National Board of Review

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures is an organization in the United States dedicated to discussing and selecting what its members regard as the best film works of each year.[not verified in body]

The National Board of Review
The National Board of Review Logo.png
Official logo of the NBR
AbbreviationNBR
FormationJanuary 1909; 112 years ago (1909-01) (as New York Board of Motion Picture Censorship)
TypeFilm organization
HeadquartersUnited States
Location
Websitenationalboardofreview.org

OriginsEdit

On December 24, 1908 New York City Mayor George B. McClellan Jr. revoked all moving-picture exhibition licenses in the city pending inspection of the premises. Given the inadequacy of fire exits and instances of rear exits blocked, the Mayor considered the highly flammable celluloid film presented an unacceptable fire hazard. He further stated that based upon complaints by a number of the city's rectors and pastors and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, that upon re-issuance, the licensees were prohibited from operting on Sunday. He further indicated his intention to revoke the license of any motion picture show "...on evidence that pictures have been exhibited by the licensees which tend to degrade or injure the morals of the community."[1]

In response, in 1909, theatre owners led by Marcus Loew and film distributors (Edison, Biograph, Pathé, and Gaumont) joined John Collier of the People's Institute at Cooper Union and established the New York Board of Motion Picture Censorship which quickly became the National Board of Motion Picture Censorship. In an effort to avoid government censorship of films, the National Board became the unofficial clearinghouse for new movies.[2] The Board's stated purpose was to endorse films of merit and champion the new "art of the people", which was transforming America's cultural life.

Following general criticism after the United States Supreme Court decision in Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio (1915), which held that the free speech protections of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution did not extend to films, the Board on 10 March 1916 changed its name to the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures to avoid the controversial word "censorship".[3]

Thousands of films carried the legend "Passed by the National Board of Review" in their main titles from 1916 into the 1950s, when the board began to lose financial support. This was partly due to the NBR being overpowered by the MPAA in regards to film censorship.[4] The board was a de facto censorship organization. Producers submitted their films to the board before making release prints; they agreed to cut any footage that the board found objectionable, up to and including destroying the entire film.[2]

In 1930, the NBR was the first group to choose the 10 best English-language movies of the year and the best foreign films, and is still the first critical body to announce its annual awards. The NBR has also gained international acclaim for its publications: Film Program (1917–1926); Exceptional Photoplays (1920–1925); Photoplay Guide to Better Movies (1924–1926); National Board of Review Magazine (1926–1942); New Movies (1942–1949); and Films in Review, which published its first issue in 1950. Influencing generations of filmmakers and film lovers, these journals have fostered commentary on all aspects of cinema production and history, and contributors have included James Agee, Pearl S. Buck, Alistair Cooke, William K. Everson, Manny Farber, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Harold Robbins, William Saroyan, Dore Schary, and Tennessee Williams.[according to whom?]

Annual awardsEdit

To determine the NBR's annual awards, ballots are sent in by over 100 members – a select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts, academics, and filmmakers in the New York metropolitan area – and subsequently tabulated by a certified public accountancy firm in order to decide the winners. In addition, the Awards Committee determines the special achievement awards presented at the annual gala in January.

The organization also works to foster commentary on all aspects of film production by underwriting educational film programs and seminars for film students. In 2017, the NBR provided grants to Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Ghetto Film School, and Educational Video Center. The organization also awarded grants to 13 student filmmakers as part of its annual student grant program.

Films in ReviewEdit

The board's official magazine had existed in several forms and different names since its inception. In 1950, the magazine changed its name from Screen Magazine and launched the first issue as Films in Review (ISSN 0015-1688) on February 1, 1950.[5] Films in Review ceased publishing in 1997.

Award categoriesEdit

Note: Until 1945, there were only awards for Best Picture and intermittent awards for Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Picture Shows All Out of Business. The New York Times, December 25, 1908.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b Sklar, Robert (1994). Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies (2nd ed.). New York City: Vintage Books. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0-679-75549-7.
  3. ^ Chris, Cynthia (2012). "Censoring Purity". Camera Obscura 79. Duke University Press. 27 (1): 97–98, 105. doi:10.1215/02705346-1533457. ISSN 0270-5346. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Exit: 'Passed by National Board of Review'". Boxoffice. No. January 19, 1952. Associated Publications. January 19, 1952. p. 25.
  5. ^ "SCREEN MAGAZINE BOWS; Films in Review, Published by National Board, Out Today". The New York Times. February 1, 1950. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  6. ^ 1987 National Board of Review Best Juvenile Performance Empire of the Sun Chistain Bale
  7. ^ "Top 5 Foreign Language Films | Archive". National Board of Review. 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2019.

External linksEdit