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Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection - Oct 14, 2008

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ray H, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Simon Caleb

    Simon Caleb Stunt Coordinator

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    The way I approach this surprisingly negative reaction to such a revelation is, those concerned either don´t accept the footage highlighted on the German site, are truly US censor cuts. Or they´re merely unhappy ´a version´ that´s much admired or loved will change, perhaps in their minds for the worse. However that argument tends to fall flat when said found footage is described as irrelevent.
    As I already explained, such irrelevent additions wouldn´t make a difference, would they?
     
  2. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I wonder what MGM/Fox is using for elements on THE LODGER? I know BFI has a gorgeous restored print that aired once on AMC before that channel became unwatchable. I've seen so many miserable prints of it that I'm a little nervous but hope they'll do right by this early classic.
     
  3. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Supporting Actor

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    Sorry, you're talking about approximately twenty seconds of footage - they are completely irrelevant - as I've said, Hitchcock wielded a lot of power and he could have put them back in and had the film rated when the ratings system came in. He didn't. The twenty seconds surely don't make the film any more of a masterpiece - and since the film had its biggest success in the US, minimally that version should always be included. I do not like the new Touch Of Evil cut. I'm of the opinion that Duel is a lesser film with the inclusion of the scene that was in the European theatrical version, and some of us want the Psycho that we've known and loved since 1960.

    I don't think of this as a "discovery" I think of it as a curio - put the extra seconds in the extras or, like Warners did with Strangers On A Train, but both cuts on the DVD, although it really does seem rather silly to me.
     
  4. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I agree that it has little impact on the movie but Hitchcock obviously wanted that footage in the movie or it wouldn't have been something that he was forced to remove.
     
  5. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    The condition of 'The Lodger' will ultimately decide whether I go for this set or not; here's hoping.
     
  6. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Most MPAA edits are just a few seconds worth of footage. There aren't too many examples where minutes worth of footage are cut. You're right that 18 seconds isn't going to make it any more of a masterpiece but 18 seconds aren't going to kill it either. In fact, if someone wasn't really familiar with the film then I doubt they'd spot these new seconds.
     
  7. Simon Caleb

    Simon Caleb Stunt Coordinator

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    Well those few extra seconds restored to james Whale´s Frankentein, made a hell of a difference to me. As would any restoration of the 18 or seconds censored from Psycho. So we´ll have to agree to disagree.

    I´m very surprised people are happy to accept censored films in this day and age. I say, get this restored before the footage rots away in some vault.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor
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    I've read over the thread several times and I can't find any real evidence that the extra footage is in Hitchcock's final cut instead of just something left in the export version. Everythink seems to be "it exists, so it must go back in".

    I'm not arguing about whether or not it's vital, it's just important to know if it's supposed to be in the film for certain. Just because it exists in one cut or exists at all doesn't mean it belongs in what Hitchcock signed off on.

    It's not like Frankenstein, which was released in 1931 with that footage intact. It was removed for re-releases. It's just as irrelevant of a comparison as claiming it's like The Magnificent Ambersons.

    If Hitchcock's preferred cut included the extra shots, they need to be added back in by Universal. Otherwise, keep it as supplemental material. Adding footage not intended by a director is just as bad as taking it out for the same reasons.
     
  9. BradleyS

    BradleyS Stunt Coordinator

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    You're talking like it's just some incidental footage that was "left in the export version" out of carelessness or indifference, like extra footage of Norman walking from the house to the motel. This is footage that was obviously removed for censorship reasons. The fact that the Europe got a version with a few extra shots of (relatively) explicit sex and violence strongly suggests that the American cut is compromised.
     
  10. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Supporting Actor

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    Explicit sex and violence??? I really have to stop reading this thread. There are many, many examples of more risque material being added to films specifically for overseas markets. It doesn't mean it's better, it doesn't mean that the director necessarily wanted them there. Hitchcock also might have left those shots longer when submitting the film to the censors, knowing that they would ask for cuts - and stuff he didn't really intend to be in was then cut, leaving the rest of the film the shocking masterpiece it is. In other words, by leaving those shots long, he gave the censors something obvious to go after, and thereby deflecting their attention from far worse things in the film. It happened all the time back then, so I'm not proposing an unusual scenario here.

    Twenty seconds of film - really. Put 'em on as extras and leave the film alone. Unless someone can come up with a document from Hitchcock that explicitly states that those twenty seconds were something he had to have in the film and whose removal compromised the film, I'm not buying any of this.
     
  11. Simon Caleb

    Simon Caleb Stunt Coordinator

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    Well some people are clearly enjoying overreaching to lend weight to their thankfully exclusive opinions. It´s become rather hysterical to say the least. I mean taking the view that the North American theatrical cut is THE version, shows a rather narrowed vision. In fact it reminds me of a certain online film reviewer who refuses to ackowledge anything in the PAL format, due to being in the wrong speed.

    Ah well that´s the fun of a forum, we can waffle on until we´re blue in the face.
    I´m told Universal has been made aware of the omissions, and that´s all that counts in my books.

    *I´m sure a Hitchcock scholar could unearth a list of original censor cuts, and lay this one to rest. In the mean time perhaps those happily sailing down the Nile, could rewatch the R1 CE making of documentary, chapter 20, and listen closely to Hitch´s assistant, re censorship...

    Oh, one last rather valid point, had Hitchcock NOT have wanted the footage in his film, It wouldn´t have been included in the version seen outside of little ole North America, just a thought...
     
  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Nothing to do with Psycho, but this isn't true. In Vertigo, the coda that was added on at the end was forced on him by countries outside of the United States, and wasn't included in the U.S. release. I don't know about Psycho, but there's no doubt that Hitchcock did not want that extra material on Vertigo, and was forced to add it.
     
  13. James 'Tiger' Lee

    James 'Tiger' Lee Second Unit

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    I really don't understand why people wouldn't want to see a longer version of Psycho, especially since the extra footage enhances the film's principle raison d'etre. Would these people be really upset about the extra shots? Its not like Star Wars, when the extra stuff was anachronistic and contradictory, but mere enhancements, dating back to the original production. If Strangers on a train has 2 cuts on dvd, there is no reason why Psycho can't have the same privilidge
     
  14. Simon Caleb

    Simon Caleb Stunt Coordinator

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    Well we´re in agreement there,´that has nothing to do with Psycho; And
    you´re basing your opinion on the assumption, the extra footage were not US censor cuts?

    Honestly, rewatch the making of docu on Universal´s R1 CE. Why would they feature the undressing (as found in the uncensored release outside of North America) as "censored" footage if it weren´t?
    With all due respect, pontificating otherwise smacks of desperation.
     
  15. BradleyS

    BradleyS Stunt Coordinator

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    Read my post again...RELATIVELY explicit, i.e. relative to the U.S. cut. Also, how many proven examples are there of Hitchcock deliberately adding controversial material that he knew would be excised vs. Hitchcock's original cuts being censored by the PCA? Hitchcock was always pushing the envelope with the censors - it seems unlikely that he wouldn't prefer the longer cut. My attitude is exactly the opposite from yours -- I'd need to see documentation that Hitchcock didn't intend for those extra shots to be in the completed film. Otherwise they should go back in.

    Again, the outrage behind this simply baffles me. The U.S. cut is still available in a million different versions, and this slightly longer cut has been (apparently) available elsewhere for many years.
     
  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Huh? Did you even read my post? I was talking about the scene at the end of Vertigo in which Scottie & Midge hear on the radio that Elster has been caught. It is well documented that this scene was forced on Hitchcock for overseas release. With all due respect, attacking me for pointing out that Hitchcock was 100% forced on at least some films to add footage for overseas release (contrary to an earlier claim otherwise) smacks of [censored].

    I don't know about the reasons for the scenes in Psycho, but for someone to claim it is a FACT, that Hitch was sometimes forced to add scenes for overseas distribution, as anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Vertigo would know.
     
  17. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    But on the other hand, it's virtually impossible to imagine Hitchcock at this stage in his career preferring a toned-down version of the film.

    This is the same Hitchcock who filmed a rape scene so brutal 12 years later in Frenzy that the BBFC in the UK refused to let it through uncut until the DVD release in 2001.
     
  18. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor
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    It's not exactly unusual for export cuts to have a little less, extra, or alternate footage.

    It is possible that Psycho, as seen in Europe, has the extra footage only because the film element was made before Hitchcock was finished editing. Maybe he asked for the footage to be added to the European cut because he couldn't keep it in the US cut. We don't know for sure either way, so some research needs to be made before just dropping in footage.

    Universal at least needs to put the alternate scenes as an extra, but inserting them into the film needs to depend on what research turns up.
     
  19. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I'm amazed by the amount of opposition to the inclusion of these few scenes. I for one would love to see these scenes re-incorporated in to the film. That said, I think that both versions should be readily available since the existing cut is the one that everyone has been seeing for almost 50 years.

    I highly doubt that these scenes were edited back in by anyone without Hitchcock's consent, unless it was after his death. At this point in his career, Hitch had the right to final cut and in fact did most of his cutting in camera, so the editor had very little to do. These were almost certainly last-minute censor cuts that were required in the US.

    Does anybody have the book on the making of Psycho? I read it about 12 years ago and while I don't recall any mention of censors or alternate footage, it doesn't mean that I have not merely forgotten it. I also recall that this book had a large number of Hitch's sketches that he used when filming. If any of these sketches indicate this kind of detail it would certainly indicate that Hitch intended for the scenes to be included.

    Keep in mind that this film was only a few years before the production code was rendered pointless and that Europe was a bit more progressive on that front and may not have objected to the additional footage as strongly. Has anybody seen these scenes projected in Europe or have the sightings only been on TV?

    As a comparison, Billy Wilder's "Kiss Me Stupid" had to have the end re-written in 1964 to make it a little softer. I watched this version for years until the original ending was re-instated a few years ago. To be honest, I like the censored version a bit more and while the original censored footage is included on the DVD, I wish that it was integrated through seamless branching. I have kept my old LD around for the express purpose of watching the original theatrical cut. According to the IMDB, Wilder's original cut was shown in Europe while America got the censored version.
     
  20. Kevin Harper

    Kevin Harper Agent

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    I presume you mean Stephen Rebello's 'The Making of PSYCHO' - incidentally he is doing the commentary on the Legacy DVD.

    From page 171 "World audiences saw slightly different versions of the picture, depending on local censors. On November 21, censors in Singapore shortened the stabbing of Detective Arbogast and excised the second shot of the mummified corpse of Mrs. Bates. British censors, having already eliminated the shots of Norman staring at his blood-stained hands while cleaning up the murder of Marion, made further cuts in dialogue."

    And from page 166 "Before British censors rated the film with an "X" Certificate, they sliced a shot of Tony Perkins studying his bloodstained hands in the bathroom. Also deleted were six frames of Mother's taking a knife to Detective Arbogast at the foot of the stairs. [In some American cities, audiences never saw the latter shots, either.]"

    These shots are definitely in the VHS version I had in the 80s (as shown on the German website), so it would appear that there is no definitive [complete] version of the film in any country!
     

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