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HALLOWEEN
Released September 1999 by Anchor Bay Entertainment

The horror classic has one of the more unusual alternate versions in a while. Originally released theatrical uncut (the film never had much blood anyway), when it came time to air the film on Network TV in 1981, the censors demanded so many cuts that the film was now too short even with commercials to fit into a 2-hour block of time.

So, with the eminent release of Halloween II the same weekend as Halloween's TV debut, director John Carpenter went back and shot about 12 minutes of new footage that was recut into the film for the network airing. Scenes include Dr. Loomis going in front of the hospital review board to demand maximum security for the young Myers; a subsequent meeting between Loomis and the young Myers; a brief visit to the adult Myers wrecking of his hospital cell (including writer "sister" on the wall") and a final scene with Laurie at home worrying about being followed.

Note that though for years the television footage was only seen full frame, it was actually shot 2.35:1 widescreen. Also, the version aired on TV with the extra footage also was edited for language, pot smoking, brief nudity and violence.

Prior Video Versions : Tons of versions on video through the past two decades. Media Home Entertainment released the theatrical cut on video, but a few of the television versions slipped out (though the nasty bits were still edited for television). Though Media corrected the release, you can still find copies of the TV version if you look very hard. Anchor Bay and Blockbuster both released reissues of the film on VHS with new transfers. Criterion released a terrific special edition laserdisc of the theatrical cut with director's commentary and the full frame television footage as supplements in the early 1990's, as well as a cheaper movie-only edition. Anchor Bay released a new special edition on VHS with a documentary and new transfer of the theatrical cut.

The DVD : The first Anchor Bay DVD was released in late 1997 to intense disdain from fans. Using the Criterion transfer of the theatrical cut, the image was pretty terrible! However, that version has been discontinued and replaced with two new versions released in September 1999.

The collector's edition features the theatrical cut in widescreen and pan & scan, as well as a new making-of feature and still gallery. A limited edition collector's edition contains this first disc, plus a second disc with the full television version in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it is not edited for television, i.e., it includes the television footage but does not edit out all the nasty bits required by the network censors. This is the first time the film has been seen in this form ever on any format.

Comments : The the limited edition DVD is a boon for collectors, there are two notable omissions. The commentary, alas, was unavailable due to Criterion's unwillingness to license it to Anchor Bay for the DVD. Second, a title card that appeared in the TV network airings and on the Criterion laserdisc that read ""Smith's Grove, Illinois. May 1964" right before Dr. Loomis meets with the psychiatrist. Strangely, this title card does not appear on the DVD. Anchor Bay noted that this complete 2.35:1 television print was found in a vault, so the only explanation seems to be that the title card was added sometime later as the full frame television version was being edited. There are no plans to add the title card back in, but all things considered, I suppose it is not the end of the world...


HALLOWEEN II
Released September 1998 by Goodtimes

Ah, pity more Michael Myers. The poor guy with the knife is always getting cut himself, isn't he? But no Myers saga has had the amount of weird cutting as HALLOWEEN II has. While not regarded as a particularly great movie by most, the changes in the theatrical and TV versions are still quite interesting even if you think the film sucks. But first, maybe a little background is in order on the making of the movie itself.

While written and produced (but not directed) by John Carpenter, this highly independent filmmaker has all but disowned the film since its theatrical release in 1981 (can't say that I blame him.) His displeasure with the final cut ("It's about as scary as an episode of Quincy" he was once quoted by Fangoria magazine as saying) led him to shoot new, more graphic inserts of some of the killings. This pissed off Director Rick Rosenthal, who has complained publicly about it ever since, saying it "ruined his movie." (Funny, the film isn't much with the gory inserts, and I wonder if it would be any better without them.) The original theatrical cut retains all the new bloody inserts shot by Carpenter (a needle going into an eyeball, a hammer to the head, etc.). For the TV version, the normal edits were made for nudity, language and violence, so aside from the former two areas, the TV cut probably plays closer to Rosenthal's "focus on suspense" vision for the film.

Anyway, this is where it gets weird. Not only is the film more sanitized for TV, it is also significantly reedited and features an alternate ending. In the theatrical cut, Laurie Strode's new boyfriend, ambulance driver Jimmy (Lance Guest) is killed about three-quarters of the way through the film after slipping in a pool of blood, and then later falls into unconsciousness in the car parking lot. Laurie can't help him, is stalked further by The Shape, and is then rescued by Loomis (who is ultimately killed protecting her in a big explosion.) The last shot is of Laurie in the ambulance, victorious but alone.

However, in the TV cut, Jimmy finds the dead nurse and the pool of blood, but doesn't slip and fall. The film simply cuts after his shocked expression back to Laurie and her ensuing battle with The Shape. Strangely, this reedit then shows Jimmy running down hospital hallways looking for Laurie, until Loomis sets off the final explosion. Then we get a cut of Jimmy slipping in the pool of blood and knocking himself unconscious, but it is edited in such a way as to make it seem like the explosion is what knocked him on his ass. Then, the final sequence in the ambulance is alternate footage of Laurie reunited with a still-alive Jimmy, whining "we made it!"

Since this alternate ending must have been shot when the film was originally made, it remains a mystery (to me) why the darker ending was used theatrically, but they decided to go with the "happier" ending for TV. Currently, only the theatrical cut is available on DVD from GoodTimes (in a pretty good non-anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer), though we hear Anchor Bay is in negotiations with Universal to license HALLOWEEN II for a new special edition DVD that would offer the TV version as an option. Guess we'll have to wait and see what develops...


JAWS
Released July 2000 by Universal Home Video

Due to the length of this entry, we have created a separate page to host it. Check it out here.


JAWS THE REVENGE
Released January 1999 by GoodTimes

Alright, so this sequel totally sucks, but Michael Caine did miss his chance to pick up his Oscar for HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, and as the tag line says, "this time it's personal"! If you can actually buy that a great white shark would swim halfway around the world just to kill Mrs. Brody, then maybe you'll like this movie. If anything, the shark was trying to do as a favor and save us from any future "performances" by Lorraine Gary. But perhaps the ultimate irony is that JAWS THE REVENGE retains the distinction of being the first JAWS movie ever released on DVD. How sad.

Anyway, and I can attest because I actually saw this in the theater, but JAWS THE REVENGE has two very different and interesting edits. The theatrical cut features a "tragic ending" with the death of Mario Van Peebles (yeah, real tragic) while the "special edition" video versions including the DVD feature a happy end that lets Mario live. These versions were shown in different countries according to whichever one the distributor wanted (or thought would sell more tickets.)

Also, the film has been reedited strangely for each version, with different "shark perspective" shots that, quite frankly, make no sense. I remember seeing it in the theater and found the "tragic ending" to at least be comprehensible in terms of onscreen action. But the video happy meal version is just a mess. But, then, so is the whole movie. Furthermore, some syndicated television versions features a voice over during the opening credits in an attempt to make sense of what the viewer is about to see. As if that would help.

Maybe, if we're lucky, Universal will release a 4-disc box set of all the JAWS movies with new transfers for 2, 3 and 4, including a seamless branching option for 4 to let you decide which version to watch. Hey, they did it for THE ABYSS, why not JAWS THE REVENGE!?!?


THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
Released April 2000 by The Criterion Collection

Here's an interesting one. While most cuts usually involve the removal of a shots or frames of a film, with today's current technology, we're starting to see more alternations made to the film long past post-production via the use of visual or audio trickery. Certainly, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST is not a film that would immediately jump into your mind when thinking of these types of alterations, but lo and behold, the current DVD release from Criterion does has been a bit "visually obscured."

In chapter 10 during the "John The Baptist" scene there are several worshippers dancing and convulsing naked around a river where John is preaching. Beginning at 48 minutes, 44 seconds, there is a pan from the right to the left across a congregation of people standing in a line. Way on the right side of the shot, a noticeable black blur flickers over one man's genitals. Guess it was a bit too racy...

Since Criterion is highly regarded as a leading film preservationist, and so far has not commented on "cover up," we can only speculate that this visual alternation may have been made either by Universal, the rights holder of the film, or during the theatrical release itself. Given all the controversy surrounding the film, it is entirely possible that such an alternation was made to secure an R-Rating and not the dreaded NC-17. Still, with no official word from any party, we'll just have to hope the Lord works in mysterious ways and an answer is delivered someday...


LEON: INTEGRAL VERSION (aka THE PROFESSIONAL)
Release TBA by Columbia Home Video

Another huge favorite of Luc Besson fans, the original version of Leon was released in America as The Professional in 1994 and ran about 103 minutes. Then, in 1996, a cut 26-minutes longer was released in Besson's home country of France to much acclaim. Interestingly, I've heard comments that Besson prefers the original cut and the "integral Version" was a gift to the fans. Hmmm...

Anyway, scenes in the extended cut include a request by Mathilda to have sex with Leon (he refuses), more background on Leon's past, a celebratory scene after Mathilda's first hit, and a visit to a drug dealer's apartment, as well as extensions of some other scenes. Like most extended cuts, the overall arc of the story remains unchanged, but characters are fleshed out and given more background.

Prior Video Versions : In America, only the short version The Professional has been available on VHS and Laserdisc. The extended cut Leon: Integral Version is available in some overseas territories on laserdisc.

The DVD : The existing Columbia DVD release of The Professional is the short U.S. cut, and contains no supplements of note....

Comments : But, never fear, Columbia is returning to the world of Leon and is working on bringing out the full Integral Version to DVD soon. Along with a longer cut of The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc, a new special edition of The Fifth Element and The Big Blue, Besson fans should be happy...


MAKE MINE MUSIC
Released June 2000 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Sigh. Here we go again...in what is becoming like an old broken record, everytime Buena Vista releases a new animated DVD, something gets snipped from it. This time, the cut is even more extensive than usual, and the victim is Disney's seemingly innocuous MAKE MINE MUSIC. An entire 7-minute segment "The Martins and the Coys" including the "Rustic Ballad" number has been cut. Is it the "hillbilly" caricatures that are the reason for the deletion? With Disney, who knows? Funnily enough, they don't return our repeated calls regarding their numerous cuts from their animated DVDs. I guess there isn't much to say about it anymore. Just don't buy it.


THE MATRIX
Released Fall 1999 by Warner Home Video

So, when is a cut not really a cut? When it happens at the layer change! Thanks to many readers who sent this in, doing a comparison of the current VHS and DVD releases of THE MATRIX, once can spot a brief line of dialogue that appears to be edited out of the DVD. At about the middle mark of the movie, there is a scene right before Cypher is about to turn against the Matrix team. The shot preceding it pans around a phone where Morpheus picks it up and says a line. However, in the DVD version, Morpheus picks up the phone, but it cuts right to the next scene before he says a line. The line is intact in the VHS version.

Very strange? Not really...it is just the layer change which some players have had problems with, and instead of seamlessly jumping to the next layer, the line gets cut. The Panasonic we tested it on did not include the line. So check it out on your player and see if your Matrix disc gets "cut."


THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC
Released on April 4, 2000 by Columbia Home Video

Though largely dismissed in the US in its original theatrical run last fall, The Messenger was a big hit overseas (where Besson is practically God in France), and will will be seen in a longer cut on DVD. The deleted scenes mostly take place near the beginning, and include a scene where Joan (Milla Jovovich) is asked to submit to a test of her virginity, as well as a confrontation with the council where Joan responds angrily to questions regarding her suitability to command an army.

Video Versions : The theatrical cut will not be available on video in the U.S. The VHS version will have the 10-minute longer extended cut.

The DVD : The DVD will also contain the extended cut. Seems unlikely the shorter version will be made available on home video...


MS. 45
Released April 2000 by Image Entertainment

Abel Ferrara's shocking and controversial 1982 vigilante epic now comes to you on DVD...a little less shocking and controversial. Image has just released the disc, and nowhere on the packaging does it seem to indicate any cutting. But upon closer inspection, there are a number of cuts made to the two rape scenes near the beginning of the film. The first rape featuring Ferrara's cameo is split by an insert shot from a later scene in the apartment versus the original version, which is a bit longer and played straight through. But the second rape is more drastically cut, and even omits a line "This oughta make you talk, huh?" Finally, the climatic Halloween party shoot-out truncates the onscreen murder of the guy in the yellow T-shirt, which is now offscreen.

Strangely, the film was originally Rated R, as are the previous versions on video which seem to be unedited (at least the U.S. video version on VHS). We've sent off a missive to Image to see if there was a reason the film was cut, or if they are even aware of it. Stay tuned...


NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
Released October 2000 by MGM

If you've bought any MGM releases as of late, from This Is Spinal Tap to the recent Bond wave 3 collection, you've undoubtedly heard about the missing subtitles issue and maybe even had to exchange your copy for a new one. Now problem has extended to whole scenes, when four minutes turned up missing on the recent MGM release of the "unofficial" Bond movie Never Say Never Again. Though we're told by MGM that they caught the problem quickly as the title shipped, some copies with the edited version did make it to store shelves. MGM has sent out corrected versions of the title, though telling the difference between the two is somewhat difficult.

The marking designating the difference is only on the outside wrapping - corrected versions have three asterisks next to the name "Never Say Never Again" on the top white "sticky tape" label. Unfortunately, though, if you've already opened your disc and thrown out the wrapping, you probably will have no idea if your disc is the corrected one or not. So, what is the missing scene? At the 1:05:48 mark, there is a four-minute scene where Bond goes into a bar and meets Largo. Bond gives a cigarette case to a security guard and tells him its a Bond. Then there is a layer, and on the faulty discs, it goes directly to the scene where Bond, Largo and Domino are about to play the Domination video game. The corrected discs fix this, and includes the scene in between where he meets Largo in a bar. On the faulty disc, it no longer makes sense, as how can Bond be playing a video game with Domino and Largo when he hasn't even met Largo yet? Even weirder, on the bad discs, the still for the Chapter 19 scene selection is from this scene which isn't even on the disc!

If you have a faulty version and MGM says retailers should freely exchange it with the sales receipt. However, if you still have problems, MGM has a consumer hotline that can help: 877-MGM-4YOU. Good luck!


A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET SERIES
Released September 1999 by New Line Home Video.

Totaling seven films in all, the Nightmare Series proved to be very popular (and profitable) in the theaters, and though not as heavily-censored as, say, the Friday The 13th series, two of the seven Nightmare films have shown up in unrated versions on video in the US.

The first Nightmare film was released by Elite on laserdisc, and though it was the theatrical cut, it did include some deleted scenes as supplements. In Nightmare 3, a song on the recent VHS and DVD remastered releases reinstates the song "Into The Fire" by Dokken, which was replaced by a different song in previous video versions, due to rights issues. Nightmare 5 was originally released by Media Home Entertainment on VHS in 1990 unrated, with a few extra seconds of gore during the "motorbike" death sequence and Greta's untimely demise. Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare was released on VHS without the climactic battle sequence in 3-D, as it was shown theatrically. However, recent reissues have included the 3-D effect (note the scene is the same and not edited in any versions, just not shown in the 3-D process).

Prior Video Versions : All the films have been released on VHS throughout the 80's and 90's on VHS and laserdisc with their theatrical versions, except Nightmare 5, which was released unrated. Also, The Final Nightmare was not in 3-D. The recent remastered VHS reissues are all the theatrical cuts only.

The DVD : The recent Nightmare Collection box set from New Line includes remastered anamorphic transfers and 5.1 remixes, and restores the Dokken song and 3-D sequences to Nightmare 3 and Freddy's Dead, respectively. However, all are the theatrical cuts, including Nightmare 5. Also, the Nightmare box set does not include the deleted scenes on the Elite laserdisc, for reasons that remain unknown...

Comments : Word from New Line on why the unrated version of Nightmare 5 was not included on the DVD has been inconclusive, though they currently have no plans to release the films on DVD at this time or for the foreseeable future.


ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
Released May 16, 2000 by MGM Home Entertainment

Not so much a reedit as a glitch, the new MGM special edition DVD of ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE does contain a interesting three seconds or so of film omittted from the transfer. Thanks to the keen eye of a reader, who only sent us his code name "John OHMSS," click to the 75:05 mark on the disc and you'll find an interesting cut"

"There is a scene that rang weird to me that shows one of Bond's contacts climbing the face of a mountain. At the beginning of the scene a noticeable " hum " can be heard for three seconds it's not there in the Spanish language track.) It didn't look right to me, so I checked it against my old MGM letterboxed Laserdisc (25.38 minutes into side 2, no chapters) and found that prior to that brief climbing scene is a three second shot (an establishing shot of a cable car's shadow passing over some rock formation) the " hum " is from THAT scene."

Thus, three seconds of sound from the missing shot now overlaps the next shot of the rock climber. While at first I thought this might be the layer change, that actually occurs later in the film, and indeed the weird audio is not on the Spanish track. Perhaps this is some sort of mastering error? But that was only the tip of the iceberg, as reader Lyle Peterson points out. In addition to that weird cut, there are two lines that have inexplicably been cut from the film, and a scene that has been considerably truncated.

On the DVD, right after Telly Savalas delivers the line, "Tracy, don't be so proud. Your father's own business is not entirely within the law," it cuts to Bond and Draco in the helicopter, completely cutting the line "His brotherhood also have exotic ways of keeping it a closed shop" which is the laserdisc and VHS tape. The stock car race scene has completely different editing and appears to be about 20 seconds shorter than the versions on my laserdisc and tape (I didn't time it so I can't be exact). Finally, after the stock car race, when Tracy says "We didn't even stop for the prize," Bond's line "I told you that crowd would discourage them" has also been cut.

We contacted MGM about the problem with the disc, but the response, when it finally arrived, was not particularly heartening. There will be no recall or reissue of the disc. An MGM spokesperson indicated to us that the transfer was made from the "best available elements." However, if "the best available elements" contain splices and omitted dialogue, I'd be one to think that it would wise to go and search for better elements instead of releasing such a faulty cut of the film. There's a reason MGM has quickly become the most-hated studio out there in terms of DVD, and this is one reason why...


THE RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
Released August 1999 by Columbia-TriStar Home Video

While it just may be one of the worst films ever made, I suppose you have to give THE RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE points for prescient casting and sheer chutpzah. Loud, overbearing and relentless, this sequel attempts to recreate the tone of the original, though arguably misses the mark.

Anyway, the Columbia-TriStar DVD issue does contain a cut, as reader Bjoern Kindervater points out. The daughter - father scene in her bedroom right at the beginning of the movie is the victim in this case. In the scene the abusive father blackmailed her, that if she talks to her mother she'd get beaten up from him. This scene makes clear that the father used to abuse his daughter in their very own home. But, this whole scene got snipped for the Columbia version. Now it ends when the girl is doing her make-up before the mirror in her bedroom, up to the point where the father should appear.

The Japanese DVD features this scene uncut, and no reason nor labeling on the packaging indicates that the Columbia version has been cut. Hope Leatherface doesn't find out...


SALEM'S LOT
Released October 26, 1999 by Warner Home Video.

Originally broadcast on US television in miniseries form in the fall of 1979, and theatrically in Europe shortly thereafter. The film has been released in four separate versions!

The original 200-minute miniseries was actually 183 minutes in length, with the other 17 minutes being filled up by short intro and commercial break spots and announcements (i.e., "We'll be right back with Salem's Lot, Part 2 in a moment!"). Thus, it is the 183-minute version that has been released on Laserdisc as "Salem's Lot: The Miniseries" and is currently shown on late-night television on occasion. However, note that the 200-minute "version" contains no known additional footage, so though original run times reported of 200 minutes are accurate, but the actual miniseries itself only ran 183 minutes minus promo spots.

Also, two theatrical cuts exist. The first was a shortened European theatrical cut, which ran 114 minutes and contains a bit more violence. It is this version that was also released on VHS in the US as "Salem's Lot: The Movie." There is also a edited for content television version of this already-shortened version, which some cable and television stations prefer to air instead of the full miniseries version (especially since it takes up one movie block of programming, not two.)

Note that the miniseries version, though longer, does not contain the extra violence in the shortened European theatrical cut to the best of our knowledge...

Prior Video Versions : Released on laserdisc and television in the 183-minute "Salem's Lot: The Miniseries" version. Released on television in the United States in the edited 113-minute "Salem's Lot: The Movie" version. Released theatrically in Europe and on VHS in the US with slightly more graphic and stronger 114-minute cut (the European release was also matted to 1.66:1 widescreen for theatrical exhibition only.)

The DVD : The DVD contains the full 183-minute miniseries version (minus promos and TV spots of the 200-minute "version").

Comments : The US DVD is full-length, though direct comparisons with the supposed "more violent" US "Salem's Lot: The Movie" VHS version did not show in differences in violent content nor gruesomeness. So, if the shortened version is indeed harder than the miniseries version, either the US VHS tape does not contain this extra footage, or reports of a more gruesome 114-minute cut are not accurate.

Also, again, The International Movie Database lists the 200-minute full miniseries televised run time, which is the same as the 183-minute version but with the original TV promos. This is entirely normal, and again it is important to stress that nothing in terms of content is known to have been cut out of this supposedly "abridged" 183-minute version.


SALUDOS AMIGOS
Release April 2000 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Well, well, well...imagine Disney editing one of their animated classics? What!? It doesn't surprise you!? Me neither...

While the edits made to such revered classics as FANTASIA and more recently THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER have been well publicized, Disney has also taken out some potentially offensive material of the just-released SALUDOS AMIGOS of our beloved Goofy taking a hit or two off a cigarette. I'm only supposing, but perhaps with the big push to curb teen smoking, maybe Goofy's actions could seem a little irresponsible in today's day & age.

At least Disney, though, did put an advisory at the beginning of the DVD that the film "has been edited for content." It is noteworthy that Disney has spoken out publicly on the topic of their editing their films for content, saying that their films are designed for family audiences, and what may have been culturally appropriate in the past (such as the racism of SONG OF THE SOUTH, perhaps?) today is just not acceptable.

While this may shock some of you, I agree with this to a point. If the goal of a DVD or video release is strictly to play to the kids market, than fine, perhaps overly racist imagery and such is better left off. However, I've always felt that the original version should always be made available, at least for history's sake. But, at least in the world of Disney, history is relative...

The following are a triptych of image from the cut scene, and a very special thanks to reader Brian Cruz for sending them in. Kids, don't try this at home!

(Images Copyright Walt Disney Pictures. All Rights Reserved.)

SCREAM
Released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Theatrical Notes: Originally released theatrically in the fall of 1996, and edited slightly to obtain an R-rating by the MPAA. A few seconds of blood were cut from the scenes with Tatum's ill-fated meeting with a garage door, the death of Gail's television cameraman, and the final battle with Stu and Billy.

Prior Video Versions : Released on VHS in the theatrical R-Rated version. Released on Dolby Digital and DTS laserdiscs with the extended "Director's Cut" with the few seconds of extra gore.

The DVDs : There have actually been two separate DVD releases done in the US by Dimension via Buena Vista, and both are only the R-rated theatrical cuts.

Comments : Buena Vista has a policy against releasing uncut versions of films if the footage that is reinstated would garner the film an X or NC-17 rating. Thus, they will not release the director's cut of Scream on DVD. However, note that the commentary track on the both DVDs makes reference to the cut footage, because the commentary was recorded for the uncut laserdisc!

Some have wondered why, then, the laserdisc was uncut. Buena Vista explained that it was licensed to a third-party, Image Entertainment, who produced the laserdiscs. So, it was up to them to release the unedited version. So, until Buena Vista changes their policy or decides to license it to someone else, there will be no uncut version of Scream on DVD.

However, there is a Japanese Region 2 DVD that contains both the theatrical and uncut versions accessible from the main menu, and is anamorphic to boot! Hopefully, someday, an equivalent Region 1 edition will be released...


THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Released December 1999 by Warner Home Video

A film that slowly but surely became considered a modern classic just a few short years since its 1994 theatrical release, The Shawshank Redemption did have a few additional scenes left on the cutting room floor. I've received numerous emails on some scenes added on an HBO cable showing, which featured Morgan Freeman introducing the scenes. There were three scenes shown, including more of Andy's escape, more on Red's attempts at readjusting to life outside prison (featuring a scene on a park bench where he laments that "women don't wear bras anymore"!) and more of his reactions to Andy's escape as well.

(It is also worth noting that some overseas cuts of the film actually run 15 minutes shorter, and omit some of this footage, including some bits from the opening montage as well.)

Prior Video Versions : All previous versions have the original theatrical cut, with a run time of 142 minutes.

The DVD : The new DVD from Warner runs the same length as the theatrical version. There are no deleted scenes included on the disc either edited into the film or as a supplement.

Comments : According to Warner as of this posting, there are no plans to re-release the disc with any additional material at this time. Why the current disc doesn't have more extras is a bit odd in light of the HBO showings, isn't it...?


THE SHINING (1980)
Released June 1999 by Warner Home Video

Hey, this is a Stanley Kubrick movie...of course it is full of controversy! I don't need to say much about the film, as everyone knows what it is all about anyway. However, it is one of the more interesting examples of reediting, as it was done by Kubrick himself only a week after the film debuted!

Prior Video Versions : All prior VHS and Laserdisc versions feature the recut 145-minute theatrical version. However, when the film original premiered in theaters in mid-1980, it actually ran a few minutes longer (I was only able to find runtimes of varying lengths in film books and nothing conclusive) and featured a different ending. In this early cut that Director Stanley Kubrick withdrew, a scene was excised at the end with W Shelley Duvall at a hospital talking with hotel manager Barry Nelson about her ordeal. After the conversation, Nelson rolls a ball little Danny Lloyd was playing with, and it rolls back on its own, or something to this effect. Apparently, this was meant to show that the evil lingers (or something like that). However, Kubrick cut this in favor of the current ending, of a an old photo of a long-past hotel party featuring Jack Torrance, which functioned as an absurdist metaphor for the timeless nature of evil.

The DVD : The DVD contains the 145-minute theatrical cut, though it does include the first-ever home video release of Vivian Kubrick's "The Making Of The Shining."

Comments : Sadly, this alternate ending has never really been seen outside its brief theatrical showings. Maybe someday, if Warner is able to remaster the Kubrick films, this ending will be included as well. Since it played theatrical, it does have historical value and is not just some random outtake. Maybe someday...


STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
Released July 2000 by Paramount Home Video

Easily one of the best of the TREK franchise, THE WRATH OF KHAN features a rejuvenated TREK cast, a great villain in Ricardo Montalban's over-the-top Khan, and some of the better action scenes to grace the entire series. While the Paramount DVD released in July 2000 boasts a fairly good transfer and 5.1 mix, it was quite lacking in the supplemental department, most notably the absence of any of the deleted footage cut from the theatrical edition but that often shows up on network television airings.

This footage has never been available (to our knowledge) in any video version. As is often the case with these "extended TV versions," scenes are often added back in to pad out the running time and eke out a few extra commercial breaks, and often without the filmmaker's knowledge. In the case of KHAN, the reason for the inclusion of this extra footage remains unclear. In any case, the extra footage includes:

  • A number of different takes and shots of scenes that already exist in the theatrical version, such as exchanges among the Genesis team on Regula 1 featuring slightly different line readings, as well as different shots and angles in the exchange in the elevator between the off-duty Kirk and Kirstie Alley's Lt. Saavik
     
  • There is also additional dialogue in some TV airings between Saavik and Spock about the nature of humanity and "the human ego" and David Marcus and Saavik at the bridge after Genesis has exploded and formed the planet.
     
  • Perhaps the biggest additions to the "TV cut" include the revelation that the soon-to-be-deceased Private Ensign is really Scotty's nephew. This helps better explain Scotty's subsequent emotional state, though some may find this whole subplot a maudlin touch. The Scotty/Ensign relationship is introduced in the same scene that introduces Ensign in the theatrical cut, though the TV version is extended to reveal this information. There is also an additional scene of Kirk inspecting the Engineering crew, where Kirk makes lighthearted jabs at Ensign for being too young, sharing an inside joke with Scotty about past voyages of the Enterprise when they were once young upstarts.
     
  • There are also numerous cuts for violence and clipped dialogue in the TV version, but this may have more to do with affiliates cutting for time or local broadcast standards than actually representative of a new cut of the film.

As of now, Paramount has no plans to revisit STAR TREK II as a special edition DVD and include any of these extra scenes either in the film or as a supplement. However, how much do you wanna bet that they'll eventually revisit the TREK films on DVD someday???


STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION
Fox Home Entertainment

May The Cuts Be With You? I'm sure all of you recall the brouhaha over the the changes made by George Lucas to his original Star Wars trilogy with the Special Edition re-release a few years back. These changes were well publicized at the time, perhaps most controversial being the insertion of the "Jabba" scene as well as the change in the "Greedo & Han" encounter. Though the Jabba bit was most criticized for its shockingly bad CGI (as well as spoiling the surprise of Jabba's appearance in Episode VI), the Greedo alteration was perhaps most hated by Star Wars fans (and those of good screenwriting). In it, you may recall Mr. Lucas added a shot of Greedo firing first, thus making Han Solo's subsequent killing of the character no longer "in cold blood." According to Mr. Lucas' public comments, this always bothered him, but what most bothered fans was that it changed the entire story arc of the Han Solo character.

But, aside from those more high-profile alterations, there was more subtle changes made as well. To your right is a very-nicely-done video comparison between the two versions indicates that some other easily-missed changes were also made, ones that I've never heard about. Check out the clip and you'll see that some violence (i.e., laser blast gunshot wounds) were snipped. Each cut is about 8 frames and though not noticeable to the naked eye (which is probably the point), if you do it frame by frame you can clearly see the difference. You can also whip out your original edition and special edition video versions (if you have them) and compare it yourself. (While I can't take credit for creating the clip, the author asks to remain anonymous...)


THE THING
Released October 1998 by Universal Home Video

In the theatrical release of John Carpenter's remake of The Thing, the song that the funky cook was listening to on his boom box near the beginning was Stevie Wonder's classic "Superstitious." However, when it came time for the home video release, Universal did not secure the rights and a replacement was used. This was very common in "the old days," as before video was a major force, most song rights were only licensed for theatrical release. And problems thus ensued when it came time for video...

Prior Video Versions : The original VHS and Laserdisc releases contained an alternate song instead of "Superstitious." The rest of the film is identical.

The DVD : For the recent DVD and Laserdisc special editions, Universal was able to relicense the song, bringing harmony back to the world. Score one for DVD!

Comments : This seems to be the trend nowadays, with most studios paying more attention to song rights, and making sure that the video release is taken into consideration when securing songs. Kudos to Universal for also taking the time to relicense the song for the DVD and Laserdisc.


TOM & JERRY'S GREATEST CHASES
Released March 2000 by Warner Home Video

Now, here's a weird one. Fans of the animated duo Tom & Jerry know that they are famous for devising all sorts of ways to main, torture and otherwise beat the crap out of each other. While it was great news to hear that Warner was releasing the first DVD collection of Tom & Jerry episodes (14 in all), it was a bit strange then that one of the shorts, THE LITTLE ORPHAN, has been edited to remove some of the violence.

While you can see a pictorial example of the cuts at The Termite Terrace Trading Post, in short there are two edits. The first is after Tom gets his tail lit on fire. In the original, the candle approaches Tom's tail and he looks at it, and then it lights on fire. But on the DVD, it is edited so nothing happens after Tom sees it. Then, a short bit where Tom gets hit on the back of the head by some champagne bottles and flies into a cabinet has been cut completely.

As of this writing, we have not heard back from Warner as to why these pieces were cut, so we will refrain from subscribing any motives. However, "The Little Orphan" was released unedited on the MGM/UA videos TOM AND JERRY CARTOON FESTIVAL, "A CAT CONCERTO," THE VERY BEST OF TOM AND JERRY, and the laserdisc set THE ART OF TOM AND JERRY. Meanwhile, the above-described edited version of THE LITTLE ORPHAN is what is run on the Cartoon Network's showings of T&J.

Since all of the shorts are filled with violent behavior, it seems odd that Warner would choose to cut these pieces, and there also doesn't seem to be any racist or un-PC material that could offend anyone, either. I suppose it would be logical to assume that Warner used the edited TV print by mistake? Perhaps the footage was lost or no one was aware that they were using an edited version. In any case, the cuts are there, and that perhaps the unedited versions can be located and included on a future Tom & Jerry DVD collection or the existing version can be reissued someday.


TRAINSPOTTING
Released 1998 by Buena Vista Home Video.

A huge hit in Britain and a cult hit here in the States, Trainspotting help reignite the importation of hip and contemporary foreign films in the US, and many called the film "the UK Pulp Fiction." Though I suppose there are similarities between the two films on the surface, they really are quite different films and personally I much prefer Trainspotting all around. Energetic UN-PC and very well written, directed and acted, Trainspotting looks unflinchingly at heroin addiction, but thankfully avoids any sort of preachiness or condescending platitudes.

As such, the film was trimmed slightly to achieve an R-rating in the States, with two seconds cut: one during a sex scene, the other a close-up of a needle going into the arm of Ewan McGregor (a long way from Obi-Wan Kenobi!). Also, the US version was redubbed in spots to make the dialogue more intelligible to American audiences. Some of the deleted scenes were released by Criterion on laserdisc in 1997. Additions include added dialogue between Sick Boy and Renton James Bond movies, more on Renton's job interview, Diane catching Renton, Spud, and Sick Boy shoplifting, Diane dumping Renton for a healthier guy and more.

Prior Video Versions : The American VHS releases contained the R-rated theatrical US cut. The Criterion US laserdisc features the nine deleted scenes as well as further supplementary material.

The DVD : The Buena Vista and Alliance DVD releases feature the Unrated version (though the Buena Vista lists it as being the R-rated version on the box). Neither features the deleted scenes either edited into the picture or as a separate supplement. The Alliance version, however, does feature a making-of featurette that is missing from the Buena Vista release.

Comments : No word from Buena Vista or criterion at this point on any possible special edition release of Trainspotting on DVD. As usual, the line went "we have no -plans at this time, though a future release may be considered."..


WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?
Released Fall 1999 by Buena Vista Home Video.

Another Disney edit to make a film more "kid friendly." We've complained about this one quite a bit, and Cliff even wrote a whole column about it, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? The cut occur near the beginning, where Baby Herman dips down below a woman's skirt while raising his hand, which has had a few frames chopped out of it so his finger doesn't go quite so far up. This is one of those "blink and you'll miss it" cuts, but it is there, and one wonders with all the adult humor in the rest of the film, why this particular bit was chosen to be cut.

Interestingly, the original VHS and Laserdisc versions of the film were not altered in this way, nor are TV and cable showings (that we're aware of) though the most recent laserdisc special edition was. Disney has been pretty upfront about their reasoning in cutting their films, stating that they are designed for a family audience and are subject to the current social and cultural values of the time, not historical accuracy. So much for preserving an artist's vision! I'm sure this won't be the last time Disney edits one of their films, I'm sure. Sigh.

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