Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Joan Bennett Week: Scarlet Street BANNED

Watch SCARLET STREET online above.

Joan Bennett was a friend and long-time collaborator of director Fritz Lang (who once visited the set of DARK SHADOWS and was reportedly a fan of the show.) Among her films with Lang was 1945's Scarlet Street, co-starring with Edward G. Robinson.

Below is a clipping from Waukesha Daily Freeman announcing that the movie has been banned in Milwaukee during its initial release ... but the story doesn't explain why.

In a 1995, Cinema Journal published a piece about Scarlet Street by Matthew Bernstein, who said:

"The film is a dense, well-structured film noir and has been analyzed and interpreted numerous times. Some of the earliest interpretations came from censors in three different cities," adding: On January 4, 1946, the New York State Censor Board banned Scarlet Street entirely, relying on the statute that gave it power to censor films that were "obscene, indecent, immoral, inhuman, sacrilegious" or whose exhibition "would tend to corrupt morals or incite to crime."' As if in a chain reaction, one week later the Motion Picture Commission for the city of Milwaukee also banned the film as part of a new policy encouraged by police for " 'stricter regulation of undesirable films.' " On February 3 Christina Smith, the city censor of Atlanta, argued that because of "the sordid life it portrayed, the treatment of illicit love, the failure of the characters to receive orthodox punishment from the police, and because the picture would tend to weaken a respect for the law," Scarlet Street was "licentious, profane, obscure and contrary to the good order of the community." ... Universal was discouraged from challenging the constitutionality of the censors by the protests of the national religious groups that arose as the Atlanta case went to court.
Via Wikipedia (which isn't always to be trusted.)


AfterwardDeified said...

I actually saw both Scarlet Street and The Woman in the Window a few months ago, and they both ROCKED. Highly, highly recommended.

p.s. how do I put up an avatar??

Cousin Barnabas said...

I was able to post an avatar by going into my Blogger profile, and then in the account settings.

darkshadowspod said...

Wow! After reading all that, I want to see Scarlet Street! Just added it to our Netflix queue.

Alison Strickland Fish said...

I just watched Scarlet Street and it was excellent. Thank you so much for this post! I really love your site

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