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The Times (03/Jan/1972) - Censor trims Hitchcock film

(c) The Times (03/Jan/1972)

Censor trims Hitchcock film

Stephen Murphy, the film censor, has taken his scissors to Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy. It is only the second of the maestro's 52 films to have been cut, but he refuses to be aggrieved — the first, he observes in a fruity growl, was Psycho "and that went on to become a sensation and the classic in its genre".

It is nonetheless surprising to find a veteran like Hitchcock in a brush with Murphy, the censor who has been censured by critics for his permissive attitude to Straw Dogs and who has passed Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange without a cut.

"There, were just a couple of little trims", says Hitchcock. "I am not given to goriness you know. Frankly it was just a matter of degree in one death scene — a death by strangulation which I suppose you could describe as, well, somewhat protracted. The cuts are a matter of frames rather than seconds, so you can say that we acceded to all the censors requests and there is no difficulty.

"These things are always a matter of degree, and it always depends on whether you do it with taste or not. I made Psycho in black and white to avoid showing red blood; if I had made it in colour it would have been horrible. When I made Topaz a London critic told me I was being modest. But I do not get seriously censored, because I have enough experience in this business to know what is sensible."