American Films of 1969 – Page 1

American movies made in 1969, cut and banned before the November 1971 liberalisation of the Australian censorship system.

The Adventurers

Directed by Lewis Gilbert / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 06-1970 / Rated: AO / Length: 15426 feet / Time: 171:24 / Censored by 01:30 / Reason: violence and indecency / Comment: Reduced version

The Adventurers (1969) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Paramount (us) – DVD – 177:09 (NTSC)

In 1969, more editions of PLAYBOY were banned in Australia than were allowed. Fortunately, the December edition was approved and featured a long colour pictorial about THE ADVENTURERS. The deluxe layout detailed a number of the key sex scenes used to promote the film. The pictorial was also padded with numerous nude shots taken on the set which never appeared in the final print.

THE MAKING OF THE ADVENTURERS (1970), was filled with more nude stills and was in book stores a month before the film opened in late 1970. As a 15-year old, I was filled with expectation, only to find that the censor had removed everything shown in the extensive publicity. What was left was a lavish, camp, over the top extravaganza, which was still well worth a viewing.

At the time, there was a lot of media reports that reconstructed versions of both this and DE SADE (1969) had been submitted to our censors before getting further cuts.

Censored at 06:01 by 00:01 – Close-up of woman’s head bleeding after being shot.

06:25 to 07:15 – Various views of the farm women being raped and slaughtered by government soldiers. In Australia, the scene jumped from a young Dax (Loris Loddi) watching as the assaults begin, to him running outside for help. Most details of the attack were removed.

Censored at 09:09 by 00:01 – Close up of Dax’s murdered sister with a knife protruding from her neck.

Censored at 39:18 by 01:16 – Unintentionally hilarious outdoor sex scene between Caroline de Coyne (Delia Boccardo) and a now-adult Dax (Bekim Fehmiu). In Australia, the scene cut after the first glimpse of their naked embrace (used on the daybill and other advertising), to them lying together afterwards.

Censored at 63:30 by 00:14 approx. – Panning shot of a naked Dax and a naked Amparo Rogo (Leigh Taylor-Young) entwined and falling slowly into bed.

Censored at 148:43 – Close up of Fat Cat (Ernest Borgnine) kneeing Marcel Campion (Charles Aznavour) in the face.

Censored at 159:06 by 00:07 – Three soldiers attacking two partially stripped women.

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by CIC-TAFT Video in a 164-minute version in May 1986 and passed with an M-rating.

The Babysitter

Directed by Don Henderson / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Banned by the Film Censorship Board.

What was ‘Chipp’s reel’?

Shane Harrison reports.
In 1970, Don Chipp (Liberal) was focused on opening up the secrecy behind Australian film censorship with the long term aim of securing a restricted rating for film exhibition. One part of this was to call the media together in April 1970 and screen a collection of clips censored from recent submissions. The aim was to show what was being cut behind closed doors.

Censorship in 1970 was a huge topic in Australia and the media honed in on the night. The first half was the screening of the collection of censored clips in what became known as ‘Chipp’s reel’. After a break, THE BABY SITTER (1969) was shown to give the reporters a sample of what films were being banned outright. TRUTH newspaper made a lot of noise about this event and spent a large amount of print describing the delights contained in the reel of censored highlights.

In the early 1990s, SEX, the weekly TV program hosted by Sophie Lee, did a segment on the history of Australian film censorship and took the viewer down to the bowels of a Canberra building where all the ‘best bits’ were stored. Brief clips were shown, including part of Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM (1960). It included footage not found on DVD or even the uncut Blu-ray release overseen by Martin Scorsese. It is amazing to think that Canberra holds this lost footage.

Sophie Lee referred to the reel of censored footage screened to the media in 1970 and explained that it was now referred to as ‘Chipp’s reel’. The next day I rang the OFLC and explained that I would like to view the footage. At that point, I was attempting to write an article covering our film censorship history…which never eventuated. The OFLC was quite friendly and sent a VHS copy down to their Melbourne office so I could view it ‘in-house’.

‘Chipp’s reel’ had the following clips, in this order.

  • LAST SUMMER (1969)
  • FANNY HILL (1964)
  • TWO WOMEN (1960)
  • PERSONA (1966)
  • STUNTMAN (1968)
  • UPKAR (1967)
  • THE BIG CUBE (1969)
  • MEDIUM COOL (1969)

See the individual entries in this database for Shane’s notes on the censored footage.

A night of many names

Here are Mike Richards’s memories of the ‘Chipp’s reel’ screening, which he refers to as ‘Night of the blue movies’. It was also known as ‘Parliamentary blue movie night’.

April 1974
…this was to be a special Film Censorship Evening’ in Canberra under the patronage of our beloved Department of Customs and Excise. More exactly it was, I think, an attempt by the then Minister for Customs, Don Chipp, to persuade his Parliamentary colleagues (especially the troglodytes in his own party), and to convince the media (the journos needed no convincing) that the film censorship situation in this country had become so to speak, a giant cock-up. The method Mr. Chipp apparently intended to employ was simply to screen the actual cuts (not the complete films, just the censored cuts) from a series of recent films, thereby demonstrating how innocuous the censored scenes were.

So this night in April, 1970 had promised great things. It had also apparently promised great things in a quite different sense to journalists round the country. When Monday the 13th rolled around, it seemed that every journalist within 500 miles had suddenly either become a film critic or a Canberra correspondent.

…later that night I fronted at our august venue, the National Library Theatre. Security was tight and I was required to show my invitation twice — once to proceed to the Library basement and once to gain entry to the theatre lobby, which by this stage was jammed with MP’s, VIP’s, (I even spotted Rev. Father Michael King), and sundry journo’s.

…by now we were a sizeable assembly: 300 (odd) MP’s, Senators, journalists, eight women, the Chief Commonwealth Censor, Mr Prowse ,and the Minister, Don Chipp.

For the next three hours we were to be exposed to scenes from 28 films, plus a full-length feature and a hastily included short.

Next up was a 65 minute US film called THE BABYSITTER, made in 1970. It was so outrageously Z-grade quality, that 20 minutes into the first reel the audience were screaming to have it banned; anything to get it off the bloody screen. Some idea of the standard may be suggested by the clichéd plot. As the program notes drafted by the Department indicate:

“In bald synopsis, Babysitter is the story of a middle-aged American deputy District- Attorney with a nagging frigid wife and lesbian daughter. The D-DA becomes involved in an adulterous relationship with the family’s precocious teenage babysitter (whose name would you believe was Candy?), then faces blackmail on the daughter and adultery counts to bring a murderer to justice.” The film may have played to packed houses in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but God, it was a bore.

It did have one piece of light entertainment, however, although this was extrinsic to the film itself. The film was presented exactly as imported except that at five points during the film, what the Customs Department described as “areas of censorship concern” were marked with red-crayoned crosses on the print. In other words, at the beginning of a questionable scene — three of the five sequences were categorised as questionable on the grounds of overt sexual indecency and two on grounds of violence — we saw a large red cross on the screen. At the close of the scene the cross appeared again. Loud guffaws greeted the last scene designated as questionable. It followed a scene in which the D-DA finally admits his affair with the babysitter and offers his resignation to his boss only to have the DA tear it up. As the grateful D-DA was leaving the DA’s office, a slightly leering DA asks him:

“Tell me George, what was it like?’
(Bloody great red crosses).
D-DA: “Man, it was wild!’
(More red crosses).

It seemed then that the Film Censor was saying that it was possibly sexually indecent for a middle aged lawyer to say that it was terrific to get off with his babysitter!

The substantive part of the evening’s viewing was, however, yet to come. Twenty-eight cuts, run back-to-back, utterly without context were shown. The second cut, after intermission, was intended to point up how censorship standards had changed. It was a dubbed Italian torture scene of the late fifties or early sixties — the records were vague; it was not known even from which film the scene had been cut — and involved a dungeon in which a Count Yorga-like character is inspecting his prisoners. Victims were shown being stretched horizontally on the rack, while others were undergoing various other gruesome punishments. As the Count approached an anguished prisoner being stretched vertically he said to the prisoner:
‘Do you tell us what we want or do we tear your arms off?’ [e-mail us if you can identify this film]

The Department eased our concern by assuring us that this cut would not have been made in the 1970’s.

After the violence was out of the way, we settled down to the so-called pornography. Needless to say, it was for the most part totally unobjectionable, even seen totally out of context. Among my recollections of these films were the following fragments:

– Dirty Pix
– Mike Richards
– Cinema Papers No. 2

He goes on to list the cuts made to the following titles. His details are included in the individual database entries for each film.

  • BILLABONG (196?/7?) – 8-minute short screened in full
  • MEDIUM COOL (1969)
  • PERSONA (1966)

The Big Cube

Directed by Tito Davison / 1969 / Mexico – USA / IMDb

The original theatrical release was censored for a ‘Suitable only for Adults’ rating.

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports from ‘Chipp’s reel’ viewing.
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.
Censored footage 01:08.

In the middle of the film, a scene at a party shows Bibi (Pamela Rodgers) doing a striptease and ending up topless. The cut started when her dress came off and she began dancing all over the furniture in her bra and panties.

Five years later, the uncut version played on TV.

Change of Mind

Directed by Robert Stevens / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 11-1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 9170 feet / Time: 101:53 / Censored by 00:40 / Reason: indecency and indecent language

Don’t Drink the Water

Directed by Howard Morris / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 06-1970 / Rated: G / Length: 8971 feet / Time: 99:41 / Censored by 00:37 / Reason: indecent language

Date: 06-1971 / Rated: G / Length: 8971 feet / Time: 99:41 / Censored by 00:37 / Reason: indecent language

Post-November 1971 rating

In May 1984, Communications and Entertainment received a G-rating for a 94-minute videotape.


Directed by Tom O’Horgan / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 09-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8328 feet / Time: 92:32 / Reason: indecency

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and passed with an R-rating in May 1973. The print ran 2538.36-meters (92:32), the same length as the version that was previously banned.

In the early 1980s, K&C Video released FUTZ on tape.

The Gay Deceivers

Directed by Bruce Kessler / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 07-1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8238 feet / Time: 92:32 / Reason: indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

Post-November 1971 rating

Roadshow Distributors had a second ‘reconstructed version’ passed with an R-rating in November 1971. Despite the new rating system, the print ran only 8183-feet (90:55).

They were again awarded an R-rating in July 1975. This time the print appears to be uncut, running 2551.00-meters (92:59).

Video Classics released the film on tape in the early 1980s. The 87-minute video was confirmed with an R-rating in February 1984.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much

Directed by Francis D. Lyon / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Censored for an unknown rating.

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports from ‘Chipp’s reel’ viewing.
See database entry for THE BABYSITTER (1969) for background.
Censored footage 00:40 – A fistfight.

Post-November 1971 rating

In the early 1980s, K&C Video released THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH on tape. It was never submitted for classification, but the cover lists it as NRC (Not recommended for children).

It is possible that the print may be the censored theatrical version.

Goodbye Columbus

Directed by Larry Peerce / 1969 / USA / IMDb

The original theatrical release was censored for a ‘Suitable only for Adults’ rating.

The censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Censored at 66:10 by 00:17 – Brenda (Ali MacGraw) and Neil (Richard Benjamin) are in bed rolling around discretely naked with the sheets covering them from the waist down. Brenda rolls on top of him and the scene then cuts. In the uncut version, they only tickle, giggle and talk while she is in that position. This was all too suggestive for the censor.

Censored at 71:16 by 00:30 – Again a bedroom scene cut the moment Brenda gets on top. It cut from them lying facing each other, to her suddenly jumping out on the opposite side of the bed and running naked to the shower having miraculously jumped over Neil. The censor did not seem to approve of women taking the dominant position even if it was just rolling around post-coitus.

The version released for home entertainment is more tightly cropped than that originally screened at the drive-in. Brenda’s breasts were exposed at the bottom of the screen during her topless run to the pool at 50:36 and also during her shower scene with Neil at 71:50. The latter was considered daring enough at the time for PLAYBOY magazine to comment on it and MacGraw’s nudity. The extreme tight cropping on TV, VHS and DVD removes this exposure.

The Grasshopper

Directed by Jerry Paris / 1969 / USA / IMDb

Date: 11-1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8820 feet / Time: 98:00 / Censored by 00:21 / Reason: indecent language