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'This Film is Not Yet Rated' commentary by Jenna Johnson

“This Film is Not Yet Rated� was quite a humorous showcase of the mysteries behind the MPAA, which I found interesting enough to pay attention to, considering I knew nothing about the ratings process and how difficult it sometimes is to put out mainstream films. I never realized the complexities of what forms of censorship were in play for a film, and the politics behind each. Franklin describes how the film industry itself set in place a personal strict production code, “imposed by the movie studios on themselves and was made enforceable by the vertical integration of the industry… [and which] came about as a by-product of governmental pressure.� The film seems to agree with this self-censorship, but also support censorship by the market, as most of the filmmakers interviewed seemed to focus on what viewers would like to see in films. “This Film is Not Yet Rated� also gives reason for the strong governmental influence in film censorship, as we find out that the man behind the whole MPAA came as a lobbyist from Washington, D.C.

Cieply describes that Jack Valenti has some kind of “genius� by developing the ratings system. I don’t necessarily think it was genius material, but people simply thought it was because they had no previous guidance in the rating of films—simply, no one had done it before. Valenti’s ideas were innovative in this specific department, yes, but how could they have been perfect if they never changed according to a changing culture? Cieply also says of the system, “[f]or the major studios it has been a bulwark against outside interference, though it has often galled filmmakers and hasn’t done enough for many parents.� This implies that the system is not in fact perfect, however, it never will be possible to please everyone. Perhaps the fact that Valenti at least came up with a working system of this sort made him a “genius� in some respects.