Beyond the Image: Approaches to the Religious Dimension in by Ronald Holloway

By Ronald Holloway

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Its leading attraction was the selection of famous actors in the main roles, a trend that began with Sarah Bernhardt appearing in the four-reel Queen Elizabeth (1912) and Maria Jacobini in Joan of Arc (1914). Adolph Zukor imported Queen Elizabeth to America, founded the enterprising "Famous Players in Famous Plays" (attracting stage actors and a sophisticated public to high-class movie houses), and went around the policies of the Patents Company to start a "feature craze". Built on a "states' rights distribution" plan, the feature-film supply from Europe was the doorway to success for many of Hollywood's future moguls.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? got its exemption on the grounds that the :film is of high quality, made at a great cost by people of consummate talents. Certainly the members of the Review Board did not take the position that blasphemy is not blasphemy, that profanity is not profanity, and that verbal obscenity is not verbal obscenity. Here is the issue between the handling of The Pawnbroker and Virginia Woolf. The Pawnbroker did not kill the Code. Virginia Woolf did. Many have held that "good taste" is the ultimate standard.

Self-styled radicals of both extremes were to be found in the middle of the foray. About the only way to police the American movies in the 1960s, many observers agreed, was through parental censorship. The word "censorship" was to come under heavy scrutiny. For our purposes, we can divide the issue into three categories: censorship by law, self-regulation and classification. Censorship by law In the United States, this means the prior determination by a duly appointed board under a statute or ordinance of a film's suitability for exhibition.

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