Miracles and Sacrilege: Robert Rossellini, the Church, and Film Censorship in Hollywood

Miracles and Sacrilege: Robert Rossellini, the Church, and Film Censorship in Hollywood

Weight 0.00 lbs
By William Bruce Johnson
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2008
World Rights
448 Pages
Paper
ISBN 9780802094933
Published Jan 2008
Online discount: 25%
 $39.95    $29.96
Cloth
ISBN 9780802093073
Published Jan 2008
Online discount: 25%
 $102.00    $76.50
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442691827
Published Jan 2008
Online discount: 26%
Full purchase $38.95
  $28.95
Description
Author

Miracles and Sacrilege is the story of the epochal conflict between censorship and freedom in film, recounted through an in-depth analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a government ban on Roberto Rossellini’s film The Miracle (1950). In this extraordinary case, the Court ultimately chose to abandon its own longstanding determination that film comprised a mere ‘business’ unworthy of free-speech rights, declaring for the first time that the First Amendment barred government from banning any film as ‘sacreligious.’

Using legal briefs, affidavits, and other court records, as well as letters, memoranda, and other archival materials to elucidate what was at issue in the case, William Bruce Johnson also analyzes the social, cultural, and religious elements that form the background of this complex and hard-fought controversy, focusing particularly on the fundamental role played by the Catholic Church in the history of film censorship. Tracing the development of the Church in the United States, Johnson discusses the reasons it found The Miracle sacrilegious and how it attained the power to persuade civil authorities to ban it. The Court’s decision was not only a milestone in the law of church-state relations, but it paved the way for a succession of later decisions which gradually established a firm legal basis for freedom of expression in the arts.

William Bruce Johnson is an attorney and writer based in New York. He holds a PhD from the University of London.