Did the Code Hurt the Marx Brothers?

(Travalanche)

“I sure wish these bean counters would let us be funny again!”

The origin of this post: A few days ago someone on social media asserted with enormous confidence, that “the Code hurt the Marx Brothers” (meaning, if you’re new to such things, that the Motion Picture Production Code, a.k.a. the Hays Code, which began to be strictly enforced in 1934, was what damaged the team’s later films.) I had never looked at the question in quite that way before, and I think most people who think about it don’t.

Thanks to TCM and the Film Forum, I became something of an aficionado of pre-Code films. There are many genres that were deeply affected when the Code started to be applied more severely. Horror became less gory and gruesome. Gangster movies became less crude and violent. Melodramas, which were frequently about pre-marital sex and pregnancy out of wedlock…

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One thought on “Did the Code Hurt the Marx Brothers?

  1. A very interesting article and I would have to say I think the code did affect the boys. Which is a shame because they were so poignant in a lot of their jokes and nonsense. MInd you, I still love them no matter what and always will. I have my long-lived vampyre-like character have fond memories of the times he spent with them back in their vaudeville days and even after. (He stayed in close touch with them), and he still keeps a lot of their gags alive in his everyday life.

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