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Catholic Legion of Decency

The Catholic Legion of Decency was set up in 1934 to combat the trend of immoral films. While having no direct influence over the studios, the Catholic clergy could persuade churchgoers not to see certain films. The Legion was often more conservative in its views on films than the Hay's Office's Production Code. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Legion_of_Decency [May 2005]

National Legion of Decency

The National Legion of Decency was an organization dedicated to identifying, and combatting, objectionable content in American motion pictures. Founded in April of 1934, for the first quarter-century or so of its existence, the legion wielded great power in the American motion picture industry.

Though established by Roman Catholic bishops, it originally included many Protestant and even some Jewish clerics as well; however, these latter gradually dropped out, and by the 1960s the organization had become an exclusively Catholic concern. Eventually, the entity was subsumed into the United States Catholic Conference, which later changed its name to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Legion_of_Decency [Nov 2004]

Film censorship [...]

In America, the immensely powerful Catholic Legion of Decency -- until the 1960s virtually controlling exhibition patterns of certain films -- effected this by its own rating system. Its condemnations of certain works (constituting virtual excommunication of producers and exhibitors) appear, in retrospect, even more significant than they did originally and afford, by their sweep, a view of the clerical mind in action: one can imagine how anti-religious films would have fared, if one considers the nature and quality of some of the titles officially condemned: L'Avventura, Virdiana, Smiles of a Summer Night, Los Olvidados, La Notte, Blow-Up, Knife in the Water, Repulsion, Breath- less, The Married Woman, Jules et Jim, The Silence, The Pawnbroker, Woman of the Dunes, and Martin Luther. La Strada was classified as "morally objectionable in part for all" because "it tended to arouse undue sympathy for immoral characters"; and The Bicycle Thief was classified as "containing material unsuitable for entertainment motion pictures." -- Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

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