Record #1027

Record Type:
David Palfreyman
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel 10
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National Board of Review (NBR)

Columbia and Paramount would discontinue National Board of Review (NBR) and do not want wording changed. Kelly at MGM wants to keep it and has suggested change to "Approved by NBR" -- he also says Boston and Providence RI police board have censor powers during week days and rely on NBR Seal, and that they will introduce censor boards if it is dropped -- so will Atlanta, and Florida will insist on using the same print as New York have passed. Most of the companies are opposed to the idea of a classification notice. Continuing value of NBR in obviating censorship noted. Note that William Kelly has been handling censorship matters at MGM for many years.NBR is proposing changing wording to include classification of films.


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Documents dealing with a proposal from the NBR to change their inscription on films to read "classified and passed by the NBR": Barrett to studios, December 1934: "The Executive Committee of the NBR has taken cognizance of the growing public sentiment for assurance that films exhibited in the theatres have been classified as to audience suitability, primarily either for the family or for adults; also we recognize the public interest in obtaining advance information as to recommended films, based on impartial review of films prior to public exhibition. "... This step [the classification proposal] has been taken with the best interests of both the public and the industry in mind, and with the further thought that the change requested is entirely in keeping with the true activity of this organization, which originated, and since 1916 has advocated and practiced, the plan of selection, recommendation and classification of motion picture films as a constructive way in which to develop film patronage and defeat the demand for censorship."But Palfreyman's sampling of company opinion was hostile -- Buckley of UA wanted to pull out of the NBR altogether, "At Metro I was referred to Mr. William Kelly who tells me that for many years he has handled censorship matters for Metro. He was very much opposed to any of the companies discontinuing the legend" -- but wanted it changed to "Approved by the NBR". Columbia were opposed to the classification notice. Getting rid of the NBR may create problems in Florida, but also in Boston, where the Police Board has censorship powers and relies on the NBR endorsement. The same situation applies in Providence and Atlanta -- all might establish municipal censor boards review all pictures and charge a fee for doing so.

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