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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A clean breast of it!

Censorship happens even now, though perhaps it isn’t so explicit as experienced in Spain during the time of Franco. A new book recounts the alterations made to movies and their posters by censors at the time of Franco’s regime.

After the Civil War, going to the movies was one of the main forms of entertainment for Spanish society. So movies presented a problem for the watchdogs of morality, and they were vigilant in stamping on any negative issues regarding religion, politics, and the army, and eschewed blatant reference to prostitution, divorce or adultery.  

The book, La censura franquista en el cartel de cine by Bienvenido Llopis, analyses forty years’ worth of censorship in Spain through films. The result was that cleavages were reduced, legs were covered up and scenes with beds in them were avoided.

Certain movies were banned, while others had scenes excised. It wasn’t just the movies, though – the censor had to tamper with the movie advertising. Major Hollywood stars who embraced the Republican cause – James Cagney, Joan Crawford or Robert Montgomery – had their names removed from Spanish movie posters, while any title that suggested a double meaning were changed.
A pre- and post-censorship image of actress Sara Montiel...
Llopis spent over thirty years acquiring posters, programmes and magazines that reveal the work of the draftsmen and censors of the era.

His book includes movie posters, magazine covers, comic strips, novels, news stories, photographs, postcards and collectible picture card albums showing the work of censors who managed to re-clothe Monroe, Lollobrigida, Loren and Gardner in less suggestive garments!

The final blow to Spanish censorship was delivered on December 1, 1977 by the government decree under Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez.

Based on an article by Aurora Intxausti, El País, December 30, 2013

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