Re the difficulty of cutting films made after 1950 for TV, while the year may be a tad arbitrary, the principle certainly applies. One of the main reasons was the advent of television and the movie studios need to compete with all those TV dramas and comedies, most of which were dialogue driven. To compete, the studios began to make more spectacular, in colour, shot-on-location films, particularly with the introduction of Cinemascope in 1953, and screenplays tended to play second fiddle to visuals. It's much easier to cut scenery rather than dialogue and still leave the plot line more or less intact. Just think of the convoluted plots of film noir and screwball comedies, popular mainly in the forties and thirties, with their exposition and crackling dialogue. Imagine trying to cut THE BIG SLEEP, THE MALTESE FALCON, CASABLANCA, BRINGING UP BABY, OUT OF THE PAST, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, SUNSET BOULEVARD, CITIZEN KANE, without losing the plot line - or at least confusing the audience.
> From: [log in to unmask]
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: re "butchering" films for tv
> Date: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 10:48 AM
> In the 1960's the man at CBS Television who was responsible for editing films
> to length for "The Late Show" told me that most films made before 1950 were so
> tightly constructed that it was very hard for him to take out scenes without
> upsetting the balance and the flow of plot information. "But after 1950" he
> said, "you can usually go in their and snip here and there and anywhere with
> no problem!"
> He went on to muse on the idea that as "movies" became appreciated more and
> more as works of art their directors actually became more self-indulgent. They
> weren't only "telling a story" any more, they were "putting themselves on the
> screen." That, my friend said, made it easy to cut!
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite