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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
Government minister berates the BBFC over 15 certificate for Made in Dagenham
Parents often genuinely would rather their kids didn't hear any swearing. But of course that's a forlorn hope and the kids will have heard it all before in abundance. So should the
BBFC censor according to parental wishes rather than the reality of life?
I saw The King's Speech yesterday. I really enjoyed it – but the point of this post is that a while back I commented on the fact that Made in Dagenham should have had a 12A certificate (like The King's
Speech ) – and not the 15 rating it got.
I based this on the hearsay knowledge that the f word was used in The King's Speech and was thought to be an integral part of the film – and the
film's overall worthiness meant that it should be seen by 12A (ie accompanied by an adult). Having now actually seen this film – I would agree – the use of expletives is integral to this film.
In Made in
Dagenham – which is the story of the women workers at Dagenham car plant who fought for equal pay – supported by their male colleagues – and which ultimately led to the Equal Pay Act – the f word is also used. In my
view in this film, the use of the f word is just as integral to the telling of this story as are the expletives in The King's Speech .
The differential in the certification by the British Board of Film
Classification (independent body for film certification) means that more and younger folk will be able to see a great film about part of our history – ie King George VI – but not our great history of the fight for equality.
I am still at a loss to understand the differential certification.
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
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.
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.
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.