Would MAE WEST have been able to teach Hugh Hefner about sex — — or vice versa?
• • On Friday April 24th, Hefner's new documentary will be screened — — "Why Be Good? Sexuality and Censorship in Early Cinema" — — in the rat's mouth of Florida.
• • Robert Sims of The Palm Beach Post aired his opinion of it. He writes: Produced by Hefner, written by The Palm Beach Post's Scott Eyman, and narrated in mischievous fashion by Diane Lane, this bubbly documentary confirms what we already knew: Sex sold in 1909 as just as it sells today. While the audiences then didn't expect to walk into a comedy and see male nudity — — thank you, Observe and Report — — they were still treated to some racy stuff. Mae West, Louise Brooks, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow and other sexpots knew how to flaunt their built-for-sin bodies, while Errol Flynn and Rudolph Valentino had women swooning. Then came a smattering of high-profile sex scandals — — the most infamous involving Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle — — that left the public shocked.
• • "Why Be Good?" offers its most intriguing analysis when addressing the friction-filled relationship between Hollywood and a government unsure how to rein in an industry that refused to keep sex behind closed doors. The government's concern eventually resulted in the establishment of the Production Code, or the Hays Code after its chief enforcer Will H. Hays, which effectively clamped down on what Hollywood could show or depict. Given Hef's fingerprints are all over this documentary, Why Be Good? obviously cast a disapproving eye on government determining what was morally acceptable for audiences from 1930 to 1968. Why Be Good? doesn't go as far as declaring the sexual revolution of the 1960s would have happened decades earlier were it not for the Hays Code. But it makes a case that the government should let the public decide what to see, not some close-minded pencil pusher.
• • Why Be Good? screens at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, Florida; and also on 5 p.m. Monday at the Lake Worth Playhouse, 709 Lake Ave., Lake Worth in Las Vegas.
— — Source: — —
• • Film Reviews
• • By ROBERT SIMS, Palm Beach Daily News
• • Published in: The Palm Beach Post — — www.palmbeachpost.com
• • Published on: 22 April 2009
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