1960s and 1970s American action movies that have been cut or banned in Australia.
aka Trip to Kill
Directed by Lane Slate – Tom Stern / 1971 / USA / IMDb
In October 1972, a 2576.00-meter (93:54) print of CLAY PIGEON was banned because of ‘indecency, excessive violence, and incitement to drug abuse’.
Warner Bros. immediately appealed to the Films Board of Review, who passed it with an R-rating. This was following the removal of 7.31-meters (00:16) of the ‘incitement to drug abuse’ footage.
Problem footage identified
VCL Video [uk], 88:17 (PAL)
The ‘indecency, excessive violence, and incitement to drug abuse’ refers to some or all of these scenes.
Joe (Tom Stern), Angeline (Marilyn Akin), and Saddle (Marlene Clark) swim naked together (27:30), Angeline dances fully naked in the go-go bar (74:00). Saddle sits naked on the bed and fools around with Simon (Ivan Dixon) (77:00).
Neilson (Robert Vaughn) slaps Tracy (Belinda Palmer) a few times before Simon gives her an (off-screen) overdose of heroin. (67:00). Simon shoots and kills Saddle (78:00) and Angeline (79:00). Finally, Joe kills Simon with an axe to the stomach. He is later shown dead on the ground with it embedded in him (84:00).
Incitement to drug abuse
Joe and Angeline smoke a joint (19:00). Joe watches as Tracy prepares some heroin and shoots-up (44:00). Joe, Angeline, Saddle and Tracy sit around smoking marijuana (54:00).
If the eventual appeal to the Films Board of Review resulted in only 00:16 of cuts for ‘incitement to drug abuse’, then I would guess this would have come from the scene at 44:00 where Joe watches Tracy shoot-up. This would make sense, as it is less than a year since PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971) was censored of a similar scene.
In July 1982, an 89-minute tape of CLAY PIGEON was passed with an R-rating under the title TRIP TO KILL. It was awarded for violence, which was found to be:
…and also for ‘drugs’.
VCL Video label was the applicant.
Video Classics had the same 89-minute tape passed with an R-rating in February 1984.
In June 1985, the 89-minute tape was passed for a third time with an R-rating. The reason given was the same as July 1982. VCL Communications was again the applicant.
The three classifications refer to the tape that Video Classics released on their VCL Video label.
Directed by Martin Scorsese / 1972 / USA / IMDb
In August 1972, a 2491.13-meter (90:48) print of BOX CAR BERTHA was censored by 39.92-meters (01:27) for an R-rating. The cuts were made to remove ‘excessive violence’.
Roadshow Distributors were the applicant.
Uncut video & DVD
In February 1984, an 88-minute video was passed with an R-rating.
Roadshow Home Video released it on tape.
BOXCAR BERTHA was classified again in August 2005.
This time, the MGM Home Entertainment DVD was passed with an R18+ (High level violence) rating.
Directed by Phil Karlson / 1975 / USA / IMDb
In September 1975, a 2825.00-meter (102:58) print of FRAMED was Refused Registration because of ‘excessive violence’.
A censored 2743.00-meter (99:59) version was awarded an R-rating in March 1976.
United International Pictures released it theatrically.
It was Refused Registration again in July 1985, this time in the form of a 102-minute videotape. The reason given for the ban was violence, which was described as:
CIC-TAFT Video censored the print down to 100-minutes and received an R-rating in March 1987. The reason for the rating was violence, which was now said to be:
The censored 100:14 VHS was released on the CIC-TAFT Video label.
The censored violence
Legend Films (us) – DVD – 105:49 (NTSC)
CIC-TAFT Video (au) – VHS – 100:14 (PAL) ≈ 104:25 (NTSC)
The times indicate that approximately 01:25 was cut. Although there may be others, these are the most noticeable.
15:00 – Haskins (Roy Jenson) has come to arrest Ron (Joe Don Baker) for the shooting. The two get into a very violent and bloody fight. Ron finally kills Haskins by bashing his head four times on the garage floor. The CIC-TAFT Video cuts the first two of these (as well as a few seconds before) and only shows the last two.
19:00 – Susan (Conny Van Dyke) is threatened by Frank (Paul Mantee) and the blond guy. The CIC-TAFT Video cuts the part where she says ‘Ow, my breasts’. The scene then continues with her slowly sliding down the wall before it cuts again. Missing here is around 00:25 of Frank threatening Susan by pushing the gun close to her mouth. As he does so, he breathes deeply as if aroused. Although it is mentioned later in the film, no rape is shown in the uncut version
83:00 – The CIC-TAFT Video shows Ron placing his gun next to Frank’s ear. It then censors around 00:25 of him shooting and of Frank, now with a bloody ear, as he is bundled into the car.
85:00 – Ron opens the hood of his car and pushes Frank under it. Missing in the CIC-TAFT Video is a shot of the spark plug being pushed into Frank’s ear.
97:00 – The CIC-TAFT Video censors the scene where Ron stabs the mayor in the back of the hand.
The running time of the uncut version indicates the 102:58 print that was R-rated back in September 1975 may have been pre-cut.
In 2000, FRAMED was screened by Channel 7 Sydney in their midday movie slot. Presumably, it was heavily censored.
Northville Cemetery Massacre
Directed by William Dear – Thomas L. Dyke / 1976 / USA / IMDb
In September 1977, a 2258.80-meter (82:20) print of NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE was Refused Registration because of ‘indecent violence’.
An appeal to the Films Board of Review saw them overturn this decision and award it an R-rating.
D.Dunningham Films was the applicant.
One daybill has David Dunningham Films (Aust) Pty Ltd as the distributor.
The other daybill lists Regent Films.
Banned in Queensland
On 30 June 1978, the R-rated version of NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE was prohibited by the Queensland Films Board of Review.
The distributor was David Dunningham Films.
Two Australian tapes
NORTHVILLE CEMETERY MASSACRE was issued on tape by both K&C Video and Video Classics.
The running time of the rare early 1980s K&C Video release is unknown.
Video Classics first released an 80:05 (PAL) tape in the early 1980s.
In February 1984, they had an 85-minute tape passed with an R-rating. This was awarded for violence, which was said to be:
Despite the longer running time, this classification would have been for their original release.
Video Classics censorship
Video Classics (au) – VHS – 80:05 (PAL)
The scene between 18:00 to 20:00 looks to have been censored in some way. It starts with Putnam (J. Craig Collicut) beating Chris (David Hyry) with his shotgun, some of the blows may have been removed. Putnam’s rape of Lynn (Jan Sisk) looks a bit choppy. She says to him ‘please, please leave me alone’. None of the actual rape is shown, however, I guess that it should have appeared after this. It is followed by Putnam saying to her ‘listen, listen, listen to me’.
At around 29:30 two bikers are shot in the back, at 41.00 there is an ambush in the drive-in and between 63:00 to 75:00 there is the final shoot-out as just about everyone dies. All these scenes contain lots of splashy blood squibs and at 67:00 a biker is shot in the head. None of this violence looks cut, but there may be other footage missing from these scenes.
Directed by David Berlatsky / 1977 / USA / IMDb
In July 1977, a 2663.40-meter (97:05) print of THE FARMER was banned because of ‘indecent violence’.
Columbia Pictures was the applicant.