Tuesday, June 8, 2010

G’Day…Now Go Away

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

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