Court may proceed as if all procedural requirements and
administrative processes of the ordinance had been fully
complied with. The Commissioner of Police refused to issue the
permit, and the Mayor of the City of Chicago approved that
Plaintiff, Columbia Pictures Corporation, has joined as
defendants the City of Chicago; Richard J. Daley, Mayor of the
City of Chicago; and Timothy J. O'Connor, Commissioner of
Police. The complaint asks for an order directing the
defendants forthwith to issue to plaintiff the required permit
and for an order enjoining defendants from preventing
plaintiff's exhibition of the film in the City of Chicago.
The parties have stipulated that this Court has jurisdiction
over the subject matter of the suit under Title 28 U.S. Code,
§§ 1331 and 1332. It was further stipulated that the plaintiff
does not challenge the constitutionality of the above ordinance
but claims that the film is not of the type proscribed by the
ordinance. The plaintiff contends that the action of the
individual defendants in denying the requested permit are
beyond the power of decision vested in them by the ordinance
and that their actions infringe upon and deny plaintiff its
rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom
to engage in lawful business activities in Chicago as
guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the
The Court on Tuesday, July 7, 1959, viewed the film in its
entirety, and has evaluated it completely in the light of the
applicable ordinance, the cases which have construed it, and
the decisions which have set forth the criteria by which its
standards must be applied.
The rule generally followed in the Federal and the State
Courts is that a book or play is to be judged as a whole in
terms of its effect on the average, normal reader or viewer.
That does not necessarily protect obscene matter unless its
diction or episodes are so slight or infrequent as not to
convey an obscene savor to the entire book or play.
The Court finds that while the City of Chicago has the power
to censor films and to deny a permit to those which are
obscene and immoral, the film in question does not fall within
the restrictive provisions of the ordinance. Taken as a whole,
the film cannot be placed in the category of the obscene or
immoral, because its dominant effect does not tend to excite
sexual passion or undermine public morals. The infrequent
mention of "rape" or "contraceptive" in the film is not likely
to so much arouse the salacity of the normal and average
viewer as to outweigh its artistic and expert presentation. In
fact, the criminal assault upon the murderer's wife has the
effect of arousing pity and revulsion rather than desire or
sexual impure thoughts. Furthermore, under present day
standards, neither of these two words offend the common
conscience of the general public. American Civil Liberties
Union v. City of Chicago, 3 Ill.2d 334, 121 N.E.2d 585; Times
Film Corporation v. City of Chicago, 355 U.S. 35, 78 S.Ct.
115, 2 L.Ed.2d 72; Alberts v. State of California,
354 U.S. 476, 478, 77 S.Ct. 1304, 1 L.Ed.2d 1498.
In reviewing the New York censorship of "Lady Chatterley's
Lover", the Supreme Court of the United States has recently
reaffirmed its position that in determining whether a
particular picture is entitled to the protection of expression
under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court may exercise its
judicial function which inheres in the very nature of the
judicial enforcement of the Due Process Clause.
It reversed the Court of Appeals in New York which sustained
the New York censorship. 4 N.Y.2d 349, 175 N.Y.S.2d 39,
151 N.E.2d 197. In that case the censors and the New York Court
held that the picture "Lady Chatterley's Lover" portrays
"adultery as a desirable and proper pattern of behavior" and
"because its subject matter is adultery presented as being
right and desirable for certain people under certain
circumstances" contrary to the moral standards, the religious
precepts and the legal code
of the New York citizenry. Kingsley International Pictures
Corporation v. Regents of the University of the State of New
York, 79 S.Ct. 1362.
In Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495, 72 S.Ct. 777, 96
L.Ed. 1098, the Supreme Court held that expression by means of
motion pictures is included within the free speech and free
press guarantee of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
I do not regard this film "Anatomy of a Murder" as depicting
anything that could reasonably be termed obscene or corruptive
of the public morals and find that the censorship exceeded
I direct the defendants to issue to plaintiff forthwith the
required permit and enjoin said defendants from preventing the
exhibition of "Anatomy of a Murder" in the City of Chicago.
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