British Films of 1969

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

Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?

Directed by Anthony Newley / 1969 / UK / IMDb

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

Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (1969) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
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Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
The film opened in Melbourne around Easter 1970, a year after the X-rated American release. The distributor screened it to the press on a boat on Sydney Harbour. The projector blew up after twenty minutes, so instead, they were treated to lots of alcohol and bare breasts from the topless waitresses. The event resulted in massive publicity for the film and its ‘daring’ scenes. The projector issues meant that none of them could see it had been cut. Instead, the reports were of the drunken topless press party as if it supported the film’s supposed risqué content.

This was very clever PR given that all the following footage had been removed.

Censored at 16:43 by 00:23 – Scenes of softcore sex taking place on a merry-go-round and dodgems.

Censored at 17:15 by 00:04 – Oral sex taking place on a roundabout ride.

Censored at 23:41 by 00:28 – Very softcore sex scene with Heironymus Merkin (Anthony Newley) watching a puppet of himself in action before winding the key in his back to continue his endeavour.

Censored at 24:12 by 00:03 – HM is having sex with his wife Polyester Poontang (Joan Collins) and his mistress Mercy Humppe (Connie Kreski). The sunglasses reflection of him fooling around with a topless Mercy Humppe was cut.

Censored at 51:56 by 00:08 – HM removes MH’s bra and kisses her breasts, which are half obscured by the foliage.

Censored at 52:07 by 00:12 – More footage of HM and MH in the bushes.

Censored at 52:43 by 00:17 – Further footage of HM and MH in the bushes.

Censored at 63:03 by 00:02 – Shot of four feet in bed in the missionary position.

Censored at 63:11 by 00:02 – Goodtime Eddie Filth (Milton Berle) winding up a merry-go-round to empower a sexually exhausted HM.

Censored at 71:11 by 00:18 – A sped up, Benny Hill style, chase where HM and Good Time Eddie Filth chase a group of scantily clad women, some of whom are topless.

Censored at 72:39 by 00:17 – Topless girls partying.

Censored at 73:38 by 00:35 – HM reminisces about his inability to want a woman after he has had sex. This line of dialogue was removed, ‘I’ve really been committing a kind of sexual murder. The ritual homicide of the female sex, forever stabbing and reopening the divine wound’. This is followed by the start of the Black Mass sequence. It cut the chicken sacrifice and the pouring of blood over a naked woman on an altar but retained the remainder.

Censored at 90:29 – The ‘Princess and the Donkey’, the film’s most sensational sequence, suffered numerous quick cuts. The first was of Trampolina Whambang (Yolanda) wrapped around the donkey when discovered by the King’s men. The second set of cuts was to the ending views of her naked stroking the animal’s ears. All that remained were quick flashes that made it appear to be more explicit than it was.

Crooks and Coronets

Directed by Jim O’Connolly / 1969 / UK / IMDb

January 1971 / Rated: G / Length: 9602 feet / Time: 106:41 / Censored by 00:06 / Reason: indecent language

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Corporate Video and passed with a G-rating in April 1988. This tape was presumably released by Warner Home Video.

Girls of Shame

Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis / 1969 / UK / IMDb

November 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8532 feet / Time: 94:48 / Censored by 01:00 / Reason: violence and indecency

The Magic Christian

Directed by Joseph McGrath / 1969 / UK / IMDb

May 1970 / Rated: A / Length: 8294 feet / Time: 92:09 / Censored by 00:07 / Reason: indecent language

The Magic Christian (1969) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
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Post-November 1971 rating

In the early 1980s, K&C Video released THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN on tape. Although it was never resubmitted, the cover has it rated NRC (Not recommended for children). This print may be the censored theatrical version.

Resubmitted by CBS/Fox Video and passed with a PG-rating in November 1984.

Vendetta for the Saint

Directed by Jim O’Connolly / 1969 / UK / IMDb

May 1970 / Rated: A / Length: 8872 feet / Time: 98:35 / Censored by 00:18 / Reason: violence

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Polygram Video and passed with a PG (Medium level violence) rating in April 1997.

Women in Love

Directed by Ken Russell / 1969 / UK / IMDb

June 1970 / Appeal: Against eliminations / Length: 11765 feet / Time: 130:43 / Result: Appeal dismissed by Review Board

October 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 11735 feet / Time: 130:23 / Censored by 01:00 / Reason: indecency

Women in Love (1969) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
British Film Institute (uk) – Blu-ray – 130:46

WOMEN IN LOVE was released in Australia in late 1970, a year after its British premiere. Given its adult nature, our censors were lenient compared to how they treated other more innocuous titles.

The following two scenes were cut in the print I saw at the time of its initial release and again, many years later, at The Astor in Melbourne.

Censored at 53:02 by 00:40 – Rupert (Alan Bates) and Ursula (Jennie Linden) consummate their relationship in a forest. The scene cuts after he starts removing her bloomers and only resumes again at the final stage of their love scene.

Censored at 84:43 by 00:18 – Gerald (Oliver Reed) and Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) make love for the first time. The cuts were of him groping her bare breasts then burying his head into them.

Surprisingly, these three scenes went through unscathed in Australia.

13:51 – Rupert describes eating out a cut open fig as if performing cunnilingus.

57:08 – The infamous full-frontal nude wrestling scene between Rupert and Gerald. An image from which appears on the daybill.

114:19 – During normal consensual sex, Gerald violently penetrates Gudrun.

Post-November 1971 rating

Resubmitted by Warner Home Video and passed with an M (Medium level sex scenes, Nudity) rating in December 1993. The tape ran 126-minutes.

Further reading

For more Ken Russell, see THE MUSIC LOVERS (1971) in this database and THE DEVILS (1971) in the Film Censorship Database No. 1.