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Title: Witchfinding in General and the Censors
Authors: Petley, J
Keywords: Mark of the Devil;Witchfinder;British Board of Film Censors;British Board of Film Classification;Torture;Violence
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Cine-Excess
Citation: Cine-Excess eJournal, 2017, (3)
Abstract: This article examines why it took 33 years before Mark of the Devil (1970) could be distributed in its complete form in the UK. It shows that when the film was first submitted to the British Board of Film Censors in 1970 the cuts required were so extensive that no exhibitor was prepared to show it. Although released on video in 1981, it soon found itself on the Director of Public Prosecution’s list of videos which were liable to seizure and possible forfeiture under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act, and it was not submitted on video to the British Board of Film Classification until 1993, when four minutes and 20 seconds of cuts were required. In 2003 it was re-submitted on video, and this time escaped with only 38 seconds of cuts. Eventually, in 2015, it was released completely uncut on video. In order to help to pinpoint the elements of the film which the BBFC found so objectionable and problematic, the article compares its treatment at the hands of the Board with that of Witchfinder General (1968). The article concludes by briefly tracing the film’s censorship history in Australia and Germany.
ISSN: 2053-0706
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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