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Is There Any Reason To Believe That British Cinema Became More 'permissive' In The Period From Darling To The Long Good Friday?

2903 words - 12 pages

Whilst this essay focuses on the period dating from 1965 to 1979 I think that it is an inevitably more permissive path that British cinema has followed throughout history. Film has progressively become a far more accessible, and daring, medium as technological advances have allowed increased distribution channels for film and with a greater use of more fantastic special effects this has released the imaginations of scriptwriters, producers and directors. Along with these inevitable technical improvements that have made filmmaking a more daring means of cultural representation, the influence of John Trevelyan, secretary of the British Board of Film Censors from 1958 to 1970, should not be dismissed when considering the apparent relaxation of values within the film industry. His ability to work with directors, as opposed to against them, is legendary, allowing scenes to be passed for certification that would previously have been found on the cutting room floor before the films release. Throughout this essay, I intend to highlight the increased use of graphic violence and immorality seen in films during the specified period above, focussing on how censorship codes and values have adapted, and how these relaxed attitudes were critically and socially received.Firstly, I think that it is important to look at society and the political and cultural reaction to prominent events in Britain as an indicator of social attitudes. In this period, the Moors Murderers, possibly Britain's most hated killers, were finally charged with the brutal murders of several children; the notoriously violent Kray twins were given life sentences for murder; the Gay Liberation Front hold their first demonstration in London, raising the public awareness of gay issues, and armed troops moved into Ireland for the first time and are seen on television news items, more or less daily, thereafter. Similarly news items were also covering the end of the Vietnam War, with very public disturbances being caused as veterans returned home. This increased amount of violence being received in viewer's homes as acceptable news items effectively 'numbed' individual sensitivities to what would previously have been conceived as horrific. However coverage of atrocities were not a new thing, whilst news coverage of the war was commonplace in cinemas during the 1940s, the scenes were far more acceptable, with the majority of camera shots depicting the devastation caused by bombing, the camaraderie of soldiers and the rallying together of towns and villages in their hour of need. Little was ever projected highlighting the death and destruction caused by the war as everybody was in some way involved and a high public spirit had to be maintained. Conversely, perhaps because neither the situation in Ireland, nor the Vietnam War, immediately impacted on the life of the average citizen on the British mainland, the violence depicted on the news seemed somewhat distant from daily life. Nevertheless, this...

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