Britain continues her march towards INGSOC! The Liverpool City Council is planning to reclassify thousands of classic movies that feature smoking. Any film deemed to offend the sensibilities of Big Brother the council will be given an “18 certificate”, the equivalent of an NC-17 rating in the US (and previously reserved for explicitly violent or sexual films).
Although the rule is supposedly for new films only, there is nothing in the measure to prevent the Liverpool Council from banning older films as well. This could mean that no Liverpudlian under the age of 18 would be able to go to a cinema or rent or purchase almost any movie made before 1970, including such classics as Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, Citizen Kane, On The Waterfront and even modern classics such as Titanic and Lord of the Rings. What’s more, several classic childrens films – such as 101 Dalmatians and Disney’s Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio would become 18+ only.
The nannies on the council have graciously exempted any film in which a historical character was known to smoke (Winston Churchill, for example), and they have also exempted any film which “educates” the public on the “dangers” of smoking (“I love you, Big Brother!”)
This is all made possible by a 2003 law with allows local governments to override the British Board of Film Classification, which normally handles such things.
Read more about it here.