Monday, April 20, 2009

Never on Sunday

TCM had a fascinating little short on this morning: a 1935 political advertisement in which some of the stars of the day were campaigning for voters in Pennsylvania to vote in a referendum to lift restrictions on showing movies on Sundays. It's not the first time Hollywood engaged in politiciking, but a lot of times, they were doing so defensively. Several of the actors in this short talked about how movies had improved so much in the past year -- a clear reference to the more stringent enforcement of the Production Code. And as I mentioned last May, there were actually Congressional hearings on the eve of World War II because some idiot politicians thought Hollywood was making movies that were trying to push the US into the war on the British side.

On the other hand, this 1935 short at least had the virtue of being something that Hollywood had a clear natural interest in; it's not like the celebrities of today who engage in politics and expect people to revere their views, simply because they're celebrities, dammit. And it's was something that touched Hollywood more directly than the shilling for the New Deal that happened in a number of the movies that had the "NRA We Do Our Part" logo at the beginning or the end.

Having said that, however, Hollywood were also able to make excellent social commentary movies, a fact I've discussed several times before.

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