[The withdrawal of the film "The Blackboard Jungle" at the Venice Film Festival]

Friday, September 16, 1955

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes speaks about the compulsory withdrawal of the film "The Blackboard Jungle" from the Venice Film Festival by Clare Booth Luce. Seldes strongly states his opposition to this type of censorship. He also dismisses many of the arguments for why this film should not be shown internationally - chiefly that foreigners will not understand that the circumstances presented in the film do not represent the United States generally. All movies, he notes, must make some generalizations.

He goes on to discuss the current times lacking protest, this, he believes is dangerous. Twenty years earlier was a time of protest, and Seldes speaks highly of these times.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70708
Municipal archives id: LT6376

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


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About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


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