Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Series II. Hughes Productions, 1920 to 1992, 1927 to 1979

Level of Description




Scope and Contents

Hughes Productions series (1920-1992) primarily details the production, advertising, and censorship for The Outlaw, a film directed by Howard Hughes. Materials include advertising and publicity, editing, legal, production and direction, story development, administrative, distribution, censorship, and financial records, as well as film soundtracks and records from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and United Artists Corporation. The series also contains ledgers, telegrams, newspaper clippings, music sheets and scores, reports, memoranda, agreements, correspondence, affidavits, analyses, screenplays, synopses, and story treatments. Black-and-white photographic prints and negatives include publicity, production, direction, set, and location scouting stills.

Corporate records contain administrative, legal, and financial reports, contracts, and correspondence pertaining to business operations. Also included are distribution materials from the MPAA and United Artists Corporation.


1920 to 1992
bulk 1927 to 1979


158.83 Cubic Feet (154 boxes, 56 oversized boxes, 21 rolls, 14 flat files, and 17 unboxed items)
242.32 Linear Feet
To request this item in person:
Collection Number: MS-01036
Collection Name: Howard Hughes Film Production Records
Box/Folder: N/A

Biographical / Historical Note

Developed as a film production company in 1939, Howard Hughes created Hughes Productions as a division of Hughes Tool Company. The company is best known for its production of The Outlaw. Completed in February 1941, censorship issues delayed the initial release of the film until February 1943. Following this first release, complaints from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) forced Hughes to pull the film. In response, he effectively used the censorship debate for advertising and publicity. After a second attempt to release the film in 1946 resulted in additional bans, Hughes pushed back until The Outlaw officially debuted on September 11, 1947 in New York, New York.

Although Hughes Productions continued to operate as a company until the 1980s, it is credited with only one other film, Vendetta. This project, like several of Hughes' productions, suffered frequent delays between inception and release, starting life under California Pictures before that company's dissolution. Hughes then shifted the film rights to Hughes Productions and distribution rights to his newly acquired company RKO Radio Pictures, Incorporated, hired new cast and crew, and completed the film in 1950.


Aberdeen, J. A. “California Pictures: Howard Hughes & Preston Sturges.” Hollywood Renegade Archives. 2005. Accessed September 30, 2020.

American Film Institute Catalog. "The Outlaw." AFI Catalog. 2019. Accessed April 6, 2022.


These records are organized into two sub-series:

II.A. The Outlaw, 1940-1975;

II.B. Corporate records, 1920-1992.