Noiradelic wrote: ↑
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:40 am
When British censors demanded cuts, Cronenberg refused, and it took even longer to come out in England.
The only part of that sentence that's true is that the release was delayed by a few months - but the reason for the delay was that the BBFC was firmly on Cronenberg's side, and did not
request cuts. But BBFC head James Ferman deliberately delayed the announcement until Parliament had been dissolved prior to the 1997 general election, thus neutralising one of the three groups who'd been calling for a ban. (Ferman was notorious for pulling stunts like that.)
The other two were harder to get around, and in fact Westminster Council ended up banning the film from their cinemas - somewhat ineffectively, since Columbia TriStar simply opened it in the central London cinemas nearest the Westminster border on the other side. And the third was the Daily Mail
, which ranted and raved about the film throughout this entire process, including trying to whip up a boycott of Sony products ("What YOU can do to keep this revolting film off our screens"), but which had no direct input into whether or not it was released.
Also, even if the BBFC had demanded cuts, Cronenberg wouldn't have been in a position to refuse: the distribution rights had already been sold, and there was nothing in the contract that demanded director approval of the version that was released (which would have been highly unusual, and it's hard to imagine a distributor of a potentially controversial film agreeing to such a clause).
I suspect you've mixed the the BBFC up with Westminster Council, which like all local authorities had the final say in what could be screened in cinemas within its jurisdiction, but they're not film censors. Granted, John Bull, the splendidly-named head of Westminster's Licensing Sub-Committee publicly asked for cuts to be made, but this was greeted with derision, not least from Cronenberg himself. But this absolutely shouldn't be confused with the formal classification process.