Swedish Films

Swedish movies, cut and banned before the November 1971 liberalisation of the Australian censorship system.


I, a Woman

Directed by Mac Ahlberg / 1965 / Sweden / IMDb

December 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8146 feet / Time: 90:31 / Censored by 00:22 / Reason: indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

April 1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8000 feet / Time: 88:53 / Censored by 00:27 / Reason: indecency / Comment: Reconstructed version

I, a Woman (1965) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Something Word Video (us) – VHS – Uncut – Swedish with English subtitles
Image Entertainment (us) – DVD – Cut American theatrical version

In the mid-1960s, Radley Metzger imported the film to America and made a few cuts to minimise the chance of it being prosecuted. Comparing the two versions, I can see that just over one minute was trimmed in two scenes.

American theatrical version
Censored at 10:43 by 00:31 – A 0041 view of Siv (Essy Persson) masturbating naked was reduced to 00:10 of side views only.

Censored at 87:03 by 00:04 – View of the rapist ripping Siv’s panties and bra off. Pubic hair is shown which suggests the possible reason for the deletion in 1966.

Censored at 87:38 by 00:13 – Close-up facial view of Siv as the rapist holds her hands down and covers her mouth as he thrust violently on top of her.

Censored at 87:56 by 00:04 – Close-up of Siv struggling as her hands are held down as the rapist continues thrusting.

Censored at 88:08 by 00:12 cut – A further close-up of Siv struggling as she is raped.

The subtitled print that opened at The Roma in Melbourne on February 11th 1971 was presumably the version rated in December 1970. My theory is that the shorter version, classified in April 1971, may have been a dubbed print for release to drive-in’s or regions that would not tolerate subtitles. If the dubbed and subtitled versions were different, which appears to be the case, then it would explain why it needed to be resubmitted.

The version I viewed in 1971 had a particular cut that identified the modified American print as the source. A further five minutes were then trimmed from a ‘Suitable only for Adults’ rating. It is difficult to understand which was the work of the censor and which were precuts by the distributor.

The following footage was missing from the Australian theatrical release. Times refer to the Image DVD. The length of a couple of the cuts would be longer if they were taken from Something Weird’s uncut Swedish print.

Australian theatrical version
Censored at 10:40 by 00:10 – Side view of a naked Siv masturbating on a bed. Her father plays the violin in the next room, which seems to be part of her excitement, as is her recalling his religious fervour.

Censored at 34:09 by 00:31 – Now a nurse, Siv loses her virginity to an older patient. Footage was removed of him putting his hand up her dress and her face going into ecstasy. He stares into the camera as he brings her to orgasm.

Censored at 35:20 by 00:15 – The patient kissing Siv around her lower belly and her facial response.

Censored at 36:41 by 02:33 – The scene ends after Siv lays on the bed topless. The missing footage was mainly of her facial reactions and orgasm as seen from her lover’s viewpoint. At one point, she recalls her father. These issues were lost on Australian audiences because of the cuts.

Censored at 53:08 – Footage was removed of a stripper lying on her back grinding while peeling her capri pants open and feeling her G-stringed crotch.

Censored at 69:20 by 00:23 – After being spanked, the scene ends as Siv and her boyfriend start kissing. Missing is a close-up of Siv, with breasts exposed, kissing her boyfriend by a riverbed.

Censored at 86:03 by 01:24 – An uncomfortable scene where Siv accepts a brutal rape by a one-night stand. She feels she has finally met her equal and ends the scene laughing at the irony, much to the confusion of her attacker. The missing footage mainly consists of prolonged close-ups of her face as she is raped. She thinks of her past lovers as they appear on the screen and realises they loved her, but she felt nothing for them. This is just like the one-night stand that is now raping her. It suggests she found the assault cathartic, which is jaw-dropping in these more educated times. Censor cuts made this ending impossible to follow in Australia. It begins with him throwing her on the bed, followed by an obvious jump cut as we moved to a view of her laughing just before the end credits. As previously mentioned, this scene was already censored in the American cinema print that was imported into Australia.

Further reading

See also, SWEDISH FANNY HILL (1968) and NANA, GIRL OF PLEASURE (1970) in this database and the Directed by Mac Ahlberg page in Film Censorship Database No. 1.


Night Games

Directed by Mai Zetterling / 1966 / Sweden / IMDb

Banned before being censored for a ‘Suitable Only for Adults’ rating.

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
Sandrew Metronome (se) – DVD as NATTLEK – uncut

For the 1968 release, the Australian distributor attempted to play down the censorship. They claimed that only 00:40 had been removed from what was the most daring and controversial Swedish film ever made. This conveniently ignored I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW) (1967).

The press was alert to the fact that it was initially refused and already had one large cut made to it in America to avoid prosecution. After the refusal, the print was sent to New Zealand where it was heavily censored. This bowdlerised version was then shipped back to Australia where the final 00:40 were removed.

The numerous sexual scenes and the perverse activities of the main character’s mother went beyond anything that had previously been submitted. It is also apparent what would have been removed in America to avoid prosecution.

New Zealand vs. Australia

The following article was written not long after after NIGHT GAMES had suffered problems in Australia. It compares the openness and flexibility of the New Zealand system, with the secrecy and inflexibility of the Australian one. Over fifty years later, our censor remains the more secretive of the two.

The lack of a restrictive classification for films was replicated many years later for games.

July 1969
Film censorship in New Zealand functions very differently from Australian censorship. Of course neither system is without faults, but overall the New Zealand system is more satisfactory, firstly because it is less secretive than the Australian system, and secondly because the use of restrictive certificates enables some films to be shown in New Zealand which are banned here.

In New Zealand the Censor and Registrar of Films is an officer of the Internal Affairs Department, thus breaking the traditional link between censors and customs men, who have always proved notoriously conservative. No film may be shown until it has received the Censor’s certificate of approval, but the N.Z. Censor has a far greater range of certificates at his disposal than his Australian counterpart.

Films passed for general exhibition may carry an ‘A’ certificate (recommended for adults only), a ‘Y’ certificate (recommended for those over thirteen) or a ‘C’ certificate, indicating approval for unqualified general exhibition. In addition, films may instead be given a certificate restricting their exhibition to a certain age group; over thirteen years (R13), over sixteen (R16) or over eighteen (R18). The onus is on the exhibitor to refuse admission to underage children, and this system has worked to the satisfaction of the public and the Censor alike.

While the rationale of censorship in New Zealand is similar to that in Australia (the Censor will reject or cut films which are ‘contrary to public order or decency’), New Zealand censorship regulations and practice are a matter of public information, while in Australia they are shrouded in mystery.

In New Zealand the Censor’s register includes the date on which each film is examined by the Censor, the footage of the version passed, and whether or not the film was cut. If a film is rejected, this fact is recorded. Any member of the public may examine the register, held in the Censor’s office in Wellington, on payment of a nominal fee. Until April 1968, a certificate giving date, footage, and nature of approval was screened before the commencement of each film, but this practice has been discontinued.

There are several important differences already apparent in the New Zealand system. While the Censor will not reveal what has been cut from a film, his record of the footage enables us to discover how much is cut — often a matter of uncertainty in Australia. Similarly, when a film is banned, this is a matter of public knowledge, whereas in Australia one must find this out from those ‘in the know’.

Each year the Censor presents a report on his activities, including a list of films banned, and the total of cuts from films, with the reasons (in general terms) for the cuts. For example, the report for 1965-66 included the names of eight features rejected, stating that two of these were later admitted by the Appeal Board. 702 cuts were made for violence, 696 for sex, 131 for horror, and 175 for ‘other reasons’. If a distributor wishes to appeal against the Censor’s decision, he may take his case to the Appeal Board, which consists of three rather elderly gentlemen. The Board has generally upheld the Censor, but on occasion has been more liberal: for example, the Board admitted THE KNACK after it had originally been banned. Perhaps the best aspect of New Zealand censorship is that there seems to be no cutting by distributors. This unofficial censorship is apparently a great problem in Australia.

I am not referring here to the iniquitous practice of `reconstruction’ of films to enable them to be passed (although this too is almost unknown in New Zealand), but to the deliberate shortening of films, so they can be run as the lower half of a double bill. TWO WEEKS IN SEPTEMBER, over ninety minutes long in New Zealand, ran for less than an hour when i saw it in Sydney. Official censorship cannot be wholly responsible for such drastic mutilation. I am reliably informed that a similar fate befell THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST and LORD LOVE A DUCK, to name only two.

In New Zealand the Cinematograph Films Act (1961) expressly states that If any length exceeding five percent of the total length of the film is deleted from any film after it has been approved by the Censor … until that film has again been approved by the Censor, it shall be deemed not to have been approved. The 5% tolerance is supposed to cater for the loss of some footage by wear and tear: otherwise, the intention is to prevent distributor cuts. I know of no cases of distributors cutting films in New Zealand.

How liberal is film censorship in New Zealand? BLOW-UP, THE FOX and BARBARELLA, all cut in Australia, were passed entirely uncut with restrictive certificates. NIGHT GAMES, ULYSSES and THE INCIDENT, all banned here, have been shown in New Zealand.

I know of no films banned since 1967, which indicates that New Zealand censorship is entering a liberal phase. A few years ago Australian censorship was occasionally more liberal than New Zealand’s (THE BALCONY and DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID were shown here but banned in New Zealand) but today the situation is reversed. The degree of liberality of a censorship system depends ultimately on the people who administer that system. But it seems that the secrecy and inflexibility of Australian film censorship pushes it more firmly in the direction of illiberality than the relative openness and flexibility of New Zealand’s system.

The introduction of R certificates, and the official publication of censorship information would enable more adult films to be shown in Australia, and would perhaps make our censors more responsible to the public whom they claim to serve.

– snip, snip, snip, snip
– Peter Boyce, Masque Magazine

As the Naked Wind from the Sea

Directed by Gunnar Höglund / 1968 / Sweden / IMDb

August 1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 9447 feet / Time: 104:58 / Reason: indecency

Post-November 1971 rating

See the separate entry for this title in Film Censorship Database No. 1.


The Corridor

Directed by Jan Halldoff / 1968 / Sweden / IMDb

July 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 8724 feet / Time: 96:56 / Censored by 00:27 / Reason: violence and indecent language


Swedish Fanny Hill

Directed by Mac Ahlberg / 1968 / Sweden / IMDb

November 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 7416 feet / Time: 82:24 / Comment: English reconstructed version

Swedish Fanny Hill (1968) - Australian daybill movie poster 1
Daybill via moviemem

Adalen 31

Directed by Bo Widerberg / 1969 / Sweden / IMDb

July 1970 / Rated: A / Length: 10430 feet / Time: 115:53 / Censored by 01:08 / Reason: indecency


Eva, the First Stone

Directed by Torgny Wickman / 1969 / Sweden / IMDb

August 1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 8332 feet / Time: 92:35 / Reason: indecency

Post-November 1971 rating

See the separate entry for this title in Film Censorship Database No. 1.

Further reading

See also, the Directed by Torgny Wickman page in the Film Censorship Database No. 1.


Like Night and Day

Directed by Jonas Cornell / 1969 / Sweden / IMDb

June 1970 / Rated: Banned / Length: 9761 feet / Time: 108:27 / Reason: indecency

July 1970 / Rated: SOA / Length: 9075 feet / Time: 100:50 / Censored by 01:06 / Reason: indecency

Censored footage

Shane Harrison reports.
The Tuesday before it opened on the Dendy circuit, Melbourne’s weekly TRUTH had an article that mentioned an intimate scene between the two sisters. It said it had been slightly cut, but what remained still surpassed anything previously allowed by the Film Censorship Board. The following week, after viewing the film and receiving complaints from readers, they wrote an apology and admitted over a minute had been trimmed.

I saw the cut print and the ‘controversial’ sequence lasted only a few seconds. From memory, one sister begins to remove the other’s stocking before a quick jump to the next scene.


Anna

Directed by Jörn Donner / 1970 / Finland – Sweden / IMDb

September 1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 7498 feet / Time: 83:19 / Censored by 00:11 / Reason: indecent language


A Swedish Love Story

Directed by Roy Andersson / 1970 / Sweden / IMDb

February 1971 / Rated: SOA / Length: 11349 feet / Time: 126:06 / Censored by 00:15 / Reason: indecent language


Nana, Girl of Pleasure

aka Take Me, Love Me

Directed by Mac Ahlberg / 1970 / Sweden – France / IMDb

May 1971 / Rated: Banned / Length: 9855 feet / Time: 109:30 / Reason: indecency

Post-November 1971 rating

See the separate entry for this title in Film Censorship Database No. 1.


back to top of page arrow