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It begins and ends on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, a fitting site for this 1953 movie that erupted into a towering controversy. The charm of the film’s William Holden/David Niven/Maggie McNamara triangle notwithstanding, Hollywood’s Production Code refused to approve The Moon Is Blue because of an “unacceptably light attitude toward seduction.” Among the movie’s offending words: “virgin” and “pregnant.” But producer/director Otto Preminger, who had triumphantly staged The Moon Is Blue on Broadway and had seen it become a smash hit on a national stage tour, refused to change a scene or a word. In an unprecedented move, he released the film without the Code’s seal. Audiences backed Preminger at the box office – and a new era of moviemaking independence dawned.

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WAA18234 Moon Is Blue DVD (1953/William Holden/David Niven) $14.99