Hay's Code In Hollywood Films

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Hays Code The Hays Code, also called the Production Code, was a self-imposed system of regulation that explicitly and implicitly affected the themes, story lines, and tone of Hollywood films produced between 1930 and the 1960s, particularly with regard to the treatment of sexuality. In the years leading up to the popularization of sound cinema in about 1930, certain segments of the American public had come to believe that Hollywood films exemplified the decline of American moral values. In 1915 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did not apply to motion pictures, and city governments began to ban the exhibition of ''immoral films.'' A series of Hollywood scandals involving drugs, bisexuality, and murder occurred in the …show more content…
After the Wall Street crash of 1929 production companies feared the financial effects of an impending Catholic ban on their films (Leff and Simmons 1990). Fearing a government crackdown, Hollywood decided to self-regulate by creating the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) to oversee the moral decency of sound pictures. The Catholic Church-influenced code was created in 1930 by MPPDA head Will Hays. Although it was not legally mandatory, MPPDA production companies would be fined $25,000 for releasing a non-Code picture, and MPPDA theaters agreed to ban non-Code films. The Production Code listed three ''General Principles,'' 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.'' The Production Code also listed a variety of ''Particular Applications,'' many of which applied to sexuality: no nudity, no ''sexual perversion'' (i.e., homosexuality), no adultery, and no miscegenation. ''Scenes of Passion'' were to be avoided along with any other treatments that might ''stimulate the lower and baser element.'' It took four years for the Production Code to be

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