Irish film censorship
A cultural journey from silent cinema to internet pornography
Over ... 50,000 films examined ... 11,000 cut ... 2,500 banned ... 3,000 videos banned.
As a survey of film censorship, Kevin Rockett's new book (years in the making) is unlikely ever to be surpassed. He has scrutinized unpublished Censors' reports on more than 1,500 representative films, providing not only a history of the censorship but an insight into Ireland's national psyche, and the risks inherent in any censorship system.
The book maps the history of Irish film censorship from its origins in the 1910s, through to the all-encompassing Censorship of Films Act 1923, the more liberal implementation of screening policies from the late 1960s onwards, and present-day concerns about media proliferation and distribution. Its main focus is on the 1920-70 period, when Irish film censors banned 3,000 films and cut an additional 10,000.
The role of political censorship and its effect on television and cinema is examined, as are the more contemporary issues of video classification and debates around the Internet and child pornography. Through the examination of over 18,000 of the Censors' decisions, Kevin Rockett provides an invaluable insight into the cultural geography of Ireland.
Front cover: this shows a scene from Michael Curtiz's Casablanca (1942, USA). The film was banned in Ireland under wartime restrictions, but when released in 1945 it was cut to ensure that Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) a married woman were never portrayed as lovers.
Kevin Rockett is a lecturer in Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of the seminal Irish Film-ography: fiction films, 1896–1996 (1996). He is co-author of Cinema and Ireland (1987) and Neil Jordan: exploring boundaries (2003); and co-editor of the new cinema yearbook, National cinema and beyond (FCP, 2004). He was the recipient of the 2001 Irish Film Institute Award for Contribution to Irish Film.