The Captive (play)

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Date: 1927

Region: North America

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Theater


Artist: Arther Hornblow, Jr.

Confronting Bodies: New York Police

Dates of Action: 1927

Location: New York City

Description of Artwork: Play is an adaptation of "La Prisonnière" by Edouard Bourdet that deals with homosexuality and lesbianism.

The Incident: Early in 1927 the New York Police stopped the play along with two others at other theaters (The Virgin Man, and Sex). It had been running without interruption for five months and was a sensitive study of sexual deviation in women. The Captive would probably have continued to run unmolested if its success had not precipitated a succession of plays about abnormality. The Hymn to Venus, and The Drag, dealing with lesbianism and homosexuality, were about to open in New York. The authorities felt they had to stem the tide. It is said that one of the people responsible for closing The Captive was Walter Lippmann, who had for years, ostensibly at least, espoused the cause for free speech.

Results of Incident: "The Captive was voluntarily withdrawn after the issue of the warrants."

Source: The Censor Marches On, Pg.64