Posts Tagged ‘MPAA’

‘Well Dressed Negroes’ and ‘Dignified Natives’ – How Luigi Luraschi Rewrote Movies for the CIA

Published February 22nd 2017

In 1953, in the early weeks of the Eisenhower administration, the CIA conducted an operation to alter the content of Hollywood films to help promote positive images of America to foreign audiences. A series of letters addressed to a CIA officer named ‘Owen’ were written by an executive at Paramount – now known to be Luigi Luraschi – outlining the changes to movies that he made and attempted to make on their behalf.

ClandesTime 100 – Sex, Violence and Censorship

Published February 12th 2017

Why do we censor films? Intuitively we all know the answer to this question – because there are some things we don’t want to see on the screen. In this episode we examine film censorship, focusing primarily on the treatment of cinematic violence by the MPAA and BBFC. Using Walter Benjamin’s Critique of Violence as a foundation I discuss how societies are attempts to rationalise violence and determine what are legitimate and illegitimate uses of force. We then look at how censorship does not do much to limit the scale or type of violence shown on screen, but instead prevents the depiction of the consequences of violence, the suffering and pain, before talking about how this kind of censorship influences our views of real-world violence, especially that committed by the state.

What Connects Jack Valenti, E Howard Hunt and The Godfather?

Published January 31st 2017

On the face of it former CIA officer, Watergate burglar and confessed JFK assassin E Howard Hunt shouldn’t have had much to do with former MPAA president Jack Valenti. They both served in WW2 (Hunt in the OSS, Valenti in the Army Air Forces) and both died in 2007. They may both have been present at the John Kennedy assassination. Then there is that special screening of The Godfather.

ClandesTime 099 – Jack Valenti

Published January 29th 2017

Jack Valenti was a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson, a consultant to the State Department and the third head of the MPAA. In this episode we look at his life, focusing in two key areas – the introduction of the film classification ratings system and Valenti’s connections with the CIA.

ClandesTime 098 – Eric Johnston

Published January 23rd 2017

Eric Johnston was the second head of the MPAA, a high level political operative and a friend of CIA director Allen Dulles. In this episode we take a look at his life and work, from his role instituting the Hollywood blacklist to his relationships with the FBI and CIA. From his meeting with high level businessmen after a trip to the Soviet Union and his liberalising of the production code and promotion of American films in foreign markets to his testimony at HUAC, this story encompasses much of the deep politics of Hollywood.

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