The Hays Code, also known as the Motion Picture Production Code, was a set of guidelines and regulations for the production of motion pictures in the United States. It was implemented in 1930 and enforced until 1968.
The Hays Code was developed in response to concerns about the increasing immorality and explicit content of films in the 1920s. The code was named after Will H. Hays, the President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), who was appointed to the position in 1922. Hays was tasked with developing a set of guidelines that would help to regulate the content of films and ensure that they were appropriate for all audiences.
The Hays Code outlined a number of specific guidelines that filmmakers were required to follow, including:
No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.
Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.
Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.
No film or episode may throw ridicule on any religious faith.
The use of liquor should be discouraged, and the abuse of it should not be shown.
The treatment of sex perversion should be handled with care and subject to the requirements of good taste.
The use of profanity, obscenity, smut or vulgarity should be avoided.
The depiction of sexual relations should be subject to the requirements of good taste and delicacy.
The Hays Code was voluntary at first, but by 1934, it had become mandatory for all studios that wanted to release their films in the United States. The code was enforced by the MPPDA's Production Code Administration (PCA), which was responsible for reviewing all films before they were released. If a film was deemed to violate the Hays Code, the PCA could require that the filmmakers make changes or cuts to the film in order to obtain a seal of approval.
The Hays Code had a significant impact on the content of films produced in the United States during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Many filmmakers felt that the code was too restrictive and hindered their ability to tell the stories they wanted to tell. As a result, many films during this period tended to be more sanitized and censored than they might have been otherwise.
The Hays Code began to lose its influence in the late 1950s and was finally abandoned in 1968, when it was replaced by the Motion Picture Association of America's film rating system. Today, the Hays Code is remembered as a significant moment in the history of American cinema and as an example of the role that industry self-regulation can play in shaping the content of films.
Hays Code: Rules, Censorhip and Hollywood Movies ***
Sexuality There could be no " sexual perversions", which was Hays' way of saying that queer depictions were banned. Hence, though regarding motion pictures primarily as entertainment without any explicit purpose of teaching or propaganda, they know that the motion picture within its own field of entertainment may be directly responsible for spiritual or moral progress, for higher types of social life, and for much correct thinking. Following the Hays Code, and its "no scenes of passion", also provided many headaches to the studios. Crimes Against the Law These shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation. A careful distinction can be made between films intended for general distribution, and films intended for use in theatres restricted to a limited audience.
Psychologically, the larger the audience, the lower the moral mass resistance to suggestion. Another example of the MPPC in action is with the re-editing of the 1932 film, Babyface. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin. Supporters of the Hays Code would say that it was self-censoring and completely voluntary. Seduction or Rape a. Accessed March 9, 2009.
Hays Code and its impact on queer representation in mainstream Hollywood.
It's no wonder the Hays Code was conceived during this period. In general, the mobility, popularity, accessibility, emotional appeal, vividness, straightforward presentation of fact in the film make for more intimate contact with a larger audience and for greater emotional appeal. Illegal drug traffic must never be presented. Arbuckle left the next day, and Rappe remained at the hotel for three days on morphine before going to the hospital and then dying of a ruptured bladder. To a great extent it effects the way people perceive the world around them. Revenge in modern times shall not be justified. Without this approval, their films would not be released, or they were forced to pay expensive fines.
The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Hays Code)
Hence: If there should be created a special type of theatre, catering exclusively to an adult audience, for plays of this character plays with problem themes, difficult discussions and maturer treatment it would seem to afford an outlet, which does not now exist, for pictures unsuitable for general distribution but permissible for exhibitions to a restricted audience. We tend to think of black-and-white movies as representing a sanitized world, where crime never paid, ladies of the evening had hearts of gold, and married couples slept in separate beds. Selznick had huge problems convincing Will Hays and Joseph Breen that the words "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" was kept in 'Gone with the Wind'. The Face On The Cutting Room Floor: The Story Of Movie And Television Censorship. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Her skirts were lengthened to the knee, her garter belt was replaced with leg-covering stockings and the necklines of her dress were raised, so as not to cause offence. Some Like it Hot broke so many of the Hays Code rules, yet it was a box office success.
LGBT characters are often represented negatively in the media, enforcing harmful stereotypes, or not represented at all. This art appeals at once to every class, mature, immature, developed, undeveloped, law abiding, criminal. And in this case, it should be shown with moderation. This is also true when comparing the film with the newspaper. By human law is understood the law written by civilized nations. Motion picture producers feared that the federal government might step in.
Locations The treatment of bedrooms must be governed by good taste and delicacy. Newspapers are after the fact and present things as having taken place; the film gives the events in the process of enactment and with apparent reality of life. The sale of women, or a woman selling her virtue. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not subjects for motion pictures. In scenes from American life, the necessities of plot and proper characterization alone justify its use.
The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Hays Code)
The Encyclopedia of Hollywood 2nd edition. The Purpose of the 1930 Hays Code was to establish a voluntary self-censoring system for the production of movies and to improve the image of Hollywood thus avoiding the creation of a national censorship board by the Federal Government. It forbade the depiction of illegal drug use, venereal disease, childbirth, and profanity. Here, as in entertainment, Art enters intimately into the lives of human beings. Guns could not be pointed at people or the camera.
Their treatment must never offend good taste nor injure the sensibilities of an audience. They recognize their responsibility to the public because of this trust and because entertainment and art are important influences in the life of a nation. Profanity; hardly need further explanation than is contained in the Code. A wide knowledge of life and of living is made possible through the film. Entertainment which tends to improve the race, or at least to re-create and rebuild human beings exhausted with the realities of life; and b. When the millionaire realizes the Jazz player is a man, he responds with, "Well, nobody's perfect".
Besides, the thing has its EFFECT upon those who come into contact with it. Pushing these boundaries prompted calls for censorship. This was a period in which the Variety, predicted from the beginning that the Code would be difficult to enforce. Apparent cruelty to children or animals. Note, for example, the healthy reactions to healthful sports, like baseball, golf; the unhealthy reactions to sports like cockfighting, bullfighting, bear baiting, etc.