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  • Storm Center

    Ultra-rare advance Window Card poster for 1956 drama STORM CENTER, starring Bette Davis and directed by Daniel Taradash

    "If the book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose." - From a letter by Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1814.

    In the poster image, an abstracted version of a face was used in order to convey more forcefully the destruction of the human spirit.

    The theme of this film, an early open criticism of McCarthyism, is book censorship and anti-Communism. The setting is small-town America. The story revolves around a librarian (Bette Davis) who refuses to remove a purportedly Communist book and one of the children in the community who sets fire to the library. There is no single symbol for this film, but the titles and advertising feature a face, a flame, and text from a book.

    Saul explained: "Our first frames reveal the open pages of a book. As the credits unfold, the close-up of a child's face superimposes over this image. The child glances slowly about herself and soon we notice that the edges of a book are smoking and in a moment they burst into flame, slowly charring the dual image of the page of the book and the face of the child. As the credits come to a close, the flames spread and become more intense until the entire screen is an inferno."

    In the image of the burning book, Saul sets up a disturbing parallel between the anti-Communist witch hunts of 1950s America and the anti-Semitic witch hunts and book burning of Nazi Germany - a connection the main character herself suggests in the film.



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