Cover image for Controlling Hollywood : censorship and regulation in the studio era
Controlling Hollywood : censorship and regulation in the studio era
Bernstein, Matthew.
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.62 .C66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



For every movie shown on the big screen, there exists a behind-the-scene story of regulation and control. What social factors determine which movies get made and shown? What is censored? And how have the standards of what is considered taboo changed over time?

Controlling Hollywood features ten innovative and accessible essays that examine some of the major turning points, crises, and contradictions affecting the making and showing of Hollywood movies from the 1910s through the early 1970s. The articles included here examine landmark legal cases; various self-regulating agencies and systems in the film industry (from the National Board of Review to the ratings system); and, external to Hollywood, the religious and social interest groups and government bodies that took a strong interest in film entertainment over the decades.

Author Notes

Matthew Bernstein teaches film studies at Emory University. He is the author of Walter Wanger, Hollywood Independent and co-editor of Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film (Rutgers University Press). His reviews and essays have appeared in major film studies journals.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of ten previously published essays covers external censorship and internal self-regulation in the Hollywood studio era. Bernstein's introduction provides an excellent frame for the study. The editor sequences the contributions in chronological order, from "A Capacity for Evil: The 1915 Supreme Court Mutual Decision" to "The Stigma of X: Adult Cinema and the Institution of the WAA Ratings System" (1968). Each of the individual studies is impressive, well-annotated, carefully but smoothly written, and very informative about both product and process. Together they create an outstanding portrait of movie censorship in the US in the 20th century. Many of the essays draw on the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America's case histories of specific films, files available to scholars since only the mid-1980s. Concerned that "chronic amnesia often prevents us from recalling the past, as we confront new problems from technologically based mass media," Bernstein (Emory Univ.) hopes his study will "stimulate new ways of thinking about and researching the varied efforts to control the movies." The 11-page annotated bibliography is both comprehensive and current. A solid volume for both circulating and reference collections, this is easily the best compilation on the subject to date. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty, general readers, professionals. R. E. Sutton; American University