George: "Ruptured appendix?" Dr. Hochberg (Jean Hersholt): "More serious than that." George: "Why didn't she come to us?"
They never use the actual word, but it's there. Im sure there are even earlier examples, there are hundreds of silent films that would still be viewed as risque today. Some of those films from the late teens ad 20's have some brutal scenes of abuse that make me squirm a little even now.
It seems they took the subtle approach with these topics but it's almost as if people were more reasonable about it then than they are now. I honestly feel it was easier for all sides when people simply kept what they do in private, well, private. I disagree with any laws barring someone's personal freedom (especially one based on religious beliefs) but it seems that making issues a public debate has only deepened the divide and hasn't helped much.
One difference I have noticed from then and now is there wasn't much victim mentality or looking for someone to blame then. It just simply was, it was accepted, not publicized, and they went on with their day. if you don't like it, don't do it, and leave it at that. Seems now everyone is just dying to scream "That offends me!" for a lawsuit or their 15 minutes of fame, and to me that is what is hurting the country, not our " lack of morality", "ethics" or the actual issues themselves.
Here's a site I found from AMC that breaks down "sex in cinema" from the 1890's on.
It catalogues everything from rape, promiscuity, homosexuality, and so on, by decade. Its not grotesque, its actually really interesting to read, before there were agencies and the FCC to water down everything we see. So next time you hear grandma say "That never happened when I was a child" , you can say, with proof, "But it did".