The Hays Code 1930-1950

The years 1930-1950 are considered to be Hollywood's golden age in American film history. During this time, about 400 films were produced annually and 90 million viewers visited the theaters every week. It is hard to believe that the most representative films in the history of cinema were made during the time of the greatest censorship in Hollywood. This censorship is better known as the Hays Code (actually Motion Pictures Production Pictures Code). William Harrison Hays was president of the American Society of Film Producers and Distributors, and it was this association that introduced the code and oversaw the content of every American film.

Why was the code actually presented? 1920-34 productions were often filled with promiscuity, prostitution, sex, racial crossover, homosexuality, drug addiction, violence, and gangsters. By showing such images in theaters, bad immoral behavior was glorified rather than condemned. Morally devastated Hollywood was severely condemned by political, religious and civil organizations. They called for the introduction of censorship to restore order and order in the dream factory.

The Hays Code - Certified
The Hays Code - Certified

New regulations were adopted in 1930, but went into effect 4 years later and for the next 30 years blocked all immoral elements from American films and those distributed in that country.

In the beginning there were 3 general principles:
1) No image should lower the moral standards of those who will see it. The sympathy of the public should not be thrown on the side of crime, evil and sin.

2) Proper standards of living must be presented, subordinated only to the requirements of drama and entertainment.
3) Human and natural rights must not be ridiculed or encouraged to violate them.
The following section included subcategories describing what is allowed and what is not. These were, among other things:

Sex - The sanctity of the institution of marriage must be respected, adultery, if necessary in the scenario, cannot appear attractive. Kissing cannot be sensual or excessive, and single kisses can last up to three seconds. Seduction and rape can only be suggested, not shown, and is not a suitable subject for comedy. No perversion, no mixed couples, no white slaves, no birth scenes.

  • Vulgarity / Decency / Smugness-All disgusting, evil, and nasty topics must be presented with respect for the viewer. All cursing, obscene gestures, jokes and songs are forbidden. Also words and expressions like " God ", " Jesus Christ " and " Hell " must NOT be used.
  • Fact - Banned clothing that shows any part of the body, nudity, and undressing scenes should not be shown.
  • Dancing - Dancing cannot imply sexual overtones or indecent movements.
  • Titles - They cannot be indecent, obscene, or lewd.
  • Disgusting topics - These should be dealt with within the bounds of good taste. This includes hanging penalties and electric shock, physical and psychological torture, brutality, cruelty to children and animals, prostitution, and surgical operations.
    There were many more rules, they concern concepts of art, morality, entertainment, religion, national feelings, etc. The rules are still the same, they concern the notions of art, morality, entertainment, religion, national feelings, etc. You have to admit that some parts of the code are quite original. Many directors and producers did not want to give in to restrictive rules for anything. They used various methods to bypass the code. Do you want an entry on how they did it?

    The HaysHays country calling code
    The Hays Code
    Hays country calling code

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    16 thoughts on “O Código Hays | 1930-1950

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