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John Dirk

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With respect I don’t see that as censorship. Censorship is when the government tells an individual or company that they cannot release something, not when an individual or company makes a voluntary choice about what to release.

Disney/Spielberg/Zemeckis et al conceived Roger Rabbit as a family friendly PG rated film. At the time the film was made, movies were shown in theaters and then released for home viewing in low resolution formats that made pouring over them frame-by-frame virtually impossible. The animators, that is, employees for hire who were neither the film’s owner nor chief creative officials, mischievously added some gags for their own amusement that a general audience was never meant to see. Much like the wires in War of the Worlds, just because modern technology and its clarity allows them to be seen doesn’t mean they were meant to be seen. I don’t see an issue with Disney removing this material that was never meant to be seen by the audience, thus preserving the intent of the original release.

If you’re an architect overseeing construction of a house, and one of your contractors hides something in the frame that wasn’t meant to be there, you’re well within your rights to remove it. It doesn’t change the intent or integrity of the original design.

Anyhow, that’s how I see it. I’m sure others will have different takes.
Thanks for this information. I was not aware of the history of the revisions and now see your point. I would still prefer the option of owning the unaltered version but your comments have added a comforting level of clarity.
 

TonyD

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This release essentially is the unaltered version in the sense that it’s what was meant to be seen.
Other then the slight modification to that baby Herman putting his middle finger up the skirt of that woman but this is what it is supposed to be.

None of the changes do anything to alter the story or the movie really.
 

JoshZ

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By the way which home video release was tinted?

The first Blu-ray release of The French Connection in 2009 was radically altered by William Friedkin to give the movie a weird "pastel" color scheme that he was very enamored of. This left most of the movie with a bizarre and hideous purple tint. There was a Color Timing featurette in the supplements where you can see him describing the process, watching the transfer on a studio monitor, and raving about how wonderful it looked and how it was exactly what he wanted.

Friedkin was rightly taken to task for this, including by the film's cinematographer, Owen Roizman, who called it out as a desecration of his work. He said: "I wasn't consulted. I was appalled by it. I don't know what Billy was thinking. It's not the film that I shot, and I certainly want to wash my hands of having had anything to do with this transfer, which I feel is atrocious."

This led to a messy public feud between the two men until Friedkin was eventually shamed into allowing the film to be reissued in 2012 for a Blu-ray (the Filmmaker Signature Series) with a new transfer overseen by Roizman. That disc of course omitted the Color Timing featurette.

These days, Friedkin has taken to blaming the studio for botching the original disc, which he claims, despite indisputable evidence to the contrary, was altered without his knowledge.

Sadly, Friedkin also applied his pastel nonsense to The Boys in the Band and that one hasn't been corrected. He also wanted to do it to The Exorcist, but Roizman was able to intervene and stop that.
 

Robert Crawford

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The first Blu-ray release of The French Connection in 2009 was radically altered by William Friedkin to give the movie a weird "pastel" color scheme that he was very enamored of. This left most of the movie with a bizarre and hideous purple tint. There was a Color Timing featurette in the supplements where you can see him describing the process, watching the transfer on a studio monitor, and raving about how wonderful it looked and how it was exactly what he wanted.

Friedkin was rightly taken to task for this, including by the film's cinematographer, Owen Roizman, who called it out as a desecration of his work. He said: "I wasn't consulted. I was appalled by it. I don't know what Billy was thinking. It's not the film that I shot, and I certainly want to wash my hands of having had anything to do with this transfer, which I feel is atrocious."

This led to a messy public feud between the two men until Friedkin was eventually shamed into allowing the film to be reissued in 2012 for a Blu-ray (the Filmmaker Signature Series) with a new transfer overseen by Roizman. That disc of course omitted the Color Timing featurette.

These days, Friedkin has taken to blaming the studio for botching the original disc, which he claims, despite indisputable evidence to the contrary, was altered without his knowledge.

Sadly, Friedkin also applied his pastel nonsense to The Boys in the Band and that one hasn't been corrected. He also wanted to do it to The Exorcist, but Roizman was able to intervene and stop that.
Thank you as it's been years since I last watched that film and I have both Blu-ray releases so I'll be revisiting them in the near future.
 

Matt Hough

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I never got to review the original botched Blu-ray (and I didn't even buy it after reading the reviews; I just retained my DVD that was in a two-pack with the sequel), but I did review the Signature Collection 2012 Blu-ray here.
 

MatthewA

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Friedkin also applied that bluish color tint to the Paramount DVD and Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Boys in the Band. Nobody did anything about it because the movie had been out of print since the 1980s and because the cinematographer, Arthur J. Ornitz, had been dead since then.

All of which has little to nothing to do with Who Framed Roger Rabbit unless you count indirect links to it and its predecessors: Leonard Frey's final acting role was a Disney Sunday Movie called Bride of Boogedy, whose score was composed by John Addison, who wrote the score to Torn Curtain and the theme to Murder She Wrote, so he's indirectly linked to both Julie Andrews and Angela Lansbury by that.* Another actor in Bride of Boogedy was Vincent Schiavelli, a guest star on NBC's live-action Punky Brewster the same year (but a different episode) as Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger, whose guest shot ended up being cut from syndication and restored on DVD.

*And also by the fact that Addison's disease was something Helen Reddy lived with for decades. Except that the doctor who discovered it was apparently unrelated to the film composer.
 
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JoshZ

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All of which has little to nothing to do with Who Framed Roger Rabbit

The tangent we went off on was about filmmakers making revisionist changes to their original work, and whether or not that "alters the story."
 

MatthewA

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The tangent we went off on was about filmmakers making revisionist changes to their original work, and whether or not that "alters the story."

Robert Zemeckis signed off on none of the post-hoc changes to Who Framed Roger Rabbit made by the studio. Eisner's phone number was one thing since that actually put his privacy at risk, but who's to say that phone number is even still his or active at all?
 

Malcolm R

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Robert Zemeckis signed off on none of the post-hoc changes to Who Framed Roger Rabbit made by the studio. Eisner's phone number was one thing since that actually put his privacy at risk, but who's to say that phone number is even still his or active at all?
Was Zemeckis even aware these things were in his film to start with? They seem to be mostly gags "hidden" by the animators.

Though I'm surprised any of the workaday animators would even know Eisner's personal phone number. Seems like that would have had to be inserted by request of one of the producers.
 

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Though I'm surprised any of the workaday animators would even know Eisner's personal phone number. Seems like that would have had to be inserted by request of one of the producers.
My guess is that a higher-level person at Disney accidentally left his office door unlocked one night, an animator walked in, looked at a rolodex, found Eisner's number, and put it in the movie. It was the days before ubiquitous security cameras and everything had to be written down so that makes the most sense to me.
 

Johnny Angell

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I would agree, it's not censorship, it's revision. Much like George Lucas and his Star Wars films, or Spielberg and the E.T. walkie-talkie fiasco.

I don't necessarily like it, or agree with it, but it's not censorship.

And given the content of some PG-rated films of the 80's, I'm not sure it's even necessary.
I don’t even think it’s revision. If you’re restoring the film to the original intent of the creators, that’s not revisionism. The animators did something they had no right to do, but they could get away with it so they did. The penis on the cover of the vhs case for TLM was so obvious, yet I didn’t see it till it was pointed out.

I believe the animators and cover artist committed vandalism they had no right to do. A vandal seldom has the right to commit the act, but sometimes they can get away with it.

Sure, I want to see the naughty bits, but I’ll live without them.
 

Colin Jacobson

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I don’t even think it’s revision. If you’re restoring the film to the original intent of the creators, that’s not revisionism. The animators did something they had no right to do, but they could get away with it so they did. The penis on the cover of the vhs case for TLM was so obvious, yet I didn’t see it till it was pointed out.

I believe the animators and cover artist committed vandalism they had no right to do. A vandal seldom has the right to commit the act, but sometimes they can get away with it.

Sure, I want to see the naughty bits, but I’ll live without them.

Like I mentioned earlier, the only real "revision" is the alteration of Baby Herman goosing the woman. That was always meant to be seen.

The rest was "Easter egg" territory...
 

JoshZ

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I don’t even think it’s revision. If you’re restoring the film to the original intent of the creators, that’s not revisionism. The animators did something they had no right to do, but they could get away with it so they did. The penis on the cover of the vhs case for TLM was so obvious, yet I didn’t see it till it was pointed out.

I believe the animators and cover artist committed vandalism they had no right to do. A vandal seldom has the right to commit the act, but sometimes they can get away with it.

Sure, I want to see the naughty bits, but I’ll live without them.

With very few exceptions, almost no movie is a one-person affair. Film is a collaborative medium that takes a large team of people to complete. The director is not the only person whose contribution matters.

Yes, sometimes you wind up with people working at cross-purposes or against one another's wishes (even intentionally so). Nevertheless, at the end of the day, this movie was completed and everyone signed off on it. It was released, became a huge blockbuster, and even won a few Oscars, for a version that no longer exists.

So, yes, this is still very much revisionism, albeit on a smaller scale and to much less detriment than, say, the desecration George Lucas inflicted onto Star Wars (which fundamentally changed that film and made it worse). By comparison, these are minor and superficial changes. I'm sure we can all shrug them off. But it's still disappointing that the original version has been suppressed.
 

Johnny Angell

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With very few exceptions, almost no movie is a one-person affair. Film is a collaborative medium that takes a large team of people to complete. The director is not the only person whose contribution matters.

Yes, sometimes you wind up with people working at cross-purposes or against one another's wishes (even intentionally so). Nevertheless, at the end of the day, this movie was completed and everyone signed off on it. It was released, became a huge blockbuster, and even won a few Oscars, for a version that no longer exists.

So, yes, this is still very much revisionism, albeit on a smaller scale and to much less detriment than, say, the desecration George Lucas inflicted onto Star Wars (which fundamentally changed that film and made it worse). By comparison, these are minor and superficial changes. I'm sure we can all shrug them off. But it's still disappointing that the original version has been suppressed.
The animators who did this were acting against the primary creators wishes, against the studio’s policies, and acting in negative way, no matter how small. So I’ll disagree.
 

Adam Gregorich

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This may explain…


I did just a basic search. You could probably find better stills and video footage of the excised material but basically it was adult gags that the animators threw into the film that seems would only be detected if you watched frame-by-frame.
There were several in the shorts as well. Disney recalled the LDs after they shipped to retailers but before they were put on the shelves as you could see all the animators “inappropriate” gags when you went through frame by frame. Some (like the one in my collection) made it out :)
 

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