A new and remarkable energy animated the American cinema between the coming of sound at the end of the 1920’s and the strict enforcement of the 1934 Production Code censoring "unwholesome" onscreen behavior. During the pre-Code era Hollywood found commercial and critical success in a series of films that radically expanded the previously acceptable thresholds for exploring sex and crime related themes. The twilight of the Jazz Age and the Great Depression encouraged directors and screenwriters to seriously
examine the moral and sociopolitical underpinnings of the changing nation through frank and, quite often, extremely graphic stories designed to titillate and shock. Encouraged by the box office, Hollywood produced startling depictions of infidelity, prostitution, drug use, crime, homosexuality and miscegenation. The injustices of corporate capitalism and the sexual experimentation of the period, particularly by women, were also newly exploited as fitting subjects for the screen.