“Controversy has probably destroyed forever the context”: “The Miracle” and Movie Censorship in America in the Fifties

  • Author(s): Ellen Draper
  • When: 1990-04
  • Where: The Velvet Light Trap
  • On December 12, 1950, a trilogy of foreign movies entitled Ways of Love opened at the Paris Theatre in New York City. The trilogy contained Jean Renoir's A Day in the Country, Roberto Rossellini's The Miracle, and Marcel Pagnol's Jofroi. The movies had been duly approved by the licensing board of the New York State Department of Education, and yet twelve days after Ways of Love opened, New York City Commissioner of Licenses Edward McCaffery, a former commander of the Catholic War Veterans and an associate of the Democratic political machine in Bronx County, threatened to revoke the license of the Paris Theatre if The Miracle was not removed from the screen. Commissioner McCaffery stated that he found The Miracle "officially and per-sonally blasphemous" and mentioned that he "felt there were hundreds of thousands of citizens whose religious beliefs were assailed by the picture."

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