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Re: [dvd-discuss] DVD Editing

On Saturday, September 21, 2002, at 10:57  PM, Joshua Stratton wrote:

>> I remain convinced that such editing is (for lack of  a more
>> appropriate term) blasphemous.
>> Here's a little snippet from  Altman's commentary on the "Gosford 
>> Park"
>> DVD that describes how the MPAA rating system distorts film---
> (fucking example clipped)
> Well, I must disagree. Provided that the original work remains 
> available,
> editing remains valuable. Firstly, just as an economic concern --
> sometimes people are only interested in one particular aspect of some
> content. Legal casebooks are heavily edited since there's a lot of
> extraneous materia in them that would not help teach the particular 
> isuse
> the case was included for.
> But also secondly, as a valid art form in its own right. It is not
> unreasonable to say that The Phantom Edit was a somewhat different work
> than The Phantom Menace. And we might learn something from comparing 
> those
> works, and frankly one might prefer one over the other. I'm sure that
> there are people who liked the as-released forms of Brazil and Blade
> Runner better than the directors' cuts. Play the different scenes from
> Momento in a different order and it would have quite an impact on the
> story, I think.
> I've seen some movies where I routinely like to skip certain scenes
> because I don't really care about them. Is that wrong?
> Taken to an extreme, editing reminds me a lot of collage or sampling. 
> The
> selection of what works and even what parts of the same work, and what
> order is itself expressive.
> If it's clearly labeled as being different from the original, and 
> doesn't
> jeopardize the original, then I'm not all that worried about it.
The main reason I brought up Gosford Park is that Altman believes that 
the "fucks" are gratuitous-- not objectionable, but simply gratuitous. 
They don't provide much insight into character-- and as for realism-- 
well, british society at the time didn't entertain a great lot of 
profanity. The're included to secure for the film a firm "R" rating...
Yet to edit the film for Mormons would risk damaging the film. (For 
those of you who have not seen the film-- it's sort of 
Upstairs-Downstairs with a murder). In the script, the Red Herrings are 
repeatedly emphasized. Everything that's really important is said 
exactly once. So if one cuts out this impious reference to God, or that 
intimation of infidelity, or the sly references to incest-- the 
subtlety of the film, the genius of the film is destroyed.

The CleanFlicks versions are labeled as edited-- and prominently so. 
But the majority of CleanFlicks renters are not interested in viewing 
the original cut. If they view the CleanFlicks version of Gosford Park, 
and think it a worthy effort, they might watch the censored film 
again-- with no idea why Isobel is interested in helping Freddie Nesbit 
"find a job".

Perhaps reedits can be artforms in themselves. But it's difficult to 
justify them as substitutions for the original intent of directors. I 
called the trend blasphemous. Blasphemy isn't against the law, nor 
should it be. But I feel compulsion towards promoting it.