*NOTE: Due to sustained industrial action in UK universities, the 
deadline for the following call for papers has been extended.* (With 
apologies for cross-posting.)

_Hollywood and the Production Code: Criticism and History._
Friday, 6th July 2018 @ King’s College London, UK. (Symposium speaker 
and respondent: Professor Lea Jacobs, University of Wisconsin-Madison.)

A one-day symposium devoted to the style-based investigation of the 
influence of the Production Code on Hollywood cinema.

The symposium will take in a range of issues concerning the impact of 
the Code on “golden age” Hollywood filmmaking. Part of the symposium 
will also be devoted to a close consideration of the style of “pre-Code” 
filmmaking (generally understood as 1930-1934).

There is currently a strong consensus, grounded in the detailed archival 
work of major film historians, that 30-34 was not, after all, “pre” the 
Code but was a period in which the Code played an important role in 
shaping the content of movie fictions. Yet film festivals and TV 
channels (TCM, for example) continue to find an audience for early-30s 
productions by signalling, via the “pre-Code” moniker, their tonal, 
narrative and moral distinctiveness. Prior to the work of Lea Jacobs, 
Richard Maltby and others, the establishment of the PCA in 1934 had been 
seen as the key moment of change. Maltby observes that “The differences 
between movies made in the early 1930s and those made later in the 
decade are undeniable” (2003), but argues that these were a result of 
gradual not sudden change. Yet some subsequent scholarship seems too 
willing to pass over the “undeniable” formal differences in 1930s films, 
with the evidence from the archive displacing textual analysis as a 
method of investigation. “Hollywood and the Production Code: Criticism 
and History” aims to re-consider this balance.

The symposium also aims to investigate the sometimes tacit assumption 
that the Code played a crucial role in the development of the style of 
classical Hollywood through the 30s, 40s and into the 50s. Was an 
unintended consequence of the constraints of the code that it stimulated 
richer forms of dramatisation and expression? Was the necessity of 
allusiveness and subtlety over the more declarative forms of earlier 
periods a slender silver lining to the clouds of politically 
retrogressive (self)regulation?

The symposium is avowedly “style-based” in that all papers will be 
expected to engage closely with the formal and stylistic character of 
specific films. However, discussion of the impact of censorship, 
regulatory and industrial practices should provide an essential 
framework for the analysis and we would expect many papers to engage 
directly with archives relating to the PCA etc. Indeed, re-examining the 
relationship between the archive and films themselves is a central 
motivation for the symposium.

Given the importance of detailed engagement with film style, there will 
be at least one screening programmed for the evening before the 
symposium, and titles of films under discussion will be circulated in 

Topics for the symposium might include (but are not limited to):

- The Code’s apparent impact on and/or relationship to particular 
genres: musicals, comedies, crime films, melodramas (“fallen women” 
films, melodramas of the unknown woman etc.)
- The relationship between the Code’s dictates and the tonal qualities 
of Hollywood movies.
- The relationship between practices of close analysis and practices of 
film history/historiography with particular reference to Hollywood 
censorship 1930 to early-50s.
- Performance and the Code
- Visual style and the Code
- Dramatisation and the Code

Symposium Respondent and Participant: Professor Lea Jacobs, University 
of Wisconsin-Madison

*Revised deadline for proposals: Monday 23rd April 2018*. (Potential 
participants from outside of the UK will receive a response speedily – 
i.e. to allow time for the arrangement of air travel etc.)

Please submit proposals to: [log in to unmask]

Conference organiser: Dr. Tom Brown, King’s College London

Dr. Tom Brown,
Senior Lecturer & Admissions Tutor, Film Studies,
King's College London,
Strand Campus,
Norfolk Building, N565.
Tel: 020 7848 2018

Learn to speak like a film/TV professor! Listen to the ScreenLex