In 1891, Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera. The first public showing of a movie took place in New York City in 1896. But it wasn’t until the 1920s that the technical difficulties were resolved. As a result, the ’20s saw the industry’s first, wide-spread, commercial successes and is therefore considered, by most, to be the birth of the American film industry.
The world has never been the same since.
Much good has come from this discovery, but in retrospect, much evil has been produced as well.
Except for a short period of self-censorship, the movie industry has chronicled, with or without its acknowledgement, the decline in good behavior in America, brought on by radical, second-wave feminism.
If you want to vividly see what we, as a country and a culture, have lost over the last 45 years, while Christian America has been under assault by these anti-Christian radical women, watch some of the great movies (listed below) that were produced by Hollywood before their reign of terror began in the 1960s.
The best movies that Hollywood ever produced were distributed during the 1930s and 1940s. (Click on my link to read about the movie industry’s transitional decade of decline during the 1950s, in my related post – Pop Culture Poison Vol. #3 Essay 1.)
These earlier movies are a wonderful time capsule of what Christian America, and American society, was like before radical feminism reared its ugly head. Before “patriarchal” Christian men were unfairly vilified for creating a civilized culture, through which they could protect, and provide, for the people they loved. Before selfless Christian family life was destroyed by radical feminists, with a chip on their shoulder, and replaced by a “liberated”, narcissistic, feminist lifestyle. Before organized religion (Christianity) was denounced as being “oppressive and domineering” with regards to women. Before the feminist’s “sexual revolution” separated women from their humanity. And, before twisted academic feminists convinced millions of young, naive, female baby boomer collegians to follow them into hell.
You can vividly see the progressive decline of our citizenry’s behavior in the photos below, starting with the elegance of Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930s and ending with the trash of the 1970s.
The movies Hollywood produced after the 1940s eventually LED the way down hill.
And, for those who claim movies are a REFLECTION of existing human behavior rather than an instigator of human behavior, the industry’s history proves otherwise. This is evident because, for a short period of time, Hollywood led the way up hill, with inspiring results.
The wonderful movies of the late 1930s and 1940s represented, as at no other time in its history, that short period of time when the entire industry strove to exemplify the high ideals innate in most good men.
The reason for this illustrious, and industry-wide effort to acknowledge men’s efforts to live by those high ideals and, by association, encourage good behavior through their movies, was because the men in charge of the movie studios decided to self-sensor their films prior to production.
This move was in response to the negative reaction to the questionable films they had produced during the 1920s and early 1930s.
As a result of the movie moguls concerted efforts to improve the story lines of their movies, thereby highlighting the goodness of Christian men and women, these executives produced some of the greatest movies ever produced for the Big Screen.
These films were created under the self-imposed supervision of the Hays Commission (Motion Picture Production Code).
This code, of inspiring behavioral standards, was adopted by the movie industry in 1930, and was finally enforced, industry-wide, in 1934.
As mentioned, the code was established in order to help the industry offset the public outcry in opposition to the lurid, and scandal ridden, movies of the 1920s and early 1930s, including A Free Soul, The Divorcee, Baby Face and Red-Haired Woman. Movies in which sex, drugs, adultery, alcoholism, prostitution, crime and violence were routinely used as themes.
The men running the movie industry wanted to offset the public’s (including religious leaders) objections to those earlier films, which glorified criminality and immorality, and so, they began emphasizing humanity’s good qualities in their movies, rather than its bad.
And, so you may ask. Were the films therefore boring? Well, if you consider Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz or It’s a Wonderful Life boring, then maybe you’ll think so. But I doubt it.
I believe you will, instead, find them to be refreshing, inspiring and highly entertaining. These movies are vivid stories about brave, committed, loving people to whom you can relate. These are stories you can feel good about watching, stories that will enrich your life, just because you watched them.
I can also assure you that you won’t be grossed-out, terrified or embarrassed while watching these movies with your family and friends.
In fact, in most cases, you will be enraptured, inspired, charmed, amused, impressed and enthralled.
These films were created for Christian ADULTS, and as a result, they don’t assume that the viewers are dim wits who need to be “entertained” with bathroom humor, gratuitous sex or graphic violence.
The industry’s leaders hired the very best story tellers, AND the most talented screenwriters and so there was no need to include mayhem, or gory murder scenes, in order to illict someone’s base, and morbid, curiosity. The great story lines kept the viewer’s rapt attention instead.
The writers and producers treated the viewers as though they had a brain in their head and, more importantly, a heart and soul in their bodies.
As mentioned, the stories were written, and produced, for and about, good people to whom the viewer could aspire and emulate. Unlike Cat Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Hannibal Lecter, these movies encouraged, and rewarded, good behavior, which was vital to the continued success of Christian Western Civilization.
The movies of this period represented the best of Christian behavior. They are up-lifting, touching, funny, emotional, personal, dignified, enjoyable, sad, redemptive, and heart-rendering.
Most of the movies took American family men’s strong commitment to the tenets of their Christian faith for granted. These ideals included life-long marital love, love of children, civility, self-respect, polite consideration for others, respect for authority, patriotism, charity, trustworthiness, quietness, selflessness, honoring parents, neighborliness, commitment to community, good behavior, personal responsibility, hard work, respect for human life, bravery, personal loyalty, honor, duty and kindness.
If criminality was the theme, the good guys always won, and the bad guys always lost, and they were suitably punished for their crimes, just as should be the case in real life.
Unlike today, where faith and God are reviled by a movie industry swamped by non-Christian, radical, second-wave, feminist ideology (an ideology which abhors Christianity and specifically the men who embrace it), many of the 1930s and 1940s movies routinely referenced God, with scenes that included heart-felt prayer, expressions of faith or attendance at church.
These wonderful films reflected the religious nature, and daily experiences, of Christian Americans. Christians who, at the time, comprised 94% of America’s population.
In some cases, entire movies were dedicated to good people who embraced, and lived, their Christian faith, such as The Song of Bernadette, God is My Co-Pilot and Boy’s Town.
When you consider the sudden decline in the caliber of films, since the late 1950s and 1960s, it should come as no surprise, that the reason for this sudden reversal in morality, is because the Hays Code was abandoned in 1968.
It was anandoned while under pressure from radical, second-wave, feminism’s sexual, and societal, revolution. This deliberate abandonment of the codes, resulted in seminal films such as Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice and Blazing Saddles.
On the other hand, the results of the Hays Commission’s efforts to reform their industry produced some of the most successful, spectacular, profitable, memorable and heart-warming movies ever produced. The moral to the story was ever-present within these movies. This is why, to this day, the 1930s and 1940s, is still refered to as the “Golden Age of Hollywood.”
Most of these films are still available through TCM (Turner Classic Movies) or tcm.com.
The following is a very abbreviated list of some of the best movies, among hundreds, which were produced during Hollywood’s heyday.
The stories were created to highlight the extraordinary accomplishments made possible by men and women who embraced the tenets of their Christian faith and were thereby inspired to goodness, and/or greatness!
In today’s societal chaos we need these uplifting movies more than even!
Enjoy the civility.
It Happened One Night – Comedy, Romance – Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
The Thin Man – Comedy, Drama, Crime – William Powell and Myrna Loy
Treasure Island – Adventure – Wallace Beery and Jackie Coogan
Tarzan and His Mate – Drama, Adventure – Johnnie Weissmuller and Maureen O’Hara
Imitation of Life – Drama – Claudette Colbert
Dangerous – Drama – Bette Davis
Paradise Canyon – Western – John Wayne
Annie Oakley – Drama, Western – Barbara Stanwyck and Melvyn Douglas
Barbary Coast – Drama, Adventure – Clark Gable and Miriam Hopkins
The Little Colonel – Comedy, Drama – Shirley Temple
Next Time We Love – Drama, Romance – James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan
Dodsworth – Drama – Water Huston and Ruth Chatterton
The Great Ziegfeld – Musical, Biography – William Powell and Myra Loy
The Last of the Mohicans – Drama, Adventure – Randolph Scott and Bruce Cabot
Captain January – Musical – Shirley Temple
San Fransisco – Drama, Adventure, Musical – Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald
Captains Courageous – Drama, Adventure – Spencer Tracy
A Damsel in Distress – Comedy, Musical – Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine
Saratoga – Comedy, Drama – Clark Gable and Jean Harlow
Stage Door – Drama – Katherine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers
Topper – Comedy – Constance Bennett and Roland Young
The Double Wedding – Comedy – William Powell and Myrna Loy
Boys Town – Drama – Spencer Tracy
You Can’t Take It With You – Comedy – James Stewart and Jean Arthur
Jezebel – Drama – Bette Davis and Henry Fonda
Holiday – Comedy, Drama – Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Comedy, Drama – Shirley Temple
1939 – is considered the very best year of American films.
Gone with the Wind – Epic Drama – Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
The Wizard of Oz – Musical Fantasy – Judy Garland and Ray Bolger
Union Pacific – Western – Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea
Stagecoach – Western – John Wayne and Clair Trevor
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington – Drama – James Stewart and Jean Arthur
Drums Along the Mohawk – Western – Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert
Made for Each Other – Drama – James Stewart and Carol Lombard
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Drama – Mickey Rooney and William Frawley
His Girl Friday – Screwball Comedy – Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell My favorite movie. It’s hysterical!
The Philadelphia Story – Comedy – James Stewart and Katherine Hepburn
Kitty Foyle – Drama – Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan
Boom Town – Adventure, Drama – Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
The Grapes of Wrath – Drama – Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell
Knute Rockne-All American – Biographical – Ronald Reagan and Pat O’Brien
Edison the Man – Biographical – Spencer Tracy and Rita Johnson
How Green Was My Valley – Drama – Maureen O’Hara and Donald Crisp
Sargent York – War, Biography – Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan
The Little Foxes – Drama – Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall
They Died With Their Boots On – Western – Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland
Shadow of the Thin Man – Mystery – William Powell and Myrna Loy
When Ladies Meet – Comedy, Drama, Romance – Greer Garson and Joan Crawford
The Magnificent Ambersons – Drama, Romance – Joseph Cotton and Delores Costello
Yankee Doodle – Musical – James Cagney
The Man Who Came to Dinner – Comedy – Bette Davis and Monty Woolley
Holiday Inn – Musical, Comedy – Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire
The Talk of the Town – Screwball Comedy – Cary Grant and Jean Arthur
Casablanca – Drama – Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
Song of Bernadette – Biographical – Jennifer Jones
Girl Crazy – Musical – Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland
So Proudly We Hail! – Drama – Claudette Colbert and Veronica Lake
Watch on the Rhine – Drama – Bette Davis and Paul Lukas
Going My Way – Musical Comedy – Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald
Gaslight – Film Noir – Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman
Mr. Skeffington – Drama – Bette Davis and Claude Rains
Bathing Beauty – Musical – Ester Williams and Red Skelton
The Adventures of Mark Twain – Adventure – Fredric March and Alexis Smith
Mildred Pierce – Film Noir – Joan Crawford
The Bell’s of St. Mary’s – Drama – Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman
Anchors Aweigh – Musical – Kathryn Grayson and Gene Kelly
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Drama – Dorothy McGuire and Joan Blondell
The Lost Weekend – Drama – Ray Milland and Jane Wyman
Christmas in Connecticut – Comedy – Barbara Stanwyck and Sidney Greenstreet
God is My Co-Pilot – Autobiographical Drama – Dennis Morgan and Raymond Massey
Notorious – Suspense – Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman
My Reputation – Romance – Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent
My Darling Clementine – Western – Henry Fonda and Linda Darnell
It’s A Wonderful Life – Fantasy – James Stewart and Donna Reed
Angel on My Shoulder – Fantasy – Paul Muni and Ann Baxter
The Bishop’s Wife – Comedy – Cary Grant and Loretta Young
Song of the Thin Man – Mystery – William Powell and Myrna Loy
Miracle on 34th Street – Romantic Comedy – Natalie Woods and Maureen O’Hara
The Farmer’s Daughter – Comedy – Loretta Young and Joseph Cotton
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer – Comedy – Cary Grant and Myrna Loy
Romance on the High Seas – Musical – Doris Day and Jack Carson
Key Largo – Crime Drama – Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
Fort Apache – Western – John Wayne and Henry Fonda
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein – Comedy – Bela Lugosi, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
The Easter Parade – Musical- Judy Garland and Fred Astaire
Down to the Sea in Ships – Adventure – Lionel Barrymore, Dean Stockwell and Richard Widmark.
The Heiress – Drama – Olivia de Haviland and Montgomery Cliff
I Was a Male War Bride – Comedy – Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan
Little Women – Family – Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh
Mighty Joe Young – Adventure – Terry Moore and Ben Johnson