British Films of 1966

British movies made in 1966, cut and banned before the November 1971 liberalisation of the Australian censorship system.


Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni / 1966 / UK – Italy – USA / IMDb

The original theatrical release was censored for a ‘Not Suitable for Children’ rating.

When the BLOW-UP was resubmitted in October 1976, the entry in the Commonwealth Government Gazette stated that it had been ‘Previously classified “Not Suitable for Children” with eliminations in May 1968’.

This appears to be incorrect, as it was screening in Canberra in late 1967.

November 17, 1967
BLOW-UP, at the Center Cinema.

It would probably not matter if this review slated Antonioni’s film BLOW-UP, since the Commonwealth censor has assured MGM of full houses throughout its Australian run.

But it does seem unfortunate that the work of one of the most perceptive of film directors should have to rely on sensationalism to put it in the public eye.

The cuts which have been made have been reported in several places but in any case become immediately apparent as the film unfolds.

– Blow-up’ –promotion by censor
– Canberra Times via Trove

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Criterion Collection (us) – Blu-ray – 111.11 (NTSC) minus Criterion and Warner logos

Censored at 36:10 by 00:02 – Thomas ((David Hemmings)) dialogue ‘Tell him to get stuffed’.

Censored at 37:05 by 00:02 – A photo of old men in a dosshouse. One is nude, semi-frontal.

Censored at 71:48 by 00:04 – Side view of the Blonde’s (Jane Birkin) breast as she removes her dress.

Censored at 71:53 by 00:01 – Side view where her breast peaks out for 00:01 in long shot.

Censored at 72:43 by 00:21 – Thomas toying with the topless Blonde’s hair before pulling her down on the floor.

Censored at 73:10 to 73:34 – The Blonde and the Brunette (Gillian Hills) wrestle on the floor of the changing room and strip each other to the waist. As they do this, they are mostly seen from behind. Flashes of side breast appear throughout with each one individually removed by our censors. The sequence jumped continually as they wrestled before eventually chasing each other into the studio.

Censored at 73:43 to 74:07 – As they rush into the studio, they tear down the paper and wrestle around topless before Thomas joins in. Again, the censor removed frames where their breasts were shown. There were numerous quick cuts as the scene jumped all over the place

Censored at 74:17 by 01:05 – The two are stripped of their tights as they continue to wrestle with Thomas. Now naked, a couple of frames reveal a flash of pubic hair. This very brief shot put the film on the map overseas as it was the first general release feature to show frontal nudity.

Censored at 84:38 by 00:35 – Patricia (Sarah Miles) and Bill (John Castle) make love as Thomas watches. She climaxes while staring at Thomas as her husband finishes. The cut ends as the camera leaves the bed, moves across the room and Thomas leaves. In America, two deletions were made to this scene, without Antonioni’s knowledge, as there were concerns the film could be prosecuted. This censored American version was released worldwide on VHS but has now been replaced by the uncut British print for DVD and Blu-ray.

Censored at 98:18 by 01:02 – Group at party rolling joints in close up, smoking and acting stoned.

When BLOW-UP premiered in London, there was a lot of talk about Vanessa Redgrave baring her breasts. When it was later screened in the provinces, the scene (at 54:08) appeared to have been removed. In fact, it was never censored but just depended on how it was matted.

In the print I viewed at the drive-in, breasts were visible. However, in the initial cinema screenings, they were not. During the 1990s, I saw it twice at Melbourne’s Valhalla Cinema with a projectionist who was fully aware of the issue. A few seconds before she turned to face the camera, the screen raked up and the top of everyone’s heads was cut off, only for it to return as soon as her breasts made their exit.

Post-November 1971 rating

In October 1976, a 1228.65-meters (111:58) 16mm print was passed with an M-rating. 20th Century Fox was the applicant.

Communications and Entertainment had a 110-minute videotape passed with an M-rating in September 1984. It was released on MGM/UA Home Video and distributed by CEL.

A 111-minute 35mm print was rated M (Adult themes) in February 1993. United International Pictures was the applicant.

Most recently, in March 2004, Warner Home Video had a DVD classified M (Drug use, Low level sex scenes, Nudity).