The opinion of the court was delivered by: Perry, District Judge.
This action is before the Court upon the objection of the
defendants to the Master's Report.
Section 155-4 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago
provides as follows:
"Such permit shall be granted only after the motion
picture film for which said permit is requested has
been produced at the office of the commissioner of
police for examination or censorship.
"If a picture or series of pictures, for the
showing or exhibition of which an application for a
permit is made, is immoral or obscene, or portrays
depravity, criminality, or lack of virtue of a class
of citizens of any race, color, creed, or religion
and exposes them to contempt, derision, or obloquy,
or tends to produce a breach of the peace or riots,
or purports to represent any hanging, lynching, or
burning of a human being, it shall be the duty of the
commissioner of police to refuse such permit;
otherwise it shall be his duty to grant such permit.
"In case the commissioner of police shall refuse to
grant a permit as hereinbefore provided, the
applicant for the same may appeal to the mayor. Such
appeal shall be presented in the same manner as the
original application to the commissioner of police.
The action of the mayor on any application for a
permit shall be final."
The same ordinance was before the Supreme Court of Illinois in
the case of American Civil Liberties Union v. Chicago, 3 Ill.2d 334,
121 N.E.2d 585, 592. In that case, the court, speaking
through Justice Schaefer, defined the term "obscene" as follows:
"That a motion picture is obscene within the
meaning of the ordinance if, when considered as a
whole, its calculated purpose or dominant effect is
substantially to arouse sexual desires, and if the
probability of this effect is so great as to outweigh
whatever artistic or other merits the film may
possess. In making this determination the film must
be tested with reference to its effect upon the
normal, average person."
The movie in question is entitled, "The Game of Love", which is
an adaptation of a novel entitled, "Le Ble en Herbe" written by
the French authoress Gabrielle Claudine Jouvenal under the pen
name of Collette.
The film features the experiences of two adolescents of
approximately sixteen years of age, a boy, Philip, and a girl,
Vinca. They are vacationing on the coast of France with their
respective families who live in the same boarding house.
At the very outset, Vinca displays a romantic attachment for
Philip who remains indifferent.
During the opening stages of this movie, Philip is shown
canoeing off the coastal shore, when the boat overturns and he
loses all of his clothes. Swimming back, he comes upon the shore
in the midst of a group of convent school girls who are having a
beach outing under the supervision of two nuns. Philip finds the
small beret of one of the girls, covers himself in a suggestive
manner, and begins to run along the beach. The girls he meets
along the way home, however, tell him there is no longer any need
for him to cover himself. Later, he is taken into custody by the
local police for indecent exposure but released when his parents
and Vinca explain the circumstances.
As the story develops, an adult woman of approximately 30 years
of age, comes to the coast. Philip delivers bread to her home and
she is attracted by him. It is clear from the film and its
dialogue that she seduces him and that they consort with each
other. The woman is shown locking herself and the boy in her
sleeping quarters for the night. For several days and nights
thereafter, Philip is constantly in her company at her house. The
woman suddenly terminates the relationship and refers to Philip
as a passing vacation "whim".
The film closes with a church scene from which it could
possibly be implied that Philip and Vinca will marry.
On May 6, 1955, the plaintiff applied to the defendant Police
Commissioner for a permit to exhibit the film in question. On
June 2, 1955, the Commissioner notified the plaintiff that the
application for permit was denied on the ground that the
Censorship Board had rejected the film because it was ...