Record #914

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Mr Will H. Hays, President, MPPDA
Reel 10
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Production Code
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Reaffirmation necessary to avoid emergency and legislation and anti-movie editorials. Lists pictures which have caused problems, with reasons - major problem is over Temple Drake and Baby Face.


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HAYS speech on the Production Code --dated May 1933 - {presumably to a meeting, and probably the speech at the meeting of April 20, or at least very similar to it. Part of this is the report at the annual meeting, but it also includes - among that - additional remarks. It's clearly addressed at a producers' or Executives' group.} Most of the trouble in Code observation, censorship and public disapprobation of this business grows out of bad source material. Much could be prevented if we did not start out on a bad story. Very few instances have there been where the result was worth the trouble. ... the minute you buy a story like "Sanctuary" until this time next year when it is played in the last outpost, there is trouble. There has not been a day in the last three months when this office has not had some repercussions about "Sanctuary" - not a day. The studio has had plenty of trouble, too. ... what I am about to say about the trouble we are in would seem to be negatived by this really splendid record of 1932, where 86% of all the pictures we produced were endorsed by these socially-minded social welfare groups ... Notwithstanding the constantly higher average of pictures made under the Motion Picture Production Code, approved from the social standpoint through the previewing services of many leading educational welfare and other public agencies in the US, changing public opinion compels constant watchfulness. ... Why is this kind of business pertinent now, when our minds are all on the fiscal affairs, how we are going to survive, financially. The stability of the motion picture as an entertainment art ... is dependent upon public appeal and public confidence. ... The failure to maintain the clear promises the industry has made to the public for the protection of American family standards in motion picture theatres will jeopardize any permanent investment in the motion picture industry. ... The result most disastrous of the violations is the legislative retaliation. This is voiced in censorship bills, but especially in tax and other confiscatory measures. You know your business and we know our business and I tell you that these confiscatory measures which are presented, peaking in this Sirovich investigation, the way they get sore because of what is in the pictures, in the advertising, and they take it out on us in this tax and other confiscatory measures.... To meet this emergency, and as a prime matter of economy and cost reduction, we have found it necessary to reaffirm our resolutions and strictly enforce them. [The resolution] was not in the trade press, and I ask this to be kept confidential because the time has passed -- it would do more harm than good for the public to know we are restating. ... The slant they have taken on homosexuality and lesbianism has about ruined us. Kent took it out of CAVALCADE. You could not start out on this course as completely if those two shots in CAVALCADE were not taken out ... With the knowledge that a relaxation in production standards on the part of the industry would result in a definite and public loss of goodwill, without which the screen cannot hope to survive, it is proposed to make certain, without any equivocation whatsoever, that there shall be no such relaxation in production standards. ... Some tendencies have appeared in pictures that will have to be eliminated. If Code violations are not thus eliminated by the studios themselves, or by the operation of the Resolution for Uniform Interpretation of the Code, they shall be deleted here from the finished pictures and the responsibilities fixed. If there is any failure by this process to accomplish the necessary results, I propose to appeal for support, first, to you, if it is a picture produced by your company; next, to the president of the company whose picture is involved; next, to the Board of Directors, the bankers, and the stockholders of the company involved; and failing in this I propose to appeal to the public whose servants, after all, the industry is, and on whose support the industry must depend for its sustenance.

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