Cheek to Cheek with Fred and Ginger

“She gave him sex and he gave her class.” – Katharine Hepburn

Ironically, many of my favorite movies were produced during the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s when moral restrictions were strongly regulated and enforced by the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (“Hays Code”).  Its guidelines addressed violence, nudity, profanity and sex.  By the late 1950s, the Hays Code’s influence on the film industry was greatly reduced due to anti-trust rulings and competition from television and foreign films.  The Hays Code was eventually replaced by the current MPAA film rating system in 1968.

Sometimes I miss the Hays Code and the inventiveness it inspired.  Top Hat exemplifies the creative and subtle qualities that are often lacking in today’s more explicit films.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers effectively convey romance and passion in “Cheek to Cheek” – the film’s classic centerpiece – without removing any clothes or sharing a kiss.  Watch Fred and Ginger elegantly dance through the stages of seduction from courtship to afterglow.  Cigarette, anyone?

  1. Michael Carson
    March 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Great post. Love Astaire, Bogart and Gable. Fave is the Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Has real-life parallels.

    • March 17, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Quality is timeless.

  2. March 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    It has been said that constraints are liberating. I did not realize that the constraints of the Hays Code led to creative scenes like your “Cheek to Cheek” example. As always, thank you for making me think about cinema in a new way.

    • March 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      I am a true believer in less is more.

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