History of Cinema: Hollywood and the Production Code Microfilm Collection

An introduction to and searchable index for the History of Cinema: Hollywood and the Production Code Microfilm Collection.


In 1983, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) donated the records of the Hollywood film industry's Production Code Administration (PCA) to the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California. This collection of documents, covering forty years of self-regulation and censorship in the motion picture industry, contains detailed case files (commonly referred to as "censorship files") for nearly twenty thousand film projects that were submitted to the Production Code staff for consideration.

Files normally include correspondence between studios or producers and the staffs of the PCA or the MPAA; letters to and from theater owners, censor boards, religious organizations, government entities, and other special interest groups concerned with the content of motion pictures. Files may include PCA interoffice communications such as telegrams, memoranda, and meeting notes; literary materials submitted for evaluation including stories, script synopses, script readers' reports, and treatments; song lyrics; and wardrobe photographs. Files may also include articles and reviews from newspapers, magazines, and trade journals; reports from state and national censor boards; copies of the official Code certificate letter; and a PCA analysis sheet detailing the characters and story of the finished film.

The History of Cinema: Hollywood and the Production Code microfilm collection includes a selection of five hundred files, each one relating to a particular film. The files are arranged in chronological order by the year of the film's release. Films released within the same year are arranged in alphabetical order by title. An online index of the film titles for which files are included in the collection is available at the tab above. For an index of the files by chronology or by director of the film covered, please consult the printed guide available on top of the third floor microfilm cabinets, call number PN1993.5.U6 H57 2006.

Using Microfilm and Microfiche

The library's microfilm (reels) and microfiche (cards) collections can be found on the third floor. Manual readers for viewing microfilm and microfiche are available in the same area, but to scan or make printouts from microfilm or microfiche, you will need to use one of the several readers in the reference room on the fourth floor.

When you are finished looking at microfilm reels, place the reels in their boxes in the wire baskets on top of the microfilm cabinets. Place microfiche cards in their sleeves in the black boxes on top of the cabinets. Please do not put the microfilm or microfiche back in the drawers, keep microfilm in your library locker, or take it out of the library.

Where is the Hollywood and the Production Code microfilm collection?


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Matt Bailey
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