On 8 February 1915 Birth of a Nation, the first true blockbuster, premiered. This film is controversial because of its positive representation of unseemly aspects of American history, such as slavery and the Ku Klux Klan and its accompanying negative portrayal of African Americans. You can find a version on YouTube (http://youtu.be/FDiQWsENgnk)  The film was also controversial in its own day. See another story on this blog: http://historicnews.blogspot.ca/2012/02/birth-of-nation.html?view=classic

The movie was so controversial in Chicago that they passed a bylaw prohibiting the creation or presentation of "any lithograph, moving picture, play, drama, or sketch which portrays depravity, criminality, unchastity, or lack of virtue of any class of citizens of any race, color, creed, or religion and exposes them to contempt and danger in riots." Even a decade later, the showing of "Birth of a Nation" could prompt police action.  For it part, the Chicago Tribune thought that such a law "could be used to interfere with the artistic and intellectual freedom of people." Source: Chicago Tribune 6 February 1924




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