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Hello Chloe,
 
> I am about to undertake a dissertation on video censorship.
[in Britain]
 
Is there any material about this kind of censorship in general?
There is also an interesting kind of 'editing' that a US-film
undergoes when released in the US.
Basic Instinct, for example was shortened by mere 45 seconds.
(THE 45 seconds. In Europe, it is called (pardon my French)
"The fuck of the century" between Sharon Stone and (was it Michael Douglas?))
 
That scene was never shown in the US, although it is a US-made film, it
was only shown in its entirety in Europe.
 
The same holds true for 'Total Recall'.
There are two verions. The shorter one was released as Rated-16 in Germany and
the other one as Rated-18. In video stores, you could rent both, depending
on your age. If you recall (no pun intended) the film poster (correct
technical term?), the scene is set with a blue 'back light'.
The Rated-18 version has an identical cover, but it is overcast in red, to
distinguish itself from the rated-16 version.
 
{Spoilers: Star Trek 6 and Aliens}
 
As for other 'stranger' editing practices, watch the German and the US versions
of Star Trek 6. Highly interesting.
The American version is longer.
I never understood why the following scenes were cut out:
1)
The President, after talking to the Klingon and the Romulan ambassador
on the killing of chancellor Ghorkon, is visited by a staff of Starfleet
generals that put up a diagram in his office and explain a plan to liberate
the captured Kirk and McCoy in a military coup.
Two main statements were cut out:
Upon being asked what would happen if the plan failed, General Sykes answers:
"Then, quite frankly, Mr. President, we can clear their chronometers"
Then, at the end of this two-minute sequence, the other general (who also
appeared in ST4) waits until the others are gone and asks the President:
"Do you realize that Kirk has once saved this planet?" - "Yes, and he's going
to do it again." (compare: Whales in ST4 and now the personal sacrifice
to avert a full scale war with the Klingons now)
This all is not featured in the German version.
Later, you can see the President's office (cut ins in the trial scene) with
the diagrams propped up in the background and the German audience never knew
how they got there.
2)
Lt. Valeris confronts Spock a few times with the question "A lie?" when Spock
acts on himself and misinforms Starfleet only to stall for time to save his
Captain.
Spock, who cannot lie because he's a Vulcan (not exactly, he could lie if he
wanted to because he's half-human) answers with "An Omission" or "An Error".
This is not featured in the German version and hence, the audience will
not understand it when Kirk asks Valeris who she cooperated with in the
conspiracy to kill the chancellor and she answers with a nonchalant "I don't
know." Spock then asks "A lie?" and she answers "A decision."
Mental ping-pong. Well-written but never understood in Germany.
3)
The Killer in the 'JFK' scene (President is about to be shot at at the Camp
Khitomer conference) is _NOT_ a Klingon.
It is Admiral Sykes in a disguise.
The 2 and 1/2 seconds long sequence in which one bows over the fallen killer
and says, "This is not Klingon blood." and tears off the mask to reveal that
a Starfleet admiral was about to shoot the President was clean cut out of the
German version. Just like that.
 
I never understood why this was made, since the cut-out scenes were not violent
nor did they contain any other offending elements that may have been the
reason.
 
There's more to cutting:
Some scenes in Aliens (the sequel to Alien) like the one where the Aliens make
their attack through the service tunnel and are shot at by an automatic device
is sometimes 'in' and sometimes 'out'.
It is not a violent scene, since you cannot see how the aliens are shot at
directly. Just a few guns shooting stray bullets in a tunnel and blips on the
radar closing in.
The sequence ends with the Aliens retreating although there were just 6 or so
bullets left (of thousands and thousands) in the guns. A suspense element.
 
And a whole lot more that has upset me during the years of film watching.
 
I feel like I never get the 'real thing'.
 
I'm living in a world where the cutting room floors are flooded of film clips
that were cut out from the 'final' versions.
 
*SIGH*
Daniel