Record #338

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Record of meeting
Reel 3
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MPPDA - Department of Public and Industry Relations

Dinner-Meeting of Studio Relations Committee. Douglas Miller, Commercial Attach at Berlin, on opposition to American pictures in Germany and Central Europe. Causes for censorship in Germany, as well as German production statistics, are analysed. The Dutch, Indian and Chinese markets also receive comment, and the Russian industry is examined in detail. There is also a complete list of eliminations made by American censors in October, 1927. There are useful general comments on both censorship (by Joy) and the foreign market situation.


Censorship (112), China (4), Foreign market (45), Germany (8), Holland (1), India (1), Russia (10) Show all keywords…


Long Description:

Resume of Studio Relations Committee meetings -- instituted as a monthly event, from October 1927, in the wake of its establishment ? and the passing of the Don'ts and Be Carefuls, presumably as affecting the 1927-28 production season. Each meeting contains some discussion -- often with a guest, of some aspect of the foreign situation -- and a list of eliminations, together with some general observations on the domestic censorship situation.Meeting, November 25, 1927Addressed by Douglas Miller, commercial attach in Berlin, who suggests that "Germans are a slow-thinking people, with plenty of time to spend at their amusements. They desire their pictures long and drawn out, with each sequence slowly and painstakingly built up. They do not understand, and therefore do not enjoy, the "conventional" symbols used so frequently in American pictures. For instance, a flash of a wife sewing on baby clothes would have no meaning for them., The same thing is true of other sequences which have been conventionalized in this country." It's hard to know if this sort of thing should be taken as reliable, -- he goes on o suggest that "it seems advisable to cut the foreign negatives one or two thousand feet longer than the domestic." German audiences are 1/3 children under 18. "American films are not censored severely because of over-sexy scenes. In fact they are considered too tame. But they are censored copiously whenever they contain gruesome details and scenes of violence." There is also information on Holland and on the Russian industry, and on China and India.On the domestic front, SRC notes that pointed profanity has almost disappeared. Egs of eliminations: one change of subtitle: "Whatever did I do with my nightgown?" changed to "Will we be entertaining this winter?" No details of who made these eliminations is given -- possibly deliberate so as not to give companies evidence by which they could make different versions for different laces, at least in the US market. This list divides member companies from Independent companies."It is apparent that some of the censor boards habitually, and a few of them occasionally, eliminate sequences from pictures which, when considered in connection with the whole picture are not offensive and which are essential to the whole dramatic development of the story or which add materially to the "moral lesson" involved."It is the consensus of opinion that the sincere purpose of the studios to eliminate objectionable sequences before the pictures are produced, has built a record upon which we may properly stand, and it is believed that we may now endeavor to approach some of the censoring boards for the purpose of securing from them an intelligent cooperation in the passing of picture. A definite program to this end will be discussed with Mr. Hays when he is next here."11-17-27 Milliken to Joy: "The summary of trouble with various pictures will be in constant use here, especially by our reviewer. The resume of results obtained through the method of consultation discloses an amazing saving which can not but attract the favorable attention of all our members."Miller claims that Germans "do not understand, and therefore do not enjoy, the 'conventional' symbols used so frequently in American pictures." Because Europeans are felt to be uncomfortable with narrative economy, it is suggested that foreign negatives be cut to one or two thousand feet longer than domestic.

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