Record #170

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Courtland Smith, President of the American Press Association
Frederick L. Herron, MPPDA (Foreign Department)
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel 1
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Between Friends

Herron, Hess and Smith spent an objectionable night at the movies with Father Kelly and friend, watching Between Friends. They are unconvinced that Father Kelly has any reasonable grounds for his complaint.


Censorship (112), Motion pictures and religion (21), Protests (19) Show all keywords…



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BETWEEN FRIENDS. 1924. Father Kelly makes trouble concerning "Between Friends", 09-1924: Memo, Courtland Smith to Hays, 18-09-1924: Last night I again saw Vitagraph's picture "Between Friends". There were present Father Kelly and one of his friends, Mr. Hess, Mr. Herron and myself.After reviewing the picture we had a short conference which was totally unsatisfactory. Both Father Kelly and his friend insists the picture be totally condemned and withdrawn by Vitagraph. Neither Mr. Hess, Mr. Herron or myself could see any possible excuse for such action. I offered to ask Vitagraph to eliminate several scenes which might cause offense to some and the elimination of which would not seriously interfere with the picture. Father Kelly and his friend indignantly refused this suggestion although it was the very suggestion Father Kelly had made when I first talked to him on the subject. Apparently however the action of the Board of Censors in ordering the picture to be withdrawn caused him to take a much more determined stand. Incidentally the Board of Censors have no legal right to withdraw a license once granted. ...Father Kelly and his friend left stating they would take up the matter with you. They were most insulting and unreasonable. ...Memo from F.L. Herron, 09-18-1924: [Synopsis of film, and assessment as generally unobjectionable] ... The two men - Father Kelly and some man who he had with him "were without a single exception the most prejudiced and unfair persons that I have ever talked to regarding pictures. They would not even discuss any point, but seemed to think that their opinion was the only opinion that could be considered in any way shape of form and our idea meant nothing to them. Father Kelly is evidently absolutely misinformed regarding the work of this Association and I think that some one above him should straighten him out. He said that he has always understood that we censored every picture put out by this Association and that we are in a position to withdraw any picture at any time if we see fit to do so. He is a radical of the worst type and I think should be put in his place at once. He and the man with him both said that they represented Cardinal Hayes, which I doubt very much indeed, as I have always thought of the Cardinal as being too fair-minded a man to have such individuals representing him.The conference last night with these two men, which Mr. Hess, Mr. Smith and I attended, was the most insulting meeting that I have ever had to sit through. Memo (unsigned - Hays?), 09-30-1924 Letter from McMahon of the 24th and the letter from Mr. Smith of Vitagraph to me of the 25th, concludes this matter. I will see Father Kelly's next letter to the Cardinal so he said, before he sends it. We should not advise Father Kelly anything about the fact that this has been worked out between Vitagraph and Mr. McMahon, as we do not want any friction between McMahon and Father Kelly.

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