|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
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
Das Glück der Irren
Die glühende Kammer
Tot oder Scheintot
Posters and leaflets (1925 – 1933)
Fruchtbarkeit. Das Problem der Mutterschaft
Die Insel der Dämonen
Leise flehen meine Lieder
by Georg Eckes