Record #339

Date:
19/10/1927
Record Type:
Record of meeting
Reel:
Reel 3
Frame Start:
3-1210
Frame End:
3-1226
Legacy ID:
339
Legacy Year:
1927
Legacy Index:
MPPDA - Department of Public and Industry Relations

C.F. Borcosque, Vice-Consul from Chile, on Latin American attitudes towards Hollywood pictures -- tries to educate filmmakers about the history, locale and customs of South-American countries. South American audiences and their tastes are discussed. A full and specific list of recent censorship eliminations both in the U.S. and abroad is given, and some useful general conclusions are drawn. It is emphasized that censorship is applied to 80.5% of the industry's total world business.

Keywords

Censorship (112), Federal regulation (7), Foreign market (45), Latin America (2), South America (1) Show all keywords…

Scans

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 27-28 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.10-19-27 discussion on South America, where audiences are largely middle-class, and there is a preference for German films over American, but the German films are more heavily censored. MGM currently barred from Spain and Mexico. A resume of recent eliminations since the "Resolutions" indicates that there are more of them but they are less serious. Egs abound, divided into standard headings, in order of their frequency:Exposure of children's sexual organs etc. (largely to do with nappy-wetting)Suggestive and double meaning subtitlesExpressions and words often eliminated (largely ethnic references)Shooting and Gun-play (includes guns pointed at screen and what seem to be scenes in which shooter and victim are in the same shot)Cutting telephone wires, etc. (acts which might be imitated)GamblingLiquorNudity and indecent ExposureKissingNose-thumbing -- Indecent Action of LipsProfanity ("Hell")"The average gross business done in censoring states in the United States by national distributors is approximately 35 % of the total gross business of the United States. To this 35 % may be added a further 15%, which represents the business of censorship cities located in states that have no state censorship; indicating that half the business done in this country is regulated by official censors."The foreign business -- all of which is censored -- is divided up approximately as follows:Great Britain 35%Australia 14 %Canada 9%Brazil 9%Balance of South America 5 %France and Belgium 3%Germany 2%Balance of Europe 3%Balance of world, excluding US 18 %"This represents approximately 30% of the total world business indicating that 80 % of our total world's business is regulated by some form of censorship."Our interest in official censorship is three-fold:1. To avoid wasting production money on sequences that can not be used.2. To eliminate the chance of spoiling an otherwise box office value by the danger of having the "heart" of the picture cut out.3. To forestall the further spread of censorship and the enactment of Federal Control. (Please not that Wm. Randolf [sic] Hearst has just published editorially a letter favoring Federal Censorship.But our greater concern is the "opinion of the public", which is, after all, the final judge of our product.SRC had been consulted on 162 pictures since June 8 -- and had checked all its recommendations with Hays. "You will bear in mind that advice in this regard is not our personal judgement, although we have always concurred in the judgment given us." This kind of caution about the SRC expressing its own opinion is important for later documents where the studios increasingly want opinions based on their expertise rather than knowledge. Of those 162 pictures, 2 had had difficulties -- 1 for scenes not bought to the SRC, the other "criticism from an unexpected source which was not consulted. The advice which has thus been made available for you, has saved the companies thousands of dollars in actual expenditures, and has avoided the possible destruction of box-office values, which occurs whenever a censor "cuts" an important story point from a released picture."

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