20 FEBRUARY 1959, Page 8

THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL decided by a major-: ity of

one vote in 117 to grant a licence for the East German film Operation Teutonic Sword (now how about a West German film called Operation Teutonic Title?). The sponsors of the move to override the British Board of Film Cen- sors were careful to point out that they Were not implying approval of the film, which by all accounts is a pretty moth-eaten piece of Commun- ist propaganda. But of course the Board have no more right to ban a film because they disapprove of the sentiments expressed, than they have to ban a film because they think the acting is bad. It is said that the film might be held to libel General Speidel; if it does, he has his remedy in the courts, and it would be even more undesirable for the Board of Censors to exercise the functions Of a court than for them to play the part of film critics. So the LCC (or fifty-nine of its members) are to be congratulated on their de- cision. At the same Council meeting, incidentally, it was pointed out that the Council has no power to intervene in the 'case' of the ten-year-old girl who was to have appeared in a private perform- ance of a play in a London theatre on Sunday night. A silly fuss had been made about it by a member of the Council who, I should have thought, gets quite enough publicity as it is, and who described as 'filth' a play which she had neither seen nor read.