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The Movie Advent: Our 4 Favotie Hays Code Innuendos

Greetings Movie Advocate regulars! Today we continue off our special Christmas present to you, a series of 12 lists for the 12 days of Christmas. We're continuing today with lists of our 4 favorite Hays Code innuendos. In case you're like, "Hays Code? What's that?" here's what's that. Basically, the Hays Code was the Hollywood ratings system from 1934 until 1968 when the MPAA took over, replacing one ridiculous ratings system nightmare with another. The Hayes Code is full of all sorts of wacky rules. Romantic relationships across racial lines? Strictly verboten. Any depiction of homosexuality or premarital sex? Na-uh. However, the Hays Code didn't lead to across the board movie whitewashing. Rather, clever filmmakers found hilarious and crafty ways around the rules. Today we celebrate the Hollywood's best sex gags from the Hays Code era. The Hays Code has a rich and compelling history. If you're interested in a more comprehensive look, there are about 5 million books written about it, but a good place to start would be here. Enjoy.

Justin's list:

4. Metaphor

For lack of a more specific word... I'm talking about using an object or word to refer to something it clearly isn't... something dirty. I couldn't find the clip, but one of the best examples is in the John Wayne movie, Red River, where a couple of cow pokes have a lengthy discussion about the lengths of their gun barrels.

3. The Slow Fade Out

Suggestively used to show that people are being "intimate"

2. Double Entendre

This one from W.C. Fields is pretty edgy for the 30's... not sure if this was from before the code or not, but it's worth sharing. It's around the 2 minutes 30 seconds mark:

1. Swapping Cigarettes

This is damned weird to see if you don't know what it's code for... you guessed it... sex. Check out this clip around 1 minute 10 seconds:

Ben's List

Note: Whereas Justin's list is of his top four techniques, mine is specific examples...

4. Churning butter - Ball of Fire

Unfortunately I can't find a clip of this scene online. Ball of Fire is a forgotten screwball classic. In the sequence in question, Barbara Stanwyck has just seduced uptight professor Gary Cooper. The maid confronts Cooper about his loose morals and he tells her off. In the background Barbara Stanwick is churning... butter? A crank record player? I don't know what it is, but she's definitely churning something. And the look on her face says that she means it.

3. "The walls of Jericho" - It Happened One Night

The greatest thing about this infamous innuendo from Frank Capra's It Happened One Night is that the clip below is only the beginning. "The walls of Jericho" is a running gag throughout the entirety of this early Capra classic. This will give you the gist, but to get the full picture, you'll just have to check out the movie. You won't regret it.

2. "I love self-expression... " - On the Town

The following scene from 1949's On the Town is not just overflowing with sexuality. It's totally racist to boot! This admittedly brilliant song and dance number is one of the great WTF moments in movie history. Unfortunately the YouTube clip starts after Ann Miller talks about Jules Munchin's "proto-phallic" forehead. Embedding is disabled on this video, so kindly follow me over to YouTube.

1. "Look John. Hold them. Diamonds... " - To Catch A Thief

No introduction necessary.

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