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Theater Says Controversial Film Stolen

April 9, 1986

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A copy of the film ″Hail Mary,″ which has provoked protests for its depiction of Christ’s mother as a gas station attendant, was stolen, a theater manager said Tuesday.

Two large reel canisters holding the film were taken and two projectors were damaged in the theft Monday, said Tom Ladd, manager of the Uptown Theater.

About 40 people picketed the Uptown on Friday, the film’s opening night, calling the movie tasteless and blasphemous.

In the French film, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, Mary has a child out of wedlock, and Joseph is depicted as a taxi driver. The movie includes frontal nudity.

The theft forced the cancellation of three evening showings at the Uptown, but Ladd said the corporation that owns the theater was flying another copy of the film in from California.

Ladd predicted the theft and vandalism would boost interest in the film, which he said has drawn crowds three times larger than most Godard films.

″We made an astonishing amount of money over the weekend,″ said Ladd. ″A lot of customers are calling, wanting to see the film because they’ve seen the protests.″

Police Lt. Stephen Strehlow said officers were investigating in the theft.

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