hays production code

AKA: Hays Code, Hays Production Office, Hays OfficeIn the 1920s, the American public became alarmed at the increasingly frequent portrayal of violence, sex, and lawlessness on movie screens. Wishing to avoid government regulation, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America created their own regulatory body and appointed Postmaster General Will H. Hays as head. His influence became so great that this body became known as the Hays Office . The Hays Production Code for Motion Pictures was introduced in 1934, and by today s standards was extremely strict. It was mainly concerned with violence and sex, but had references to crime in general. After WWII, the growing popularity of television provided the public with more viewing choice. The Hays Office came under increasing fire for restricting the creativity of filmmakers, as it had defined specific requirements for depicting certain events. For example, under the Hays Code a filmmaker could not present revenge in modern times as being justified, nor could they depict details of how crimes were committed, or show a criminal profiting from crime. Following the Supreme Court s Miracle decision in the 1950s, films were recognized as protected under the First Amendment, and as such the Hays Office s demands were not legally enforceable. Films such as Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Blowup inspired MPAA president Jack Valenti to abolish the Hays Code as his first step in overhauling the certificates system in 1967. See also blacklisting.