Uncut: the season in pictures

Visual highlights from the BFI’s Uncut season of daring cult and classic films, marking the BBFC’s centenary.

Joanna Mills

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Cuts for the 1958 release of Island of Lost Souls included the removal of the lines “They’re vivisecting a human being. They’re cutting a man to pieces!” and “Do you know what it means to feel like God?”

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948)

The Observer film critic C.A. Lejeune described the film as a “repellent piece of work” that “scraped up all the droppings of the nastier type of Hollywood movie”.

Blackboard Jungle (1955)

The film caused youth riots in London, Dublin and Berlin, and the theme, Bill Haley and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’, became an anthem for rebellion.

Cape Fear (1962)

Despite the censorship of Cape Fear meeting disapproval from the tabloids, the cuts remained. BBFC chief John Trevelyan later claimed that leading man Gregory Peck had personally approved of all his edits.

Shock Corridor (1963)

Once banned in the UK for sensationalism of mental illness, Shock Corridor was selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress in 1996 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The Killing of Sister George (1968)

Both Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury were considered for the lead role of matronly lesbian actress Jane Buckridge.

Trash (1970)

Distributor Jimmy Vaughan described the material cut by the BBFC as “cinematic history down the drain”. Ironically he went on to make further cuts to the film himself.

The Devils (1971)

The Devils (1971)

The Devils (1971)

This was a rare example of a film being censored not only by the BBFC but also by its own distributor. The 2004 director’s cut is still deemed too strong for general release.

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Pink Flamingos (1972)

Pink Flamingos (1972)

To avoid conviction under the Obscene Publication Act, the video for Pink Flamingos was distributed in the UK by asking customers to send a blank VHS to the distributor, onto which the film would be recorded and sent back.

Enter the Dragon (1973)

Scenes were cut upon Enter the Dragon’s initial release when the BBFC’s chief censor discovered that flying stars and nunchuks could be legally purchased in the UK.

Maitresse (1976)

Maitresse was initially refused certification as “such material in the public cinema might stimulate experimentation”.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Activist Mary Whitehouse had called The Evil Dead “the number one nasty”, yet in 1995 the distributors successfully argued in court that the film was not obscene, and it was removed from the ‘video nasties’ list.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Scenes were cut to allow a family-friendly cinema release. These were reinstated to be shown in UK cinemas for the first time this year.

Crash (1996)

Despite being approved by the BBFC, the tabloid campaigns against the film became so vicious that it was banned by Westminster Council, forcing its London Film Festival premiere to relocate.

Irreversible (2002)

Irreversible (2002)

Irreversible (2002)

Around 250 people walked out of Irreversible’s Cannes Film Festival screening due to an extreme and long rape scene. This was considered to be so unpleasant as to not be gratuitous by the BBFC, and so was released uncut.

Sick – The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (2001)

Cuts were made to Sick after advice from clinical psychologists who were concerned that scenes of actual bodily harm would invite imitation.

This Is England (2007)

Rated as 18 by the BBFC for its strong racist violence and language, yet director Shane Meadows stated “the film is affecting but I think it’s something that someone of 15 can cope with”.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

The BBFC guidelines for a PG film state that “frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense”. It was this that bumped The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas up to a 12A.

The Killer Inside Me (2010)

The Killer Inside Me passed uncut. Director of the BBFC David Cooke stated: “One of things that can save scenes of sexual violence is if it is clearly aversive – or off-putting. And we took the view that that is the case with The Killer Inside Me.”

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