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Catch Us If You Can

Catch Us If You Can (1965) was the debut feature film of John Boorman, whose work will be celebrated by the BFI from 25th March. 

 

The film, a big screen vehicle for The Dave Clark Five in the spirit of The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night (1964), follows stuntman Steve (Dave Clark) as he and his model girlfriend hit the road for some crazy adventures, making time throughout for a few musical numbers.

Before shooting commenced a producer of Catch Us If You Can contacted the BBFC in January 1965 for advice on a draft screenplay of the film that was to be directed by "newcomer" John Boorman. The first response to the screenplay picked up on various potential classification issues. References to drugs, suggestive dialogue and "shots of nudity or titillating semi-nudity" were flagged, as was a scene featuring "Guy driving a car with his eyes shut. This might give dangerous ideas to some of the young." A note on dialogue needing to avoid reference to "queers" is also offered.  The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised certain homosexual acts, was still some two years away at this time.

A number of letters were exchanged about amended versions of the screenplay, a selection of which we publish here. The Secretary of the BBFC, John Trevelyan, commends the "tightness and wit" of the script, and queries whether an A certificate might better suit the "clever and sophisticated dialogue". The film-makers preferred a U certificate and when the finished film was sent to the BBFC for classification in April 1965 it was indeed passed U, without cuts.

 

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