Backlots

The year 1960 marks a significant turning point in the study of film history. With the threat of McCarthy no longer looming over the Hollywood horizon, the studio system nearly chafed into oblivion, and producers less restricted by the dying production code, we begin to see a wave of controversial and complex films emerging out of a new, more liberated Hollywood. Though one might argue that this era began in the mid-1950s (the James Dean movies, to cite three notable examples, were all controversial for their time), it was not until the 1960s that topics such as sex, drugs, and religious fanaticism became routinely discussed in American cinema. The concept of religious fanaticism is especially interesting to note, as though the production code was indeed dying, its very foundation was in religious fundamentalism and the censors took great pain to keep the questioning of religion under control.

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