Quebec Studies

Montreal and The Captive City

Quebec Studies (2009), 48, (1), 13–24.


13 1 Montreal and The Captive C/'fy Will Straw McGill University Figure 1 Montreal Premiere of The Captive City (1952). Courtesy of the Centre de recherche Lionel Groulx, Montreal. Fonds du Comité de moralité publique P47/S,5. Photographer unknown. In the archives of the Centre de recherche Lionel Groulx, a research center de­ voted to the history of Q u é b e c , sits a photograph that serves as the point of departure for this essay. In this picture, nine m e n in business suits stand in the lobby of a cinema, in front of a m o v i e poster that looms over their heads (Fig. 1). This photograph w a s taken at the Montreal premiere of the Ameri­ can film The Captive City (directed b y Robert Wise, 1952). Captive City opened at Montreal's O r p h e u m C i n e m a on July 1 1 , 1 9 5 2 and concluded its week-long run on July 17. T h e m e n assembled in the photograph include most of the executive committee of Montreal's Comité de moralité publique, one of the municipal reform groups that h a d c o m e together in 1951 to form the electorally-oriented Ligue d'Action Civique. For those w h o study this period in Montreal history, the photograph of the Captive City premiere is a useful, hitherto ignored piece of historical evidence. It confirms the interest of Montreal-based municipal reformers in exploiting similarities b e t w e e n their o w n actions and m o v e m e n t s for urban reform u n d e r w a y in the United States in the early 1950s. It is c o m m o n to Québec Studies, Volume 48, Fall 2009/Winter 2010

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Author details

Straw, Will