Film Censorship Jan'60-Apr'70: D


 

 

 

 

The Damned

Directed by Luchino Visconti / 1969 / Italy-West Germany / IMDb

Original theatrical release was censored for a 'Not Suitable for Children' rating.

Information provided by Shane Harrison
Colin Bennett was a film critic with The Age in Melbourne. He wrote a lot about the sad state of censorship and included such in numerous film critiques. He had seen THE DAMNED overseas, so knew the complete version. In his review, he detailed the three areas of cuts. I saw the film back then. Only Australian censorship could reduce a controversial cutting-edge X-rated European art film to an Aussie "Not Suitable For Children".

Three complete sequences were removed.

1. A long scene of post coital chat between Ingrid Thulin and Dirk Bogarde, where Ingrid is naked for protracted screen time. The scene establishes that she is a Lady Macbeth as she coaxes a weak Bogarde into the benefit of co-operating with the Nazis and worse. The whole scene was removed, so the audience had no idea at this point that she was the "power behind the throne."

2. The scene depicting the treacherous "Night of the Long-knives" was removed. The prolonged sequence detailed a homosexual orgy, drunken assaults on the serving women and ends with the notorious massacre. It's removal left the audience completely in the dark as to the demise of one of the major characters who simply disappeared from the plot and was referred to as dead near the end of the movie... the first the audience knew that he was dead.

3. Helmut Berger (a perverted and powerful Nazi character) destroys his mother's (Ingrid Thulin) control by raping her near the end of the film. The rape plot was totally removed. It was unfathomable how such a strong character ended the film a fragile wreck.

Interestingly when a cut version played TV in Melbourne in the late 70s it included as scene where a 6-year-old girl, who was assaulted by Helmet Berger's character, is shown hanging from the ceiling, murdered. This view was not in the Australian theatrical release print, or the worldwide VHS or DVD releases. An overseas DVD release about a decade or so ago had the scene reinstated and was the first time the film could be seen fully uncut. In the late 70s, THE DAMNED played Melbourne at retro cinemas and the print was nearly complete. Some of the violence during the "Night of the Long-knives" was reduced and the actual rape of Ingrid Thulin was deleted, while the "before and after" was included. I am thinking that given THE DAMNED wasn't resubmitted to our censor in the 70s then this was a print from a less censorious country and was exhibited with a self-imposed M-rating.

I have seen some cinema admats that appeared in the Melbourne press in 1970 that THE DAMNED as being rated 'Suitable only for Adults'. This contradicts the daybill that shows the lower 'Not Suitable for Children' rating. A similar situation occurred with Michelangelo Antonioni BLOW-UP (1966).

All newspapers and the cinema box office had to carry the official rating, while posters appeared to be a law unto themselves.

I believe that the ratings were changed around 1968, and this resulted in posters carrying different ratings depending on the year they were printed. Pre-1968, the classification X (Not suitable for General Exhibition), which was sometimes referred to as X (Not Suitable for Children), became A (Not Suitable for Children). While the higher A (Suitable for Adults), sometimes referred to as A (For Adults), became AO (For Adults) or SOA (Suitable Only for Adults). In effect, the A-rating was switched.

 

Resubmitted and passed with an M-rating in June 1987.

Image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

The Damned (1969) - Daybill


 

 

 

 

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

Directed by Freddie Francis/ 1968 / UK / IMDb

Original theatrical release was censored for a 'Suitable only for Adults' rating.

Information provided by Shane Harrison.

I first saw DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE in September 1969, and caught up with the print again in the late 2000s.The Astor cinema in Melbourne often screened original 1960s theatrical prints of movies, which was a great way to record the damage done by our censors. By viewing the uncut DVD before, and again after seeing the bowdlerised print at the Astor, I noted the following footage removed for a 'Suitable Only for Adults' rating.

Times refer to Warner's uncut Blu-ray, Horror Classics Volume 1, NTSC running time 92:09.

04:24 - 00:13 cut:  Close-up pan across a trail of blood on the floor of the belfry leading from the bell rope across to the bell, and a further view of blood dripping on the floor from the bell.

05:03 – 00:09 cut: Close-up of victim's ravaged throat after falling out of the bell.

18:32 - 00:18 cut: View of blood dripping from the priest's injured head running into Dracula's mouth, and reviving him. In Australia the scene suggested merely the cracking of the ice encasing Dracula revived him. It begged the question as to why he did not free himself each Summer! Uncut it shows that he needed to sip the priest's blood to revive.

19:59 – 00:03 cut: Close-up of Dracula's bloodshot eyes.

25:17 - 00:47 cut: Priest, under Dracula's control, dragging a coffin from a grave and tipping the corpse out into a ditch.

45:24 – 00:03 cut: Close-up of Dracula's bloodshot eyes.

46:30 - Close-up of the barmaid's bitten throat, this was reduced to a quick view reflected in mirror.

53:02 - View of Dracula slapping the barmaid across her face. This was reduced, with some surrounding footage removed.

56:04 – 00:03 cut: Close-up of Dracula's bloodshot eyes.

58:13 - 00:06 cut: View from Dracula's bloodshot eyes to the screaming barmaid, before a red filter bathes the screen.

59:50 – 00:05 cut: Sequence where the priest finds the barmaids body and rolls her over revealing close-ups of her bloodied face and neck.

60:26 - 00:33 cut: Priest putting the barmaid's body in a furnace.

67:13 – Maria reclines on her bed invitingly as Dracula kisses her, before focusing on her neck. The scene was toned down with the definite removal of a close-up of her neck as seen from Dracula's point of view, and a close-up of his fangs as he descends. There was other footage deleted as the build-up was noticeably less prolonged.

71:49 – 00:01:50 cut - Bloody face shot of Dracula snarling on seeing crucifix.

72:36 - The priest hitting the Monsignor over the head with a roofing tile was toned down, by removing the actual hit.

79:03 - The priest hitting Paul over the head with a candlestick was toned down, by removing the actual hit.

81:13 – 00:11 cut: Dracula screaming with a stake in his heart, and blood pumping out. In the UK, this was censored by the BBFC, and only later reinstated for video and DVD. It is hard to believe this was originally passed with a G-rating in America. I have no idea if our censor received the uncut American or cut British version before they got to work on the print.

89:12 - A bloody close-up of Draculas chest, with the end of the large crucifix poking through.

89:31 - All views of Dracula writhing while impaled on the crucifix were reduced to long shots only. His final death throws were completely removed as was the ending shot of his blood dribbling down the crucifix.

Hammer's horror films suffered heavily under Australia's draconian 1960's censorship regime. The cinema release of DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE in September 1969 was heralded as the first Dracula film passed by the censors in 24-years. The advertising also pushed that it was the first Hammer vampire film to be passed by our censors, and the first colour Dracula film to be screened here.

Resubmitted and passed with an M-rating in April 1989.

Image courtesy of moviemem.com

 

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) - Daybill


 

 

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