Directed by George & Charis Schwarz

The movies of George Schwarz and Charis Schwarz have been cut or banned in Australia.

Sex Aids and How to Use Them

aka Sexuality Part One – Sex Aids and How to Use Them

Directed by George Schwarz – Charis Schwarz / 1974 / Australia / IMDb

In April 1974, a 312.10-meter (28:26) 16mm print of SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM was banned because of ‘indecency’.

This was overturned in June 1974 when the Films Board of Review awarded it an uncut R-rating with the following conditions.

June 1974
Subject to special conditions as under:
(i) Addition of written and spoken introduction incorporating expert medical advice.
(ii) The words ‘This is a sex education film’ to be used in all advertising.
(iii) All advertising to be submitted to the Chief censor for approval.

– Films Board of Review

In both cases, the applicant was Norbert, Lipton and Co.

Banned in Queensland

On 27 July 1974, SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM became the first film to be prohibited by newly formed the Queensland Films Board of Review.

The distributor was Non Fiction Films.

Don’t mess with the censor

In late 1974, Regent Trading’s THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF ZORRO (1972) had its rating revoked. This was due to uncut prints being screened in Melbourne and Brisbane after they were accidentally released from censor’s bond store. Antony I. Ginnane noted speculation that this could have been payback for Regent’s distribution of SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM.

December 1974
Importer, Errol Heath [Regent Trading Enterprises], who is an old-timer as far as independent distribution goes and has had his run-ins with the Censors back in the bad old days, blames inefficiency within the Attorneys-General’s Department for the brouhaha (and it is well known that the inhabitants of the Imperial Arcade basement [the Censor’s HQ] are not noted for either their efficiency or their consistency), but other informed sources suggested that this might be the work of the establishment getting back at Heath for his handling of the controversial SEX AIDS & HOW TO USE THEM and for his blasts at the kangaroo-court Queensland Film Board of Review, both publicly at the recent Annual Exhibitor’s Convention and in the pages of the trade paper Australasian Cinema.

– Film Censorship can STILL be heavy
– Cinema Papers issue No. 4

Australian distribution

SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM became the first film to screen at Melbourne’s Barrel Cinema.

March 1975
Melbourne has acquired two new in-dependent cinemas in the last month bringing the number in the greater urban area to 41. This is at least nine more than its northern neighbor Sydney, where restrictive licensing regulations have, until recently, kept a closed door on the market. Melbourne’s high cinema standards have contributed to the increasing popularity of local movie going. For com-fort and modernity, Melbourne cinemas are world standard, unlike Sydney where old barns still stand tall.

The other new entry – also 16mm – is at the opposite end of the scale. An 83-seat shopfront operation run by Sydney entrepreneur Dave Gondall, the Barrel! Theatre will screen essentially sexploitation products. Their opening attraction is the controversial Australian sex education movie SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM, directed by George Schwarz – which by dint of its education tag includes some of the most objectively hardcore material ever seen on a cinema screen in this country.

Although the Barrell had early teething troubles with the Health Department it now seems to have settled comfortably into the daily grind. Management’s intention is not to attempt any form of ‘club’ structure but operate within Commonwealth censor controlled limits. This may of course mean that subsequent attractions will be less ‘hot’ than SEX AIDS.

– Gamma Rays and Sex Aids
– Cinema Papers No. 5

Charis and George Schwartz were struck by Gretel’s openness to anything – including playing roles in their porn movies. One was a lesbian flick called THE DREAM. ‘It was all illegal, but we had friends,’ says Charis.

George would soon take on the task of directing the most explicit porn film yet made in Australia – a thirty-five-minute colour feature showing breasts being dipped in wine, pubic hair being shaved and dozens of sex aids. Its producer had given it the educational-sounding title SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM to get around the censors, but it had still been slapped with an R rating.

It quickly became the biggest grossing short film on the Australian market, screening first at the Film Makers Co-op before moving to the Salvation Army Hall in Sydney and later the Barrel Theatre in Melbourne.

– Gretel Pinniger, aka ‘Madame Lash Madam Lash: Gretel Pinniger’s Scandalous Life of Sex, Art and Bondage
– Sam Everingham

Elusive video release

SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM was listed in an early 1980s Video Classics catalogue. It was noted as being issued as part of their Movies at Midnight range.

Sex Aids and How to Use Them (1974) - Advertisement 1
Ad – Video Classics

We have yet to see any evidence that this tape was ever released.

Uphold the Right

In April 1986, the Victorian Police had a 28-minute tape titled SEXUALITY PART ONE – SEX AIDS AND HOW TO USE THEM passed with an R-rating.

The reason for the decision was ‘sex education’.

This indicates there was a tape release, even if it did not come from Video Classics.

Well, My Dear!

Directed by George Schwarz – Charis Schwarz / 1974 / Australia / IMDb

In March 1975, a 495.00-meter (45:06) 16mm print of WELL, MY DEAR! was banned because of ‘indecency’.

An unsuccessful appeal was made to the Films Board of Review in April 1975.

Non Fiction Films was the applicant.

The Schwarz movies & the censor

On 18 November 2012, ABC Radio National broadcast a documentary on their 360 program about George and Charis Schwarz.

After it went out, Charis made a comment on the ABC’s website where she clarified some issues.

December 24, 2012
For the sake of record I want it known that all the films made by George and myself went before the Censorship Board. All were certified except for the one known as WELL MY DEAR, which was refused for unspecified reasons.

Neither George, myself, or to our knowledge, any of his students starred in porn movies.

– Charis Schwarz
The last bohemians,

January 4, 2024
“Unfortunately we went a bit far and it was not given a certificate of classification,” [Charis] Schwarz says.

“And I said, ‘well, that’s a bit rough because how am I going to improve it if I don’t know what you find offensive?’ So we reached a stalemate.”

After the misfire of WELL, MY DEAR!, George and Charis moved away from the movie industry and the film was left to wither away.

– DIY pornography, 1970s-style
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