Just not worth it some times
Some movies survive being edited for television, others, well, don't. You wonder why they even bother trying. Blazing Saddles in edited-for-TV form is just criminal. When I saw what they'd done to it on WGN one afternoon, I nearly wept. I fear that too many people have only seen it that way, so they have no idea what it really is like.
Some get so much surgery, they just are not the same movie. Not that it's any kind of cinematic classic, but when I heard they were going to run Showgirls on regular TV, my first question was; "what will they run for the other 70 minutes?" Out of curiosity I tuned in for a minute to see the extensive roto work that had to be applied... sheesh. What was the point of all that? The people that wanted to see the bare skin already have, or they can rent it or buy it, cheap. The people that are offended by such things are not likely to want to watch it in any case, even with the editing and roto. Leaving what for an audience, exactly? Teenage boys?
(As an aside, I understand there is a large number of "fans" that throw Showgirls viewing parties where they kind of treat it like MST3K does old sci-fi flicks, they've seen it dozens of times or more. I thought Obama banned torture?.)
And don't get me started on movies where the dialog is "colorful". You get a movie with DeNiro and Peschi in it, you have to come to that with certain... expectations. A David Mamet film with the dialog neutered makes no sense to watch. At all.
I really relate to the feelings of the director and editor of a film when their vision, their artistic statement, such as it is, is trampled on in the name of "re-purposing or leveraging the asset" for "a new market". You're gonna say that's why it's show BUSINESS. And I get that. But is it good business, really? In any other business, do they get away with adulterating a product to the same extent, and passing it off as the real deal?
(TV crawl before show airs)
"This movie has been edited for television. Some scenes have been altered for purposes of running time, and for nudity, violence, and offensive language.
We also blurred out some logos and rotoed in new ones. And changed a soundtrack because we lost music rights. And added back discarded footage to fill for things we took out though it disrupts the continuity. We also totally destroyed the contractually mandated credit rolls because we were bored and wanted to run one more commercial. Parental discretion advised.."
Not to mention "this film has been modified to fit your television screen." Pan and scan is one thing, but no-pan, no-scan really irks me. I can't recall the movie, but there was a dialogue scene with the two characters at opposite ends of a cinemascope frame. On cropped for television, all you see if the empty space in the middle, and maybe the tips of two noses.
Apparently directors are forced to film tv/airplane takes of movies, in some cases. I don't know how actors can seriously say lines like "you son of a gun, give me my flaking money and get the freak out of here before I beat the sugar out of you ya no good crab sucker."
Take the opposite. ABC ran an unedited, limited interruption rendition of Saving Private Ryan. They ran disclaimers essentially saying "if you don't like killing, swearing and Nazis, change the channel."
As one would expect, the FCC got complaints and ABC may have had to pay a fine. Blame Janet Jackson for this - the wardrobe malfunction seen 'round the world essentially ruined television for years to come.
Of course tv version of movies have been around for years.
Sometimes the tv version is a good thing. As a kid, I fondly recall seeing Superman the Movie on broadcast tv (actually there was ONLY broadcast tv in 1979 in Des Moines). The network actually stretched it out with commercials into a two-night miniseries event. Imagine a 2hour 15 minute movie taking 4 hours to play. The only advantage to this was the inclusion of deleted scenes. This was a full 20 years before DVD extras. There were extra scenes on Krypton as well as a spectacular scene with machine guns and flamethrowers as Superman entered Lex Luthor's subterranean lair under Metropolis. These scenes are now included on the Richard Donner director's cut DVD - my childhood memories confirmed thanks to a "laser" and a metallic disc.
the fcc ought to be more lax in showing R rated movies on tv esp. during non-peak hours. Goodfellas on T.V. sucks.
Amen Mark, what a great post.
Have a wonderful day.
Thank the FCC and the general over-federalizing of our every day lives.
I bet it only gets worse from here...