1955 August 26

“Blackboard Jungle” Removed as U.S. Entry in Venice Film Festival


The American film Blackboard Jungle was removed from consideration at the Venice Film Festival on this day because of objections by the U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Clare Boothe Luce. A noted playwrite, she was married to the publisher of Time and Life magazines, Henry Luce. The film famously opened with the recording of Bill Haley’s classic, Rock Around the Clock.

In the U.S., local communities tried to ban the film because they felt the soundtrack and the film’s portrayal of juvenile delinquents would incite delinquency. On March 28, 1955, the city of Memphis banned Blackboard Jungle. And on May 17, 1955, students at Princeton University staged a “riot” by blasting Rock Around the Clock simultaneously from many dormitory windows.

Watch the trailer for Blackboard Jungle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA0_NRjx9KQ

Read: Eric Nuzum, Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America (2001)

See Bill Haley and the Comets perform Rock Around the Clock in 1956: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5fsqYctXgM

Learn more at the National Coalition Against Censorship here.

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