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Remembered Today:

Severely censored or banned ww1 films 1919 to date


John Gilinsky

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Does anyone know of severely censored (cut out scenes, monologues, etc...) or even outright banned movies (fiction) produced from 1919 to date on the Great War or World War I?

I can think of at least a few:

Paths of Glory (1956/57) Banned outright in France until the mid-1970's

J'Accuse (the 1919 version) I think but I am NOT sure if this film was banned or simply withdrawn due to poor ticket sales or even the director Abel Gance's displeasure with the publicly released version

J'Accuse (a mid/late 1930's version) This is a semi-classic film as well as employing some of the more gruesome (French soldiers as zombies reminding the French audiences of how gruesome ww1 had been) I think it may have been somewhat curtailed in France or elsewhere (Belgium?).

Thanks,

John

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People are viewing but no one is contributing!:( Come on, men! Over the top of your desks and get those fingers actively purusing your weapons: your keyboards!

John

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Does anyone know of severely censored (cut out scenes, monologues, etc...) or even outright banned movies (fiction) produced from 1919 to date on the Great War or World War I?

I can think of at least a few:

Paths of Glory (1956/57) Banned outright in France until the mid-1970's

J'Accuse (the 1919 version) I think but I am NOT sure if this film was banned or simply withdrawn due to poor ticket sales or even the director Abel Gance's displeasure with the publicly released version

J'Accuse (a mid/late 1930's version) This is a semi-classic film as well as employing some of the more gruesome (French soldiers as zombies reminding the French audiences of how gruesome ww1 had been) I think it may have been somewhat curtailed in France or elsewhere (Belgium?).

Thanks,

John

John

I'm not sure whether this fits into your category, but Ernest Raymond wrote a bestseller called Tell England (1922), about the disastrous Gallipolii adventure in 1915. It was turned into a film by Anthony Asquith in 1931, retitled The Battle of Gallipoli in the US. It prompted an extraordinary incident when it was first shown in Jerusalem the following year. The scenes of the Turkish army killing British soldiers aroused such an enthusiastic response among the Arab audience that further screenings were forbidden by the British censor.

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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J'accuse: 1938; Abel Gance. (and the earlier 1919 version)

One of my favourite great War films and worthy of higher praise than it gets. I always longed to be able to get a copy of this/and use it in one of my essays although I could never find the scope to include such a work.

Tom

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jeremym: Thanks so much for this obscure reference. I presume the local papers and possibly British papers (Times?) may have reported on this? If so does anyone have any contemporary documentation on this banning? Was the film shown after 1945 or 1948?

John

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  • 3 months later...

The 1976 "Aces High", which has been shown at least three times since last summer by ITV, has several scenes missing edited by ITV - notably from the dogfight at the end, including the long descent of the pilot who jumped from his SE5A whilst on fire - it misses out the long descent and when the body hits the ground. Also misses the superb final scene when the Squadron Leader looks out the window across the aerodrome, and the ghost of the main character walks towards the building, then fades away as he reaches the pond

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Jean Renoir's "La Grande Illusion" was banned by the Nazi party declaring it "cinematographic enemy No 1". However, Joseph Goebbels was known to be an admirer of it and had a copy for private viewing.

TR

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I wonder if Goebels learned anything of the cinematic art from privately watching this late 1930s French film?

John

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The 1976 "Aces High", which has been shown at least three times since last summer by ITV, has several scenes missing edited by ITV - notably from the dogfight at the end, including the long descent of the pilot who jumped from his SE5A whilst on fire - it misses out the long descent and when the body hits the ground. Also misses the superb final scene when the Squadron Leader looks out the window across the aerodrome, and the ghost of the main character walks towards the building, then fades away as he reaches the pond

TV execs would have told us that by doing this they made a more coherent story/plot line given the limitations of tv but more realistically what they would mean is that they need to make time for advertising and also retain the viewers from tuning out of long meaningful shots/views.

John

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Aces High also tends to get shown quite early in the evening or on weekend afternoons by ITV. I suspect that a studio executive thinks that it's a 'Boys Own' action movie likely to appeal mostly to 10-12 year olds rather than an adaptation of the play Journey's End.
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In 1930, Hollywood made a film of the Erich Maria Remarque novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Its message was not popular with Hitler's regime in the 1930s and I understand it was banned in Germany altogether.

I don't think the film did great things for the carreers of many involved in its production. The message of the film became less popular in the US as attitudes changed in WW2 and the Cold War.

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All Quiet was banned by the Nazis, both in film and book form. Remarque fled to Switzerland. But but before they came to power the party organised members to disrupt showings of the film - not least by letting mice loose in the cinema. Remarque was amongst those authors particlarly attacked at the infamous book burnings in speeches

I suspect that Fritz Lang's Four Comrades was also banned in Germany - since Lang was amongst those who fled Germany (for Hollywood) and the book was as anti-war as All Quiet, and, I think, a much better book,

I was not aware that tell England was filmed - not least because there is a strong gay undertone to what is an extremely good, if largely forgotten, book - I assume that this element was removed from the Asquith film. Does anyone know if either the Lang or the Asquith films are avaialable of dvd?

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"The life and death of Colonel Blimp"(1943) comes to mind. It is reported that Churchill wanted it banned because he thought it parodied his own story. I seem to recall that it was not shown until more than 40 years after it was made. This film included WW1 sequences.

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Churchill's attempt to have The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp banned failed, although it wasn't released until 1945 in the USA, and then in an edited version. There was a re-release in 1983, which I think was the first time that the full length version was shown in the USA, but it was shown in British cinemas in 1943.

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"Westfront 1918" is another Weimar-era film that the Nazi's didn't like very much; the horror of war, how it affects civilians, starvation, attrition, etc, etc, all the unglamourous stuff anathema to the NSDAP worldview. They banned it, which naturally means people nowadays are morbidly curious about it - including self. Not seen it yet, but looking -

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My apologies for not thanking you all sooner. Please keep different titles and your comments coming. State censorship goes hand in hand with propaganda. How the state sought (and seeks) to control how its citizens think of their state and its leaders in times of dire crisis (world war) is quite interesting. Moreover the "new medium of film" or motion pictures combined with the use and abuse of history makes for some fascinating cross cultural and international comparisons in just how and why certain films were banned or severely censored.

John

John

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