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NZFI Newsletter September 1958

Page history last edited by FilmSociety@gmail.com 6 years, 5 months ago



The Annual Report of the Department of Internal Affairs, presented in the House of Representatives a few weeks ago, contains some interesting statistics in its section dealing with cinematograph films. These disclose "a continuation of the downward trend experienced over the past few years in the average number of attendances per head of population per year", a phenomenon which has reached grave proportions in several overseas countries, but attributed there to the impact of television.

The number of new short films dropped from 1039 to 682; on the other hand, feature-length productions continued to rise, particularly American features, which rose about one-third. Films registered as British dropped from 128 to 108. The total amount of film examined came to 8,000,000 feet.

Four new films, including one 16 mm feature, Unashamed, were refused certificates outright. No appeal was made against this decision for Unashamed, but the Films Appeal Board reviewed the other three films. It upheld the censor's rejection of The Wild Party and The Delinquents, but approved Chained for Life after some cutting. No Orchids for Miss Blandish, which was banned in 1949, was again refused a certificate. Cell 2455 Death Row, banned in 1955, was submitted after re-editing, and given an (A) certificate after further cutting.

Excisions were made in 223 films, other than "trailers", involving some cutting in 34 per cent of feature films. The most notable increase in cutting was in "trailers", 308 cuts being made in 171 of them - an all-time record.


The report states that the main reason for cutting films is that they contain too much "violence" - 80 per cent of all excisions were made on this score. Excisions on grounds of "sex" (defined as "unduly suggestive or crude situations and dialogue") dropped in the year under review from 23 per cent to 17 per cent.

This Annual Report serves to emphasize something of which New Zealanders should be justly proud - that this country has an enlightened and discriminating film censorship, which overseas observers have described as one of the best in the world. Long may it continue so!



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