For more than a century, Disney has given children and fans whimsical and timeless memories they will treasure forever. It has also permanently disturbed their collective subconscious with scenes of grisly deaths, older men lusting after younger women, and spontaneous singing (ahhh!). However, Disney has consistently managed to keep its films family friendly, and rarely straying from that approach. Unbeknownst to some, there was one film that almost crossed this line: 1985's The Black Cauldron. Granted, times have changed, but was the film's initial version really in R-rated territory ?
Darker Than The Rest
Despite having a devoted fan base, The Black Cauldron is notorious for being one of Disney's most unprofitable and darkest movies. During its production phase, the film's morbid subject matter became a controversial issue, so Disney's then-chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, unsatisfied with the film's dark nature, ordering changes to be made. Subsequently, its release date was pushed back by almost a year so that editing and story alterations could be implemented. A total of 12 minutes of film time were removed, and many scenes had to be deleted so the film could, at the very least, retain a PG rating.
What Was Removed For The Final Cut?
Some of these scenes included a man's torso and neck being slashed, a beheading, a henchman's dissolving flesh and the character Eilonwy was seen partially nude. The film's demanded revision was also partially motivated by a failed test screening. Many children and parents left the screening room in horror and disgust after watching the feature's rough cut. Because of this reaction, Katzenberg ultimately felt the movie would upset families if no changes were made.
It's said that if The Black Cauldron was left as it was, it would've been Disney's first animated feature to be rated PG-13 (or even R). So would The Black Cauldron's original cut really be considered rated R, even by today's standards?
Most of the aforementioned scenes sounded pretty intense (especially the one seen above). Even if it wasn't a Disney flick, the movie would still be pushing boundaries on what is and isn't appropriate for certain audience members. However, if the uncut version was released, I'm certain the movie's cult following (and other Disney fans) would definitely be interested in seeing it (myself including).
But what do you guys think? Would The Black Cauldron's original version be worthy of an R rating? Your thoughts below.