1970s American movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
The Honeymoon Killers
Directed by Leonard Kastle / 1970 / USA / IMDb
In March 1971, a 9673-feet (107:28) version of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS was banned due to ‘violence and indecency’.
At the time, the highest classification was ‘Suitable only for Adults’. This was broadly equivalent to the M-rating.
New system, same result
The R-rating was introduced on 15 November 1971.
THE HONEYMOON KILLERS was soon resubmitted in the hope of securing this new classification. However, in January 1972, it was once more refused due to ‘violence and indecency’.
Incamera was the applicant.
All the violence & indecency
On-screen violence is only depicted in one scene.
78:00 – Janet (Mary Jane Higby) is beaten to death with a hammer to the head. Due to the film being in black and white, it is not as shocking as it sounds.
The murder of Delphine (Kip McArdle) by a gunshot to the head and the drowning of her young daughter Rainelle (Mary Breen) is conveyed entirely by sound effects.
The Film Censorship Board’s claims of ‘indecency’ are more difficult to understand.
Apart from a brief side view of a breast, a rear view of a naked Ray (Tony Lo Bianco), there is no sex and nudity. At the time, maybe ‘indecency’ meant Ray telling Delphine that she needed to take tablets to abort her baby.
January 1972 was possibly too soon after the introduction of the R-rating for a resubmission. Standards seemed to relax after a few years, so I believe it could have received an uncut release by the mid-1970s.
Uncut & M-rated after 19-years
In October 1989, a 103-minute print of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS passed with an M (Occasional violence) rating.
The violence was described as being:
It was released theatrically by Potential Films.
A 103-minute version was again passed with an M-rating in December 1990.
The tape was issued by Roadshow on their Premiere Home Entertainment label.
SBS has shown an uncut version of THE HONEYMOON KILLERS several times.
In June 2004, DV1 submitted a 103:24 version on DVD.
Once more, it passed with an M-rating, but now with consumer advice changed from ‘Occasional violence’ to ‘Medium level violence’.
The cover advertised the fact that it had previously been banned.
A second DVD was released in September 2015, this time by Shock Entertainment.
It was part of their Cinema Cult range.
Tropic of Cancer
Directed by Joseph Strick / 1970 / USA / IMDb
In January 1972, an 8029-feet (89:12) print of TROPIC OF CANCER was banned because of ‘indecency’.
A censored 2401.87-meters (87:33) version was passed with an R-rating in July 1973.
UIP released it theatrically.
In October 2012, TROPIC OF CANCER screened on ABC2.
Their in-house classifiers awarded the 83:04 print an MA15+ (Frequent strong coarse language, Nudity, Strong sexual references, sex scenes) rating.
QUIET DAYS IN CLICHY (1970), another Henry Miller novel, was filmed at the same time as TROPIC OF CANCER.
See the separate entry for this title in our Film Censorship Database No. 1.
Directed by Don Schain / 1971 / USA / IMDb
In March 1974, a 2761.18-meter (100:39) print of GINGER was passed with an R-rating.
Effie Holdings was the applicant.
Banned in Queensland
On 30 June 1978, the R-rated version of GINGER was prohibited by the Queensland Films Board of Review.
The distributor was Filmways.
VHS released & refused
In December 1984, GA International was promoting GINGER as just being issued on video in Australia.
However, in March 1985, this 95:09 tape was banned because of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’. This did not prevent it from remaining on shelves of many video stores.
There are various examples of sexual violence during the film. Presumably, the climax would have been the main problem. In it, Ginger (Cheri Caffaro) is punched, raped and injected with heroin by Rex (Duane Tucker).
Was the VHS censored?
Interestingly, the GA International video does look slightly cut during one scene.
Before – Jimmy (Herbert Kerr) says, ‘Spread your legs’. It is followed by him naked on top of the girl.
This scene fades and is followed by a very brief shot of another scene coming into view. This shows Rodney’s (Casey Donovan) body naked from the waist down.
After – The soundtrack jumps and there is a shot of Ginger saying to Rodney ‘Just enjoy the view’.
Who was GA International?
Their initials stand for George and Associates, with the Australian head office based in the Sydney suburb of Brookvale. Some of their tapes list a PO Box located in Auckland, New Zealand. They appear to have been operational in the mid-1980s.
The cover of the GINGER tape promised that it was ‘One of 3 Action-Packed Ginger Movies’.
A sequel, titled THE ABDUCTORS (1972), was banned in December 1984. While the third film, GIRLS ARE FOR LOVING (1973), had an R-rated theatrical release in the early 1970s. Along with A PLACE CALLED TODAY (1972), all were reportedly issued on tape by GA International. Having never seen an Australian VHS, we presume these were New Zealand only releases.
For more banned and censored Don Schain, see the database entries for A PLACE CALLED TODAY (1972) and THE ABDUCTORS (1972).
Pretty Maids All in a Row
Directed by Roger Vadim / 1971 / USA / IMDb
In May 1971, an 8213-feet (91:05) print of PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW was banned due to ‘indecency’.
The Films Board of Review upheld this decision in July 1971.
Post-November 1971 rating
An 8013-feet (89:02) ‘reconstructed version’ was passed with an R-rating in June 1972. This was over two minutes shorter than the version that was banned in May 1971.
MGM/BEF Film Distributors was the applicant.
Why the censorship?
Warner Home Video (us) – 2010 DVD – 91:15 (NTSC) – Includes opening and 00:06 MGM intro.
It is understandable why this was banned during the ‘Suitable only for Adults’ days. What is harder to explain is why it required over two minutes of cuts once the R-rating was introduced.
There is lots of topless nudity, mainly due to Tiger (Rock Hudson) bedding his students. It also contains some fleeting, but extremely softcore sex scenes. Presumably, all of this was censored for the Australian theatrical release.
Directed by Carl Monson / 1971 / USA / IMDb
In July 1981, a 75-minute tape of THE TAKERS was Refused Registration. The reasons given were:
Other: Sexual violence
K&C Video was the applicant.
Despite the cover being available, we have yet to see any evidence that the tape was released.
Sex & sexual violence
Something Weird (us) – DVD – 77:39 (NTSC)
These two scenes are about as graphic as the sex gets.
16:00 – When the naked girl sits on top of E.J. (Fred Bush), we see his testicles as they have sex.
45:00 – As Barbara (Anna Travers) straddles Will (Coe Bart), we get a glimpse of what looks like his semi-erect penis.
The problem of sexual violence is easier to identify.
30:00 – E.J. and Will break into the home of two girls. Barbara plays along with them in the hope that they will leave. Laura (Vicki Carbe) is more reluctant, which forces E.J. to become violent to make her have sex.
61:00 – The two intruders have still not left. E.J. then forces himself onto one of the women. After a time she is shown enjoying the sex.
The home invasion sequence runs from 30-minutes until the end of the film. It climaxes with the husband arriving home and gunning down the intruders.
For more censored Carl Monson, see the database entries for A SCREAM IN THE STREETS (1973) and HUNGRY PETS (1973).
Directed by Don Schain / 1972 / USA / IMDb
In February 1974, a 2483.51 meter (90:31) print of THE ABDUCTORS cut by 95.39 meter (03:28) for an R-rating. The reasons given for the censorship was ‘indecency’.
Effie Holdings was the applicant.
Banned on video
In December 1984, a 90-minute VHS was Refused Registration due to ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.
Despite reports that this tape was distributed in Australia, we have yet to see evidence. Like Don Schain’s A PLACE CALLED TODAY (1972), it is more likely a New Zealand only release.
Gratuitous sexual violence
Monterey Media (us) – DVD – 90:20 (NTSC)
It is unclear if this print is indeed uncut as the following scene appears to be modified.
Before – A man says ‘… and she’ll crack’, this is followed by the sound of the girl crying.
20:51 – The film appears to jump.
After – We next see the guy sitting on the end of the bed looking at the girl. He then begins to rape her which she eventually seems to enjoy. This would have contributed to the film being banned in Australia.
There are numerous other censor-baiting scenes of naked male and female victims being threatened.
A Place Called Today
Directed by Don Schain / 1972 / USA / IMDb
In November 1984, a 100-minute video of A PLACE CALLED TODAY was banned because of ‘explicit and gratuitous sexual violence’.
A censored 99-minute version was passed with an M-rating in September 1985.
The applicant, GA International, did release the tape in New Zealand. The cover lists a PO Box located in Auckland.
It is unclear if any copies appeared in Australian stores.
The problem footage
VHS (us) – 102:55 (NTSC)
83:00 – Cindy (Cheri Caffaro)is kidnapped by two males. The following sequence would have been removed, in part, or in full. It breaks down as follows.
90:24 to 92:04 – A naked Cindy is released from the sleeping bag with her mouth taped shut. The black kidnapper says ‘You white bitch’. He then threatens her, first with a gun, then a knife. She struggles and he says ‘fight, go on, fight’ before he proceeds to rape her.
92:04 to 92:21 – A report is shown on TV.
92:21 to 92:33 – The rape continues.
92:33 to 95:35 – Randy (J. Herbert Kerr Jr.) and Carolyn (Lana Wood) watch the TV news report.
95:35 to 96:12 – The black kidnapper finishes raping Cindy, before stabbing her in the throat. The two males make their escape just as the police arrive.
Directed by Scott Forslund / 1972 / USA / IMDb
In August 1984, an 84-minute tape of SMALL WINDOWS was banned due to the ‘sexual exploitation of a minor’.
The plot reportedly involves a 13-year-old boy who has a relationship with his older female cousin.
Sundowner and Video Productions was the applicant.