Movie Censorship and American Culture

By Anderson, Roger | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), September 2007 | Go to article overview

Movie Censorship and American Culture


Anderson, Roger, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Movie Censorship and American Culture Francis G. Couvares, Editor. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006.

The second edition of this edited book is virtually unchanged from the original published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1996 except for a new preface by the editor. The work consists of the editor's introduction and eleven chapters. Most of the authors see connections between the historic cultural struggles in the United States as a result of ethnic and religious differences, immigration, and the commercialization of mass culture, and movie censorship. Attempts to censor or regulate motion picture content were particularly widespread in the 1920s and 1930s, although they extend to the present day. The early censorship efforts were led by reform groups such as the Women's Christian Temperance League and the General Federation of Women's Clubs or religious coalitions such as the National Catholic Welfare Conference and the National Council of Churches. As the authors point out, activists campaigned for federal, state and local censorship and consumer boycotts of the movies arguing that youth, women, and rural citizens were particularly vulnerable to the corrupting influences of the cinema.

In arguing their points, many of the authors rely on recent books on movies and mass media, documents of the National Film Board of Review in the New York Public Library, archives of the Hollywood Production Code Administration and records of state and local censorship boards and reform groups.

Daniel Czitrom's chapter on early theater licensing and the beginnings of movie censorship in New York City is particularly insightful and helpful. He notes that the Motion Picture Exhibitors Association began self-censorship as early as 1909 when the center of the industry was in New York City. When Hollywood became the heart of the industry the motion picture producers formed another voluntary censorship body, the National Board of Review. This organization formed the foundation for the later establishment of codes of censorship by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association (MPPDA) under the leadership of William Hays, former Republican official and US Postmaster.

"Mothering the Movies" a chapter by Alison M. Parker is a fascinating study of the role of the WCTU in attempts to censor the movies. The WCTU's efforts were aided by the US Supreme Court ruling in 1915 which argued that movie censorship and particularly prior restraint, did not violate the constitutional protections under the first and fourteen amendments of the US Constitution.

Richard Maltby in his chapter focuses on the role of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors in its censorship or alteration of plays, novels, and scripts to meet the demands of the Hays office. Editor Francis G. Couvares's study of the role of Protestant and Catholic interest groups in the censorship battles is particularly useful for scholars. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Movie Censorship and American Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.