Thursday, October 29, 2009

Italian censorship of Louise Brooks' films during the Fascist era

I have spent nearly 15 years looking into and researching various aspects of Louise Brooks life and career. One of the most fascinating though obscure aspects is the censorship of her films both in the United States and abroad.

Both Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl were censored in Germany - the country were they were made. This is documented in the biography by Barry Paris. What's less known is that a number of her other films were also censored in other parts of Europe as well in the United States.

My great good friend Gianluca Chiovelli, Italy's best Louise Brooks fan and her number one researcher there, has uncovered Italian censorship of Brooks' films during the Fascist era. He emailed me with what he found. Gianluca wrote, "Go to http://www.italiataglia.it/search and type the Italian title of Brooks' films."

Trionfo di Venere (American Venus)
Un barbiere di qualità (A Social Celebrity)
Signore della notte (Evening Clothes)
Aviatori per forza (Now We're in the Air)
Capitan Barbableu (A Girl in Every Port)
Miss Europa (Prix de Beaute)
Amanti di domani (When You’re in Love)

In the results, you'll see very brief notes regarding censorship at the time of the Fascist government. Gianluca noted that both American Venus and A Girl in Every Port ran into a bit of trouble.

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In the past, I have been able to gain access to the state censorship records of Kansas and New York State. (In the 1920's, many states and some cities had their own censorship boards.) And as with Italy, a few of Brooks' films were edited to conform to local standards.

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