By Gerald R. Butters Jr.
in case you stuck a film in Kansas via a lot of the prior century, you’re prone to have visible a distinct model than did the remainder of the US. Theda Bara’s depictions of depraved sexuality have been off-limits, and a movie equivalent to the 1932 Scarface confirmed a long way an excessive amount of violence for hot folk—a danger to Protestant tradition and to the morals of the final population.
In 1915, Kansas grew to become one among just a handful of states to set up its personal movie censorship board. The Kansas board managed monitor content material within the nation for greater than fifty years, but little is understood approximately its actions. this primary book-length research of kingdom movie censorship examines the original political, social, and monetary elements that ended in its implementation in Kansas, interpreting why censorship laws was once enacted, what the attitudes of Kansans have been towards censorship, and why it lasted for part a century.
Cinema historian Gerald Butters areas the Kansas Board of Review’s makes an attempt to manage monitor content material within the context of national censorship efforts throughout the early a part of the 20th century. He tells how components comparable to Progressivism, hindrance over baby rearing, and a supportive press contributed to censorship, and he strains the board’s historical past from the issues posed by way of the emergence of “talkies” via altering sexual mores within the Nineteen Twenties to demanding situations to its strength within the 1950s.
In addition to revealing the wonderful issues of movie content material deemed too delicate for screening, Butters describes the day-by-day operations of the board, illustrating the problems it encountered because it wrestled not just with consistently transferring definitions of morality but in addition with the vagaries of the political and felony platforms. Stills from movies illustrate the kind of reveal content material the board tried to censor.
As Kansas confronted the march of modernity, even country politicians started to criticize movie censorship, and Butters tells how by way of the Sixties the board used to be struggling with to stay proper as movie businesses more and more challenged its makes an attempt to regulate reveal content material. Banned in Kansas weaves a desirable story of the enforcement of public morality, making it a definitive examine for cinema students and an wonderful learn for movie buffs.
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Extra info for Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966
Ibid. 8. Miner, Kansas, 202–4. ”9 Much of this legislation was not always well thought out, though. In fact, this experimental, or trial-and-error, form of legislation became a hallmark of Kansas politics in this era. This will be aptly demonstrated as we review the continuous revision of legislation concerning motion picture censorship in the state. Bills were passed in 1913, 1915, 1917, and 1919. Successive pieces of legislation either corrected inadequacies or clarified issues in previously passed bills.
47 Religious leaders of the Church of Christ and the Roman Catholic archdiocese were chief leaders in the movement to sanitize the movies. On December 23, 1908, Mayor McClellan called for a public hearing to discuss the general condition of movie theaters. ” The mayor listened to arguments against motion picture exhibition from almost every religious denomination in the city. Frank Moss, leader of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, a reform group, gave evidence and made an elaborate case against the movies.
10. Carl Becker, “Kansas,” in Everyman His Own Historian: Essays on History and Politics, 2. 11. Robert Sherman La Forte, Leaders of Reform: Progressive Republicans in Kansas, 1900–1916, 6. 12. For more information on William Allen White, see Griffith, Hometown News; and Walter Johnson, William Allen White’s America. 020 Butters Ch02 (24-51) 28 6/4/07 8:03 AM Page 28 Banned in Kansas many Kansans on the problems of economic growth and partisan politics. ” Although he did not specifically endorse film censorship, White strongly believed in prohibiting films such as The Birth of a Nation that stirred up violence and anger.
Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966 by Gerald R. Butters Jr.