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The Interview and 3 Other Films Too Controversial To Release

Hollywood’s is a history rife with offensive films, political controversy and reactionary self-censorship.

The world reacted with great sorrow and regret today as Sony Pictures announced it would be cancelling all screenings of The Interview, the clever, sophisticated political comedy about how James Franco and Seth Rogan attempt to assassinate North Korean president Kim Jong-un. Cinephiles are surely weeping over this great loss to the American film canon. Franco and Rogen will have to find some way to console themselves over this agonizing blow to their artistic repertoire, perhaps by rolling around in the piles and piles of money they will make from the movie anyway.

If there are worries this might have a chilling effect on future film production, they’ve been justified. It looks like another North Korean-related film project, this one starring Steve Carell, has been tabled indefinitely. Still, this isn’t the first time a film project has been shut down over concerns about its contents. Hollywood’s is a history rife with offensive films, political controversy and reactionary self-censorship. Here are three films that were too contentious to be screened:

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The Real Loser of The Interview Debacle Was You

One comedy writer on a week in which funny business became serious business

When the news began breaking that Sony was being threatened by North Korean hackers over its Seth-Rogen-and-James-Franco-starring, North-Korean-leader-assassinating comedy The Interview, I had one thought: “This is James Franco’s best performance art piece yet.”

And then the seemingly unthinkable happened: Sony actually pulled the film from theaters. To a movie studio, that’s a full-on financial surrender. The impact was immediate, and widely reported on. Sony would lose tens of millions. Filmgoers would miss a highly anticipated comedy with two huge stars. And the U.S. was suddenly finding itself “negotiating with terrorists” in arguably the weirdest way in its history.

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