I don't agree with film censorship. I don't agree because it will always be down to one person's viewpoint. I believe adults should be free to watch fictional depictions of violence, sex, etc.
|Posted: 29 March 2018 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 1
A film magazine I buy had an article on British censorship of horror films in the 1930s. Founded in 1912, the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) refused certificates for many US horror films.*
Between 1912 and 1932, there were only two certificates in the UK: "U" for Universal, suitable for all; and "A" for adult, only to be seen by those 16 and over.
There were films, such as METROPOLIS, which were edited. But the likes of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) and NOSFERATU (1922) were refused certification, altogether. FRANKENSTEIN (1931) arrived over here, but UK distributors cut the scene where the Monster throws the girl into the lake. DRACULA (1931) was released here, but only when it cut seven minutes of footage.
In 2018, it's hard to imagine such things. The above films are tame by modern standards, but as someone who tries to "see into the past", I appreciate a 1925 viewer may indeed have found THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA horrifying. But should it really have been down to the opinion of ONE censor as to whether people go to see that film or not? I don't think it should have been.
Other examples in the article were bizarre. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932) was banned due to blasphemous dialogue ("Do you know what it means to feel like God?"). Even Disney's 1933 seven-minute cartoon THE MAD DOCTOR was banned due to its 'horror atmosphere'.
From what I read, I believe the BBFC were very anti-horror. It seemed that way based on the historical evidence. This did concern US studio moguls. Of course, society does evolve and grow up. More certificates were added over time such as "H" for horror. Today, we have certificates such as U, 12, 15 and 18 (to name a few). And all sorts of things are released nowadays.
I smile when I think of a film being refused certification due to 'blasphemous dialogue'. Today, we hear all sorts of 'blasphemous dialogue'. And modern movies can be incredibly violent. Some may be cut or refused certification, but they seem to be the exception to the rule.
I guess, like I stated, you have to appreciate the era. I don't think any fiction should be banned unless there is an absolutely compelling reason. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was banned from UK cinemas after some copycat violence. It was shown here in 1999, 27 years after its release. But I do like to think that adults should be able to choose what fiction they watch.
I know nothing about the MPAA, but I certainly hope their censors weren't as "scissor-happy" as us Brits were in the 1930s!
*The British Board of Film Censors exist today, but are called the British Board of Film Classification.