banned!

Featuring movies not necessarily set in Malaya, this series explores the practices of colonial censorship through film and what that reflects about colonial governance and societal norms, dictated by the colonial censor.
This page is managed by Ashish Ravinran.

The Freshman (1925)

A light-hearted comedy featuring Harold Lloyd as Harold Lamb, a naive freshman who enters university with rose-tinted glasses (literally) only to become the laughing stock of the university, it was nevertheless censored by the colonial censor.

The Hollywood Revue (1929)

A box-office smash and a “Best Picture” Oscar nominee, this is not the narrative-driven film we are accustomed to today. Basically a mish-mash of major studio’s stars performing musical numbers in light of the novelty of talkies, this film caused a mini-saga in colonial Singapore with some of its more sensual costumes.

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)

An expose of Nazi espionage networks operating in the United States screened on the eve of World War Two, this film almost didn’t make the cut by colonial Singapore’s censor for the fear that it was insensitive to the German residents

Gunga Din (1939)

Based on Rudyard Kipling’s poem, this RKO film tells the usual story of British sergeants stationed in colonial India and an impending native revolt, with a crucial difference of a humble Gunga Din coming to the rescue of every white man, woman and child in the region. Needless to say, it did not make it after the censor’s cut.

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