Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

ClandesTime 103 – MI5 Censorship of Panorama

Published March 19th 2017

In 1980 the BBC’s documentary series Panorama began developing an episode on British intelligence. This was the first of its kind, at least by such a prominent and respected series, but both the central government and the intelligence agencies were not happy. Over a period of several months they put pressure on the BBC, trying to stop the programme from being broadcast. When this failed they considered using the government veto to prevent it from airing, and ultimately ended up heavily censoring the documentary via a secret preview screening with MI5.

Top Secret File on Government Censorship of Panorama

Published March 16th 2017

In the summer of 1980 the BBC’s flagship documentary series Panorama was developing a TV special about British intelligence. This was the first film of its kind, and perhaps unsurprisingly Thatcher’s government was not happy about it. Downing Street put pressure on the film-makers via BBC Director-General Ian Threthowan, and an MI5 lawyer previewed the film and provided detailed feedback on what to remove.

How and why the Pentagon established their control of movie scripts

Published March 8th 2017

I recently acquired some decades-old Pentagon directives and instructions. These documents formed the basis for DOD policy in their engagement with the entertainment industry, establishing a range of conflicting criteria for the military’s liaisons with film and TV producers. This provided them with a range of bases for altering scripts and censoring scenes, at a time when the MPAA and the Production Code were ceasing to be effective at keeping the movie industry in line with their propaganda objectives.

The CIA and Hollywood – Tom and Pearse on Black Op Radio

Published February 26th 2017

Pearse and I were recently invited onto Black Op Radio with Len Osanic to talk about The CIA and Hollywood. We mostly discussed Ed Lansdale’s involvement in The Quiet American (1958), which butchered the original book in part as a result of Lansdale’s influence on writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz. We also touched on Charlie Wilson’s War and The Good Shepherd, and other recent films that are known or thought to have received support from the Agency.

‘Well Dressed Negroes’ and ‘Dignified Natives’ – How Luigi Luraschi Rewrote Movies for the CIA

Published February 22nd 2017

In 1953, in the early weeks of the Eisenhower administration, the CIA conducted an operation to alter the content of Hollywood films to help promote positive images of America to foreign audiences. A series of letters addressed to a CIA officer named ‘Owen’ were written by an executive at Paramount – now known to be Luigi Luraschi – outlining the changes to movies that he made and attempted to make on their behalf.

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