Conclusion. “The Devil's Music: 1920s Jazz” recalls early jazz's struggle for acceptance. “This music had people moving in ways that were not considered polite,” says historian Ann Douglas. The hour follows jazz from Storyville, New Orleans' red-light district, to Chicago speakeasies and then to Harlem. It also examines the racial aspect of the controversy and looks at the similar reaction to gangsta rap. (It's something “different coming in to upset the status quo,” says rapper Chuck D.) Dion Graham narrates.
“Hollywood Censored: Movies, Morality and the Production Code” (Part 3 of four) recalls the film industry's move to self-censorship in the early '30s. The reason: church-instigated boycotts of movies deemed too violent or salacious (“Scarface” and Jean Harlow's “Red-Headed Woman” are examined) were cutting into box-office receipts. The censor: Production Code Authority chief Joseph Breen, “an altar boy with teeth,” says film historian Thomas Doherty. Also interviewed: MPAA president Jack Valenti; screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr.; director Peter Bogdanovich. Ellen Barkin narrates.
“The Shock of the Nude” (Part 2 of four) recalls the controversy surrounding French painter Edouard Manet's “Olympia” when it was shown at the Paris Salon in 1865. “Olympia” was “shocking,” says narrator John Lithgow, but the model's nudity had little to do with it. Rather, it was her facial expression (almost brazen), the painting's take on contemporary mores (almost mocking) and its style (broad brush strokes that some thought “childish”). The hour also compares “Olympia” to earlier nudes, and it sketches Manet's life (1832-83).
“Born to Trouble: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” looks at the “trouble” that Mark Twain's classic has consistently caused since its publication in 1885. Decried at first for being “coarse,” it has lately been criticized for being racially insensitive. And it's likely to be so for some time to come. “It's part of American literature,” author David Bradley says. “You can't get around it.” Courtney B. Vance narrates.