Primary Documents from The Miracle Case
Historians rely on the work of other historians (see "For Further Research" for a list of secondary sources used in this study). But the real heart of historical research comes from the finding and analysis of primary documents--writings, photographs, diaries, letters, memos, recorded conversations or interviews, video footage, newspaper stories--these are some of the many historical records used to discover the past. Here is an admittedly eclectic collection of some primary documents a historian would use in uncovering the story of what happened to Joseph Burstyn and his movie, The Miracle.
1. Press conference prepared remarks
The New York City License Commissioner, Edward T. McCaffrey, found The Miracle "officially and personally blasphemous" and threatened to pull the Paris Theater's license. Incensed at this official interference with his duly licensed film, Joseph Burstyn went to court. He succeeded in getting Judge Aron Steuer of the New York Supreme Court to issue an injunction to stop McCaffrey's threat. Following that first victory, Burstyn called a pres conference. Click on the pdf file below to read Burstyn's comments.
2. Burstyn's supporting documents.
In his prepared remarks, Burstyn offered evidence for his claim that neither the Italian censors nor the officials of the Venice Film Festival had found anything objectionable in the film.
Testimonial about The Miracle from the Venice Film Festival director
3. Translation of an Italian article about The Miracle
Judge Aron Steuer of the New York State Supreme Court. Early in 1951 Steuer found that City License Commissioner Edward T. McCaffray had overstepped his authority by threatening the license of a theater showing an officially licensed movie. His decision was stunning: the first time in thirty-five years that a license commissioner's power over the showing of a movie had been overruled. His decision would also be the last time that Joseph Burstyn would win in court until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor more than a year later.