Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will travel through the decades to explore a little-known aspect of film history: the powerful influence the Catholic Legion of Decency held over the movie business in the United States for more than half a century. Throughout the month of March, TCM will present Condemned, an expansive, 27-film programming event that will delve into the story of the organization that dedicated itself to protecting American audiences from “objectionable” content and explore the impact the legion had on how movies were ultimately produced and edited to avoid being labeled. Programming begins Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. and airs every Thursday throughout March with primetime screenings hosted by Sister Rose Pacatte, member of The Daughters of St. Paul, founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies and celebrated film reviewer.
Founded in 1933, the Catholic Legion of Decency was dedicated to combating objectionable content in films, often of a sexual nature, from the viewpoint of the Catholic Church. The Legion distributed a list of ratings for films, classifying them as A (morally unobjectionable), B (morally objectionable in part) or C (condemned). The Condemned programming slate will explore these films, screening 27 movies that were either condemned or found objectionable by this influential organization. Key programming highlights include:
- Baby Face (1933) - Barbara Stanwyck uses sexuality to get ahead
- And God Created Woman (1956) - The French film created Brigitte Bardot’s “sex kitten” image
- Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) - Billy Wilder’s comedy about a singer who has to have sex regularly to avoid headaches
- The Carey Treatment (1972) - Blake Edwards thriller revolving around illegal abortion
- The Moon Is Blue (1953), The film was condemned by the Legion and bypassed the Production Code entirely
- L’Amore (1948), Led to a Supreme Court lawsuit in 1952 known as the “Miracle Decision” after being condemned by the Legion. The ruling declared that motion pictures were a form of artistic expression protected by freedom of speech and guaranteed under the First Amendment
"We’re always looking for creative ways to explore film history through various viewpoints and this month-long programming slate provides fans with a different perspective in order to view these films through a new lens," said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM.
For a full schedule, please visit tcm.com/condemned