The Censorship Procedure in Austria, the Czechoslovak Republic and Germany (1920-1933) Censorship Regulations in the Republic of Weimar Czechoslovakia Austria

Home Übersicht


Censorship Regulations in the Republic of Weimar

Censorship of Advertisement in Germany

Not only the films were object of censorship, so was the advertisement as well. Among the justifications for the censorship of film adverts was the argument that posters for youth-restricted films could have similar effects on young people as the movies. The legal basis for film advert censorship was § 5 Reich Moving Picture Law (Reichslichtspielgesetz, RLG).

In Berlin, a special section of the Filmprüfstelle was entrusted with the examination of film advertisements. It was done according to the same principles laid down for the censorship of the movies and was a censorship of effect (Wirkungszensur). Moreover, the advertiser was required to get the approval of the local police authorities, but these were bound to the regulations of the RLG as well. Film advertisements were mainly rejected with regard to young people because of display of sexuality with arousing effects. Advertisement censorship was not concerned with adverts in press publications.

Advertisement censorship met widespread discontent of the film industry because it added further insecurity to the distribution of films and made the planning of promotion campaigns more difficult, resulting in a higher risk for producer and distributor. Representatives of the film industry also argued that other posters, e.g. for cabaret, were not object of censorship although being at least as open in their display of nudity and sexuality [press article]. It can be summarised that criticism of film advertisement censorship was economically motivated. Criticism along the lines of arguments like freedom of art and expression was less frequent.

In 1920 e.g., the posters for Lubitsch’s SUMURUN, which had already been printed, were rejected. The argument went that the poster could lead to anti-Maroccanian sentiment in the occupied Rhineland, for the white Pola Negri on the poster was raped by a black man. In turn, Negri had to be blackened (Kamps 1997: 136f). Another example were the posters for FRANKENSTEIN [the case studies: horror] in 1932 which were rejected by the Filmprüfstelle Berlin, only to be approved by the Censorship Headquarters shortly thereafter [cf. Der Kinematograph, 18.5.1932].

After the implementation of Moving Picture Law 1934 (Lichtspielgesetz, LSG), the censorship of advertisement changed according to that of the movies, i.e. to a censorship of taste (Geschmackzensur) along National Socialist guidelines.

Examples of advertising material in the Republic of Weimar

Advertisement published in newspapers (1919-1920)

Darwin. Die Abstammung des Menschen vom Affen / Das Welträtsel Mensch
Germany 1919
Director: Fritz Bernhardt
Advertisement in “Der Film” 51/1919

Freie Liebe
Germany 1919
Director: Max Mack
Advertisement in supplement to “Der Film” 27 (5.7.1919)

Das Glück der Irren
Germany 1919
Director: Johannes Guter
Advertisement in „Der Film“ 50/1920

Die glühende Kammer
Germany 1919/20
Director: Bruno Ziener
Advertisement in „Der Film“ 51/1919

Germany 1919
Director: Robert Reinert
Advertisement in „Der Film“ 27 (5.7.1919)

Tot oder Scheintot
Germany 1919/20
Director: William Karfiol
Advertisement in “Der Film” 51/1919

Posters and leaflets (1925 – 1933)

All Quiet on the Western Front
German title: Im Westen nichts Neues
USA 1929/30
Director: Lewis Milestone

Germany 1928/29
Director: Joe May
Publicity leaflet from „Römer-Lichtspiele“ in Alt- Praunheim

Bronenosez "Potemkin"
German titles: Panzerkreuzer Potemkin; Das Jahr 1905 (Panzerkreuzer Potemkin))
USSR 1925
Director: Sergej M. Eisenstein

German title: Erotik (Ita’s Liebeleid)
Czechoslovakia 1929
Director: Gustav Machatý
Publicity leaflet from „Rödelheimer Lichtspiele“ in Frankfurt/M.

German title: Ekstase; Symphonie der Liebe
Czechoslovakia 1932
Director: Gustav Machatý
Booklet („Wittelsbach-Palast“ in Berlin)

Fruchtbarkeit. Das Problem der Mutterschaft
Germany 1929
Director: Eberhard Frohwein
Publicity leaflet from „Wall-Lichtspiele“ in Frankfurt/M.

Die Insel der Dämonen
Germany 1932/33
Director: Friedrich Dalsheim

Leise flehen meine Lieder
aka: Schuberts unvollendete Symphonie

Austria/Germany 1933
Director: Willi Forst

German title: Anna Karenina
USA 1927
Director: Edmund Goulding
Publicity leaflet from „Einhorn-Lichtspiele“ in Oberrad s5929

by Georg Eckes


Source Edition urrogat Production Introduction Censorship Regulations Battleship Potemkin Horror Films Conclusion Bibliography