Baby Doll (1956)

Baby Doll is a 1956 American film based on a pair of one-act Tennessee Williams plays. It’s a steamy love triangle between a young virginal wife, her husband, and his rival. Although passed by the Production Code, it was condemned as immoral by the US Roman Catholic Legion of Decency, and banned in several areas. […]

Defending the Courts against Self-Defense

Self-Defense is a 1932 western/melodrama from Monogram. Katy owns and runs a gambling bar in a small town in northern British Columbia, but has sent her teenage daughter, Nona, to a boarding school in California. Nona believes her mother runs a high-end hotel, and Katy doesn’t want Nona to learn the truth. A local trouble […]

Film Sound and Censorship

Censoring of silent films required removing scenes with offensive imagery, and removing or replacing title cards. This was easy to do, by physically cutting out the offending strip of film, and splicing the sections before and after the cut. When done well, a viewer would never even know a cut had been made. In some […]

Paint Drying

Paint Drying (2016) is a film created solely to annoy British film classifiers. This 607 minute epic shows paint drying on a wall. For ten hours and seven minutes. Nothing else. Fourteen hours of footage was shot, however the final cut depended on the funds available to cover the per minute cost of classification. The […]

How to be an Anti-Porn Activist

I recently read Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, (2013) by Whitney Strub. Strub discusses the origins and operations of the anti-pornography group Citizens for Decent Literature in the 1960s, and touches on later individuals and groups such as Robin Morgan and Women Against Pornography in the […]

Ontario Film Authority

The Ontario Government has spun off the Ontario Film Review Board to a new agency, the Ontario Film Authority. This is an independent non-profit agency which will administer the Film Classification Act. In letters to distributors and retailers, it appears the only change is that fees are now payable to the agency instead of the […]

What Price Glory (1926) banned in Nova Scotia

What Price Glory? is an anti-war comedy, along the same lines as M*A*S*H. It’s a silent film, made by Fox in 1926, and re-released in 1927 using new technology to include sound effects and music. It was adapted from a successful but controversial 1924 play. The language and disrespect for military traditions both caused offense. […]

Why Restructure the Ontario Film Review Board?

According to news stories in the Toronto Star and on CBC, the Ontario government is planning to restructure the Ontario Film Review Board, as part of a larger project involving the hundreds of provincial government boards. The expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” comes to mind. The Board has operated more or less […]

Speech and Music

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has decided to cancel a performance by pianist Valentina Lisitsa, apparently due to complaints about her online postings concerning the war in the Ukraine. Lisitsa was born there, has expressed strong feelings about the conflict, and apparently some people found her comments offensive. Strictly speaking, this is not a censorship issue. […]