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All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

All Movie Talk

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All Movie Talk, Episode 39

Show contents, with start times:

  • Industry Trend: Ratings and Censorship, Part 1 (1:52)
  • Trivia Question: Movie Or Band (15:49)
  • How To: Be the New Teacher In the Hood (17:30)
  • Top 6: Political Satires (26:21)
  • Film Buff's Dictionary: Masks, Filters, Day For Night (50:28)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (57:55)
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Show Notes:

Industry Trend: Ratings and Censorship, Part 1

Film ratings and censorship are two things that have existed in America as long as the movies themselves. In the early part of the 20th Century, the First Amendment did not have the wide-reaching scope it does today, and thus governments were more able to censor things like movies.

Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio was a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court case where the Court ruled that films are commerce, not speech, and thus explicitly gave local governments the power to set up film boards that would determine which movies could and could not be shown. This system of local governments approving films created a variety of rules about what could and could not be shown.

Charges of indecency -- both on and offscreen -- led Hollywood to form the Motion Pictures Producers & Distributors Association (later the MPAA) in 1922 as an industry group to clean up its image. Originally headed by former Postmaster General Will Hays, the group is largely ineffective at regulating film content throughout the '20s.

Under religious boycott, the studios finally agree to adhere to a Production Code in 1934. The Code (sometimes called the "Hays Code") strictly regulated the moral content of films. It is enforced by the Production Code Administration.

Under the leadership of Joseph Breen, the PCA has unprecedented powers to dictate what does and does not go into films. The PCA will govern most major studio releases through the late 1960s.

Trivia Question: Movie or Band

Are these movies or bands? Play along in our home game by clicking the link to find out for yourself:

  1. Savage Garden
  2. The Fabulous Baker Boys
  3. Trout Fishing in America
  4. Smilla's Sense of Snow
  5. Thanks to Gravity
  6. Goat on Fire and Smiling Fish
  7. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  8. The Doors
  9. Wings
  10. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

How To: Be the New Teacher In the Hood

Keep your cool, change up your lesson plans, and get ready for a lot of 2 a.m. knocks on your door -- being the new teacher in the 'hood is tough, unless you listen to the episode for our handy guide on how to pull it off.

Top 6: Political Satires

See our separate Top 6 entry for more information about our picks.

Film Buff's Dictionary: Masks, Filters, Day For Night

Masks and filters are both ways of controlling the final recorded image by putting things in front of the camera's lens. A mask is usually an opaque material that changes the shape of the image. Commonly, rectangular masks are used to matte an image, making it wider. The most famous mask is the iris, a circular mask that can change size. Rarely seen since the silent era, the iris functioned as a way of zeroing in on a subject in the days before zoom lenses.

Filters change the quality of light that gets recorded, usually by adjusting its color. Generally speaking, a filter is a colored piece of glass that will absorb certain colors. A blue filter, for instance, gives the recorded image a blue tint, as the blue glass absorbs other colors of light. Filters can also be used to change the quantity of light allowed in, and to adjust the quality of light in more subtle ways.

Shooting day for night is a cheap special effect that is achievable with filters. Since shooting outside at night is more expensive than shooting during the day, low-budget movies would put a dark blue filter over the lens and underexpose the film to achieve the illusion of night during a day shoot.

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