Restricted: Ontario film censorship in the 1950s

Restricted: Ontario film censorship in the 1950s

  While rummaging through the Revue Cinema’s projection booth in preparation for a recent Silent Sundays screening, I found this old “Adult entertainment” sign buried under some obsolete  electronics. As we recently examined, Ontario was the first Canadian province to enact “Adult entertainment” film designations, reflecting the public’s reaction to the changing mores in Hollywood and European film-making. With their playful italics and authoritative bold type, these signs dangled underneath a theatre’s marquee or canopy —…

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Curves, cussing and beer: Ontario film censorship in the 1940s

Curves, cussing and beer: Ontario film censorship in the 1940s

Many of the obituaries published in the wake of Hollywood star Jane Russell’s death in February mentioned the heated censorship debate over her sultry appearance in The Outlaw. Produced in 1943, the film began a two-week run at Toronto’s Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre on December 5, 1946. It was also among the first films in Ontario to receive the new “Adult Entertainment” designation, restricting admittance to anyone under the age of 16. O.J. Silverthorne, Ontario’s…

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One hundred years of film censorship in Ontario

One hundred years of film censorship in Ontario

Since 2011 marks the centenary of the creation of the Ontario Board of Censors, we present the first in a series of articles examining film censorship in Ontario. There was a time in Ontario when film versions of Shakespeare’s greatest plays were too violent or too racy for the public good. In February 1910, one Staff Insp. Kennedy seized a print of Hamlet. The Daily Star quoted this arbiter of public morals about how how…

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The Parkdale Theatre: a passion den for teenagers

The Parkdale Theatre: a passion den for teenagers

“This may seem drastic to you but I have seen the results of the work of some of these hoodlums,” wrote Ontario Censor Board and Theatres Inspection Branch chairman O.J. Silverthorne in 1953 after offering Famous Players some well-heeled advice on dealing with teen-age rowdiness at Toronto’s Parkdale Theatre. Located at Queen St. W and Triller Ave., the Parkdale was one of several theatres designed by C. Howard Crane for the national Allen chain of…

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