Censorship: Definition, Issues, Functions, Effects

The philosopher Cristian Metz has observed (The Imaginary Magnifier, 1982):

“The peculiarity of censorship, and one of its most noticeable characteristics–in the absence of which we would never be able to grasp its existence–is that things are always managing to get past it.”

Censorship had positive effects on film noir, paradoxically. Ot made films like The Big Sleep and The Lady from Shanghai seem confusing and dreamlike. It led to the necessity for innuendo and a certain type of lighting, highlighting the suggestive power of images.

The Outlaw

The Outlaw is the most notorious instance of a refusal to obey the Production Code.

The film exploited the screen image if newcomer Jane Russell as busty cowgirl.

It was filmed in 1941, released in 1943, and then rereleased in 1946

Anatomy of a Murder

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley banned the movie.

But a Federal District Court order stated that “Preminger’s does not tend to excite sexual passion or undermine morals.”

In the end the Production Code gave its sela of approval.

Time magazine wrote: “this courtroom melodrama is less concerned with murder than with anatomy. Viewers are bombarded with such nonsense words as intercourse, panties, contraceptive, and spermatagenesis.”