It was the summer of 1973 and the Cine Theater in Danbury planned to show Last Tango in Paris, director Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial movie about a lonely American middle-aged widower who becomes involved with a younger French woman.  However, the film’s opening depended on then-mayor Gino Arconti. If he allowed Last Tango to run, it would be, as claimed by the New Times, one of “the first X-rated films shown in the city since the historic Supreme Court decision on obscenity.”  Considered a masterpiece by some and a dirty movie by others, the movie starring the iconic Marlon Brando was one of the most sensational films of that year and by the time it reached Danbury Last Tango in Paris had become notorious for its graphic nudity- including an infamous rape scene which is still considered controversial today.   That summer the News-Times reported that Mayor Arconti “planned to send plainclothes policemen to view the film and he was in touch with other communities where the film was shown.”  In the end, mayor Anconti’s probe found no reason to ban the film. Arconti said, “He did not want to act as a one-man censorship board.”   Two years earlier Arconti felt the same when he said ‘Banning filth cannot be done by edict of law.”  He noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling allows the showing of X-rated films.” That said the New Times reported Arconti sent police to local theaters to investigate claims of obscenity. Contrary to the 1973 story, the News-Times reported the Palace Theater in February 1972 was showing Kama Sutra an X-rated film.




In 2007 Maria Schneider, who played Jeanne in Last Tango in Paris told the Daily Mail that the scene which simulated rape performed by Brando using butter was not consensual. Bernardo Bertolucci in a 2016 interview corroborated her account Bertolucci confessed that he and Brando kept Schneider, who died in 2011 in the dark about the scene which was not scripted because they wanted her reactions to be realistic.  Hollywood reacted in disgust and Bertolucci faced a backlash.  Bertolucci said in response that the outcry was based on a misunderstanding “I specified, but perhaps I was not clear that I decided with Marlon Brando not to inform Maria that we would have used butter… we wanted her spontaneous reaction to… [the use of butter]. That is where the misunderstanding lies.” According to Bertolucci Maria Schneider knew about the rape scene.  Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando remained friends until his death in 2004.