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Bennett, Breen, and the birdman of alcatraz: A case study of collaborative censorship between the production code administration and the federal bureau of prisons

Eldridge, David

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Abstract

In bringing to the screen the life of murderer Robert Stroud in Birdman of Alcatraz (United Artists, 1962), filmmakers encountered official obstruction from the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, James V. Bennett. Campaigning for the release of Stroud, Burt Lancaster retaliated by exposing Bennett’s efforts to censor the film as evidence of a personal vendetta against the prisoner. However, new archival research demonstrates how the Bureau had collaborated with Hollywood’s own censorship body, the Production Code Administration, for many years - and that Birdman was in fact the culmination of a decades-long struggle to control all films about Alcatraz.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Journal Film History
Print ISSN 0892-2160
Electronic ISSN 1553-3905
Publisher Indiana University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 1-31
APA6 Citation Eldridge, D. (2016). Bennett, Breen, and the birdman of alcatraz: A case study of collaborative censorship between the production code administration and the federal bureau of prisons. Film History, 28(2), 1-31. https://doi.org/10.2979/filmhistory.28.2.02
DOI https://doi.org/10.2979/filmhistory.28.2.02
Keywords Birdman of Alcatraz
Additional Information This is the preprint of an article accepted for publication in Film History, 2016.

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