Today, March 8, 2012, I will discuss the Motion Picture Code of 1930 or the Hays Code (which I will call it for the sake of my presentation). I found this topic to be most interesting because I had never thought to ask where movie ratings come from and learning a little history on film has helped me to appreciate what we view today.
My presentation will start off with a little history about William Harrison Hays. I will then move on to tell you a little about his beliefs and his mission, or the reasoning behind the Hays Code. After explaining the creator of the Hays Code, I will move on to everything the code entailed. The restrictions of the code are lengthy and I will list and elaborate on all of them. Hays came in just in time to “save” the film industry, at the time in the 20’s the film industry was being greatly ridiculed for its “party hard” casts and other offensive behavior. The film’s audiences were greatly devastated and ready to give film up completely when Hays stepped in and created the Motion Picture Code of 1930. The Hays Code was strict in many ways; however, in the 1920’s the audiences vastly differed from that of today’s audiences. The Hays Code did serve its purpose for the time being and did a great job of doing so. The Hays Code was in effect for almost 40 years, when the MPAA came in with a ratings scale and put an end to the code and birthed the ratings similar to what we follow today.
The impact on the film industry was minimal; however, the film companies did greatly resent the Motion Picture Code of 1930 because of the many restrictions that the code placed on them. Hope you enjoy my presentation and look forward to your questions and comments.