Item description for The Catholic Crusade Against the Movies, 1940-1975 by Gregory D. Black...
From the 1940s the Catholic church, through its Legion of Decency, had the power that modern politicians only dream about - the power to control the content of Hollywood films. From the mid-1930s to the late 1960s the Catholic Legion served as a moral guardian for the American public. This text describes how Hollywood studios submitted their films to the Legion for a rating, which varied from general approval to condemnation. It book details how a religious organization gained control of Hollywood and how films like A Streetcar Named Desire, Lolita, and Tea and Sympathy were altered by the Legion to make them morally acceptable. Documenting the inner workings of the Legion, the text also examines how the changes in the movie industry and American society at large in the post-World War II era eventually conspired against the Legion's power and so lead to its demise.
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Studio: Cambridge University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.8" Weight: 1.08 lbs.
Release Date Feb 23, 2006
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521629055 ISBN13 9780521629058
Availability 124 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2016 04:03.
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More About Gregory D. Black
Black is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Missouri.
Gregory D. Black currently resides in Kansas City, in the state of Missouri. Gregory D. Black has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Catholic Crusade Against the Movies, 1940-1975?
Please ignore the Berkeley reviewer Nov 6, 2003
Please ignore the anti-Catholic reviewer who thrashed all the facts to death. After all, he is from Berkeley, a breeding ground of socialism. Cardinal Spellman and Joe McCarthy never were homosexuals (this book never mentions it), nor was Breen quite the anti-Semite he is always made out to be. When will we ever see a positive book about Joe Breen, Martin Quigley, Fr. Daniel Lord? I am a devout Catholic just like they were. The reason I gave the book 3 stars because it is a good insight to those who want to read how the Legion of Decency censored Duel in the Sun, Forever Amber and A Streetcar Named Desire, and were able to get films like The Moon is Blue, The French Line and Baby Doll out of theaters. The other 2 was due to its slightly anti-Legion angle, but its not as extreme as some books (like LaSalle's Complicated Women), and Gregory Black failed to mention all the films that the Legion had condemned and then changed. Please ignore the man from Berkeley who trashed the Catholic Church to death.
informative, authoritative, and easy to read Mar 23, 2000
THE book to start with if you are looking for something that will cover the important facts, and key personalities in the history of American film censorship. Black writes authoritatively, as he has accomplished extensive research, has had access to actual historical documents, and is a Professor on the subject. But don't let THAT scare you away...this is by far NOT a textbook. It is an easy read. I especially liked the plot summaries of key controversial films.
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Nov 30, 1999
A Catholic anti-semite, Joseph Breen, and a Catholic extorionist, Martin Quigley, combined forces with a racist St. Louis Jesuit, Rev. Daniel Lord,SJ, to control the entire United States Movie Industry from 1934 until 1954, via boycotts, ignorant prelate pronouncements, and studio cowardice. Gregory Black details the whole sordid story with archival evidence. Curiously, Black does not highlight the startling evidence that Lord had used the racial theories of the 1920s as a weapon against the Jewish producers of motion pictures. He also downplays the antitrust suits which abolished the vertical integration -- ownership of exhibitors by the studios-- and block booking --requiring the captive exhibitors to take all of the films that a studio produced -- that enabled the movie producers to become victims of a Catholic pressure group, the Legion of Decency. Fr. Lord created a code of conduct for the studios which would protect the "moral ideals of the race." The word "race" which was code for white supremacy in 1930, was used over and over in the Lord-Quigley Proposal for a Motion Picture Code. The code as adopted, reflected American Catholic marriage practices which prohibited miscegnation. The Legion of Decency labeled the mixing of races as part of the Communist conspiracy, in accord with the personal views of Cardinals McIntyre and Spellman; Spellman, like Sen. McCarthy, a closet homosexual. Quite simply the Catholic orgranization agreed to boycott any picture that did not have a Motion Picture Seal and any theatre that dared to show a picture that was "Condemned". The Production Administration agreed to not issue a seal if the Legion objected. Both entities condemned and prohibited foreign and independent productions which threatened the economic dominance of the six major Hollywood studios. Most grotesque was the banning by the Legion of a biography of Martin Luther because Luther's theology was morally unacceptable. Black does not emphasize the American Chruch's misleading pastoral parish level teaching during this period that civil divorce was forbidden. The correct teaching is that remarriage after a civil divorce was and is forbidden. Any picture which "condoned" divorce or miscegnation was malum prohibitum. One enjoys accurate non-polemic social history, and this volume is definitely a must for movie buffs, American Catholic History buffs, and for those political scientists interested in unchecked power. One also notes that during this period, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Soviet Russia, all employed massive censorship to protect the masses from degenerate entertainment. The Legion of Decency was not a unique phenomenon in forbidding any depiction of homosexuality and other "depravities." "[T]he history of filmmaking in Hollywood during the era of censorship is not a matter of how a few filmmakers got away with something, but that thousands upon thousands of films were refashioned to fit into the [lay Catholic] worldview of the censors. . .What the [censors] did not want, and successfully squelched, was the overt visualization and discussion of controversial issues. . .For more than three decades the Hollywood film industry allowed religious clerics to determine what was moral and immoral, what was socially acceptable political comment and what was not." This was achieved through the "Production Code Administration [Breen]and its alter ego, the Catholic Legion of Decency [Quigley]. This reviewer horrified his fiance in 1955, when he sat when the "voluntary" pledge was offered in her parish church. "Was this man going to be the father of [her] children?" (The reviewer was responsible for 12 pregnancies and seven chilren and 23 years of Catholic sacramental marriage, despite being corrupted by viewing "The Moon is Blue.")