Record #844

Date:
20/08/1932
Record Type:
Memo
From/By:
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
To:
Douglas McKinnon
Geoffrey Shurlock, Associate Producer, foreign productions, Paramount Publix Corporation
James Martin Fisher, Reviewer, MPPDA (Studio Relations Committee)
John V. Wilson, aka Jack
Lamar Trotti, Assistant to Colonel Jason S. Joy
Col. Jason S. Joy
Reel:
Reel 10
Frame Start:
10-0044
Frame End:
10-0046
Legacy ID:
852
Legacy Year:
1932
Legacy Index:
Production Code
Comments:
Additional text in Transcription. EDITORIAL COMMENT: Rhis letter approximately coincides with Joy's replacement by Wingate-suggesting the scale of the crisis, perhaps. Was this a device to justify Wingate's appointment?

Hays report on examining reasons for violations of Production Code - mistakes must be eliminated - public not interested in "the spittle of decadent imaginations'He has been studying the situation for six weeks. Hays insists that regardless of pressures exerted by the producers, they must be made to comply with their own agreement and live up to the spirit and the letter of the Code. Too many mistakes are presently being made. He comments on "the reported distribution department pressure" for the production of sex pictures and makes encouraging noises about the effort they are making.

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Long Description:

" The fact that the general average has been so splendid does not excuse either ourselves of the studios for the mistakes that have been made. There have been some pictures which in theme, in my opinion, did not comply with the spirit of the code; there have been sequences in several pictures that in my opinion grossly violate the spirit and actually violate the letter of the Code. ... "I will not admit that this responsibility is lessened by the occasional report that important factors in studios endeavor to find ways to violate their own pledged obligation. These men are under great pressure. If they are right in any given case, the Code enforcement facilities afford means to establish the correctness of their position. Our duty is first to call attention to the probable error; discuss the matter with the studio involved; apply to such discussion the broad knowledge which you have of the general situation; to insist upon avoiding the mistake if you believe you are right; and then failing to agree, to let the matter be submitted to the provided Jury here and then appeal to the Board in New York. "... Remember that liberty of expression is not imperilled when protest is made against playwrights who glean their plots from the scribblings on latrine walls or search the garbage dumps and sewers of society for situations and characters. The great majority of the millions of folk in America refuse to be spattered with the spittle of decadent imaginations and will not bring themselves or families within range of that theatre's ribald impudence which continues to prostitute all proprieties. Make no mistake about that. "There are, as a matter of fact, multitudes who do not now patronize motion pictures because they are not convinced that the screen has been purged of erotic scenes and indecent expressions. Whenever motion picture production confesses that it cannot derive inspiration or material except from adultery, libertinage and illicit adventure, it will no longer deserve legislative tolerance or supporting patronage. "A few of the situations in some recent pictures will go far toward convincing a large body of public opinion that motion picture production has admitted it cannot fabricate entertainment except with 'damaged goods.' ... The mistakes that are being made, though very few in number and entirely overshadowed by the great accomplishment, nevertheless are the points where the infection will start which will disease the industry itself and bring its disrepute."

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