In this day of special effects, star-studded casts, and wild plots, it is easy to forget some of those classic movies. These movies often remind us of a simpler time when life didn’t move quite so fast. Sometimes, they surprise us with taboo plots. If you have a little extra time, give these classic movies you haven’t seen a try!
Top Five Classic Taboo Movies: Splendor in the Grass
Splendor in the Grass is an incredible classic movie directed by Elia Kazan, released in 1961. The plot centers around a very young Warren Beatty and his girlfriend played by Natalie Wood. The two young lovers feel personal and outside pressure to consummate their relationship, but Beatty chooses to instead end the relationship after watching his wild sister spiral out of control. The film follows the characters over several years as they grow apart and follow separate paths in life.
Top Five Classic Taboo Movies: The Children’s Hour
The Children’s Hour, also released in 1961, stars Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine as directors of a private school who become the subject of nasty gossip when one of the students questions their “unnatural” friendship. Reputations and lives are destroyed in the process. This film had a very difficult time coming to production due to what was then considered taboo subject matter.
Top Five Classic Taboo Movies: Imitation of Life
Imitation of Life (1959) is the story of Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) and her journey to become a successful actress while raising a child (Sandra Dee) and living with a black housekeeper and her daughter (Juanita Moore & Susan Kohner). This film highlights the racial divide present at the time, contrasting the white mother/daughter with the black mother/daughter, as well as illustrating the common difficulties that all mothers and daughters share.
Top Five Classic Taboo Movies: Peyton Place
Peyton Place (1957) is another closeted look at sex and dysfunctional relationships — a single mother who had a child with a married man, a “fast” girl and her wedding to her high school sweetheart, a regular girl eager to grow up, and a troubled young woman molested by her stepfather. Juicy stuff.
Top Five Classic Taboo Movies: Baby Doll
Another Elia Kazan film, Baby Doll (1956) focuses on the marriage of an old man (Karl Malden) and his virgin child bride (Carroll Baker). She sleeps in a crib and wears short nighties while her husband spies on her through a hole in the wall, eagerly awaiting her 20th birthday on which he is permitted by her dying father to consummate their relationship. There was tremendous moral backlash when this film was released, particularly by the Catholic church.
If you are looking for a little controversy mixed with a classic film, give one of these great old movies a try! Although taboo at the time, they stand in refreshing contrast to the “show it all” mantras of films today.