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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

CAVEAT EMPTOR LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!!!

Poster from the original theatrical release of THE KLANSMAN (1974).

Right now I'm as mad as a man who just unwillingly had his honey-covered dick forcibly shoved into a hill of fire ants. The other day I bought a DVD copy of THE KLANSMAN, a 1974 hard-R-rated classic of race-hate exploitation starring Lee Marvin, Richard Burton, Lola Falana and, believe it or not, Luciana Palluzzi (What the hell was her fine red-headed Italian self doing in that movie???), as well as being directed by Terence Young, the same guy who helmed DR. NO (1962), FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963, the best James Bond movie ever made) and THUNDERBALL (1965), and I was expecting some sleazy Nixon-era grindhouse thrills from it.

What I was totally unaware of was that the version available on DVD is transferred from a murky print that has all the earmarks of having been heavily edited for television, with all of the rape, castration, nudity and even the profanity excised (or in the case of the cussing, simply muted), although all uses of the word "nigger" are helpfully left untouched (presumably in order to remind us that the Klansmen who use it are bad guys). Upon discovering I'd been ripped off, I went online to add a warning to its potential buyers on its listing on Amazon, but several other ripped-off consumers beat me to it. According to one of them, the film as seen on the DVD is shorn of twelve minutes of content.

I called the video store where I purchased the disc — the excellent Kim's Video on 1st Avenue in Manhattan — and attempted to explain the situation to two different store clerks, but the first one apparently had trouble hearing me because of my cell phone's signal, and when I called back I got one of the useless Jamaican security guys they have answer the phone when the regular staffers don't feel like dealing with a customer. Both people that I talked to told me that if the disc was defective they would take a look at it and see what they could do, but did not seem to understand that the problem was not that the disc was defective, but rather that it was an edited version, of which no note is made on the packaging. I'm going to go back to the store either today (weather permitting) or tomorrow, and I'll get back to you with a follow-up report.

4 comments:

Robert H. said...

Bunche,

Sadly, as far as I can tell, all these KLANSMAN dvd's are taken from a print for broadcast tv. The only uncut version is from the VHS release, but it appears no one has sourced a digital copy from that.

Though with more and more studios going to burn-on-demand with their back catalogue, it may end up on DVD that way.

Bunche said...

Yeah, I read up on it online after getting burned with the copy I bought. Oh, well...At least they gave me no hassle when I returned it and told them the case. In fact, the cool salesguy — my favorite member of the store's staff — even dug out an out-of-print American DVD of it, but I told him that one was also from the same expurgated print. He immediately took it off the "used" shelf.

Robert H. said...

If you can send me your address, I may be able to help you out.

Bunche said...

It's as follows:

647 President Street #2D
Brooklyn, NY
11215