MovieChat Forums > Cavalcade (1933) Discussion > Profanity use predating Gone With the Wi...

Profanity use predating Gone With the Wind by six years.


In the scene where the senior Marryot and his surviving adult son are conversing and sharing a drink, the father uses the words "damn" and "hell;” the son also says "hell."

I don't believe this is the first talking picture to use such words, as I know of at least one other, a Western from 1929-30 starring Charles Bickford, which also employs mild profanity at least once. Still, for aficiandos of film lore, I'm offering at least one specific example in Hollywood cinema which shatters the myth that GWTW was the first to break the profanity barrier when Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, utters "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

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This was made before "the production code" came into full effect. There are many famous and obscure features and shorts made before 1934 that included minor swearing (and even a bit of nudity!). Gone With the Wind was the first film POST 1934 to include a swear word. I believe they had to get special permission to use the word "damn."

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I seem to recall an anecdote about David O. Selznick being only too glad to pony up for a $10,000.00 fine because of "damn."

There's also a scene in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY in which the mother of the young Roddy McDowell character is berating a crowd of fellow mining villagers for their overly harsh judgment of her husband and their several grown sons; she uses the phrase "damned well..."

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It seems that the word hell would have a place in some films.

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Doubtless "hell" appears numerous times in production code films, but usually as a noun (I.e., the place of eternal punishment in the afterlife); but as "mild profanity" I haven't personally spotted any examples in movies made prior to the mid to late 1950's.

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In SKyscraper Souls, the word s***Ty is used 1932

That Championship Season (1982) - Most underrated movie of all time.

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