Random Factoid #547

26 01 2011

I’m generally against watching recut movies; this includes all those DVD gimmicks like unrated versions and director’s cuts.  If what we are seeing in the theaters isn’t the best thing the director can put forward, why bother releasing a movie at all?  I firmly believe that artistic integrity dictates that the original theatrical version of a movie represents a movie in its most pure and true form.  (See more in one of my earliest factoids, Random Factoid #11.)

But Company Town wrote yesterday in a very buzzed-about piece that Harvey Weinstein has spoken to Oscar-nominated director Tom Hooper about recutting his Best Picture-nominated “The King’s Speech” to be PG-13 or potentially even PG by cutting some of the movie’s language (which comes mostly in one scene that’s a comedic riot).  Weinstein unsuccessfully tried to appeal this rating to the MPAA earlier, saying that the profanity isn’t offensive to anyone.  It’s a common sense argument, and I think the movie has PG-13 subject matter.  But no matter how tame the context, you just can’t drop the F-bomb that many times in a movie that anyone can see unsupervised.

This move is forcing me, at least for the moment, to reconsider my policy on recut movies.  Removing the profanity would make the movie more accessible to audiences, although I’m not quite sure how many teenagers would consciously choose to see a movie about a stuttering king over the latest half-baked mindless horror flick like “The Rite.”  Trust me, I was a middle schooler not too long ago – movies are a social experience, not a time to absorb quality cinema or to think.  And smaller kids – well, I just don’t think it would be of that much interest to them.

According to the article, the recut version would not even be ready until AFTER the Oscars.  I think that makes it kind of pointless as this whole marketing move is centered around getting attention for the Oscars or making money off the Oscars attention.  Since that aspect is out of the picture, I think Harvey should just leave “The King’s Speech” alone and let parents decide for their selves whether or not to let their children under the age of 17 see it.  Most will probably be mature enough to say, “Oh, it’s only R because of some harmless profanity they hear every day in the hallways at school.”


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3 responses

27 01 2011
mcarteratthemovies

Agreed — leave this film alone! The profanity-laden rants are some of the funniest scenes in the film, and contrary to popular belief, they serve a purpose: Because Bertie speaks clearest when he’s angry, and he curses when he’s angry, cursing helps give him the confidence to start talking. And getting started is where his trouble lies, so there you go. Whatever gets a stutterer talking is what you do. It serves a purpose. It deserves to be included.

27 01 2011
Dan

I’m definitely against the George Lucas School of Revisiting Classic Movies and I also think that director’s shouldn’t use Unrated/Director’s Cuts to make new versions of their films purely for DVD gimmicks and their own egos.

However, sometimes it works and for the right reasons. Aliens: Special Edition (as it was known) is an example whereby the director had to cut his own vision of the film down to a shorter running time to satisfy the studio. The new version – adding about 15 minutes – is the version James Cameron wanted his audiences to see. So the Unrated/Director’s/Special Edition becomes the film everyone needs to see. Indeed, Aliens is probably watched more in its longer version by home viewers than its original theatrical cut.

Ridley Scott’s re-edit of Alien was also interesting – some new scenes, a bit of tightening here and there.

So sometimes it’s a good thing but I hate the idea that Peter Jackson seemed to release the Lord of the Rings films into theatres knowing full well his definitive versions were being held back for the DVD release.

27 01 2011
Marshall

That’s an interesting point to bring up. I think that’s why directors should always have final cut on their movies – they know best, for artistic integrity’s sake. They can make concessions to the studio as they feel.

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