1934 July 14

Catholic Legion of Decency, Protestant Churches, Launch “Clean Film” Drive


The Catholic Legion of Decency and Protestant churches affiliated with the Federal Council of Churches on this day ordered bulk copies of a pledge to boycott “indecent” motion pictures as part of a nationwide “clean film” campaign. In New York City, a pastoral letter from the Cardinal would be read in all Catholic churches the following Sunday.

The boycott of allegedly indecent films led by Catholic Church figures, had begun the year before, and had already scored a major victory with the 1934 Motion Picture Production Code, adopted on June 13, 1934. The Code involved a voluntary self-censorship process by the major Hollywood studios, and it imposed a repressive regime of censorship on American movies through the 1960s.

Learn more at a timeline on film censorship in the U.S.: https://www.aclu.org/files/multimedia/censorshiptimeline.html

Learn more: Frank Walsh, Sin and Censorship: The Catholic Church and the Motion Picture Industry (1996)

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