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 : 9780813172644
Genre : Law
File Size : 57. 83 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.

Children Cinema And Censorship

Author : Sarah Smith
ISBN : 1850438129
Genre : Performing Arts
File Size : 55. 51 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 : 21. 93 MB
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Once derided as senseless entertainment, movies have gradually assumed a place among the arts. Raymond Haberski's provocative and insightful book traces the trajectory of this evolution throughout the twentieth century, from nickelodeon amusements to the age of the financial blockbuster. Haberski begins by looking at the barriers to film's acceptance as an art form, including the Chicago Motion Picture Commission hearings of 1918--1920, one of the most revealing confrontations over the use of censorship in the motion picture industry. He then examines how movies overcame the stigma attached to popular entertainment through such watershed events as the creation of the Museum of Modern Art's Film Library in the 1920s. The arguments between Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris's heralded a golden age of criticism, and Haberski focuses on the roles of Kael, Sarris, James Agee, Roger Ebert, and others, in the creation of "cinephilia." Described by Susan Sontag as "born of the conviction that cinema was an art unlike any other," this love of cinema centered on coffee houses, universities, art theaters, film festivals, and, of course, foreign films. The lively debates over the place of movies in American culture began to wane in the 1970s. Haberski places the blame on the loss of cultural authority and on the increasing irrelevance of the meaning of art. He concludes with a persuasive call for the re-emergence of a middle ground between art and entertainment, "something more complex, ambiguous, and vexing -- something worth thought."

Monitoring The Movies

Author : Jennifer Fronc
ISBN : 9781477313930
Genre : History
File Size : 56. 46 MB
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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.

Winnie Lightner

Author : David L. Lightner
ISBN : 9781496809865
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 20. 43 MB
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Winnie Lightner (1899-1971) stood out as the first great female comedian of the talkies. Blessed with a superb singing voice and a gift for making wisecracks and rubber faces, she rose to stardom in vaudeville and on Broadway. Then, at the dawn of the sound era, she became the first person in motion picture history to have her spoken words, the lyrics to a song, censored. In Winnie Lightner: Tomboy of the Talkies, David L. Lightner shows how Winnie Lightner's hilarious performance in the 1929 musical comedy Gold Diggers of Broadway made her an overnight sensation. She went on to star in seven other Warner Bros. features. In the best of them, she was the comic epitome of a strident feminist, dominating men and gleefully spurning conventional gender norms and moral values. So tough was she, the studio billed her as "the tomboy of the talkies." When the Great Depression rendered moviegoers hostile toward feminism, Warner Bros. tried to craft a new image of her as glamorous and sexy. Executives assigned her contradictory roles in which she was empowered in the workplace but submissive to her male partner at home. The new persona flopped at the box office, and Lightner's stardom ended. In four final movies, she played supporting roles as the loudmouthed roommate and best friend of actresses Loretta Young, Joan Crawford, and Mona Barrie. Following her retirement in 1934, Lightner faded into obscurity. Many of her films were damaged or even lost entirely. At long last, this biography gives Winnie Lightner the recognition she deserves as a notable figure in film history, in women's history, and in the history of show business.

Banned In Kansas

Author : Gerald R. Butters
ISBN : UOM:39015064950432
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 53. 55 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.

Current Publications In Legal And Related Fields

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ISBN : STANFORD:36105134444236
Genre : Law
File Size : 62. 49 MB
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Free Speech In The Good War

Author : Richard W. Steele
ISBN : 0312173369
Genre : History
File Size : 60. 78 MB
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Troubled by the repression unleashed by World War I, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. insisted that the functioning of the democratic system depended on the right of all Americans to be heard, regardless of how obnoxious their views, provided their words posed no "clear and present danger." This ideal, which became a defining aspect of the nation's political culture in the generation following the war, was put to the test during World War II by the "un-American" rhetoric of Communists, Bundists, Christian fundamentalists, Black nationalists, and others. Idealism faltered as private citizens and government officials, including erstwhile civil libertarians, demanded a new, "realistic" definition of free speech. This book tells how FDR’s three attorneys general and their staffs struggled to adjust and apply the Holmesian ideal in the face of demands from the president and the public for ideological conformity and total security. It examines how the ideal postulated by Holmes and generally accepted by liberals and intellectuals in the interwar period fared during its first real test in the conflict widely known as the "good war."

Division And Discord

Author : Melvin I. Urofsky
ISBN : 1570033188
Genre : Law
File Size : 90. 18 MB
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Division and Discord offers a comprehensive appraisal of the Supreme Court during the fractious period that bridged the court-packing fight of the Hughes years and the rights explosion of the Warren era. During the dozen years that Melvin I. Urofsky reviews in this volume, the Court ruled on a range of controversial cases, including the internment of the Japanese, the guilt of the Rosenbergs, and the crimes of Nazi saboteurs. At the same time the judicial body struggled internally to balance the strong wills of some of the most important figures in U.S. judicial history-Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, and Robert H. Jackson. Urofsky contends that these years play a critical role in modern constitutional history and are not merely a colorful interlude between two better-known eras of Supreme Court history. These years signaled a fundamental upheaval in U.S. jurisprudence-the shift in focus from the protection of private property to the protection of individual liberties.

Dissertation Abstracts International

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ISBN : STANFORD:36105113538396
Genre : Humanities
File Size : 53. 92 MB
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