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Storm Center (1956)

Approved | | Drama | 31 July 1956 (USA)
A small-town librarian is branded as a Communist by local politicians when she refuses to withdraw a controversial book from the library's shelves.

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Writers:

(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Alicia Hull
...
Paul Duncan
...
Martha Lockridge
...
Judge Robert Ellerbee
...
George Slater
Kevin Coughlin ...
Freddie Slater
Sally Brophy ...
Laura Slater (as Sallie Brophie)
Howard Wierum ...
Mayor Levering
Curtis Cooksey ...
Stacey Martin
Michael Raffetto ...
Edgar Greenbaum
...
Mr. Morrisey
...
Rev. Wilson
...
Hazel Levering
Howard Wendell ...
Sen. Bascomb
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Storyline

A small-town librarian is branded as a Communist by local politicians when she refuses to withdraw a controversial book from the library's shelves. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LONG AWAITED EVENT - BETTE DAVIS Hits the Screen in a Cyclone of Dramatic Fury! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 July 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Library  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unfortunately, Storm Center was not well received by either critics or viewers, which Davis believed to be the fault of the film, not the subject matter. She did not agree with the casting of little Kevin Coughlin as Freddie, complaining that Taradash did not direct him well. According to Davis, this resulted in a lack of emotional rapport between her and Coughlin, making it difficult to believe the extent of the little boy's feelings of betrayal. Not all of this can be attributed to Taradash's direction, however. Both Davis and Taradash were shocked at Coughlin's mother, who prepared the little boy for his crying scenes by pinching him till it hurt. See more »

Quotes

Martha Lockridge: Whatever was the issue? A stubborn woman was fired. Your council blew itself up with civic virtue. The city got something to buzz about. I got a better job. You got a platform.
Paul Duncan: You make it sound like a grab bag.
Martha Lockridge: Well, what do you think it was? Patriotism?
See more »

Soundtracks

Hymn to Our Library
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Elick Moll
Music by Morris Stoloff
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Take shelter...
2 February 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A film about censorship of books and why it's wrong is a noble concept. Aside from a grossly exaggerated child character who loves reading and his misguided father who doesn't understand, the first act led me to believe I was in for a juicy potboiler that was somehow lost in the Columbia vaults. I wish.

"Storm Center" is contrived and manipulative propaganda done in the most sensationalist, cartoon-like manner conceivable. The climax almost looks like a satire and is even more hokey than the red scare films it was clearly attempting to counter. This was really just Hollywood attempting to dumb down their vision of the blacklisting scandal so that even the mere dummy general public could see the evil of hatin' on commies. It didn't work. Further, the theme of book burning is used to 'subliminally' rail against McCarthyism -- they really have nothing in common, so the story sets up the offensive book in question about Communism, which allows the film to haphazardly leave its bread crumbs.

The screenplay is terrible and despite a whole lot of good talent in the cast, they are too often directed to perform on the same level as the script. (ie, Bette Davis' closing speech, Kevin Coughlin's performance after his remarkable change of personality, etc.) The entire subplot of Davis' librarian being a buddy to all the neighborhood kids is unrealistic and calculated.

I suppose it's worth watching if you have an interest in any of the cast; a number of TV character actors also appear, like Edward Platt (Get Smart) and Joseph Kearns (Dennis the Menace.) But the main interest should be to see hyperbolic melodrama at its most vacuous.


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