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TIMES FILM CORPORATION v. CITY OF CHICAGO

March 21, 1956

TIMES FILM CORPORATION, A NEW YORK CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, RICHARD J. DALEY AND TIMOTHY J. O'CONNOR, DEFENDANTS.



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 ...


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