Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Talking Pictures gested. The garden, or "orchard," can only appear in small part. The visual reality of the screen adds dramatic values to stories, values which are exclusively their own and which are not possible to either the novel or the stage play. When searching for reasons why the studios change stories, another important element enters. It should be kept in mind that the screen has voluntarily bound itself to certain rules of good taste and good form. It is the only art which has bound itself to complete internal self-regulation of moral and aesthetic factors. The in- dustry film review mechanism under the direction of Joseph Breen affords a means for this. Situations and scenes which do not come within these rules, called the "Code," are automatically rejected. Among other things, the Code bans the use of profanity, demands respect for the clergy, and elim- inates allusions which are considered objectionable in common conversation. In other words the Code is a canon of good taste which is applied to a picture while it is being written. Under this practice no scenario can go to a stage for production without meeting set regulations. Films are sometimes criticized on moral grounds. Undoubtedly, commercial film producers, faced with a public taste which is not always on the highest levels, encounter problems in maintain- ing high standards in their stories, and at the same time in pleasing the public who pay to see screen attractions. Now we offer the fourth generalization. No other art has so thoroughly cleaned its own house. No other art has offered so many great and beautiful achieve- [68]