Essay on The Hays Code in Film Noir

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The Hays Code in Film Noir
The Motion Picture Production Code, commonly known as the Hays Code, was adopted in March 1930, though it was not truly enforced until four years later in 1934. This set of rules had tremendously influenced the way Hollywood movies were made for a number of years. This code was based on the ethics and norms if that time. There were three main principals of the Hays Code. The first was no picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standard of those who see it. What was meant by this was that sympathy should not be portrayed towards crimes, wrongdoings, evil or sins. The second stated that only a correct standard of living could be presented that are only subject to the requirements of drama and …show more content…

One of the main things they had to work around was that there could be no implicit sex between Brigid and Spade. This restriction has to do with the second application which regulates the presents of sex. It was required that the sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home should be upheld. Since the two were not married, the code restricted them from inferring that any sort of sex relationship was a common and an accepted practice. Spades relationship with Effie, his secretary, needed to be kept to a level that would not imply that he had any sort of sexual relationship with her as well. Although the Hays code acknowledges that adultery type situations are acceptable only if they are necessary to the plot material, it should in no way be explicitly treated, justified, or presented in an attractive way. All the regulations regarding sex in the Hays Code, made it extremely difficult for film noir since one of the main themes of film noir involves sexual motivation. In particular it held back the notorious femme fatale from exuding her sexually upon men with the intent of making her own personal gains.
One of the staples of the film noir is the hardboiled detective that is utterly out of control in many aspects of his life. Several elements of Spade’s character had to be altered to meet the code consequently and ultimately weakened his character. His drinking had to be kept to

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