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August 1999, Week 1


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Richard Davies <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sat, 31 Jul 1999 20:49:09 +0100
text/plain (43 lines)
> And Jack Clayton did the oddest things to The Innocents when it  was
shown in the US.
Lang Thompson asked: Like what?  And which version was released on US video
a couple of years ago?

Can't help you on the video release, except to describe the two tiny, but
significant cuts made in the US release version.

1) during the hide and seek sequence as the Governess is on her way to the
attic where the children are hiding the ghost of Miss Jessell passes in
front of her. This was cut from the US version.

2) at the climax, as Miles is persuaded/forced to say Quint's name, the
swirling camera stops as Miles says the name. This is followed by a close
up of Quint leering down in triumph at Miles - in the US version this is
cut and the movie jumps to the shot of Quint seen from behind standing
among the statues.

These 2 tiny cuts - less than 2 secs in all, change both the impact and
balance of ambiguities. Many years ago I was sufficiently intrigued - after
seeing the movie in London on its first release and later in NYC - to ask
UK 20C Fox about the cuts. For 6 months I got no reply, and then a long
rambling letter arrived all about the use of music before the Fox logo and
US theaters no wishing to play this lead in - in fact the print I saw in
NYC had the lead in. Years later I got the chance to ask Clayton himself,
and he said he didn't remember, and then added that there had been disputes
about the editing and that maybe someone had 'been given some scissors in
New York.'

All this may sound trivial but the 2 cuts make the movie much less
frightening. Also make it more likely the governess is seeing things, etc.
Such tiny cuts seem likely to be the work of the director. I think he may
have wanted to make the movie less ambiguous - but at considerable cost to
the movie, IMO

Richard Davies

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