Record #767

Date:
29/04/1931
Record Type:
Letter
Reel:
Reel 9
Frame Start:
9-1813
Frame End:
9-1815
Legacy ID:
775
Legacy Year:
1931
Legacy Index:
Production Code

Summary of West Coast meetings in April. Includes discussion of extent to which foreign versions should conform to the Code, and a meeting re gangster pictures. The release of these should be staggered to avoid overkill.meetings held in Hollywood re Production Code and short subjects and foreign versions. 20 April 1931 meeting of company heads with Vollmer re crime and gang films as well as 23 April 1931 meeting with Lord.

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Letter, Hays to Cochrane, 29 April 1931 re meetings on the Coast, including meeting of studio heads with August Vollmer, after he had seen all the gangster movies: "He saw these pictures, made a detailed report, and then presented, in addition, his conclusions to the meeting ... It was then agreed that the cuts which were believed proper would be made in all the pictures and that standard prints including all these cuts be used; also that the release of these pictures should by the distribution elements be staggered -- that is, the quantitative element would be taken care of by not having the pictures appeal too closely together. This was taken up with the sales managers in New York on the next day, the 21st, and agreed to by them. This is very important.Also, meeting with Lord when he presented "the Code -- One Year Later" -- which is included and may already be transcribed. If not, it probably needs to be."... Universal was not involved in this present gangster picture situation although the matter of gangster pictures was earnestly discussed at the annual meeting and at the meeting with Dr. Lord ... As you know, the gangster pictures have been giving some concern, both as to content and to the quantitative element involved. Our concern is, of course, primarily that crime is not promoted, but we also have the definite accountability to that thought in the country which blames us for such effect, whether such opinion is correct or not. To make certain as to the former, I arranged for Dr. August Vollmer to come to Los Angeles, where he spent several days viewing the gangster pictures which are just finished, all of which I saw prior thereto. He is regarded as an authority on crime, its promotion and detection, having a very distinguished record in that regard, as you know. He saw these pictures, made a detailed report, and then presented, in addition, his conclusions to the meeting on the twentieth of the studio heads of the companies involved. It was then agreed that the cuts which were believed proper would be made in all the pictures and that standard prints including all these cuts be used; also that the release of these pictures should by the distribution departments be staggered -- that is, the quantitative element would be taken care of by not having the pictures appear too closely together. This was taken up with the sales managers in New York on the next day, the 21st, and agreed to by them. This is very important. Dr. Lord's visit was especially timely. He has one of the best minds in this country, is thoroughly sympathetic, and has given very splendid service to the industry. He is regarded very highly by all the production heads and was one of the most potent individuals in the preparation of the Code. He spent several days with us, studying the year's operation. A copy of his report to the production heads is enclosed. This will warrant your very careful reading. It should then be preserved by you IN CONFIDENCE."

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