2010 | 5 | 6
Article title

Enforcing Heterosexuality: Adapting Lillian Hellman's 'The Children's Hour' for the screen

Title variants
Narzucanie heteroseksualności: Adaptacja filmowa powieści Lillian Helman "The Children's Hour"
Languages of publication
The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 banned homosexuality from the screen. This paper uses two films as a case study of the Code's impact on Hollywood's depiction of homosexuality. Both These Three (1936) and The Children's Hour (1961) were adaptations of Lillian Hellman's play in which two single female teachers have their lives ruined by a lie that the women were lesbians. With the first the Code's impact was pervasive. The PCA dictated that the accusations of lesbianism be omitted. By the 1960s, the PCA was relaxing its ban so a film could be made that retained the play's lesbian content. This paper argues that the Production Code was Hollywood's means of enforcing heterosexuality and that, even in the era when the Code's influence was waning, the necessity of maintaining heterosexuality as society's norm still governed how movies (mis)represented the lives of queer people.
Zgodnie z Kodeksem Haysa z 1930 roku zakazane zostało ukazywanie wątków homoseksualnych na ekranach kin. Niniejszy artykuł prezentuje dwa filmy jako studium wpływu Kodeksu na przedstawianie homoseksualności w Hollywood. Zarówno These Three (1936), jak i The Children's Hour (1961) to adaptacje sztuki Lillian Hellman, opowiadającej o złamanym życiu dwóch nauczycielek pomówionych o lesbianizm. W przypadku pierwszego filmu, wpływ Kodeksu był absolutny. PCA nakazało przemilczeć watki lesbijskie. W latach 60tych natomiast PCA złagodziło zakaz, film mógł zatem zachować lesbijski charakter sztuki. Niniejszy artykuł ma na celu dowieść, że Kodeks Haysa był hollywoodzkim narzędziem wymuszania heteronormatywności oraz że konieczność utrzymania heteroseksualności jako społecznej normy nieustannie determinowała (fałszywe) przedstawienia życia osób homoseksualnych, nawet podczas malejącego znaczenia Kodeksu.
Physical description
  • University of Warsaw
  • Anderegg, Michael A. William Wyler. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979. Becker, Edith, Michelle Citron, Julia Lesage, and B. Ruby Rich. "Lesbians and Film." Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Essays on Popular Culture. Eds. Corey K. Creekmur and Alexander Doty. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. Black, Gregory D. Hollywood Censored: Morality Codes, Catholics, and the Movies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. The Children's Hour. Dir. William Wyler. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes. United Artists, 1961. Dick, Bernard F. Hellman in Hollywood. East Brunswick: Associated University Press, 1982. Hellman, Lillian. The Children's Hour. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1953. Herman, Jan. A Talent for Trouble: The Life of Hollywood's Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1995. Leff, Leonard, and Jerold L. Simmons. The Dame in the Kimono: Hollywood, Censorship and the Production Code from the 1920s to the 1960s. New York: Grove Weiden Feld, 1990. Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA. Production Code Administration files Cat on a Hot Tin Roof file. The Children's Hour file. Oscar Wilde file. Spartacus file. Suddenly Last Summer file. Tea and Sympathy file. These Three file. The Trials of Oscar Wilde file. William Wyler Papers. The Children's Hour file. Marx, Arthur. Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man behind the Myth. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1976. May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. New York: Basic Books, 1990. Mellin, Joan. Women and Their Sexuality in the New Film. New York: Horizon Press, 1973. Miller, Frank. Censored Hollywood: Sex, Sin, and Violence on Screen. Atlanta: Turner Publishing, Ind., 1994. Mintz, Steven, and Randy Roberts, eds. Hollywood's America: United States History through Its Films. St. James, NY: Brandywine Press, 1993. Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1987. Schumach, Murray. The Face on the Cutting Room Floor: The Story of Movie and Television Censorship. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1964. These Three. Dir. William Wyler. Screenplay by Lillian Hellman. Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 1936
Document Type
Publication order reference
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