Record #888

Date:
10/03/1933
Record Type:
Letter
From/By:
James Wingate, Director, Studio Relations, Association of Motion Picture Producers
To:
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel:
Reel 10
Frame Start:
10-0623
Frame End:
10-0624
Legacy ID:
896
Legacy Year:
1933
Legacy Index:
MPPDA - Reaffirmation
Comments:
Additional text in Transcription.

Acknowledging Hays 8 March 1933 letter: "I am not quite willing to admit that during the recent weeks pictures have been worse than the average of pictures heretofore produced ... It is very essential that producers recognize the fact that motion picture critics and perhaps audiences are much more expressive in these distressing times than they have been in times of prosperity."

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Long Description:

... During the past few weeks we have just witnessed the most critical business and economic period that I can recall. The public and organized minorities have become more keenly critical and more expressive. Attention is turned from building up attendance upon good pictures generally to expressing what is wrong not only with pictures but with everything that pertains to pictures. In other words, this is a moment of hysterical criticism. This being the fact, whether the criticism is just or unjust, it is in a sense the reflection of public opinion which, when organized, is the most powerful influence that can be brought to bear upon any activity which touches the public en masse. Recognizing that opinion, the industry, including ourselves, must bend its every effort toward making better pictures and building entertainment values which are wholesome. This has to do in the first instance with the selection of story material. Second, with refraining from so directing a picture that the immoral and the salacious may be inferred although not technically expressed. either in dialogue or portrayal. It is difficult, under the powers granted us by the Code and its interpretation, to delete an unexpressed thought although we may be conscious that portions of audiences will think that particular thought. I am not quite willing to admit that during the recent weeks pictures have been worse than the average of pictures heretofore produced and I base my opinion upon six years' experience in viewing the product while I was Director of the Motion Picture Division of New York State. I do admit that there have been pictures produced which in my opinion were not for the best interests of the industry and also there have been, as is human, a few cases of mistaken judgment. It is very essential that producers recognize the fact that motion picture critics and perhaps audiences are much more expressive in these distressing times than they have been in times of prosperity. ... I want you, however, to be fully conscious of the problem as it exists at the present moment. Studio heads are using all their energies and thought and straining every nerve on the problem of keeping production going - how to make any pictures, and it is exceedingly difficult to make them realize that the release of low-tone pictures which may for the moment bring some ready cash will in the long run not only not solve their problem but will make it an increasingly difficult one.

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