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Read it in small doses
on 3 January 2015
An effort like this using so many contributors requires a strong editor, otherwise clichés abound, and we get every writer trotting out the old 'It was such a low budget, it wouldn't have even covered... (insert big budget comparison here). We understand. British films had lower budgets. It's really something we all need to get over, and move on. Here there are some odd inclusions, odd omissions - inevitable I suppose, but US studio financed films are hardly offbeat. Surprised not to see, say, The Brute, The Final Programme or The Fiend. Slightly smaller type, and pretty much every British 1970s production could have been given a mention. At it's heart is a plethora of laddish views, sometimes well-researched, sometimes embarrassingly wide of the mark, haranguing you in the way a mate down the pub would. So a little goes a long way. (No one down the pub is going to have anything worthwhile to say on the subject of Altman's Images, for example).
The collective failing of the contributors (I can take a pretty accurate guess at their age range) is that they cannot believe the X certificate was for any other purpose than horror or titillation. In fact, the X certificate, particularly in the 1960s, was used for films that appealed to an adult sensibility, something that the infantalised film-goer of today finds hard to credit. So films that dealt with uncomfortable sexual and social topics got an X. Yes, schoolgirls thought about sex, (e.g. I Start Counting). And yes, film-makers portrayed that - in the days when films weren't just appealing to 12-year-olds. If you want to see real bravery in dealing with inappropriate relationships, try Charles Crichton's The Third Secret. Now that's offbeat!