The 40s brought on a significant cultural shift in America. The 20’s and 30’s were, within reason, something of a freewheeling period for cinema. Unfortunately, Hollywood underwent a combination of a series of major scandals and severe pushback from the moral majority. Thus began the Production Code era, in which good guys were very good, bad guys were very bad, and a certain sense of morality was upheld by force, fiction be damned.
In the middle of all of this, at the very height of the production code, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy teamed up to deliver a series of movies that both questioned and confirmed the odd morality of the era.