Record #832

Record Type:
Carl E. Milliken
Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel 10
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Production Code
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Profanity clause of Production Code had been long discussed when Code was written and producers had left it as firm as 1927 - change would be detrimental - if made must be publicized.


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Long Description:

January 16, 1932. Memo MILLIKEN to HAYS. You doubtless have in mind for further discussion with the folks on the coast the proposed modification of the resolution excluding certain profane words from motion picture titles. You will recall that in response to your request for suggestions, prior to your trip to the coast, for the series of discussions which resulted in the Code of 1930, I proposed among other things that the studio Executives review the profanity resolution and revise it according to their actual intention. What I meant was that if they were to authorize the occasional use of a profane word under conditions involving intense drama or the necessity for characterization that amendment be frankly acknowledged to the public. From what I have heard of the discussions, I understand that they hesitated to take the risk of the matter getting out of bound and so preferred to leave the prohibition absolute as it had been since the adoption of the 1927 Code. Certain recent incidents indicate that this fear is well founded [there are 3 "hell"s in ARROWSMITH of which 1 is not dramatically necessary and 3 "Good Lord"s]... One at least of the Censor Boards has objected and representations had to be made to prevent mangling the picture. ... These instances [TWO KINDS OF WOMEN {Paramount} has a "Well I'll be damned"] are cited, and other might be cited, for the purpose of suggesting that careful consideration be given to this danger before the rule is finally modified. In that connection I want earnestly to urge, in behalf of the Public Relations Department, that if and when the resolution is finally modified proper publicity be given to the change. Otherwise we shall naturally be regarded by many persons as violating the promises that we ourselves have made under the Code.

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