The King's Speech

Censors in need of therapy over strong language

27th October

Comment: Fif.Fif.Fif.Fif.Fif...Twelve...

John Thomas Toys
Silicone Dildos
BBFC stutters over rating for The King's Speech

The King's Speech is 2010 Uk/Australia drama by Tom Hooper.

This work was originally classified 15 without cuts on 15/10/2010.

The BBFC has, after an appeal by the distributor of The King's Speech against the original 15 rating, applied its formal reconsideration process to the cinema release and classified it 12A with the Consumer Advice Contains strong language in a speech therapy context .

The BBFC's language Guidelines for 12A state: The use of strong language (for example fuck) must be infrequent . In the case of The King's Speech there are two isolated instances where the character of King George VI uses strong language several times at the instigation of his therapist during the speech therapy sessions he is undergoing to alleviate his stammer. The strong language is not aggressive and not directed at any person.

The Guidelines state that because works from time to time present issues in ways which cannot be anticipated, these criteria will not be applied in an over literal way if such an interpretation would lead to an outcome which would confound audience expectations . After careful consideration by the President and Director of the BBFC, the Board took the view that the way the strong language is presented in The King's Speech did not contravene the language Guidelines at 12A and that the public would understand why the Board has reached this decision.

Offsite: Kings can swear, factoryhands can't

27th October 2010. See  article from by Tim Black

Some films that use the f-word get a 15 rating [Made in Dagenham] and others get a 12A [The King's Speech]. What's going on at the BBFC?


In short, the BBFC is saying that it's okay to swear in the depiction of a speech-therapy session but not in the depiction of political struggle. It is an interpretive effort that puts the BBFC on shaky ground. The BBFC is not simply saying you can't say or show that anymore it lacks the confidence, the moral certainty, to do that kind of thing. So instead, it is qualifying its judgement, offering interpretation, assessing artistic intent. Shrinking back from its role as a guardian of the nation's morals, whether those of wives, servants or under-15s, the BBFC is now acting like a super-critic, deciding whether this or that is suitable not on the basis of a objective rules, but on the basis of subjective evaluation.

...Read the full article


3rd November

Update: Shock Therapy...

US Censors give an R rating to The King's Speech

The King's Speech is the true story of how England's King George VI overcame a devastating speech impediment, it's a wonderfully acted (by Colin Firth as the king, Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, the future Queen Mum) slice of history.

But the ever-clueless members of the MPAA ratings board are concerned about teenagers seeing this film --- because of one scene in which the king, in the course of his treatment, lets fly a string of swear words. Because, of course, no teenager has ever heard the F-word.

So The King's Speech gets an R -- the same rating, as Saw 3D .

Tom Hooper, director of The King's Speech, spoke about his disappointment:

What I take away from that decision, is that violence and torture is OK, but bad language isn't. I can't think of a single film I've ever seen where the swear words had haunted me forever, the way a scene of violence or torture has, yet the ratings board only worries about the bad language.

An MPAA spokesperson told the L.A. Times that the board is merely being consistent: We've made clear what our language guidelines are, and it's not fair, in fact it would look arbitrary, if we threw it out for just one film.

But LAT Times' Patrick Goldstein points out that the guidelines are, indeed, arbitrary: More than one use of the F-word, for example, earns an automatic R, but there's no rule about how many, say, gunshots or gallons of blood quality for a PG-13 or an R.


18th November

Offsite: Crumbling Credibility...

Film classification by f-word counting discredited

Hollywood's controversial ratings system has been under fire for years, but this autumn, it appears to have done the biggest damage yet to its crumbling credibility.

That's because of the continuing furor over the decision by the Motion Picture Association of America to slap a Restricted, or R, rating on one of the year's most acclaimed movies — The King's Speech.

To call the decision crazy and unhinged would be to let the MPAA off too lightly, said Patrick Goldstein, the influential film industry columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Like other fans of the British film, which tells the real-life story of King George VI's heroic efforts to conquer a disabling stutter, Goldstein believes it deserves to be seen by all ages.

...Read read the full article


27th January

Update: Free Speech Impediment...

John Thomas Toys
Silicone Dildos
US distributor considers a cut version of the The King's Speech

The LA Times is reporting that the film distributor Weinstein is contemplating editing The King's Speech in order to get its R-rating reduced to PG-13 and so increase the market able to see it.

The reason that the film was given the restricted label in the first place is because of MPAA inflexibility over a scene in which King George VI spurts out numerous curse words in order to help him get over his stutter.

The film was originally rated 15 in the UK, but the BBFC were asked to think again, and the film now has a 12 rating allowing it to be seen by a family audience. And successful it has been too. commented

This is a terrible, terrible idea. As far as I know, there is no difference between the cut being shown in British theaters vs. US theaters, meaning that this isn't a problem of content, but rather an issue of bullshit standards and qualifications by the MPAA. This would perhaps be understandable if we still lived in the 1920s, but I've personally never met a 13 year old kid who is completely unaware of the existence of words like fuck and shit.


1st February

Update: I Don't Believe in Censorship B.B.B.B.BUT...

Uttering 'bullshit' helps King's Speech director get over his censorship impediment

It's been prize winning week for the movie King's Speech , but producer Harvey Weinstein is now considering cutting the film to PG-13 to broaden the audience.

At issue is a series of 'fucks', uttered by Colin Firth playing King George VI, as he attempts to overcome his stutter.

Director Tom Hooper says he doesn't support cutting the film ...BUT... he said that it might be bleeped.

Speaking to EW, Tom Hooper said,

I wouldn't support cutting the film in any way. I think we looked at whether it's possible to bleep out the f—s and stuff, but I'm not going to actually cut that part.

He said that no final decision has been made about creating a PG-13 friendly edit, but reiterated: I'm not going to cut the film.

Co-star Helena Bonham Carter said:

I don't think it needs to be cut down. I think every 13-year-old knows [the words], I think every 8-year-old [does]. It's the whole point of it. It's not to be offensive. I think they said they were going to put the bleeps.


26th February

Update: Weinstein's Profit Impediment 'Cured'...

The King's Speech now available in a muted PG-13 version

The has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternative version of The King's Speech in which, a source said: the 'fucks' that earned it an R rating have been muted out.

The MPAA said it also has waived a rule that requires the distributor to fully withdraw the original version of the film from theaters for 90 days before replacing it with an alternative.


27th March

Update: Shit Censorship...

John Thomas Toys
Silicone Dildos
Censored version of King's Speech fast tracked onto US screens

America's MPAA lumbered the uncut King's Speech with an R-rating on account of 'strong language in a speech therapy context'. Worried about the impact this decision might have on the film's box office, the Weinstein Co. have opted to release a new PG-13 in the hopes of attracting a wider audience. The new cut version is set for release in 1,000 screens.

While such a re-release would usually have to wait 90 days from when the old version was pulled from cinemas, however MPAA bosses have signed a waiver which will allow the PG-13 version to be released in quicker succession.

With the Weinstein Co. preparing to head a marketing campaign to explain the changes to America's movie-going public, the new version will feature a number of muted fuck 's, and a few instances in which shit has been substituted in instead.


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