Cinema: Verbal Turpitude

  • Share
  • Read Later

Cinema Tsar Will Hays and his Motion Picture Producers & Distributors of America, Inc. have such a hard time controlling the lubricity of the cinema that to expect them to control the lubricity of anything else would seem too much. Yet the Hays organization sometimes attempts it. Last year, regulations against salacious cinemadvertising were added to the industry's code. Last week came another incident to heat and bother the upright Presbyterian soul of Tsar Hays. In Motion Picture Magazine appeared an interview with decadent-looking Tallulah Bankhead (daughter of Alabama's onetime Representative William Brockman Bankhead). written by one Gladys Hall. Reported Miss Hall: "I am told that Tallul' is never decently hypocritical. . . . She reveals All— and more than all. . . . She gives to all functions of living and loving, of body and soul, their round Rabelaisian, biological names. ... It is said that she speaks of her love affairs with equal frankness. She has a romantic interlude and afterwards, discusses it with lurid details. It matters not whether the recent recipient of her favors happens to be among those present or not . . . she is said to dilate upon his ways and wiles, his abilities and disabilities, his prowess or his lack of prowess with . . . consummate abandon. . . ." Miss Hall provided direct quotations from Miss Bankhead's amorous philosophy: "I'm serious about love. I'm damned serious about it now, of all times. I haven't had an affaire for six months. Six months! Too long. I am not promiscuous, you know. Promiscuity implies that attraction is not necessary. ... I may lay my eyes on a man and have an affaire with him the next hour. . . . "I am serious about marriage — too serious to indulge in it. ... I know that once I get a thing — or a man — I'll tire of it and of him. . . . "I go to the movies. Garbo is a very great genius. I'm mad about her. And I'm not, as a rule, "very fond of women. . . . "If there's anything the matter with me now, it's certainly not Hollywood or Hollywood's state of mind. . . . The matter with me is, I WANT A MAN! . . . Six months is a long, long while. I want a man." After inquiring into who was responsible for the interview (the accuracy of which Miss Bankhead denied) the Hays organization reprimanded Authoress Hall, Motion Picture Magazine and the Para mount publicity bureau, then considered adding to its celebrated code a regulation against "verbal moral turpitude" on the part of cinema celebrities.