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TopBilled

Should offensive dialogue be removed to satisfy political correctness?

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Sorry TB, but as is my typical M.O. around here, yes, I was using levity mixed with a hint of the absurd to make my original point once again...oh, and of course to poke fun at the idea of Joan Crawford's legs buckling at the mere slight of Melvin Douglas!!! LOL

 

BUT, trust me here, as you might have guessed, you may NOT count ME among those in the world who would "reflexively" prize drama over comedy.

 

(...'cause maybe it shows in MY case, EH?!) ;)

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Okay, good...glad we are friends again. LOL

 

It does sound as if you watched THEY ALL KISSED THE BRIDE.

 

I rather liked it. It's not the best film of 1942, but it works on several levels. And it's always fun to see the ever-so-charming Roland Young and Billie Burke in the same cast.

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Hmmm...I didn't know that we were ever NOT friends, my friend!!! ;)

 

And yeah, as is often the case in those less-than-successful romantic comedies(once again, only speaking for myself here) made during that period, the supporting actors are the most memorable aspect to them.

 

(...which of course is probably the reason many modern attempts at this genre seem to fail... there just "ain't no" Rolands and Billies out there anymore...or maybe more importantly, the SCRIPTWRITERS have forgotten to INCLUDE any modern day Rolands and Billies if they're even out there!)

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Chris Christie would say that............

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Hell no. I do think it's understandable that during WW II folks used words

like **** and Kraut for the enemies they were fighting. After the war has

been over for a number of years, it's less so. And as others have already

mentioned, it reflects the time period in which the movie was made.

 

Some sources say that free, white, and 21 was the requirement for being

a member in good standing of the society in the earlier years of the country.

I suppose they should have added male in there too, though I don't know the

details of womens' legal standing in that period. Sharecroppers were in something

of a middle ground. In a practical sense, they were tied to the local soil and

probably stayed close to it, but they were free to leave and find another occupation,

but that was likely a difficult choice to make. In that sense, they were free.

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C'mon now finance! Wasn't it YOU who brought the movie "Cool Hand Luke" just the other DAY?!!! ;)

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Oh SURE! Take away your set-up to my punchline here, why dontcha!!!!

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Very true.

 

In fact, word is that back in the day all the Friars Club members had to do when they got together would be to just say the PUNCHLINE, 'cause the rest of 'em already KNEW the set-up!

 

(...in fact they say Jack Benny would KILL 'EM doin' just that...and Henny TOO of course!)

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A young comedian was about to be on the vaudeville stage for the first time. He was in a large dressing room shared by many performers when a person in a corner yelled: "Forty-two!" All the people in the room laughed.

 

The new comedian leaned over to the person next to him and whispered: "Why was that funny?"

 

"All the great old jokes are listed in a master book" the man said. "We know those by heart so instead of telling the joke you can just say the number."

 

The young man thanked him for that information and was thoughtful for a moment. He then had an idea that he hoped would help him to fit in and seem more like one of them so he yelled: "Thirty-seven!"

 

A few people gave him a strange look but no person laughed.

 

He leaned over to the person next to him and whispered: "Did I pick a bad joke?"

 

"No" the man said. "You just did not tell it right."

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What's that thing people do when they're almost overwhelmed with how foolish something is? I never heard it before I started participating on this website- oh, right , "Face Palm".

 

My reaction to this whole issue is the face palm.

 

 

I agree with everyone here who feels that removing offensive dialogue to satisfy political correctness is a very bad idea. It was gratifying to see how articulate people were about this issue.

 

 

I can never understand revisionists, which is the name for those who would delete, edit, censor, and otherwise alter artifacts from the past, be they books, movies, song lyrics, or anything else.

 

 

Once people start messing around with this stuff, there's no end to it, because there's always going to be something that will offend somebody. Now, the overt racism so prevalent in old films, sometimes pervading an entire movie in terms of story, dialogue, and visuals, is indeed difficult to take. And not only is it jarring, it can be distracting, engaging our reluctant attention ("Wow ! Did he really say that?" for instance) to the detriment of following the narrative.

 

 

But we just have to remember, as so many here and elsewhere have said, that it was 1934, or 1942, or whatever year it was, a time very different from the times we live in now. The idea of editing "offensive" matter from old movies actually scares me - if it became commonly accepted, after a while we might not even know where the old movie leaves off and the bowdlerlzed version begins.

 

 

I do believe most people are intelligent enough to see the racism / sexism / homophobia / smokingism (yeah, that too) for what it is, a product of its unenlightened times, and leave it be.

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Political correctness is tyranny with manners.

 

Charlton Heston

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

>

> I do believe most people are intelligent enough to see the racism / sexism / homophobia / smokingism (yeah, that too) for what it is, a product of its unenlightened times, and leave it be.

>

I disagree with the "leave it be" part. I would hope that viewing the past without blinders allows us to learn from it - to appreciate the progress that's been acheived and keep us inching (however slowly) forward on that arch of justice. Editing out the inconvenient parts of our history only serves to proliferate a rose-colored nostalgia for "the good old days" - which never actually existed.

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>It was gratifying to see how articulate people were about this issue.

 

I so agree. There have been some very well-written, thoughtful posts in this thread.

 

>Now, the overt racism so prevalent in old films, sometimes pervading an entire movie in terms of story, dialogue, and visuals, is indeed difficult to take.

 

Someone earlier cited Al Jolson as an example. I must admit that sometimes I would watch Jolson in a movie and say, this guy is really a one-trick pony-- his act is based on making fun of black culture. But he can sing and he can dance, so there is some merit or value to be found in his performances, which should not be deleted from films. However, I do think THE JOLSON STORY and JOLSON SINGS AGAIN were extremely popular, because a lot of mainstream (probably white) viewers associated Jolson with his blackface routines, and they figured Larry Parks would imitate that, which he did. Does this mean we ban the Jolson movies today? No. They are a sign of where society was at that time.

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Keep in mind that prior to Supreme Court rulings in the 1960's many states, cities and local communities had censor boards which could require cuts in films. There was no single standard so what might have been cut in one place may have been perfectly fine in another. As a result, a studio might have numerous prints all with different cuts. Other than a notation somewhere that this print was approved for showing in New York or that print was okay to show in Salt Lake City the studios kept very little information on what each print contained.

 

As we well know, in those pre-TV days, some studios basically just let their negatives sit and rot thinking older films had little or no value which means that in some cases only cut prints survive and those are what's used today to make the digital masters TCM and other networks use.

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I bet the Crawford heirs have an un-cut print of it. Joan was so thorough in all aspects of her life that I am sure she kept prints of every film she ever made, and not just the versions shown for television. Or what about the relatives of Melvyn Douglas or director Alexander Hall. I am sure there is an un-cut copy of this film in existence. Somewhere.

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Another thought I have on this matter is that any of the PC attempts to make older movies "innoffensive" are all in vain because there's really no way NOT to offend anyone. For instance, and in THIS case, you could go back and excise all dialouge that you feel might offend someone of a certain race, creed or color, but in doing so, you insult the INTELLIGENCE of someone else. Like most of us here in these forums.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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> {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote} I am sure there is an un-cut copy of this film in existence. Somewhere.

 

 

 

 

That may well be, but, just because a better, more complete, print of something still exists, it doesn't mean the it's available to TCM.

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TopBilled wrote:

Or should the newer generations be clueless about this because something like a Hollywood movie no longer reflects this truth? In this case, I think political correctness may be promoting ignorance about past societal attitudes.

 

Maybe those who made the edit believe that if younger people see the comment it will only reinforce an unfair stereotype. The greater good by eliminating it is that it doesn't perpetuate a stereotype.

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=TopBilled wrote:}{quote} I am sure there is an un-cut copy of this film in existence. Somewhere.

>

>

>

>

> That may well be, but, just because a better, more complete, print of something still exists, it doesn't mean the it's available to TCM.

>

 

 

If TCM is aware that the film is cut they should indicate, prior to the film starting, that they are showing an edited copy. They already have those TCM and general audiences blurbs before each film starts, why can't they add a blurb to indicate the condition of the film. I mean, if they really care about their "complete and uncut" mantra.

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I wanted to mention that despite the bad condition of the print, I am glad that TCM aired THEY ALL KISSED THE BRIDE. Thanks to Molly Haskell for selecting it.

 

This picture contains a truly hilarious scene where Joan jitterbugs at a company party. I don't think I have seen her turn it loose in a film like this since her silent flapper days.

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