L'Amore (1948) is an Italian anthology film directed by Roberto Rossellini starring Anna Magnani and Federico Fellini. The film comprised two parts: "Il Miracolo" ("The Miracle") and "Una Voce Umana" ("The Human Voice"). The latter is based on a French play The Human Voice (La Voix humaine, 1930) by Jean Cocteau. Rossellini and Fellini co-wrote "Il Miracolo", and Rossellini adapted Cocteau's play. Magnani appears in both segments.
In the United States, the film, renamed Ways of Love with English subtitles, was first exhibited in New York City in November 1950. In December, Ways of Love was voted the best foreign language film of 1950 by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film was condemned by the National Legion of Decency in 1951 and became a catalyst for a Supreme Court decision on censorship and First Amendment freedom of speech issues.
Fellini and Rossellinii co-wrote the script for "The Miracle".
"The Miracle"'s plot is centered around a man, "Saint Joseph" (played by director Federico Fellini), who villainously impregnates "Nanni" (Anna Magnani), a disturbed peasant who believes herself to be the Virgin Mary.
The Human Voice
"The Human Voice" is based on Cocteau's play about a woman desperately trying to salvage a relationship over the telephone.
"The Miracle" part of the film was embroiled in a major controversy when U.S. distributor Joseph Burstyn exhibited the film, now titled Ways of Love with English subtitles, in New York City in November 1950. In December, Ways of Love was voted the best foreign language film of 1950 by the New York Film Critics Circle.
The New York State Board of Regents, in charge of film censorship for New York State, revoked the license to show the film on February 16, 1951. This led to a lawsuit finally decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1952 in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, a case popularly known as the "Miracle Decision", which declared the film was a form of artistic expression protected by the freedom of speech guarantee of First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio (1915) U.S. Supreme Court case
- Film censorship in the United States