Charles Winecoff
January 12, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hollywood V. Hard Core

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jon Lewis
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B-

Written in the bone-dry style of a dissertation, this history of Hollywood censorship — which explores how the regulation of film content has always been dictated by money, not morality — still manages to pack a few punches. Lewis uncovers the Motion Picture Association of America’s roots in the Red scare (not to mention anti-Semitism, ethnocentrism, and elitism), showing how the post-World War II witch-hunts ultimately spawned the corporate conglomeration that defines Hollywood today. And he revels in ironic twists: While some edge into semi-crackpot theorizing (the success of porn flicks like Deep Throat didn’t really launch an ”auteur renaissance” in the 1970s), others — including a riff on how Nixon unknowingly saved the studios — are undeniably fun. B-

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