Re: [Videolib] Film Censorship

Randy Pitman (
Tue, 18 Jan 2005 15:43:01 -0800

Hi Tova,

FWIW, I included "Lenny" in my book "Video Movies: A Core Collection for
Libraries" (ABC-CLIO, 1990), a list of 500 recommended theatrical videos for
library collections. Besides being a huge critical favorite, "Lenny"
received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Hoffman),
Actress (Perrine, who won at Cannes), and Screenplay. Very few films are
nominated in all five major categories. I'm not sure what the tackful way of
saying that your patron is very much in the minority on "Lenny," but he or
she clearly is, and the film has more than enough critical kudos to justify
retaining in your collection (I'm not sure what the patron means by
"pornographic betrayal"--Lenny Bruce was certainly no shrinking violet).
FYI, when I was a video librarian in the 1980s, I had a patron complaint on
an old LCA (Learning Corporation of America) documentary called "Lions of
Capitalism" on the grounds that the film wasn't "reverential enough" towards
Carnegie, et al. What that taught me was that *any* film can be challenged
for a veritable rainbow of reasons (real and imagined :).



Randy Pitman
Video Librarian
8705 Honeycomb Ct. NW
Seabeck, WA 98380
Tel: (800) 692-2270; Fax: (360) 830-9346
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tova Aragon" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 1:36 PM
Subject: RE: [Videolib] Film Censorship

> This email was very timely for me. I just recieved a formal request for
> removal of "Lenny" the 1974 film starring Dustin Hoffman. This is my
> first time to put a film through the reconsideration process. The patron
> was okay with the standup routines but very disconcerted with the
> "pornographic" betrayal of his life. I would really appreciate any
> comments on the film to take to my committee.
> Thank you,
> Tova Aragon
> Adult Services Lead Librarian
> Fort Collins Public Library
> 201 Peterson
> Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
> 970-224-6164
> Opinions are my own...
>>From: "Cecilia Hurt" <>
>>To: <>
>>Subject: [Videolib] Film Censorship
>>Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 12:51:04 -0600
>>Hello, everyone!
>>Please see below a current film censorship story. At this time, I do not
>>know of any actions being taken to reinstate the film in the collection.
>>On a related note, for this year's Banned Books Week, the Video Round
>>Table will be creating an attractive banned/challenged/censored film
>>handout. It will be made available on the VRT web site. We are in the
>>information gathering stage of development. Does anyone have suggestions
>>for titles that should included?
>>Thank you,
>>Official cancels viewing of film
>>By Jean Weaver
>>Special to the Star-Telegram
>>ARLINGTON - Interim City Manager Fred Greene canceled the showing of a
>>movie with sexual overtones Thursday that the Arlington Public Library had
>>planned to show at its independent film festival this month.
>>Falling Angels, based on a novel by a Canadian writer, contains female
>>nudity, sex scenes, adultery, adult language and situations, incest
>>overtones and unwanted pregnancy set in the 1960s.
>>The library had been planning to launch an independent film festival at
>>the George W. Hawkes Central Library, 101 E. Abram St., with three movies
>>scheduled from Jan. 29 through March. The other two films, Buddy and
>>Witnesses, are being reviewed.
>>"The film has been pulled," Arlington Mayor Pro Tem Ron Wright said. "The
>>librarians were given strict content guidelines by Greene, which are based
>>upon the information that if a film cannot be shown to someone under 17,
>>then it would not be appropriate for the city libraries of Arlington."
>>The Canadian film was released in U.S. theaters Oct. 31. It was not rated
>>by the Motion Picture Association of America. However, a recommendation on
>>the back cover of the video says it should not to be shown to people under
>>Adults-only films have never been shown at the Arlington libraries, said
>>Starr Krottinger, public services administrator for the Arlington Public
>>Library System. Reference librarian Linda Seitz said that she has
>>previewed half of Falling Angels and is aware of the content.
>>The films were aimed at college-age people, she said.
>>Library patron Carlos Medina, 23, of Arlington said the library wasn't the
>>place for the film. "There are plenty of other places to see that kind of
>>stuff," Medina said. "They don't have to show it at the library."
>>The film is no longer available for checkout.
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