An important reference book for scholars of the law and cinema.




A scholarly, legal history of the parallel attempts of movie producers to stretch the limits of content and language and of censors to limit them.

Geltzer brings a variety of skills and experience to this book: a lawyer, he also has worked in the movie business for some major studios (Paramount, Disney, and others), taught film theory and history at Georgia State University, and wrote and produced for Turner Classic Movies. His text, however, illustrates the difference between still and motion pictures. Although he is surpassingly qualified and although his knowledge and research are formidable and impressive, his text—save for some of the interesting photographs of sexy movie posters and scenes—targets a more academic readership and features numerous long block quotations from court arguments and decisions. Geltzer tries to lighten things a bit with what appears to be a genuine love affair with alliteration and assonance. The nudity in film he calls an “epidermis epidemic”; filmmaker Russ Meyer liked “nudie cuties”; comedian Lenny Bruce employed the “excremental expletive.” The author shows how the initial defenses of filmmakers did not employ First Amendment arguments—but eventually they did. He shows how local, state, and national authorities of various sorts clashed over the control of films. As the decades advanced, a pattern emerged: local authorities would ban, and higher courts would overturn. Later on, opponents of pornography used zoning regulations to control screenings. However, as the author notes near the end, public tastes and tolerances are in perpetual flux, and the arc of attitude has bent, for most people, toward increasing tolerance, especially in the age of the Internet. Child pornography and animal cruelty, however, remain verboten for the majority. The author describes many films (often resorting to euphemism), especially those involved in key court cases—e.g., Deep Throat.

An important reference book for scholars of the law and cinema.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4773-0740-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Univ. of Texas

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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