The Connection is Banned by Authorities

The Connection is Banned by Authorities

The New York State Film Agency labeled The Connection obscene, based on the use of the word shit as slang for heroin (as well as the brief appearance of a nude picture of a woman on the set). The D. W. Griffith Theatre, hoping to make a name for itself as an art cinema, screened it on October 5, 1962, and was promptly busted by the police. Although it couldn’t be shown in commercial theaters, the progressive Judson Church held a private screening. “Both performances were packed,” Judson pastor Howard Moody recalled. “We didn’t know whether the district attorney’s office would try to shut it down, but no one appeared.” Before it was banned in New York, The Connection became a massive critical hit at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival—an artistic triumph that coincided with the end of Shirley’s marriage to Bert Clarke. “At Cannes Shirley’s hour had come,” Elaine Dundy recalled. “She was heroine of the Beats, the Queen of Cool. And she had found her Prince Charming. She and the young black actor, Carl Lee, who played Cowboy, the Connection himself, had fallen in love. She would later tell me he was the only thing that mattered to her in the world, the great love she had been waiting for all her life.”

From Chapter 2 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012