Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(S)exposés & (S)exploitations

The third installment in our series of Campy Movie Posters. Enjoy!

Girls in Chains (1943)

There were really two different factors that influenced the making of "exposé" movies in the 50s and early 60s. One was "The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930" (Hays Code) which governed, among other things, how one was allowed to present material pertaining to sex, drugs and crime in a film. If one presented the material in a dissaproving light, or with "Public Service Announcement" at the film's beginning, one had a great deal more latitude in presenting such subjects. Notwithstanding these hypocritical PSAs, the main intent in such films was to titillate, but they could be portrayed as warnings and object lessons against such behavior.

Betrayed Women (1955)

One of the really popular movie genrés was the "Women's Prison" movie. There were dozens of these produced in the 50s.

The Racket (1951)

The other factor that influenced the development of this type of movies were the so called "Kefauver Senate Hearings." (actually the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce) which investigated all levels of corruption in politics, government and private industry during 1950 and 1951. Headed by Senator Estes Kefauver, (D:Tennessee) the committee hearings were popular fare on early TV and finally forced J. Edgar Hoover to admit that an Underworld existed, a fact he and the FBI had long denied and ignored. The movie studios knew a good thing when they saw one, so they lost no time in presenting a series of "exposé" movies supposedly detailing underworld corruption in various locales. There were films on New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Miami, and even Portland (Portland Exposé, 1957). Most of these films were grade-B gangster melodramas padded out with "documentary" segments, a few location sequences, and filmed introductions by actual elected officials insuring the "accuracy" of what we're about to see and warning of the dangers of letting criminal organizations run untrammeled over our public institutions. All good clean fun, and, despite the lurid subject matter, perfectly acceptable to the Hays Office, because of the moralizing tone.

711 Ocean Drive (1950)

Miami Exposé (1956)

Hell's Half Acre (1954)

The Garment Jungle (1957)

Of course, one of the favorite subjects of the "exposé" film is prostitution. It's got everything! Sex, of course, but also gangland ties, police corruption, scandal. How could you resist?

Girl of the Night (1960)

Girl with an Itch (1958)

The Girl In Room 13 (1960)

Vice Raid (1960)

Forbidden Paradise (1958)

Here is a film which calls nudism a "cult," which strikes me as a kind of strange characterization, but is a wonderful excuse to show a nudist colony to your average 50s hayseed.

Bunco Squad (1950)

Then there is this offering, which purports to expose the seedy underside of the "phoney medium" racket. Does this imply that there are non-phoney mediums?

Sócio de Alcova aka Carnival of Crime (1962)

This shocking exposé blows the lid off of the Brazilian "Carnivale" and the bossa nova in general. (Note, the woman depicted above is NOT on her way home from her job as an assistant librarian)

Night Without Sleep (1952)

This shocking exposé blows the lid off of... well frankly, I haven't been able to figure out what this one blows the lid off of. Insomnia?


  1. Loved this post with it's many great posters.

    I always try to get my hands on 'Woman's Prison' movies that I haven't seen. 'Betrayed Women (1955)' is one of them :)