Egyptian and
Aero Theatres
Hollywood & Santa Monica
Thu, Jul 13, 2017 - Fri, Jul 28, 2017
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RATED X: NOT FOR CHILDREN (BUT NOT FOR PORN)

In an effort to eliminate film censorship encouraged by the restrictive Hays Code of the 1930s, the Motion Picture Association of America introduced a voluntary ratings system in 1968. Films submitted to the MPAA could be rated G for general audiences (i.e., family-friendly), M for mature audiences (parental discretion advised), R for restricted films (persons under 16 must be accompanied by an adult guardian) and X, for films to which persons under 16 were not admitted at all.

The late 1960s was a time when filmmakers were increasingly pushing the boundaries of content, particularly in regards to sex and violence, and initially the X rating was a way to acknowledge that there were worthwhile films that just weren’t made for kids. John Schlesinger’s portrait of New York City hustler Joe Buck, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, earned both an X rating and a Best Picture Oscar (so far the only film to do that). Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS mixed perversion and religion in a way that was as thought-provoking as it was controversial. And the still-controversial LAST TANGO IN PARIS helped redefine eroticism onscreen (and recently exploded back into the national conversation, 45 years after it was made).

But the MPAA didn’t trademark its X rating, which meant that any producer could put it on his film if he wanted, and the ones who wanted it most were pornographers for whom “X” meant “$.” The result was that X-rated films soon were stigmatized; respectable theaters would refuse to show them and major media outlets would refuse to advertise them. Some maverick directors wore the X as a badge of honor: Russ Meyer (BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS), animator Ralph Bakshi (FRITZ THE CAT) and John Waters (FEMALE TROUBLE) all were able to exploit the notoriety for their benefit.

But for mainstream filmmakers, a run-in with the ratings board was simply a handicap. “In a country like Spain I don’t have to explain that TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! is a love story, or defend myself against accusations that it could turn you into a psychopath,” noted director Pedro Almodóvar of his 1989 film. Peter Greenaway’s THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER was marginalized by an X rating, and David Lynch was forced to cut WILD AT HEART to get the R rating required by his studio in 1990. Faced with the need to acknowledge that there were adult films that weren’t mere porn, the MPAA replaced its X with the “NC-17” rating later that same year.

Series compiled by Grant Moninger. Program notes by John Hagelston.

NOTE: No one under 17 will be admitted to “Rated X” shows.
Both TheatresThu, Jul 13, 2017 - Fri, Jul 28, 2017
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Films in this Series at the Egyptian

Thu, Jul 20, 2017 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre
Fri, Jul 21, 2017 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre
Sat, Jul 22, 2017 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre
Sun, Jul 23, 2017 - 7:30pm
Egyptian Theatre

Films in this Series at the Aero

Actress Dolly Read in Person!
Fri, Jul 14, 2017 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Sat, Jul 15, 2017 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre
Sun, Jul 16, 2017 - 7:30pm
Aero Theatre