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Movie Trailer Rejected for Including Michelangelo’s Famous Fresco

November 18, 1993

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A movie trailer showing a brief glimpse of male genitals from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco ″Creation of Adam″ was rejected by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The sprawling 16th century tableau in the Vatican is considered one of the crowning achievements of Renaissance art.

Jack Valenti, the association’s president, admitted Wednesday the move was a mistake.

The trailer in question was for MGM’s ″Six Degrees of Separation,″ scheduled to open Dec. 8. The MPAA refused to approve the preview for all audiences as long as it contained a fleeting shot of the genitals.

″Other things have surprised me. This devastated me,″ said Dean Blagg, whose company IKON Creative Services assembled the preview. He said the MPAA objected to a shot lasting less than a second and the trailer was re-edited.

″They just felt it was improper. They considered it male frontal nudity,″ Blagg said. ″We thought MGM was joking when they told us″ the MPAA had restricted the trailer.

Valenti said the decision was made by the MPAA’s advertising administration and he would have quickly reversed the ruling if it had been appealed.

″Their judgment is pretty sound,″ he said. ″... We all make mistakes and this was one of them.″

He said the people reviewing the trailer had simply been too rigid about the rules without realizing the scene came from the Sistine Chapel.

Valenti said the decision by the advertising administration was simply a mistake of being rigid about the rules without realizing that the scene had come from the Sistine Chapel.

Previews of coming attractions not approved for all audiences can be shown only before R-rated films. Those approved for all audiences can be shown before any motion picture. The trailer was rejected late last month and the edited trailer began appearing in movie theaters earlier this month

There was not enough time to appeal the decision and get the trailer in theaters in time, Blagg said. Several hundred copies of the preview are now playing, he said.

IKON officials said they were angry because shots of ″Creation of Adam″ appeared in the trailer for the film ″Death Becomes Her″ and the MPAA did not restrict it.

″This inconsistency is almost as shocking as the decision itself,″ said Martin Gueulette, a partner in IKON.

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