Reviews

|

Making Movies Moral
Image: Photo by Prayitno / Flickr
Making Movies Moral
Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Book Title
Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies
Author
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Release Date
June 26, 2012
Pages
336
Price
$9.24
Buy Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies from Amazon

Here is the narrative we all think we know: Protestants, those dour entertainment-haters, have been the scourge of Hollywood throughout the history of film—boycotting and condemning whatever they deem inappropriate on the silver screen, and praising the occasional (and often poorly-made) film with positive religious themes that happens somehow to slip past the gatekeepers.

Of late, the narrative continues, some Protestants have moved toward "cultural engagement" and begun to recognize the validity of film as an art form. It will take much time to undo a century's worth of damage.

But in his new and highly readable book Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies (Oxford University Press), William Romanowski (a professor at Calvin College and noted commenter on religion and pop culture) challenges this narrative, demonstrating that it is not simply reductionist—it's almost entirely wrong (and frequently wrongheaded). Film history has dealt Protestants a bad hand, and Romanowski's meticulously researched book is a valuable contribution to a richer narrative, one that recognizes the profound contribution that Protestants have made to the shape of the American film industry. And, furthermore, the book traces how Protestants have coped with a rapidly pluralizing society. As Romanowski points out, "the film industry is an important catalyst for examining how this socio-religious group coped with a dramatic loss of power."

'An ally of home, school, and church'

Film was growing out of its infancy at the turn of the twentieth century, just as the United States was embarking on its slow migration from Protestant cultural hegemony to pluralism, away from an emphasis on a "shared ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These Next
Current IssueWhat the Church Says to Terrible People
What the Church Says to Terrible People Subscriber Access Only
‘Welcome to the club.’
RecommendedIn ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
In ‘The Case for Christ,’ Experience, not Evidence, Is the Real Clincher
Pure Flix's adaptation of the apologetics classic succeeds most where it preaches least.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
Making Movies Moral
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.