1970s American movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
Directed by Theodore Gershuny / 1973 / USA / IMDb
In August 1972, a 2468.88 (90:00) print of SUGAR COOKIES was banned because of ‘indecency’.
Consolidated Exhibitors censored it down to 1928:00 (70:16), but this too was refused in November 1972.
Troma (us) – DVD – 90:28 (NTSC)
It is unbelievable that a version shorn of 20-minutes could not even get an Australian rating in 1972. The sex is frequent, but softcore all the way.
Uncut after 2 years
November 1974– Film Censorship Board
SUGAR COOKIES: Previously listed as rejected on Lists No 8/72. After review film classified as ‘Restricted’ Film Censorship Board and Films Board of Review.
The date refers to the initial uncut submission.
Blake Film had the full 2468.88 (90:00) print passed with an R-rating in August 1983 and again in February 1984.
It was awarded for sex, which was described as:
This appears to have been submitted for a video release that never eventuated.
Red Light in the White House
Directed by Paul Leder / 1977 / USA / IMDb
In March 1983, Feature Video Distributors had a 100-minute tape of RED LIGHT IN THE WHITE HOUSE passed with the Special Condition ‘that this film/tape will not be exhibited in any State in contravention of State’s law relating to the exhibition of films’.
In 1986, Apple Den had the same 100-minute print refused because of ‘gratuitous sexual violence’.
An 89:20 version of RED LIGHT IN THE WHITE HOUSE was issued on tape in Australia by VideoTech Entertainment Corporation (VEC).
This was a direct copy of the 1982 British pre-cert on the Video Unlimited label. It is unknown if this was released before the 1986 refusal.
Is it uncut?
In September 1985, a 92:13 film print was submitted to the British Board of Film Classification. This was then censored by 01:04 for an 18 certificate.
The Australian tape from VEC does not appear to be cut as the shorter 89:20 running time is down to the PAL speed. The cover lists it as running 100-minutes, which is the same length as the Film Censorship Board twice records.
Using the VEC tape as a guide, the ‘gratuitous sexual violence’ would be:
15:00 – Su Shan (Karin Collison) is raped in the boxing ring. This would have been the main reason for the refusal.
82:00 – The President (Ken Karp) slaps Su Shan, before having sex with her. This may have contributed to the refusal.
Let Me Die a Woman
Directed by Doris Wishman / 1977 / USA / IMDb
In May 1981, a 2119.49-meter (77:15) print of LET ME DIE A WOMAN was censored by 26.80-meters (00:59) for an R-rating.
The cuts were made to remove ‘gross surgical detail’, while the R-rating was awarded for ‘transsexualism’.
Video Classics was the applicant.
Video Classics (au) – VHS – 72:55 (PAL)
Derran Video (uk) – VHS – 75:11 (PAL)
The Australian tape is noticeably censored in a couple of places.
15:00 – The self-castration scene.
40:00 – The sex-change operation.
Directed by Harry Hurwitz / 1978 / USA / IMDb
In the early 1980s, AUDITIONS was banned twice on tape.
The first time was in June 1982 for Video Classics and the second in May 1983 for Syme Home Video.
Both ran 78-minutes and were refused due to the ‘sexual exploitation of a minor’.
One rare video
Despite the two refusals, AUDITIONS was released on tape in Australia.
The Hollywood House Video cover lists the title as THE AUDITIONS and displays an R-rating. The National Classification Database has no record of it being submitted for classification.
We have only seen one copy of this tape. Dating it is hard, as Hollywood House Video was releasing titles from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. It is possibly from the earliest days of the video boom when there was minimal regulation.
Linnea Quigley plays 15
AUDITIONS was one of Linnea Quigley’s earliest works and was released on VHS here in the States by Wizard Home Video in the early 1980s. I think I can explain what problem your censors had with the film.
This is a mock documentary involving auditions for a softcore porn movie. The scene in question involves Linnea’s character, Sally Webster.
We are introduced to Sally around 6-minutes when she auditions for a part. The producer asks her to take her clothes off and dance. After she does this he then says ‘we are going to have to check out your age though, because I don’t know if I’ll go for that eighteen though, but we certainly enjoyed the dance’. The scene ends around 8-minutes.
The second scene starts at around 26-minutes where Sally has been invited back for a second audition. Two guys pull her top off and lift her onto a bench. The producer then stops the scene and says there is a problem. The following discussion takes place.
Producer – ‘Is your name Sally Webster?’
Sally – ‘Yeah’
Producer – ‘How old are you Sally?’
Sally – ’18’
Producer – ‘How old?’
Sally – ’18’
Producer – ‘Sally, I happen to know for a fact that you are fifteen years old. When you told me you were eighteen I wasn’t sure and had some people check, and I just found out the whole story. There is no way you are going to be in this picture, you are underage and we’ll get in trouble. You are already in trouble because they know where you are. Your folks are very upset, why don’t you give them a call and arrange to go back home’
Sally – ‘I’m going to be sixteen next month!’
So, that would be the two scenes that your censor’s considered as ‘sexual exploitation of a minor’. Incidentally, Linnea Quigley was born in 1958 and AUDITIONS was made in 1978, making her twenty years old at the time.
The actual film is not bad and is surprisingly well-acted. In addition, (a 20-year-old) Linnea has a full-frontal nude scene.
Sigmund Freud’s Dora
Directed by Anthony McCall – Claire Pajaczkowska – Andrew Tyndall – Jane Weinstock / 1979 / USA / IMDb
In mid-1981, an uncut version of SIGMUND FREUD’S DORA: A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY was screened at both the Melbourne, and Sydney Film Festivals.
One missing minute
A wider release was planned which required it to be submitted to the Film Censorship Board.
In September 1981, a 383.00-meter (34:54) 16mm print was refused because of sex, which was said to be:
The same month saw a 372.00-meter (33:54) ‘reconstructed version’ passed with an R-rating. The sex was now:
Glenys Rowe Film Distribution was the applicant.
Hardcore to ponder
In January 1983, it was banned for a second time. The 385.00-meter (35:05) 16mm print, submitted by the National Library of Australia, was refused for the same reason as September 1981.
An appeal was made to the Films Board of Review. In March 1983, a 384.00-meter, (34:59) print was ‘Registered without eliminations’ with a ‘special condition’.
Decision Reviewed: Refusal to register by the Film Censorship Board.
Decision of the Board: Register subject to the special condition that the film not be exhibited in public cinemas and be made available only to specialist groups and individuals engaged in formal tertiary level study and research concerned with the representation of women, the politicisation of Freudian thinking, Feminist movements and film/media studies.– Films Board of Review
All the sex
LUX – lux.org.uk – streaming – 35:01
This may be short, but it is boring as hell. Fortunately, the problem sex scenes are easy to spot.
The film is divided into four sections, each featuring a single sex act.
04:35 to 04:37 – A woman performing oral sex on a man.
0:12 to 10:24 – Two women kissing, as one rubs her hand inside the other’s underwear.
The First Dream
14:46 to 14:56 – A woman lying down and masturbating.
20:07 to 20:20 – A bondage scene, with a man on his knees while a woman ties his hands behind his back.
24:58 to 26:32 – A woman reads from the back of various postcards, the front of which shows an image from each of the previously shown sex scenes.
The blowjob sequence and associated postcard images would have been removed from the R-rated print, as they appear to be straight out of a hardcore porn film.
The female masturbation sequence in THE FIRST DREAM may have also been trimmed.
The bondage and lesbian sequences are not particularly explicit, so presumably would have remained untouched.