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How does anyone in Britain see ANY movies at all?


dbminter
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I've been reading a book on the history of Hammer films at Bray. Inside are numerous memoes and examples of problems the company had with its films and the British Board Of Film Censorship. Ironically enough, in 1984, Censorship was changed to Classification. I am choosing to stick with Censorship because that's ALL these bloody hoods do! :D

 

 

How can anyone in England ever see a film as its writer/director intended?! The most amazingly asinine and dumb demands are made before a film can receive a certificate. For instance, the ones on "The Revenge Of Frankenstein" and "The Curse Of The Werewolf." For the 2nd film, the BBFC objected to the depicting of hair growing on a boy's arm because it implied beastiality. Why? Because he was a werewolf! Therefore, one of his parents must have been human and the other was a wolf! SHEESH! Of course, this is just a thinly, barely disguised allegory for the censors's real "fear." The implied, in their minds, depiction of anything sexually related. Not JUST the implied beastiality that isn't there, but, their real "fear" lingering in the back of their brains: it is a parallel to puberty, i.e. the growing of hair on the young man.

 

 

But, "The Revenge Of Frankenstein" was just laughable! BBFC objected to a shot that MUST be removed as too gruesome. A shot of Peter Cushing transferring a human brain from a dish into a jar of liquid. Hammer wrote back to the BBFC saying they had exorcised the less than 5 second scene. The BBFC THEN agreed to give the film an X. BUT, here's the kicker, folks! That scene never WAS removed! :lol: It has existed in ALL prints since the film's release! So, the BBFC never even CHECKED the prints they were sent to make sure their requested edits were made! :doh:

 

 

The MPAA in America is little better, actually. Their requests for cuts at the script stage for an imported version of Revenge were mostly to remove any "blasphemous" elements. Things like using the word "gawd" etc. Yet, they have no problem with how the film opens with the MURDER of priest! Or, that the ENTIRE story is blasphemous in that a man CREATES human life with his bare hands, laughing :lol: in the face of god the entire time.

 

 

But, back to the point :wink: let's not even get started with the video nasties, the Video Recording Act Of 1984, and a handful of films which I believe to this day are still subject to being seized at customs because of their gore contents.

 

 

So, I ask: how does anyone in Britain ever get to see a movie at all? Seems that some point the Mary Whitehouses and the like would nitpick everything to death to sanitize it to the point of pure treacle only entertainment.

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While I haven't looked into classification / censorship as you db, I have noted on IMDB the huge variances between some countries ratings. Prime example is the list of movies rated as 7 years in Sweden. Quite a number of these in Australia have M (Mature Audiences recommended for 15 years & over) or MA Restricted (under 15 years must be accompanied by parent/guardian).

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Considering all the evils that we are supposedly being protected from through the use of classification / censorship, Sweden must be an awefully messed up place. Funny however how we don't hear about the rampant and unrestrained sex crimes that must be occurring in Sweden - if we are to believe the local censors.

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The BBC were no better with giving records air play bans. Desdemona by Johns Children was band from radio, as it contained the line. " lift up your skirt and fly." A bit checky maybe, but a ban!

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Actually, the ratings/classifications I have little problem with. My problem with those, as with ratings in the US, is that they are arbitrary. Assigned whatever by whoever for any reason they want. (My particular favorite was how during a Dragon Ball Z on Cartoon Network, the TV rating that it was given was for all ages... and the rating appears right on the screen when a lecherous old man grabs a woman's boob! =))) What the BBFC does, though, is interfere at the SCRIPT stage! BEFORE something is even filmed, they say it will be a "problem." For instance, a common note to Hammer throughout this book was about character's screams. They should not be too loud, too long, or too scary. They should also not be heard when people are dying. SHEESH! :rolleyes:

 

 

Again, I have no problem with restricting X content to Y age group. But, to actively remove something before it's made, or after, because someone arbitrarily doesn't like it

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The BBC were no better with giving records air play bans. Desdemona by Johns Children was band from radio, as it contained the line. " lift up your skirt and fly." A bit checky maybe, but a ban!

 

 

No worse than in America where "Louie, Louie!" was investigated by the US government for containing overt COMMUNIST lyrics?! :unsure: Pretty much, the government was dared to try and make SENSE out the song, because, guess what? There IS none in it! =)) It's just a nonsense song that somehow managed to catch on with people.

 

 

In Indiana, the song "It's In The Book" was banned from radio waves for no really discernable reason. There are two theories: 1.) it has a fake advertisement jingle for "Grandma's Lye Soap" 2.) it is sung in a hymn format The prevailing theory is because of some obscure law that permits advertising in songs on the radio there, coupled with the implied idea of religious worship and support of one religion over another, the stations imposed a ban on it themselves to not even go anywhere near the possibility of upsetting anyone. :doh:

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Considering all the evils that we are supposedly being protected from through the use of classification / censorship, Sweden must be an awefully messed up place. Funny however how we don't hear about the rampant and unrestrained sex crimes that must be occurring in Sweden - if we are to believe the local censors.

 

 

That's because everyone in Sweden has sex changes, of course. :lol:

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Again, I have no problem with restricting X content to Y age group. But, to actively remove something before it's made, or after, because someone arbitrarily doesn't like it

 

I agree completely. Several directors have recently released unrated versions of movies on dvd, as these cuts at theatrical release would have gotten 'non-studio friendly' ratings, such as NC-17. I seriously wonder if these films would have enjoyed any less success with such a rating in the first place, possibly done better? Horror film's are just that, and to tone them down just slightly to appease studio's greed (in fact what they are doing is trying to get children in to see horror's to make more money) is in a way selling out on the directors/producers part IMO. In many cases this is the only way a lot of films see the light of day unfortunately (or dark of the theatre :D ).

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Horror film's are just that, and to tone them down just slightly to appease studio's greed (in fact what they are doing is trying to get children in to see horror's to make more money)

 

 

Funny enough, many of the BBFC rejections to Hammer were ignored by the MPAA, or its equivalent depending on the time frame, BECAUSE their horror films were slotted for summer releases. They were targeted equally at kids. Strangely, especially given the time, America wasn't worried about the "sex" implied in the Hammer horror films (Curse Of The Werewolf was consistently warned by BBFC that they did not want it become a sex and horror film, even though there was NO sex in it at all. Uptight!) as they were worried about religious imagery. e.g. the recommendations to remove taking god's name in vain, etc. :rolleyes:

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Unfortunately David Letterman's statement 10 years ago about TV is also true for the large screen, "We're only here to sell soap", and the ratings boards appear to still be controlled by right-wing religous groups who still haven't realized that forcing children/young adults to stay away from something only makes them want it more.

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Again, I have no problem with restricting X content to Y age group. But, to actively remove something before it's made, or after, because someone arbitrarily doesn't like it

I also agree. The choice of what's in the movie should be that of the Producers, Directors, etc. The Classification or Censorship Boards should stick to assigning consistent classifications to finished products. If there was consistency, then films could be better targeted at the outset of production.

 

Having said that I also believe that studios benefit once a film gets to DVD by marketing the UN-CUT version. So in that respect a certain amount of self enforced cutting would occur to enable this.

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Well, now, I'm just tossed! I can't figure out British censors at all! :lol:

 

 

Discovered my library had some of the A&E Hammer House Of Horrors TV shows on video tape. Made by Hammer in 1980... and in the first episode tape, I see bare arse, nekkid boobs, and the woman's de-clothed teats fondled! :o So, apparently, TV is far more liberal? Granted, it was 30 years after some of the Hammer movies I mentioned, but, here was actual nudity on TV... and yet the film censors were worried about the sound level of screams or the equation of murder and sex implied by a prostitute strangled by a cannibal? :unsure:

Edited by dbminter
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Well, you can keep it on your TV. I prefer it in my bedroom. :wink:

 

 

"Well, I object to all this sex on the television. I mean, I keep falling off!"

 

THAT JOKE WAS BRITAIN'S ENTRY FOR THE RUBBER MAC OF ZURICH AWARD. IT CAME LAST.

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