas, we apparently will never know. While Motion Picture had a “letters to the editor” section, most of the letters consisted of comments about specific stars (e.g., Garbo vs. Dietrich). Few, if any, letters dealt with articles from prior issues — and a check of the next few issues of Motion Picture revealed no followups to “Are Movies Run By The Middle West?” Pity.

Oh, and as for “Twentieth Century”? It drew rave reviews from the trade press (such as the Hollywood Reporter) and New York papers and was well-attended in big cities…

carole lombard twentieth century 041334 hollywood reporter larger
carole lombard twentieth century 050934 hollywood reporter reviews

…it did middling business in “the sticks.”

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Posted December 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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