By Gerald R. Butters Jr.

           when you stuck a film in Kansas via a lot of the earlier century, you’re more likely to have obvious a distinct model than did the remainder of the USA. Theda Bara’s depictions of depraved sexuality have been off-limits, and a movie similar to the 1932 Scarface confirmed some distance an excessive amount of violence for hot folk—a danger to Protestant tradition and to the morals of the final population.

            In 1915, Kansas turned certainly one of just a handful of states to set up its personal movie censorship board. The Kansas board managed reveal content material within the country for greater than fifty years, but little is understood approximately its actions. this primary book-length examine of kingdom movie censorship examines the original political, social, and financial components that ended in its implementation in Kansas, studying 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 locations the Kansas Board of Review’s makes an attempt to regulate monitor content material within the context of national censorship efforts in the course of the early a part of the 20 th century. He tells how elements similar to Progressivism, crisis over baby rearing, and a supportive press contributed to censorship, and he lines the board’s heritage from the issues posed via 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 continuously transferring definitions of morality but in addition with the vagaries of the political and felony platforms. Stills from films 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 through the Sixties the board used to be battling to stay appropriate as movie businesses more and more challenged its makes an attempt to manage monitor content material. Banned in Kansas weaves a desirable story of the enforcement of public morality, making it a definitive research for cinema students and an wonderful learn for movie buffs.


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Extra resources for Banned in Kansas: Motion Picture Censorship, 1915-1966

Example text

Feist, Hattie Feist, and Minerva 25. Felder, “Sunday Movies in Kansas,” 23. 26.

22 The final impetus behind film censorship in the state was another Kansas phenomenon: the prohibition of alcohol. Kansas was synonymous with the temperance movement. It was the first state in the Union to add a prohibition amendment to its constitution. Theoretically, Kansas was a dry state in the late nineteenth century, but enforcement problems kept the state “wet” in many communities. Carrie Nation’s smashing of bars at the turn of the century highlighted this gaping hole. Prohibition was one of the unique features of the early-twentieth-century reform movement that divided Progressives nationally.

Jowett, Film: The Democratic Art, 82. 39. William Healey, The Individual Delinquent, 307; Orrin G. Cocks, “A Real Motion Picture Ogre,” 20. 40. “How a Brooklyn Priest Deals with the Problem of Moving Pictures,” Moving Picture World, October 29, 1910, 983. 010 Butters Ch01 (1-23) 6/4/07 8:01 AM Page 15 Progressivism and the New Medium of Film 15 In the field of education, motion pictures gained some early support, but many instructors were hesitant about readily accepting the new medium of expression.

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