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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM's Condemned by the Catholic Church

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will travel through the decades to explore a little-known aspect of film history: the powerful influence the Catholic Legion of Decency held over the movie business in the United States for more than half a century. Throughout the month of March, TCM will present Condemned, an expansive, 27-film programming event that will delve into the story of the organization that dedicated itself to protecting American audiences from “objectionable” content and explore the impact the legion had on how movies were ultimately produced and edited to avoid being labeled. Programming begins Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. and airs every Thursday throughout March with primetime screenings hosted by Sister Rose Pacatte, member of The Daughters of St. Paul, founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies and celebrated film reviewer.

Founded in 1933, the Catholic Legion of Decency was dedicated to combating objectionable content in films, often of a sexual nature, from the viewpoint of the Catholic Church. The Legion distributed a list of ratings for films, classifying them as A (morally unobjectionable), B (morally objectionable in part) or C (condemned). The Condemned programming slate will explore these films, screening 27 movies that were either condemned or found objectionable by this influential organization. Key programming highlights include:

Baby Face (1933) – Barbara Stanwyck uses sexuality to get ahead.

And God Created Woman (1956) – The French film created Brigitte Bardot’s “sex kitten” image.

Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) – Billy Wilder’s comedy about a singer who has to have sex regularly to avoid headaches.

The Carey Treatment (1972) - Blake Edwards thriller revolving around illegal abortion.

The Moon Is Blue (1953), The film was condemned by the Legion and bypassed the Production Code entirely.

L’Amore (1948), Led to a Supreme Court lawsuit in 1952 known as the “Miracle Decision” after being condemned by the Legion. The ruling declared that motion pictures were a form of artistic expression protected by freedom of speech and guaranteed under the First Amendment.

"We’re always looking for creative ways to explore film history through various viewpoints and this month-long programming slate provides fans with a different perspective in order to view these films through a new lens," said Charles Tabesh, senior vice president of programming for TCM. To view a trailer for Condemned, please click here. For a full schedule, please visit

Additionally, fans are able to watch TCM whenever and wherever they want via and the Watch TCM mobile apps by logging in with a user name and password provided by their TV service provider. Watch TCM features streaming of the network, industry leading in-depth movie information, as well as more than 300 titles available on demand each month.

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP, is a Catholic sister. She is a member of the Daughter of St. Paul and the founding director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA. She is originally from San Diego, CA and has been a Daughter of St. Paul since 1967. Rose has an MA in Education in Media Studies from the University of London and a Certificate in Pastoral Communications from the University of Dayton. In addition to being a course designer and facilitator for the University of Dayton's online faith formation program, she does catechetical film reviews for RCL Benziger. She is the award-winning film columnist for St. Anthony Messenger and contributor to the National Catholic Reporter on film and popular culture.

Sister Rose also hosts the Jesuit-sponsored online program "The INNdustry with Sister Rose on the IN Network." She has co-written several books on scripture and film and two books on media literacy education. Her latest book is "Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way". She is currently writing a life of St. Hildegard of Bingen for Pauline Books & Media and a biography of the artist Corita Kent for Liturgical Press. Her blog, “Sister Rose at the Movies” is currently ranked in the top 130 church blogs in the United States.

Sister Rose gives seminar and workshop presentations on media literacy, communications, and film and spirituality in North America and internationally.

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