We see Alcatraz become a Federal prison (setting up Clint Eastwood's later escape). Flash Gordon is published as a comic strip for the first time (leading to a Queen soundtrack). Bonnie & Clyde are gunned down (setting up...well, Bonnie & Clyde). And Adolf Hitler become Fuhrer, creating tragedy and misery that the world and the film industry would wrestle with right up to the present day.
But the big immediate impact from this year is the actual enforcement of the Hays Code. The Code itself existed since the late 1920s, but in June of 1934 an amendment to the Production Code required films to receive a seal of approval from the newly-formed Production Code Administration, and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MMPDA)agreed to abide by the Code. Starting in July, films that were considered indecent could no longer be shown.
This was at a point where studios also owned all the movie theaters so, even though there was no government regulation, the fact that the MPPDA started enforcing the code meant everything from nudity to a man and a woman being in the same bed became prohibited. It wouldn't be until the link between studios and theaters was broken that things would really start to change.
Before discussing 1934, I need to address 1933. I actually watched a fair amount, but never wrote anything. There wasn't a ton to say about most of what I saw and I was not feeling particularly inspired. So just go see King Kong and I'll be thrilled.
As to what we are watching from 1934, It Happened One Night is definitely top of the list. Take a Bow is the first big Shirley Temple film so we'll try to get that in. And of course there is The Thin Man! All that and more fun ahead as we traverse 1934.