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Added by Gia on 12 Jun 2012 04:28
18850 Views 14 Comments
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Films Condemned by the Legion of Decency

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Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 2580 Average listal rating (1597 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8

People who added this item 118 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
Condemned on its initial American release.
People who added this item 4875 Average listal rating (3195 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
"Martin Scorsese's excursion into urban alienation and irrational violence lacks a distancing objectivity and its attempts to shock are excessively graphic in scenes of bloodshed." - Legion of Decency

People who added this item 2756 Average listal rating (1778 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
"Brian De Palma's horror movie is too ludicrous to scare, but succeeds only in the shock value of its callous, unhealthy mix of nudity and violence." - Legion of Decency

People who added this item 412 Average listal rating (240 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.1
Only the original French version of the film was condemned. To avoid condemnation, the initial-, wide-release American version edited three scenes and added a title card quoting the Book of Proverbs ("When the wicked are multiplied, crime shall be multiplied: but the just shall see their downfall"). This film earned a modest "B" rating.

Musical comedy starring Jane Russell. Originally in 3-D, it was sold with provocative taglines such as "J.R. in 3-D - and What Dimensions!" and "It'll knock BOTH your eyes out!"
People who added this item 318 Average listal rating (210 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Neil Simon comedy was condemned for its light treatment of serious topics such as divorce and suicide.
People who added this item 1949 Average listal rating (1274 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.2
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis witness a gang murder, and go on the lam disguised as women. Provocative comedy loaded with innuendo and satirical stereotypes.

People who added this item 1163 Average listal rating (702 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Condemned for its (deliberately) romanticized view of criminals.
People who added this item 1054 Average listal rating (615 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5

People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7
Condemned for nudity (a prostitute shown naked from the waist up).

People who added this item 144 Average listal rating (87 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9
Irreverent sex comedy/satire by Billy Wilder.

People who added this item 808 Average listal rating (456 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.7
Classic tragicomedy about a menage-a-trios, starring Oskar Werner, Jeanne Moreau, and Henri Serre.
People who added this item 1551 Average listal rating (813 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8

People who added this item 109 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
Initially condemned, the studio edited it for approval.
People who added this item 111 Average listal rating (67 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Racy comedy about a menage-a-trois (Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, and Fredric March), based on a play by Noel Coward.
Crime drama about a crooked bail bondsman (George Bancroft) and the thrill-seeking socialite (Frances Dee) who is in love with him.
Condemned because of its sympathetic attitudes towards homosexuality, premarital and extramarital sex, and bisexuality.

People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 6.5
A love triangle amongst Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, and Herbert Marshall.
People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 4.1
Edgar G. Ulmer melodrama about venereal disease.

Greta Garbo's last Hollywood film.
People who added this item 262 Average listal rating (164 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.3
People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.4
Western film showcasing Jane Russell, hugely controversial for its prominent, salacious display of her body and breasts.

A troubled production filmed in 1940 (by Howard Hughes and an uncredited Howard Hawks), partly released in 1943, then withdrawn and tried for indecency by Judge Twain Michelsen. It was not widely released until 1946, with a statement from Michelsen reading: "We have seen Jane Russell. She is an attractive specimen of American womanhood. God made her what she is."
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.1
Kroger Babb's infamous sexploitation film highlighting teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Very graphic for the time, including nudity and real-life footage of childbirth and delivery.
Based on the novel by Kathleen Winsor.

People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
Ecstasy (1933)
Hedy Lamarr as a runaway child bride. Graphic for the time, including nudity and depictions of sexual intercourse and orgasm.

People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 6.7
Condemned for its sympathetic depiction of an adulterous wife.
People who added this item 204 Average listal rating (97 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.6
Pre-Code classic in which Queen Christina of Sweden (Greta Garbo) gives up the throne to be with her lover.
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Melodrama highlighting corruption in the American school system, starring Frances Dee, Ginger Rogers, and Billie Burke.
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 6.4
Men in White (1934)
Romantic drama condemned for adultery and an implied abortion.
People who added this item 163 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Torture, insanity, and Catherine the Great (Marlene Dietrich) having one adulterous affair after another while waiting to take over Russia.
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6
White Cargo (1942)
Hedy Lamarr as a biracial prostitute in the Belgian Congo.
People who added this item 423 Average listal rating (249 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.8
British nuns start a school in the Himalayas, but the wild, sensual atmosphere gradually drives them to insanity, nymphomania, and murder. This classic melodrama from the Powell/Pressburger team was both condemned and edited on its initial American release, removing the flashback scenes in which Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr) remembers her life prior to joining the convent.

People who added this item 485 Average listal rating (323 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
Condemned for its sympathetic and ultimately positive depiction of a divorced mother (Maureen O'Hara).
People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
M (1951)
Remake of the Fritz Lang film by blacklisted director Joseph Losey. Disturbing tale of a serial child murderer and the people (policemen and criminals alike) out to to capture him.


People who added this item 59 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
Groundbreaking sex comedy by Otto Preminger, not approved by the Production Code. Story focuses on a love triangle; words such as "virgin", "seduce", "pregnancy", and "mistress" were prominently featured in the script and dialogue.

People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.7
I Am a Camera (1955)

People who added this item 179 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.4
Baby Doll (1956)
Elia Kazan adaption of a Tennessee Williams screenplay. The story of a voluptuous but virginal child bride (Carroll Baker) caught between her husband (Karl Malden) and his devious business rival, Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach).


Time Magazine called the film "just about the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited." After the Legion of Decency began boycotting the movie - Cardinal Francis Spellman having declared it "evil in concept" and "certain to exert an immoral and corrupting influence on those who see it" - Warner Brothers distributed posters for the film with "Condemned by Cardinal Spellman" as a tagline.
People who added this item 182 Average listal rating (109 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.3
People who added this item 252 Average listal rating (139 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
Originally condemned, the studio changed the ending.

People who added this item 103 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
The Lovers (1958)
People who added this item 1388 Average listal rating (874 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.9
Spartacus (1960)
Violence and homosexual content, including a notorious bathing scene between Tony Curtis (as Antoninus, an attractive young slave) and Laurence Olivier (as Crassus, his bisexual owner).

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Movies condemned and boycotted by the Catholic Legion of Decency (1933-1965) or the National Catholic Office for Motion Pictures (1965-1980).

The C ("condemned") rating was issued from 1933 to 1978, when the C rating and the B rating were merged into the O ("morally offensive") rating. Although the NCOMP film office was shut down in 1980, some Catholic writers still use the O rating, as well as the L ("limited audience") and A ("approved" or "general audience") ratings, in film reviews.

Incidentally, this list itself is not intended to be offensive. It is not a critique of Catholicism, nor of the movies listed; rather, it is a catalogue of "condemned" films.

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