Film Censorship Jan'60-Apr'70: P





Peeping Tom

Directed by Michael Powell / 1960 / UK / IMDb

Original theatrical release was passed with 'Suitable only for Adults' rating. We assume that the controversial nature of the film meant that the Australian theatrical print was censored.

Information provided by Shane Harrison.

 In the early 1990s, film censorship was discussed in an episode of Sophie Lee's SEX on Channel 9. I have a DVD of the segment where she shows cuts from a number of films from the 1950s and 60s. It included a scene from PEEPING TOM which was only screened in the European version, and which is still missing from all current releases.

The final murder details glamour model Pamela Green. In the released version by Criterion, she preps for the photo session and lies out on a divan in a negligee as the photographer arranges the camera with the lethal tripod. The scene then changes angle to a view from the ceiling and shows briefly the model posed on the divan with the negligee open and breasts exposed as the photographer/killer approaches with the camera. The scene starts to dissolve almost as it starts so the nudity is fleeting. This has been touted as the first nude scene in a British feature film.

In the segment shown in the SEX episode, a scene was shown to demonstrate the type of nudity that the censors used to cut. It shows a very quick excerpt of a point of view from the photographer looking at Pamela Green laying out on the divan with one breast completely exposed as she talks to him. Her breast is in close up, which is daring to say the least for 1959!

From my research I discovered that the film was made with the nudity included, but clothed shots were available if there were problems. There were two shots, one of her talking on the divan as things are getting prepared and the overhead shot as the killer approaches her, the latter is in the home release versions. The first scene was filmed with the exact same dialogue as the current clothed take. America and the UK took the clothed shot of that scene, and the UK further allowed the high ceiling shot of her naked as it dissolved. Europe and Australia received the unclothed version; however, our censor went on to remove the nude shot. Importantly, they kept it in their basement in Sydney from where it came to be shown on TV as part of Channel Nine's SEX program.

The "clothed" Criterion version is shown below on the left, and the "unclothed" SEX version on the right. I have yet to find any evidence that the "unclothed" shot has been used in any version of the film released on home entertainment, which is odd as it is such a high profile title. The vaults of the Australian censor must hold a lot of lost footage from world cinema!

Resubmitted and passed with an M-rating rating in August 1981.


Peeping Tom (1960) - Clothed Criterion versionPeeping Tom (1960) - Unclothed SEX version 







Directed by Ingmar Bergman / 1966 / Sweden / IMDb

Information provided by Shane Harrison from viewing of "Chipp's reel".
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.
Censored footage 00:45

Discussion about sex.


Information from Mike Richards's viewing of "Chipp's reel".
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.

Dirty Pix
Mike Richards
Cinema Papers issue 2, April 1974

At another point the aptly named Department of Customs and Excise jibbed at showing certain pieces of dialogue and placed it instead in the program. Hence, the following extract from the English subtitles of Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA.

“She helped him off with his jeans and shirt and then he was on top of her. She showed him how and held him (sic) by his (sic) fanny." (Typographical errors or was the Department really in a bad way?)

"I turned over and said: ‘Won’t you come to me now?’ I felt it as I’d never felt it before. He gripped me by the shoulders and bent backwards and thrust again and again. Katerina lay on her side watching and holding from behind and when he was through she took him in her arms and finished herself off with his hand and gave a shrill cry."


Resubmitted and passed uncut with an M (Sexual references, Adult themes) rating in November 2004.





Poor Cow

Directed by Ken Loach / 1967 / UK / IMDb

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

Information provided by Shane Harrison.
Three cuts were made by our censors.

00:59 - 00:12 cut: Views of a baby's birth.
The opening of the film shows her giving birth, and then moves to the opening credits. Our theatrical version began the same, but a seamless cut removed the actual birth footage. The censorship was so good that I didn't realise it had been made until I saw it on video. The TV screenings in the 1970s on Channel 9's MIDNIGHT-TO-DAWN were of the cut theatrical version.

68:22 - 01:00 cut: Semi-nude discrete sex scene taking place in the countryside.

86:22 - 0:1:44 cut: Carol White discusses a girlie calendar hanging on the wall with a creepy shop assistant. They flick through the various months as he states that in Germany such picture are illegal. He explains that the laws there allow the complete exposure of a topless woman but not partial exposure where one breast is exposed and the other covered.

There was also a sequence where she poses for a private camera club to earn money. It was pretty sleazy, with the men commenting that some of them didn't even bother putting film in their cameras. It was left untouched by the censor, and was the big scene that was used to promote the film both at the cinema and on TV, selling it as a sexy movie, which it was anything but!



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