THE FACE ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR: The Story of Movie and Television Censorship by Murray Schumach

THE FACE ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR: The Story of Movie and Television Censorship

Email this review


After describing the rise of movie censorship practices through the scandal-ridden '20's and '30's and discussing the rather alarming methods (or lack of them) that obtain in the office of the Official Censor and his relations with the Legion of Decency, the author goes on to show how the pressures of high moral standards as well as pet peeves can affect TV production in the same way that they have affected the industry that wishes to be an art form. Mr. Schumach never satirizes the activities of the little known Official Censor, Geoffrey M. Shurlock; he lets the record speak for itself. Nor does he castigate the Legion of Decency for its position. His tone is that of cool observer/historian throughout most of the book. He does become snappish as he recounts the lunacies of producers cravenly bowing to casting blacklists or substituting suggestiveness for honesty for the sake of preventing the possibility of disapproval. ""Fear of group criticism has become so ingrained in the movie industry mentality that it has led to a curious form of self destruction called precentorship ... Hollywood's form of infantile paralysis."" This book is a logical extension of debates carried on by bookmen and libraries against censors, and should find its most informed audience among them. Appendices include the Motion Picture Production Code and a country-by-country list of film taboos abroad.

Publisher: Morrow