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I AUSTRALIAN FILM.
Scenes Censored for Export.
PASSED FOR EXHIBITION IN
The chief film censor (Mr. W. Creswell O'Reilly) has decided that three short scenes must be excised from "The Silence of Dean Maitland," a film recently completed by Cine sound Productions, Ltd., before it can be ex- ported from Australia. The producers argua that one of the scenes in particular is essen- tial to the story.
Officials of the Victorian Chief Secretary's Department said yesterday that Mr. O'Reilly, who acted as censor for Victoria as well as Commonwealth censor, passed the film without cut during the week ended May 5 as being suitable for exhibition before adults only in Victoria. The Victorian censorship require- ments, they said, were generally stricter than those of the Commonwealth.
All imported films are examined by the Federal censors, but Australian-made films come before them only to bo passed for export. The film has already been passed for exhibition in New South Wales by the Chief Secretary's Department. It was pointed out by a member of the film trade yesterday that in any case the film will be reviewed by local censors in New Zealand and London, which are its immediate destinations.
It is impossible to set down hard and fast rules of censorship whether of literature, the theatre, or the films. The extent of the free- dom given to artists and to purveyors of en- tertainment Is the outcome, in the final analysis, of a compromise between those who consider that such matters should be left to the good taste of entrepeneurs and the public and those who stand at the other extreme and regard all secular art and entertainment with suspicion. In Australia this com- promise is defined in the working principles employed by Mr. O'Reilly and the Appeal Board (which, during 1933, passed 22 of the 44 films which Mr. O'Reilly rejected entirely, and passed, ten others after reconstruction).
In excising three scenes from "The Silence of Dean Maitland" (which was shown to representatives of the Press a few weeks ago) Mr. O'Reilly seems to have applied a much stricter standard than is applied, so far as an outside observer can judge, to the general run of English and American pic- tures. In one of the three scenes objected to the girl Alma Lee is revealed in a degree of undress which is constantly eaualled and sometimes exceeded In American films passed by the censor. The second scene, which shows a passionate meeting between the lero and Alma Lee is handled skilfully and with- out undue emphasis. The retlceiice of the treatment in this scene is at least equal to that given to similar scenes in imported films. Also, the Incident Is vital to the plot. Re- garding the third of the scenes that are in question (showing a village oaf sniggering as he catches a gllmose of Alma Lee bathing) most people would probably agree heartily with Mr. O'Relllv, not only because the joke is a cheap one. but also because it is -rele- vant to the development of the story. As readers of this once-popular talc will recall, it is difficult to imagine a Etory in which the wages of sin are more sternly exacted. Incidentally the film is technically far supe- rior to any of the Australian productions that have gone before it.