Chapter

The Worst That Could Happen

William D. Romanowski

in Reforming Hollywood

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387841
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950188 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387841.003.0006
The Worst That Could Happen

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This chapter explores the effect that Hollywood’s cooperation with Catholics had on both the film industry and the Protestant establishment. In 1934 Catholic prelates announced that they were organizing a Legion of Decency to take action against immoral movies. By empowering Catholics, Hays had strategically outflanked his co-religionists and also showed that the real threat to the industry was not censorship, but the breakup of the studios’ profitable oligopoly. Federal Council leaders initially aligned themselves with their religious rivals in hope that a united front might finally lead to genuine reform, but ultimately refused to employ the bishops’ strategies and coerce producers under threat of boycott. Furthermore, persistent Protestant efforts to dismantle the studio monopoly made them Hollywood’s foes and derailed any joint Protestant-Catholic endeavors.

Keywords: Legion of Decency; studio monopoly; co-religionists; reform

Chapter.  6054 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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