Censors of Cinema


Cartoons about film censorship from the early days!

I bought a lovely book at the FilmFair in Pordenone (they have a FilmFair at their Festival!), a book of cartoons about early cinema, entitled I Want To See This Annie Mattygraph, by Stephen Bottomore. It was only eight euros. If that were translated into pounds sterling, I probably wouldn’t have bought it, but eight euros doesn’t sound like much, so I did.

Bottomore has done an amazing job of research.


A Nightmarish Vision of the Future — from a 1913 edition of The Cleveland Leader. Censorship robs movies of glamour and all we’re left with is the insipid or musty. Nevertheless, I quite like the sound of THE CURSE OF BUTTERMILK, THE MOLLYCODDLE’S PARADE and BERTHA THE BEAUTIFUL BLACKSMITH, which sounds highly censorable. “Smoldering in the smithy! Smoldering when she should be soldering. She had some torso, some bod! But the horses got shod!”

A lot of these old cartoons aren’t very funny, but most of them are beautiful, and they can teach a lot about social attitudes to the cinema during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Or about now, even.

Tommy JonesClick to enlarge.

I Want to See This Annie Mattygraph: Cartoon History of the Coming of the Movies

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