Adaptation, Decency and the Hays Code from A History of the Art of Adaptation [Video] (0:56)

You Can Please Some of the People Some of the Time… None of the People All of the Time: A History of the Art of Adaptation in Movies like Dune, The Godfather, Harry Potter and More!

Dr. Rosanne Welch speaks on A History of the Art of Adaptation in Movies like Dune, The Godfather, Harry Potter and More! at the California State University, Fullerton Library

Part of the program series for Dune by Frank Herbert: A 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Watch this entire presentation

Adaptation, Decency and the Hays Code from A History of the Art of Adaptation



In this early period of films, right out of the sound — right out of the silent era. What makes us change novels? What’s one of the biggest reasons? Well, it’s the Hays Code. Now, the Hays Code was put together because there was a fear that in silent movies there was a lot of nudity and women were getting divorced helter-skelter and having sex with men whenever they want. It was very — and the idea was films were art and there are naked pictures at the museum. So, shouldn’t there be naked people in the movies? It should be ok. Right, But, many groups ot together and were very worried about it. They were going to ask the government — they were asking the government to come up with a list of things that shouldn’t happen in the movies and the movie companies are like “No, no, no, you’ll destroy us if we have to follow your rules. Will create our own office and will make up the rules that we can follow and the government let then do that and that became the Hays Code. These are the things you could not show in films and this is going to go all the way up until 1968. 

About this talk

Dr. Rosanne Welch (RTVF) speaks on the craft of history of film adaptations from the controversy of the silent film Birth of a Nation (protested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1915) to Breakfast at Tiffany’s (to which author Truman Capote famously said, “The only thing left from the book is the title”) to The Godfather . Naturally, the behemoth in adaptation – Harry Potter (which depended on the relationship created by adapter Steve Kloves and author J.K. Rowling) will be discussed, as will the subject of this month’s celebration: Dune.

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm

About Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch is a professor in the Low Residency MFA in Screenwriting Program from Stephens College, California State University, Fullerton, Mount San Antonio Community College and Cal Poly Pomona.  In 2007, she graduated with her Ph.D. in 20th Century U.S./Film History from Claremont Graduate University.  She graduated with her M.A. in 20th Century United States History from California State University, Northridge in 2004.

Welch is also a television writer/producer with credits for Beverly Hills 90210 , CBS’s Emmy winning Picket Fences and Touched By An Angel . She also writes and hosts her own podcasts on, her first one titled “Mindful(I) Media with Dr. Rosanne Welch.”

Her upcoming book, “Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture” will be published in Fall 2016

Three Ring Circus: How Real Couples Balance Marriage, Work and Kids and The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space are two books she has written. Los Angeles Times and the Journal of Screenwriting hold some of her published articles.

Dr. Rosanne Welch Web Site and Blog

Follow Dr. Welch on Twitter

Dr. Rosanne Welch on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.