freedom of the screen legal challenges to state film censorship 1915 1981

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Freedom Of The Screen

Author : Laura Wittern-Keller
ISBN : 9780813138404
Genre : Law
File Size : 39. 14 MB
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At the turn of the twentieth century, the proliferation of movies attracted not only the attention of audiences across America but also the apprehensive eyes of government officials and special interest groups concerned about the messages disseminated by the silver screen. Between 1907 and 1926, seven states -- New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kansas, Maryland, and Massachusetts -- and more than one hundred cities authorized censors to suppress all images and messages considered inappropriate for American audiences. Movie studios, hoping to avoid problems with state censors, worrying that censorship might be extended to the federal level, and facing increased pressure from religious groups, also jumped into the censoring business, restraining content through the adoption of the self-censoring Production Code, also known as the Hays code.But some industry outsiders, independent distributors who believed that movies deserved the free speech protections of the First Amendment, brought legal challenges to censorship at the state and local levels. Freedom of the Screen chronicles both the evolution of judicial attitudes toward film restriction and the plight of the individuals who fought for the right to deliver provocative and relevant movies to American audiences. The path to cinematic freedom was marked with both achievements and roadblocks, from the establishment of the Production Code Administration, which effectively eradicated political films after 1934, to the landmark cases over films such as The Miracle (1948), La ronde (1950), and Lady Chatterley's Lover (1955) that paved the way for increased freedom of expression. As the fight against censorship progressed case by case through state courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, legal authorities and the public responded, growing increasingly sympathetic toward artistic freedom. Because a small, unorganized group of independent film distributors and exhibitors in mid-twentieth-century America fought back against what they believed was the unconstitutional prior restraint of motion pictures, film after 1965 was able to follow a new path, maturing into an artistic medium for the communication of ideas, however controversial. Government censors would no longer control the content of America's movie screens. Laura Wittern-Keller's use of previously unexplored archival material and interviews with key figures earned her the researcher of the year award from the New York State Board of Regents and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Her exhaustive work is the first to discuss more than five decades of film censorship battles that rose from state and local courtrooms to become issues of national debate and significance. A compendium of judicial action in the film industry, Freedom of the Screen is a tribute to those who fought for the constitutional right of free expression and paved the way for the variety of films that appear in cinemas today.

The Miracle Case

Author : Laura Wittern-Keller
ISBN : STANFORD:36105210596602
Genre : Performing Arts
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It was only a forty-minute foreign film, but it sparked a legal confrontation that has left its mark on America for more than half a century. Roberto Rossellini's II Miracolo (The Miracle) is deceptively simple: a demented peasant woman is seduced by a stranger she believes to be Saint Joseph, is socially ostracized for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, but is finally redeemed through motherhood. Although initially approved by state censors for screening in New York, the film was attacked as sacrilegious by the Catholic establishment, which convinced state officials to revoke distributor Joseph Burstyn's license. In response, Burstyn fought back through the courts and won. Laura Wittern-Keller and Raymond Haberski show how the Supreme Court's unanimous 1952 ruling in Burstyn's favor sparked a chain of litigation that eventually brought filmmaking under the protective umbrella of the First Amendment, overturning its long-outdated decision in Mutual v. Ohio (1915). Their story features a more formidable cast than did the film itself, with the charismatic Francis Cardinal Spellman decrying the film as a Communist plot, while outspoken film critic Bosley Crowther vigorously advocated "freedom of the screen." Meanwhile, movie producers stood by silently for fear of alienating the Church and its large movie-going membership, leaving Burstyn to muster his own defense. More than the inside story of one case, this book explores the unique place that the movies occupy in American culture and the way that culture continues to be shaped by anxiety over the social power of movies. The Burstyn decision weakened the ability of state censorship boards and the Catholic Church to influence the types offilms Americans were allowed to see. Consequently, the case signaled the rise of a new era in which films would be more mature and more controversial than ever before. Focusing on this single most important case in the jurisprudence surrounding motion picture expression, Wittern-Keller and Haberski add a significant new dimension to the story of cinema, censorship, and the history of First Amendment protections.

Monitoring The Movies

Author : Jennifer Fronc
ISBN : 9781477313930
Genre : History
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As movies took the country by storm in the early twentieth century, Americans argued fiercely about whether municipal or state authorities should step in to control what people could watch when they went to movie theaters, which seemed to be springing up on every corner. Many who opposed the governmental regulation of film conceded that some entity—boards populated by trusted civic leaders, for example—needed to safeguard the public good. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (NB), a civic group founded in New York City in 1909, emerged as a national cultural chaperon well suited to protect this emerging form of expression from state incursions. Using the National Board's extensive files, Monitoring the Movies offers the first full-length study of the NB and its campaign against motion-picture censorship. Jennifer Fronc traces the NB's Progressive-era founding in New York; its evolving set of "standards" for directors, producers, municipal officers, and citizens; its "city plan," which called on citizens to report screenings of condemned movies to local officials; and the spread of the NB's influence into the urban South. Ultimately, Monitoring the Movies shows how Americans grappled with the issues that arose alongside the powerful new medium of film: the extent of the right to produce and consume images and the proper scope of government control over what citizens can see and show.

Hollywood And The Law

Author : Paul McDonald
ISBN : 9781844579297
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 67. 70 MB
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Since the earliest days of cinema the law has influenced the conditions in which Hollywood films are made, sold, circulated or presented – from the talent contracts that enable a film to go into production, to the copyright laws that govern its distribution and the censorship laws that may block exhibition. Equally, Hollywood has left its own impression on the American legal system by lobbying to expand the duration of copyright, providing a highly visible stage for contract disputes and representing the legal system on screen. In this comprehensive collection, international experts offer chapters on key topics, including copyright, trademark, piracy, antitrust, censorship, international exhibition, contracts, labour and tax. Drawing on historical and contemporary case studies, Hollywood and the Law provides readers with a wide range of perspectives on how legal frameworks shape the culture and commerce of popular film.

Children Cinema And Censorship

Author : Sarah Smith
ISBN : 1850438137
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 43. 84 MB
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Using original research, this book explores the recurring debates in Britain and America about children and how they use and respond to the media, focusing on a key example: the controversy surrounding children and cinema in the 1930s. It explores the attempts to control children's viewing, the theories that supported these approaches and the extent to which they were successful. The author develops her challenging proposition that children are agents in their cinema viewing, not victims; showing how these angels with dirty faces colonized the cinema. She reveals their distinct cinema culture and the ways in which they subverted or circumvented official censorship including the Hays Code and the British Board of Film Censors, to regulate their own viewing of a variety of films, including Frankenstein, King Kong and The Cat and the Canary.

It S Only A Movie

Author : Raymond J. Haberski
ISBN : 0813171121
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 23. 12 MB
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Banned In Kansas

Author : Gerald R. Butters
ISBN : UOM:39015064950432
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 57. 22 MB
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"This first book-length study of state film censorship examines the unique political, social, and economic factors that led to its implementation in Kansas, taking a look at why censorship legislation was enacted, what the attitudes of Kansans were toward censorship, and why it lasted for half a century"--Provided by publisher.

The Legalist Reformation

Author : William E. Nelson
ISBN : 0807855049
Genre : Law
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Based on a detailed examination of New York case law, this pathbreaking book shows how law, politics, and ideology in the state changed in tandem between 1920 and 1980. Early twentieth-century New York was the scene of intense struggle between white, Angl

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