From the earliest days of public outrage over "indecent" nickelodeon shows, Americans have worried about the power of the movies. The eleven essays in this book examine nearly a century of struggle over cinematic representations of sex, crime, violence, religion, race, and ethnicity, revealing that the effort to regulate the screen has reflected deep social and cultural schisms.
In addition to the editor, contributors include Daniel Czitrom, Marybeth Hamilton, Garth Jowett, Charles Lyons, Richard Maltby, Charles Musser, Alison M. Parker, Charlene Regester, Ruth Vasey, and Stephen Vaughn. Together they make it clear that censoring the movies is more than just a reflex against "indecency," however defined. Whether censorship protects the vulnerable or suppresses the creative, it is part of a broader culture war that breaks out recurrently as Americans try to come to terms with the market, the state, and the plural society in which they live.