Record #1130

Record Type:
Joseph I. Breen
Vincent G. Hart, MPPDA (Eastern Studio Relations)
Reel 11
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EDITORIAL COMMENT: This is what Zanuck is referring to in 11-0328 to 11-0341.

Breen has worked out a formula to deal with the increasing number of movies involving crime and bloodshed. This letter details his new interpretation of the Code "with a view to lessening the definitely anti-social element" in the "greatly increased number of stories dealing with crime and bloodshed." Kidnapping, details of a crime, suicide, violent conflict with the law, etc. are the primary areas of concern.


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Long Description:

21 February 1935, Breen to Hart, "1. 'Details of crime' must never be shown and care should be exercised at all times in discussing such details. "2. Action suggestive of wholesale slaughter of human beings either by criminals, in conflict with the police, or as between warring factions of criminals, or in public disorder of any kind, will not be allowed. "3. There must be no suggestion, at any time, of excessive brutality. "4. Because of the alarming increase in the number of films in which murder is frequently committed, action showing the taking of human life, even in the mystery stories, is to be cut to the minimum. These frequent presentations of murder tend to lessen regard for the sacredness of life. "5. Suicide, as a solution of problems occurring in the development of screen drama, is to be discouraged as 'morally questionable' and as 'bad theatre' -- unless absolutely necessary for the development of the plot "6. There must be no display, at any time, of machine guns, sub machine guns or other weapons generally classified as 'illegal' weapons in the hands of gangsters, or other criminals, and there are to be no off-stage sounds of the repercussion of these guns. This means that even where the machine guns, or other prohibited weapons, are not shown, the effect of shots coming form these guns must be cut to a minimum. "7. There must be no new, unique or 'trick' methods for concealing of guns shown at any time. "8. The flaunting of weapons by gangsters, or other criminals, will not be allowed. "9. All discussions and dialogue on the part of gangsters regarding guns should be cut to the minimum. "10. There must be no scenes, at any time, showing law-enforcing officers dying at the hands of criminals. This includes private detectives and guards form bank, motor trucks, etc. "With special reference to the crime of kidnapping--or illegal abduction--it has been our policy to mark such stories as acceptable under the Code only when the kidnapping or abduction is: "a. Not the main theme of the story "b. The person kidnapped is not a child; "c. There are no 'details of the crime' "d. No profit accrues to the abductors or kidnappers; "e. Where the kidnappers are punished. "With regard to the use of the word 'nuts in pictures , please note: "1. The word 'nuts' when used to characterize an individual as crazy is acceptable. in other words, the expressions, 'You're nuts;' 'He's nuts;' or "He's a nut' may be used. 2. The use of the word 'nuts' as an exclamation should not be used, as in the case of 'Aw, nuts,' or 'Nuts to you,' etc.

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