Richard Maltby

Richard Maltby is Professor of Screen Studies and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law at Flinders University, South Australia.

He is a leading international authority on the social and cultural history of American cinema and its audiences. His book Hollywood Cinema provides an innovative analysis of Hollywood as a cultural and commercial institution, and is widely used as a university text on the history and aesthetics of mainstream American cinema; a second edition was published in 2003, and a Chinese edition in 2005.

In 2000, his book “Film Europe” and “Film America”: Cinema, Commerce and Cultural Exchange, 1925-1939 won the Prix Jean Mitry for cinema history. He is Series Editor of Exeter Studies in Film History, and he has edited seven books on the international history of movie audiences and cinema exhibition. His other publications include Dreams for Sale: Popular Culture in the Twentieth Century (1989), and Harmless Entertainment: Hollywood and the Ideology of Consensus (1983), as well as over 50 articles and essays. His writings on cinema have been published in Germany, France, Japan, Sweden, the US and the UK, and translated into Chinese, Czech, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Slovenian.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and has been the lead investigator on three Australian Research Council Discovery projects examining the political history of the American film industry, the structure of the distribution and exhibition industry in Australia and the history of Australian cinema audiences. His co-authored book, The New Cinema History: A Guide, will be published by Blackwell’s in 2011.

Before moving to Australia in 1997, Richard was the founding Director of the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture at the University of Exeter and then Research Professor of Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University.

Richard’s writings on the MPPDA and the Production Code include:

  • “Why Boys Go Wrong: Gangsters, Hoodlums and the Natural History of Delinquent Careers,” in Mob Culture: The American Gangster Film, eds Lee Grieveson, Esther Sonnett and Peter Stanfield, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 2005, pp. 41-66.
  • “It Happened One Night: Comedy And The Restoration Of Order,” in Film Analysis, eds Jeffrey Geiger and R.L. Rutsky, WW. Norton, New York, 2005, pp. 216-37.
  • “‘More Sinned Against than Sinning’: The Fabrications of ‘Pre-Code Cinema,” Senses of Cinema 29 (Nov-Dec 2003),
  • “The Spectacle of Criminality,” in Violence and American Cinema, ed. J. David Slocum, Routledge, New York, 2001, pp. 117-52
  • “Sticks, Hicks and Flaps: Classical Hollywood’s Generic Conception of its Audience,” in Identifying Hollywood's Audiences: Cultural Identity and the Movies, British Film Institute, London, 1999, pp. 23-41
  • “‘A Brief Romantic Interlude’: Dick and Jane Go to Three-and-a-Half Seconds of the Classical Hollywood Cinema,” in Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies, eds David Bordwell and Noel Carroll, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1996, 434-459. Reprinted in Jacques Lacan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory, Volume 4: Culture, ed. Slavoj Zizek, Routledge, 2002.
  • “Censorship and Self-Regulation” and “Will Hays” in The Oxford History of the Cinema, 1895-1995, ed. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996, 235-248, 240
  • “La censura y el Código de Producción (Censorship and the Production Code),” in Historia General del Cine Volumen VIII: Estados Unidos, 1932-1955, eds Esteve Riambau and Casimiro Torreiro, Editorial Cátedra, Madrid, 1996, 175-206
  • With Lea Jacobs, “Rethinking the Production Code” Introduction to Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 15,4 (March 1995), 1-3
  • “The Genesis of the Production Code,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 15,4 (March 1995), 5-32
  • “Documents on the Genesis of the Production Code,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 15,4 (March 1995), 33-63
  • “The Production Code and the Hays Office,” in Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939, ed. Tino Balio, Volume 5 of The History of the American Cinema, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993, 37-72
  • “‘Grief in the Limelight’: Al Capone, Howard Hughes, the Hays Office and the Politics of the Unstable Text,” in Movies and Politics: The Dynamic Relationship, ed. James Combs, Garland Press, New York, 1993, 133-182
  • “‘To Prevent the Prevalent Type of Book’: Censorship and Adaptation in Hollywood, 1924-1934,” American Quarterly, 44;4 (1992), special issue on Hollywood, Censorship and American Culture, 554-583; republished in Movie Censorship and American Culture, ed. Frank Couvares, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996, 97-128; republished in Film Adaptation, ed. James Naremore, Rutgers University Press, 2000, 79-105
  • “The Genesis of the Production Code,” “A Short and Dangerous Life: The Gangster Film, 1930‑1932,” and editor, “Documents,” in Prima dei Codici 2. Alle Porte di Hays/Before the Codes 2. The Gateway to Hays, ed. Giuliana Muscio, Venice, Fabbri Editori, 1991, 39‑80, 159‑174, 357‑411
  •  “The King of Kings and the Czar of All the Rushes: The Propriety of the Christ Story,” Screen, 31:2 (Summer 1990), 188-213. Reprinted in Matthew Bernstein, ed., Controlling Hollywood: Censorship and Regulation in the Studio Era, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1999, pp. 60-86.
  • Baby Face, or How Joe Breen Made Barbara Stanwyck Atone for Causing the Wall St. Crash,” Screen, 27:2 (March-April 1986), 22-45.  Reprinted in Janet Staiger, ed., The Studio System, Rutgers University Press, 1995, 251-278. Reprinted in Screen Histories: A SCREEN Reader, eds Annette Kuhn and Jackie Stacey, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 164-83