The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

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bdlover
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#126 Post by bdlover » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:52 pm

MichaelB wrote:A 148-minute running time doesn't look "uncut" to me! Was the animal cruelty retained in the shorter version?
It still contains the horsefalls, as do the 1988 and 2003 versions of A Fistful of Dynamite. And one could cite many other examples if one had the time - this particular practice of cutting horsefalls out of westerns dates back to 2004/5, not 1937.

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MichaelB
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#127 Post by MichaelB » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:46 am

bdlover wrote:And one could cite many other examples if one had the time - this particular practice of cutting horsefalls out of westerns dates back to 2004/5, not 1937.
Going from former BBFC Secretary John Trevelyan's memoirs, it seemed that he adopted a fairly light-touch approach to the Animals Act during his tenure (late 50s to early 70s), cutting scenes that involved unambiguous cruelty, but generally giving Hollywood films (i.e. the vast majority of Westerns) the benefit of the doubt. Cinemagoers apparently complained on occasion to Trevelyan about horse falls, but he'd refer them to reports from the American Humane Association, who conducted on-set inspections - he said that these were particularly useful when the Daily Express attacked him for passing John Huston's The Misfits. ("The inspector's reports showed that there was frequent substitution of horses to avoid exhaustion, and that every care had been taken of the animals used.")

Trevelyan's pragmatic attitude seems to have been that because there had never been any successful prosecution under the Animals Act, he considered this eventuality fairly unlikely, and while he found "the existence of the Act useful as a deterrent on certain occasions", he didn't have a policy of rigorously enforcing it, although he said that he was generally tougher on films from countries other than Britain and the US where it was harder to obtain proof of lack of ill-treatment. I suspect the BBFC's policy changed as a direct result of the passage of the 1984 Video Recordings Act (long after Trevelyan's retirement), which for the first time gave the BBFC statutory responsibilities, at least as far as video recordings were concerned - previously, their role had technically only been advisory (although in practice virtually all local authorities preferred films shown under their jurisdiction to have BBFC certificates).

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Dick Laurent
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#128 Post by Dick Laurent » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:36 am

Was reading this and remembered watching Ulzana's Raid some weeks ago, the UK dvd has some serious cutting regarding horsefalls, resulting in severe jumpcuts that throw you straight out of the action :(

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GaryC
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#129 Post by GaryC » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:41 am

Dick Laurent wrote:Was reading this and remembered watching Ulzana's Raid some weeks ago, the UK dvd has some serious cutting regarding horsefalls, resulting in severe jumpcuts that throw you straight out of the action :(
Funnily enough those horsefalls were present when I saw the film on the BBC - though there were still cuts for violence that had been made by the BBC for its first broadcast at 9.25pm at night. That was another film that the American Humane Association complained about on its release.

That initial broadcast, by the way, prompted a long article in the Monthly Film Bulletin because it revealed that there were two significantly different versions of the film in existence - Aldrich's cut and a re-edited European version that Burt Lancaster had prepared, each of which contains material not in the other. It would be nice if someone put a DVD release together with both versions on it, but that hasn't happened yet - and would be unlikely to happen in the UK because of the certainty that the BBFC would cut it.

bdlover
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#130 Post by bdlover » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:57 am

The BBC may have broadcast the UK video version from 1985: 45s of cuts for violence, but horsefalls left intact. Again suggests that the 1984 VRA wasn't the driving factor behind the BBFC's recent (2004-) horsefall policy. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is yet another example: The Turner preview version was cut by 12s in 1991 (the cockfight) then by 16s in 2006 (the cockfight + now the horsefalls too).

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GaryC
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#131 Post by GaryC » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:59 am

bdlover wrote:The BBC may have broadcast the UK video version from 1985: 45s of cuts for violence, but horsefalls left intact. Again suggests that the 1984 VRA wasn't the driving factor behind the BBFC's recent (2004-) horsefall policy. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is yet another example: The Turner preview version was cut by 12s in 1991 (the cockfight) then by 16s in 2006 (the cockfight + now the horsefalls too).
Just as an aside, the BBC's copy of Ulzana's Raid was first shown in 1979 at 9.25pm - Aldrich's version minus some cuts made by the BBC for violence which they hadn't restored when they showed it (and I saw it) in 2000 IIRC, but which had the horsefalls still intact. Lancaster's version was the one that played in UK cinemas with some BBFC cuts for violence (now restored). There's an article around that time in the Monthly Film Bulletin listing the differences between the versions and there's detail on the IMDB - and indeed an article by Brad Stevens in Movie Collector magazine which I no longer have to hand, detailing the various versions of Aldrich's films as shown in the UK. (Two different versions of Kiss Me Deadly have been shown on UK television, for example.)

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manicsounds
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#132 Post by manicsounds » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:24 pm

"Forbidden Games" Blu-ray had the cockroach being killed... was that fine because it was a roach?

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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#133 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:26 am

manicsounds wrote:"Forbidden Games" Blu-ray had the cockroach being killed... was that fine because it was a roach?
Was it a clean kill?

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#134 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:32 am

The production notes said they did eat it afterwards, anyway

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GaryC
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#135 Post by GaryC » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:47 am

manicsounds wrote:"Forbidden Games" Blu-ray had the cockroach being killed... was that fine because it was a roach?
Yes - the Animals Act doesn't apply to invertebrates.

Jonathan S
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#136 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:05 am

So, about 95% of animals are not protected by the Animals Act! ("All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".)

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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#137 Post by bamwc2 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:46 pm

I've only just stumbled across this thread and think that I may have something to contribute. Just to get my bona fides out of the way, I have a Ph.D. in philosophy, regularly teach courses on applied ethics (and sometimes even environmental ethics), maintain an active research project into animal welfare, and have been a vegetarian for most of my adult life.

Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now to go through each point that I want to, so I'll point toward David Hare's assessment of the use of nonhuman animals in film (in the previous page) as very close to my own. I don't care how poetic or beautiful you might find a seen of animal slaughter, it is never okay to torture or even perform a "clean kill" on an animal for the purpose of pure entertainment. This position has led me to some inconsistencies in the past as there are some truly magnificent films that feature animal abuse and death. In fact my likely choice for the number one spot on my 70s ballot features multiple animals slaughtered on screen. While I find those scene pointless and disturbing, it does not mean that I cannot appreciate the rest of the film in the same way that I can overlook the more disturbing aspects of, say, Olympia and admire the good parts for what they are. Do I experience cognitive dissonance over it? You bet. But, I don't have all of the answers. No, I can only try my best.

Now on to a couple of specific points. First, there is a perfectly good reason why invertebrates are typically left out of animal welfare legislation. These laws are intended to cover the morally significant problem of suffering. Since we as a society believe that unnecessary suffering (i.e. pain that does not lead to some greater good) is a bad thing, we pass laws to eliminate it. Now, if we defer to the cognitive scientists, then you'll find that pace Descartes, there is virtually no doubt that all mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians possess phenomenal consciousness. This means that they can feel pleasure and pain, and are capable of unnecessary suffering. Other animals like insects, arthropods, arachnids, etc., likely do not have a complex enough nervous system to possess phenomenal consciousness. Consequently, it's very likely that they do not have the ability to suffer. Some, like Peter Singer, still refuse to kill something like a lobster or a a spider on the chance that the science could be wrong. Most animal welfare laws, however, do not make this distinction.

Colin, I strongly recommend checking out the BFI edition of The Animals Film. I actually tried to write a companion to the film last year, but the project was scuttled along the way. Perhaps I'll try again soon. I got to know the film's director, Victor Schonfeld, quite well during this time. He's a very interesting man and made an unqualified masterpiece.

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colinr0380
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#138 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:51 pm

bamwc2 wrote:Colin, I strongly recommend checking out the BFI edition of The Animals Film. I actually tried to write a companion to the film last year, but the project was scuttled along the way. Perhaps I'll try again soon. I got to know the film's director, Victor Schonfeld, quite well during this time. He's a very interesting man and made an unqualified masterpiece.
I'm hopefully going to get to it soon, once I build up the nerve! I certainly agree on the qualities of Victor Schonfeld - while I haven't seen The Animals Film I assume that he is the same director who made the extremely powerful documentary for Channel 4, It's A Boy!, in 1995 which is just as fearlessly confrontational in questioning the practice of religious infant male circumcision (and eventually the necessity of infant male circumcision at all, even with anaesthetic) as a form of abuse and similarly upsetting in its frank and shocking scenes showing the operation being performed.

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RossyG
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Re: The BBFC and Animal Cruelty

#139 Post by RossyG » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:01 am

Jonathan S wrote:So, about 95% of animals are not protected by the Animals Act! ("All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".)
Insects don't really have feelings, though. They're virtually biological machines.

Although bumble bees are cute.

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