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Title: Witch-hunt: The word, the press and the Devils
Authors: Petley, J
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Citation: Journal of British Cinema and Television, 2015, 12 (4), pp. 515 - 538
Abstract: This article examines the way in which sensational articles about the making of Ken Russell's The Devils alerted certain local councils to the film even before it was released. Concerned at what they took to be its lurid content, various councils demanded to see the film before it could be shown in cinemas within their jurisdiction, and a number of such councils banned it outright. This article argues that the Nationwide Festival of Light also used such articles to encourage their supporters to write to their local councils and to request that they ban the film. The British Board of Film Censors, whose examiners clearly disliked the film intensely, was also the recipient of numerous letters of complaint from the same source, but these appear to have been written only after the film was released and thus cannot have influenced the manner in which the Board treated the film. The article also examines critical responses to the film upon its release and argues that these contributed significantly to the atmosphere of near-hysteria which it generated in certain quarters in Britain.
ISSN: 1743-4521
Appears in Collections:Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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