Brooke Shields, Pretty Baby and Hollywood

Brooke Christa Shields (born May 31, 1965) is an American actress and model. She was initially a child model and gained critical acclaim at age 12 for her leading role in Louis Malle‘s film Pretty Baby (1978). Shields garnered widespread notoriety in the role, and she continued to model into her late teenage years and starred in several dramas in the 1980s, including The Blue Lagoon (1980), and Franco Zeffirelli‘s Endless Love (1981).

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Pretty Baby is a 1978 American historical drama film directed by Louis Malle, and starring Brooke ShieldsKeith Carradine, and Susan Sarandon. The screenplay was written by Polly Platt. The plot focuses on a 12-year-old prostitute in the red-light district of New Orleans soon after the turn of the 20th century.

The title of the film is inspired by the Tony Jackson song, “Pretty Baby“, which is used in the soundtrack. Although the film was mostly praised by critics, it caused significant controversy due to its depiction of child prostitution and the nude scenes of Brooke Shields, who was 12 years old at the time.

Content and rating

Pretty Baby received an R rating in the United States, an X rating in the United Kingdom, and an R18+ rating in Australia, for nudity and sexual content. Continuing controversy over Shields’ nude scenes resulted in the film being banned in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan until it was repealed in 1995. Gossip columnist Rona Barrett called the film “child pornography“, and director Louis Malle allegedly was portrayed as a “combination of Lolita‘s Humbert Humbert and (by that point) controversial director Roman Polanski“. In Argentina, the film, along with another of Paramount’s recent releases (Looking for Mr. Goodbar), was banned under the regime of Jorge Rafael Videla during that country’s last civil/military dictatorship due in large part to the “pornographic” content that was present in both films. For five years, the film was also banned by the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In addition to the issue of child prostitution, the scenes involving a nude 12-year-old Brooke Shields were controversial. The BBFC originally censored two scenes for the film’s cinema release in the UK to remove nudity, but the uncut version was released on DVD in 2006. This same uncut print is the basis of the Region 1 and Region 2 DVD editions worldwide.

Distributed byParamount Pictures

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In 1970, Paramount teamed with Universal Studios to form Cinema International Corporation, a new company that would distribute films by the two studios outside the United States. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer would become a partner in the mid-1970s. Both Paramount and CIC entered the video market with Paramount Home Video (now Paramount Home Entertainment) and CIC Video, respectively.

Robert Evans abandoned his position as head of production in 1974; his successor, Richard Sylbert, proved to be too literary and too tasteful for Gulf + Western’s Bluhdorn. By 1976, a new, television-trained team was in place headed by Barry Diller and his “Killer-Dillers”, as they were called by admirers or “Dillettes” as they were called by detractors. These associates, made up of Michael EisnerJeffrey KatzenbergDawn Steel and Don Simpson would each go on and head up major movie studios of their own later in their careers.

The Paramount specialty was now simpler. “high concept” pictures such as Saturday Night Fever and Grease hit big, hit hard and hit fast all over the world, and Diller’s television background led him to propose one of his longest-standing ideas to the board: Paramount Television Service, a fourth commercial network. Paramount Pictures purchased the Hughes Television Network (HTN) including its satellite time in planning for PTVS in 1976. Paramount sold HTN to Madison Square Garden in 1979. But Diller believed strongly in the concept, and so took his fourth-network idea with him when he moved to 20th Century Fox in 1984, where Fox’s then freshly installed proprietor, Rupert Murdoch was a more interested listener.

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Barry Charles Diller (born February 2, 1942) is an American businessman. He is Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC and Expedia Group and founded the Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. Diller was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1994.

Diller was born into a Jewish household in San FranciscoCalifornia, and is the son of Reva (née Addison) and Michael Diller.

Diller served for 10 years as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures Corporation from 1974 until 1984.

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Michael Dammann Eisner (born March 7, 1942) is an American businessman and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company from September 1984 to September 2005. Prior to Disney, Eisner was President of rival film studio Paramount Pictures from 1976 to 1984, and had brief stints at the major television networksNBCCBS, and ABC.

Eisner was born to an affluent, secular Jewish family in Mount Kisco, New York.

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Jeffrey Katzenberg (/ˈkætsənbɜːrɡ/; born December 21, 1950) is an American film producer and media proprietor. He became well known for his tenure as chairman of Walt Disney Studios from 1984 to 1994. After departing Disney, he was a co-founder and CEO of DreamWorks Animation, where he oversaw the production of such animated franchises as ShrekMadagascarKung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon. He has since founded a new media and technology company called WndrCo and was the founder of Quibi, a defunct short-form mobile video platform.

Katzenberg has also been involved in politics. With his active support of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, he was called “one of Hollywood’s premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party‘s top national fundraisers.”

Katzenberg was born in New York City, to a Jewish family, the son of Anne, an artist, and Walter Katzenberg, a stockbroker.

Katzenberg began his career as an assistant to producer David V. Picker, then in 1974 he became an assistant to Barry Diller, the chairman of Paramount Pictures. Diller moved Katzenberg to the marketing department, followed by other assignments within the studio, until he was assigned to revive the Star Trek franchise, which resulted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). He continued to work his way up and became president of production under Paramount’s president, Michael Eisner.

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Dawn Leslie Steel (August 19, 1946 – December 20, 1997) was an American film studio executive and producer. She was one of the first women to run a major Hollywood film studio, rising through the ranks of merchandising and production to head Columbia Pictures in 1987.

Steel was born to a Jewish family in the Bronx, New York to Nathan “Nat” Steel (né Spielberg). Lillian Tarlo Steel, Dawn’s mother, died from lung cancer at age 55. She was the daughter of Nathan and Rebecca Tarlo, Polish immigrants.

Both of her parents were of Russian-Jewish descent.

In 1978, Steel joined Paramount Pictures as Director of Merchandising and Licensing, where she planned marketing tie-ins for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She was promoted to vice president, and then vice president of production in 1980, senior vice president of production in 1983. She was a protégé of Barry Diller, the CEO of Paramount at the time.

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Donald Clarence Simpson (October 29, 1943 – January 19, 1996) was an American film producer, screenwriter, and actor. 

In 1973, Simpson got a job at Paramount Pictures. By 1977, he was named vice-president of production at Paramount, and president in 1981. He was fired at Paramount in 1982 after passing out during a studio meeting due to drug use.

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Everything you need to know about Hollywood and why you should boycott it

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