Town Bloody Hall

Tribute D. A. Pennebaker

On April 30, 1971, in New York City’s Town Hall, four prominent feminists came together for a panel called “Dialogue on Women’s Liberation” to be moderated by Norman Mailer. The event, produced by Shirley Broughton and her Theater for Ideas, was organized shortly after the publication of Mailer’s controversial essay “The Prisoner of Sex.” Before a standing-room-only crowd, Jacqueline Ceballos, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW); author Germaine Greer; journalist Jill Johnston; and literary critic Diana Trilling make blistering remarks from the podium. As each woman returns to her seat, Mailer poses a follow-up question, asking that the panelist save her answer for the discussion. The already-crackling electricity in the room is only heightened by the applause and jeers of the volatile (and celebrity-filled) crowd. The panelists take aim at Mailer—clearly in his element as agent provocateur—in dazzling displays of intellect, wit, and fury. The temperature only rises from there. Stunning camerawork surveys the room as composure gives way to combustion in Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker’s stunningly energetic and wildly entertaining document of a historic cultural moment.  ST

Filmmaker Q&A following screening


Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker


Shirley Broughton, Edith Van Slyck


Chris Hegedus


D. A. Pennebaker, Jim Desmond, Mark Woodcock

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

85 minutes