‘Lewd, pornographic filth’: managing culture through local film censorship in Britain 1948-1968

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Abstract

Film censorship in the UK is predicated on a two-tier system whereby the British Board of Film Classification recommends a classification for a film and this classification is then implemented by local authorities. In cases where local authorities disagree with a BBFC decision they can change the classification or ban the film entirely. Conversely, they can also screen a film which has no BBFC certificate. This local decision-making is permitted under the powers granted to local authorities to oversee cinema exhibition and licensing. Using The Snake Pit, Rock Around the Clock and Ulysses, and offering a broad historical and geographic sweep, this article explores local council archives and local press reporting to map local censorship across the UK, drawing attention to inconsistencies in different areas and how councils justified the decisions they took on specific films.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-74
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
  • Local authorities
  • Post-war
  • Britain
  • Film
  • Censorship
  • Cinema

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