Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fight Pictures

Between 1894 and 1915, the first generation of filmmakers produced more than 250 motion pictures with boxing and prizefighting as their subject. Fight pictures were among the most conspicuous, profitable and controversial productions of early cinema. From 1912 until 1940, U.S. law banned the interstate distribution of film recordings of prizefights. Congress enacted the law to suppress the celebrity of the first black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, titleholder from 1908 to 1915. Yet, only a few years after the start of the ban, fight pictures flourished again. Throughout the 1920s and 30s these supposedly criminal records were nearly ubiquitous in movie houses and other venues.

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