Hays Production Code's Impact on Vertigo

Topics: Film, Motion Picture Production Code, Obscenity Pages: 4 (1392 words) Published: February 24, 2006
In 1930, the Hay's Production Code was introduced into the film industry to regulate films that were produced. It regulated several different aspects of movie scenes containing crimes against the law, vulgarity, sex, obscenity, profanity, costume, dances, religion, locations, national feelings, titles and repellent subjects. (History of the Motion Picture Rating System) When scenes in films dealt with crimes committed against the law, the Hays Production Code stated that the crimes could never be presented in such a way to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation. The code goes into specific detail on several different crimes and how they shouldn't be shown in the films. This includes murder, which takes place in Vertigo. It states that the technique of murder can't be presented in a way that will inspire imitation, brutal killings are not to be detailed, and revenge in modern times shall not be justified. ("Motion Picture Production Code of 1930")

The murder in Vertigo followed the requirements of the code, which helped the movie to be more effective. It made Hitchcock think about how it would affect the audience with how it was presented. He couldn't have the killing performed in a way that people could imitate in real life. He first portrayed the killing as a suicide that was caused by some "spirit" that was inside of her (Kim Novak). Later on in the movie, he again recreated the scene, showing how the real murder was committed. By doing this, he was able to work around the laws set forth by the code. He created a murder that was so far out that it wouldn't inspire people to try to imitate it and avoided a brutal killing. In the code, it also stated that revenge wouldn't be justified. ("Motion Picture Production Code of 1930") Hitchcock completely avoided a revenge murder, although the implications were there that it could happen at the time when Scotty takes her up the tower...
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