The movies of Russ Meyer that have been cut or banned in Australia.
See also, FANNY HILL (1964) and THE SEVEN MINUTES (1971) in the Film Censorship Database No. 2.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Directed by Russ Meyer / 1970 / USA / IMDb
In June 1970, a 9867-feet (109:38) print of BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was banned because of ‘indecency and drug abuse’.
At the time, the highest classification was a ‘Suitable only for Adults (SOA)’, which was equivalent to the M-rating.
New classification system
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was immediately resubmitted following the November 1971 introduction of the R-rating.
Despite being a ‘reconstructed version’, the 9315-feet (103:30) print was still banned for ‘indecency and incitement to drug abuse’.
The birth of video
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS remained unseen in Australia until 1981 when 20th Century Fox’s Magnetic Video label released it on tape. During the early days of home video, classification was not compulsory.
The running time]was 108:15, which indicates it was an NTSC to PAL conversion.
Shane Harrison reports.
Missing from this tape are two views of Roxanne (Erica Gavin) fellating the gun barrel, Z-man pulling of the trigger and resultant head explosion.
Still a problem after 19+ years
In July 1989, the Film Censorship Board again refused to pass BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. Although they thought it could be awarded an R-rating, they believed they had no power to review their 1970 refusal.
In September 1989, the Films Board of Review overturned this decision and awarded it an R-rating.
Filmpac Holdings was the applicant.
Note condescending tone of the report from the Films Board of Review.
September 21, 1989
Applicant: Filmpac Holdings Limited.
Decision Reviewed: Refuse to register by the Film Censorship Board.
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was made in 1970 and was refused registration at that time pursuant to Customs (Cinematographic Films) Regulations 13(1) (a) and (d). A 16mm version was resubmitted to the Censorship Board in July 1989. Although of the opinion that the film could be accepted for registration with an ‘R’ classification under current guidelines, the Censorship Board felt obliged to maintain its 1970 decision to refuse registration, on the grounds, as it believed, that it had no power to review its own decisions.
The legal complexities of this matter have been the subject of much advice, and were on the whole more daunting than any questions raised by the content of the film itself. This is a lurid and conspicuously dated account of pill-popping and general depravity in the showbusiness world of Los Angeles, and was a sequel to an earlier film based on a best-selling novel. It was not clear to the Board of Review why anyone should want to secure the film’s release after 19 years, or indeed at any time, but we agreed with the Film Censorship Board that under current censorship guidelines the film should not be refused registration.
It was our conclusion that community standards had changed sufficiently since 1970 to justify the release of the film, though whether these changed standards signified an advance or a decline in public taste we were unable to say.
Accordingly, the Board of Review directed BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS be registered and classified ‘R’ (for Restricted Exhibition).– Films Board of Review report
Uncut screening abandoned
Melbourne’s Capitol Cinema announced they would premiere the complete version on October 6.
After weeks of legal proceedings following its “banning” by the censor just 2 days before its scheduled release earlier this year, Russ Meyer’s cult legend BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS will get its Australian premiere season at Melbourne’s Capitol Cinema from Friday, October 6 — almost 20 years after it was made.
Yes! It’s true! the 60’s cult classic that has been banned in Australia for 20 years can now be screened uncut!– Uncut screening promotion
– Capitol Cinema, Melbourne
Shane Harrison reports.
I attended the opening screening at the Capitol Cinema. A representative of the distributor had to address a packed audience to explain that we would not be viewing the uncut version as it did not get past the censor. The print we viewed had the same cuts as the Magnetic Video release.
R & RC rated
On 13 October 1989 a 108-minute 16mm print is recorded as being passed with an R (Some graphic violence, Sexual activity, Drug abuse) rating. Ten days later, a 109-minute 16mm print was Refused Registration.
In both cases, Filmpac Holding was the applicant.
It is unclear why the Films Board of Review passed it with an R-rating on September 21, only to see the Censorship Board refuse it a month later.
In May 1990, a 111-minute video was passed with an R (Drug abuse, Occasional graphic violence, Sexual activity).
The tape, released by CBS/Fox Video, had been precut to tone down the violence.
Missing was a 00:23 sequence from the climax where Z-Man (John Lazar) shoots Roxanne (Erica Gavin) as she sleeps. This plays from 96:10 to 96:33 in the uncut R4 DVD.
Parts of the above scene are replayed over the opening credits, but these are missing from the CBS/Fox tape. Instead, we see the scene that plays after this where Z-Man and the band are talking are on the phone. Below are a couple of scenes from the opening credits that are missing from the video.
The rest of the credits are also edited differently.
Complete at last
An uncut version finally appeared in Australia in October 2003 when 20th Century Fox released it on R4 DVD.
It ran 104:35 and carries the same R (Drug abuse and Occasional graphic violence and Sexual activity) rating as the 1990 VHS.
Directed by Russ Meyer / 1975 / USA / IMDb
In August 1976, a 2852:00-meter (103:57) print of SUPERVIXENS was banned for ‘indecency and excessive violence’. The running time indicates it had been precut.
The following month, Columbia Pictures presented a 2781-meter (101:22) ‘reconstructed version’. It was passed with an R-rating after a further 0.8-meters (00:02) of ‘excessive violence’ was removed.
This print went on to be released theatrically.
Banned in Queensland
On 17 March 1978, the censored R-rated version of SUPERVIXENS was prohibited by the Queensland Films Board of Review.
The distributor was Columbia Pictures.
New distributor & fewer cuts
The ‘original version’ of SUPERVIXENS, running 2868.5-meters (104:33), was submitted to the Censorship Board in April 1981. It was again Refused Registration, this time due to violence, which was described as:
Regent Trading Enterprises then presented a 2858.20-meter (104:11) ‘reconstructed version’. It was awarded an R-rating in November 1981 following the removal of a further 8.0-meter (00:17). These extra cuts were again for violence, which was described as:
The reason given for the R-rating was sex and violence, which were both described as being:
Regent Trading Enterprises went on to give this censored print a theatrical rerelease.
This time it appears the Film Censorship Board had no problem with the sexual content, as the 00:40 of cuts were all to reduce the intensity of the violence. This would indicate they were made around the 30-minute point, where Harry (Charles Napier) murders Angel (Shari Eubank) in the bathtub. The scene is prolonged and over the top.
Russ Meyer on Australian video
In the late 1990s, RBC Entertainment/Kiseki released SUPERVIXENS on VHS. The R (High level sex scenes) rating was fake, as it was never resubmitted to the OFLC.
Kiseki also issued a tape of BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS (1979) and possibly other Meyer titles. None of them appears to have been officially licensed.
Apart from FANNY HILL (1964) on Video Classics and BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970) on Magnetic and CBS/Fox, no other Russ Meyer titles made it to Australian home video.
29+ years & officially uncut
In December 2005, a DVD of SUPERVIXENS was awarded an R18+ (High level sexual references, High level sexualised nudity, High Level Violence) rating.
Madman Entertainment released this uncut version in February 2006.
It was reissued in December 2006 in a box set titled RUSS MEYER’S VIXEN TRILOGY. It also contained VIXEN (1968) and BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA VIXENS (1979).
Uncut Pay-TV screening
In December 2006, SUPERVIXENS was screened on the World Movies Channel as part of their B-Mania season.
It had an R-rating and ran 105:23 (NTSC).
Directed by Russ Meyer / 1976 / USA / IMDb
In February 1977, a 2181.70 meters (79:31) print of Russ Meyer’s UP! was banned due to ‘indecency’.
Columbia Pictures was the applicant.
Cut after 3+ years
A 2119.49 meter (77:15) ‘reconstructed version’ of UP! passed with an R-rating in November 1980. The reason given for the rating was:
This censored print went on to have a theatrical release courtesy of Reagent Trading Enterprises.
Seized by customs
In October 1991, UP! was part of a package of fifteen tapes that were confiscated by the Australian Customs Service.
They were forwarded to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) who found them to be ‘prohibited pursuant to Regulation 4A (1A)(a)(iii) of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations’.
See the NEKROMANTIK (1987) entry for more information about this case.
Uncut after 29+ years
In February 2006, Madman Entertainment had an uncut version of UP! passed with an R18+ (High level sexual violence, High level sex scenes) rating.
The DVD was released the following month and had a running time, minus the MPAA X-rating card, of 80:12.
All the sex & violence
It is easy to see which scenes would have had problems with the censor.
Opening – The sex and whipping scene that includes Paul (Robert McLane) having sex with Adolph Schwartz (Edward Schaaf) and a rear shot of Limehouse’s (Su Ling) vagina.
21:00 – The rape of Margo (Raven De La Croix) by Leonard Box (Larry Dean).
60:00 – The rape of Margo by Rafe (Bob Schott).
63:00 – Rafe getting an axe in the back and Homer (Monty Bane) getting an axe in the chest.
Homer killing Rafe with a chainsaw.
In addition, several fake erections are shown throughout the film.