Video: Forbidden Images of Vintage Cinema

72 Film Fest

72 Film Fest

This short assembly of vintage clips was made for the 2007 72 Hour Film Festival in Frederick, Maryland. All of the clips used in this film came from a reel of 35mm nitrate found in an old theater somewhere in Pennsylvania. The projectionist clipped these scenes to meet local moral standards of the time.

From the video’s YouTube page:

“In the 1920s and 1930s, censorship of movies was often goverened by local boards, and achieved by snipping the scenes from the film reels. It won’t surprise anyone that those clipped film segments were sometimes saved. Here a number of them have been assembled into a montage, which was submitted to the 2007 72 Hour Film Festival in Frederick, Maryland.”

Looking at this video, censors of that period seem to have been particularly interested in feet, or isolated close-ups of other limbs. Were these fetish images as close as filmmakers could get to erotic nakedness? Whatever the case, these clips are surprisingly effective even today. While the explicitness of contemporary media treatment of sex, has a numbing effect, the delicacy and naughty powers of suggestion of these clips are more titillating. A little foot action can go a long way…

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