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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
The Spirit of Bowdler Lives!
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1435  Tuesday, 28 May 2002

From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 May 2002 15:10:51 +0100
Subject:        The Spirit of Bowdler Lives!

Late at night ideas tend to merge into one another, so I fell to musing
about the recent spat over film adaptations of Shakespeare, Richard
Burt's obsession with so-called adult movies, and Sam Small's with age
restrictions.  I started wondering about age restrictions (US and UK)
for various recent adaptations (with older comparisons).  These are the
results (usually DVD, otherwise VHS):

Hamlet (Branagh): US PG-13, UK PG
Henry V (Branagh): US PG-13, UK PG
Richard III (McKellen): US R, UK 15
Titus (dir. Taymor): US R, UK 18
Romeo & Juliet (DiCaprio): US PG-13, UK 12
Romeo & Juliet (dir. Zeffirelli): US PG, UK PG
Tempest (dir. Jarman): US R, UK 15

What is going on here? R-rated Shakespeare?  Have the censors taken
leave of their senses?  Titus Andronicus I could perhaps understand
(though not forgive), but Richard III and The Tempest?  Perhaps some
adaptations do have artistic validity after all!  Otherwise, the censors
seem to agree with Sam Small: Kids, if offered Shakespeare, Just Say No.

John Briggs

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