1934 Timelines: 1930 to 1939

Movie theater box–office receipts begin to rebound. Weekly attendance has now increased to 70 million per week.


Production guidelines for a film’s moral content, which are outlined in “The Motion Picture Production Code” of 1930, are revised and expanded. The Studio Relations Committee (SRC) which oversees the enforcement of The Production Code is renamed The Production Code Administration and given more power by the major Hollywood studios to enforce the Code’s guidelines.


Will Hays, the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), which is often referred to as the “Hays Office”, announces that a fine of $25,000 will be assessed on any studio that makes changes to a screenplay once it has been passed by their commission. Joseph Breen becomes the head of the Production Code Administration (PCA), an arm of the MPPDA, that will award the industry’s “seal of approval” only to those films it feels observe the Code’s moral restrictions.


The major Hollywood studios submit all advertising materials to the Advertising Advisory Council (AAC) for approval prior to its distribution. The AAC is a wing of the Production Code Administration.


Significant Films:

MGM releases, “The Thin Man”, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Adapted from Dashiell Hammett’s novel, this film is so popular that five sequels, and numerous imitations, are made during the next decade.

United Artists releases, “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Starring Robert Donat, this classic swashbuckler helps to revive the costume–adventure film.

Columbia releases “It Happened One Night”. Directed by Frank Capra, and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, the film becomes the prototype for the many “screwball” comedies that follow. It also wins the Academy Awards for “Outstanding Production”, “Best Director”, “Best Actor”, and “Best Actress”. The gold statuette is now called an “Oscar”.


The Picture Show Man website was established in 2004 to be a comprehensive and free resource for anyone interested in vintage movies. Our focus is the history of motion pictures from the beginning of its development in 1890, to the end of 1960.

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