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Reforming HollywoodHow American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies$
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William D. Romanowski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387841

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387841.001.0001

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Putting a Presbyterian in Charge of Hollywood

Putting a Presbyterian in Charge of Hollywood

(p.43) 3 Putting a Presbyterian in Charge of Hollywood
Reforming Hollywood

William D. Romanowski

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with Will H. Hays, an eminent Presbyterian layman and powerful leader in the national Republican Party, becoming the first president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) in 1922. It traces Hays’s efforts to position the Protestant establishment, via the Federal Council of Churches and women’s organizations, as a bulwark against legalized censorship. Hays expected in turn that this alliance would increase his power over film producers and also placate his critics. Favoring industry self-regulation and averse to legalized censorship, the Federal Council of Churches cooperated with the Hays organization in mutually beneficial endeavors that culminated in the production of Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings in 1927.

Keywords:   Will H. Hays, Republican Party, women's organizations, legalized censorship, Federal Council of Churches, Cecil B. DeMille, The King of Kings

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