Re: Please recommend films about drug addiction

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Sunday, February 01, 1998 9:28 AM

Kolaga wrote in message <6b112l$>…
>It's kind of clear that Hollywood was uncomfortable with the "drug
>addict" as a film topic.

Actually, the Production Code forbade the subject except where a exemption was issued. The Code read: "The illegal drug traffic must not be portrayed in such a way as to stimulate curiosity concerning the use of, or traffic in, such drugs; nor shall scenes be approved which show the use of illegal drugs, or their effects, in detail."

Drug exposes became a staple of the exploitation filmmakers because they did not seek approval by the enforcers of the Production Code, but then again, the number of theaters open to a film with a Production Code Seal was severely limited. (Examples of such exploitation films: "Tell Your Children" (a.k.a "Reefer Madness"), "Cocaine Fiends," "Assassin of Youth.")

>Also, it seems to me that Barbara Stanwyk and Burt Lancaster in
>SORRY, WRONG NUMBER -- that the illicit but highly profitable
>drug being made was maybe amphetamines? Once again, the studio
>didn't feel comfortable telling the audience.

Tell the audience what was being used and perhaps this becomes cited as "stimulat[ing the] curiosity concerning the use of… ."

>Go forward in time to THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM…

"The Man With the Golden Arm" did not receive a Production Code Seal. This was Otto Preminger's second such release. (His "The Moon is Blue" (1953) is the landmark film that went into release without a Seal--the first time that a major studio production had defied the Code in its twenty years of enforcement). The success of Preminger's productions, and subsequent non-Seal productions, led to the death of the Code.

David Hayes


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