Record #1186

Record Type:
MPPDA (Production Code Administration (PCA))
Reel 12
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Production Code
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Summary of emendations and interpretations of the Production Code on crime, probably in chronological order since 1930.

'Re crime in motion pictures." A summary of regulations to date. Code. Resolution that foreign-produced motion pictures should be liable for the same PCA fees as domestically-produced ones. Includes memo, Miss Hunt to Harmon, 12 December 1938, on number of foreign motion pictures approved in 1937, and the fees they paid.Also resolution that from 1 January 1939 foreign pictures will be charged the same rates for PCA services as domestically-produced pictures. There were 55 features and 2 shorts approved as foreign pictures during 1937.


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Long Description:

20 December 1938 Summary of emendations and interpretations of the Production Code on crime, probably in chronological order since 1930: "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 a 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 from 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 a 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 for banks, motor trucks, etc. "11. With special reference to the crime of kidnapping or illegal abduction; such stories are acceptable under the Code only when the theme of 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' of kidnapping' (d) no profit accrues to the abductors or kidnappers; and (e) the kidnappers are punished. It is understood and agreed that the word 'kidnapping' as used in paragraph 11 of these regulations is intended to mean abduction or illegal detention in modern times by criminals for ransom. "12. Pictures dealing with criminal activities in which minors participate or to which minors are related, shall not be approved if they incite demoralizing imitation on the part of youth."

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