Victorian Censor Steps In j
Alter the successful launching of Efftee Films first feature programme one would imagine that Mr. Thring and Co. could sit back end enjoy the fruits of their labors. Considerable enthusiasm prevailed at the opening programme, and those who saw the productions spoke highly of them. But the anxiety of the enterprise is not yet over. Two of the first four features have fallen foul of the censorship board
One of these, a mystery thriller, "The Haunted Barn," has been knocked back to the extent that only those over the age of 16 could witness it. The cen- sor objected to the picture on the grounds that the wailing of the wind in it would serve to frighten children. The objection ls nothing if not pithy. The wailing of the wind pales into nothingness with the clutching hand stuff and the face-at-the-window type that swept the screen in years gone by. The effect on the child mind of these was far and away greater than mere shrieking of impromptu ele- ments. At any rate the decision was reversed after a whole lot of protest and criticism, but not before a lot of damage was done financially to the struggling producers.
A ban similar to that on "The Haunted House" was placed on the film "The Co-Respondent's Course," which critics thought was not nearly as daring as some of the imported films. This early knock to the studio comes at a time when encouragement would be more to the point. There is even talk of shifting production to London. As a matter of fact it is an open secret that if hindrances persist this course will be adopted. For the sake of the future there ought to be some arrangement by which manu- scripts of intended productions could be submitted to censors before the films are made. Any likely points of friction would in this manner be ob- viated by a judicious handling when the work is taken in hand. Something like this will have to be done if the Australian industry is to receive the encouragement it deserves.