Until the 1980s, one of the four functions of the Censorship Board was to examine advertising concerning imported and Australian films. This was required under the provisions of both Commonwealth and State legislations.
This area of Australian censorship is not very well documented. Unlike actual film cuts, these types of alterations to advertising material were never gazetted.
We are in the early stages of covering this type of modification. Some example are on this page and a growing list can be found listed under ‘Advertising Issues’ in the Film Censorship Timeline.
A comparison of overseas advertising with Australian daybills, admats etc. is the easiest way of identifying modifications. Please get in touch if you identify any others.
aka Erotic Dreams
Directed by Lasse Braun – Max Fischer etc. / 1974 / Netherlands – West Germany / IMDb
In August 1974, a 2450.00-meter (89:18) print of WET DREAMS was passed with an R-rating.
Filmways Australasia Distributors was the applicant.
CP – The Board of Review apparently rejected 11 out of the 12 ads submitted by Filmways for WET DREAMS?
RW – Well with that one they were worried about the title. They want us to change it, but how the hell can you change the title when a film has got 13 segments. It would cost more to change the titles than it cost to produce the film.
CP – What sort of film do Filmways consider WET DREAMS to be?
RW: Oh well I consider it to be a very intellectual, entertaining and artistic film. It is not a piece of cheese because we are not interested in that sort of film. We have never released a film at the Star or the Albany.– Robert Ward, Dendy Filmways
– Cinema Papers No. 4
It appears the Censorship Board was successful in imposing a name change.
In September 1974, it was released in Melbourne’s Dendy Collins St cinema under the original title. However, it was later changed to EROTIC DREAMS, with advertising noting that it was ‘formerly WET DREAMS’.
At the time, the classification of advertising material was a real issue for distributors.
January 1974– Producer, Antony I. Ginnane interview
…we do have problems with advertising material – I think the Board takes an unreasonable attitude to imported advertising matter. Any imported still, slide or poster has to be submitted to the censor with the film and the trailer. The trailer gets a classification, like a normal film, and the advertising material is either passed or rejected. I don’t think advertising material is any of the censor’s concern. If the material is offensive, then there will be necessary Police Offences legislation in the relevant states to deal with it, as there is with other printed material.
– Cinema Papers No. 1
April 2, 1974
CP: How do you see the direction of Australian censorship?
RP – Well of course this will depend a lot on Government policies, both Australian and State. As I understand it the general policy is that adult people should be free to read, see and hear whatever they wish. The second point being of course that people who don’t want this sort of material should not be subjected to it.
CP – Is this where the censorship of advertising material comes in to it?
RP – Yes, because we are much tougher on advertising material than we are on the film itself, the reason being that by its very nature advertising material is freely available to everybody, even the youngest children and it is displayed in places where it is readily available to people who don’t want to see it.– The Censor Speaks, Richard Prowse, Chief Censor
– Cinema Papers No. 2