In November 1995, the Australian Film Censorship Board banned screenings of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, which was shot a year earlier in the Coconino National Forest, Sedona and Peaks Ranger District. The restriction, Australia’s first ban of an English language film since 1986’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, was pinned on a four-second scene that the Australian Senate Select Committee on Community Standards, a self-appointed body of representatives, tastefully described as “implicitly coerced” sex. The film, which starred Johnny Depp, had no such problems elsewhere, showing uncut all over the world and receiving an R rating in the U.S. Australia’s Classification Review Board subsequently overturned the ban, finding that the scene “was necessary to the narrative” and “not exploitative.” This was not the first time a Sedona-made film ran afoul of censors abroad. Both Gun Fury, a 1953 3-D western starring Rock Hudson and Donna Reed, and Shotgun, a 1955 cowboy potboiler starring Sterling Hayden and Yvonne DeCarlo, were banned in Finland for violent content.––Joe McNeill
Having played host to more than 60 Hollywood productions—from the early years of cinema through the 1970s—Sedona, Arizona’s unsung role in American film is the topic of this blog. Here, once and for all Sedona gets her due as a key location in movie history, a silent but stunning backdrop to all genres of movies including silent films, B westerns, World War II propaganda, and film noir.