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The utterly pointless penguin

I just started watching "The Blues Brothers" on AMC, but I had to turn it off. I simply couldn't stomach what the censors had done.

One of the funnier moments of the movie was the scene in the beginning, where the Brothers go to visit the nun who raised them in the orphanage ("the Penguin.") During the course of the visit, Jake (John Belushi) drops a casual profanity, and gets smacked with a ruler. He reacts in pain and anger with yet more swearing, and gets more and more abuse from the Penguin. Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) tries to defend him, and also lets slip a bad word or two. The Penguin ends up breaking her ruler while hitting them, getting out a yardstick, and chasing them from her office.

On AMC, though, this scene was just rendered utterly meaningless. In order to air the movie, they had to remove all the stronger profanities.

Including all the ones from the "Penguin" scene.

So we are left with a bit of exposition that ends when the nun, for no perceivable reason, starts violently beating on Jake and Elwood. What was an extrapolation from the classic stereotype (nun rapping misbehaving boys with ruler) is now simply random violence.

I think I need to get the DVD, and no more watching movies on AMC that originally had a rating stronger than PG. It's simply a waste of time.


Comments (19)

I had a similar experience ... (Below threshold)

I had a similar experience with AMC and "Blazing Saddles" a few weeks ago. As most of the best humor is racial or some other form of un-PC variaty, I couldn't get much past the scene of Bart sinking into the quicksand before giving up on it and putting in another movie.

I stopped watching AMC when... (Below threshold)

I stopped watching AMC when they went "commercial" several years ago, interrupting movies with commercial breaks and featuring a dismal lineup of newer movies with strong ratings that had to be censored in order to meet broadcast standards.

Of course, this was probably a sad compromise made in order to stay profitable and draw in younger viewers, but still remain "family friendly."

On my satellite system, I get Turner Classic Movies, which is uncensored (but mostly production code-era fare) and also the Independent Film Channel, which is uncensored. Watch a movie anywhere else, and you have to take your chances.

"I guess you're up shit cre... (Below threshold)

"I guess you're up shit creek, then..."

I too quit watching AMC alt... (Below threshold)

I too quit watching AMC altogether when the commercials started. I never did like the censorship, either. Blazing saddles, Porkys, Animal House.... all of these movies just aren't the same after the censor does his or her thing...

Although I am a great fan o... (Below threshold)

Although I am a great fan of so-called "classic" movies, I have to say I stopped watching AMC when they went to this format as well; censoring Mel Brooks is absurd, and inserting commercials ruins the continuity of the classic movie.

Nope, however much I may dislike Ted "Sauron" Turner personally, his movie network is the last haven for classic film buffs.

Turner Classic Movies is go... (Below threshold)

Turner Classic Movies is good, yes — they ran an all-day Marx Brothers marathon a few weeks back — but the Fox Movie Channel is also good. While TCM shows the old classics from the Turner library, FMC runs newer stuff. If you tune in on the right night, you can catch "Network," for example, uncut, unexpurgated and letterboxed.

Ever see "Die Hard 2" on TV... (Below threshold)

Ever see "Die Hard 2" on TV? It runs every once in a while on TBS and one or two other channels. Whoever editted it for TV had the not-so-bright idea of using a voice double to replace Bruce Willis' swears. Unfortunately, the voice they used was anything but a double. It's the most horrible imitation of Willis' voice imaginable. I watched it once the whole way through like that and I will never do so again. In fact, I only watch bits and pieces of it now when other people are around in order to show them how awful it truly is. Not surprisingly, everyone agrees.

Anything with a member of m... (Below threshold)

Anything with a member of my tribe can be played with the mute activated and it still kicks ass.

So what else in New? In the... (Below threshold)

So what else in New? In the mid or late 1960s channel 11 here in New York decided that violence on TV was bad for children, so they cut the Three Stooges two-reelers to ribbons. Nothing more entertaining than seeing Moe reach for the hammer and suddenly jump cut to Curly rubbing the top of his head. Wasn't it enough that Officer Joe Bolton told us not to put our little siblings' heads in the waffle iron? Sheeesh.

The censored versions aren'... (Below threshold)

The censored versions aren't worth watching at length, but they can be very funny sometimes. I loved watching Judd Nelson, in The Breakfast Club, tell the principal to "suck my socks."

Watching "Don't Tell Mom th... (Below threshold)

Watching "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" on HBO Signature the other day.

They dubbed the word "punk" over the word "prick," but still let "shit" shine right through.

Ironically, one of the most... (Below threshold)

Ironically, one of the most annoying edits I've seen in a TV movie was something they added.

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there's a scene where Scotty comes to sickbay carrying one of his cadets. He says, with much emotion, "He stood his ground while the trainees ran.."

In the TV version, they added a couple of seconds. He says "He was my brother's son. He stood his ground while the trainees ran..."

This changes Scotty from an engineer's engineer into just another average Joe worried about a relative.

I wonder why, in cases like... (Below threshold)
David C:

I wonder why, in cases like this, they don't simply put a over the offending words, which would at least indicate to the viewer that something bad was said.

I can see overdubbing where the profanity is basically incidental - having Bruce Willis say "Yippee Ki-Yay, rubber trucker!" or something is silly and nonsensical, but minor.

But if (as in the "Penguin" scene), the characters' use of bad language is actually a plot point, and other characters react to it in a meaningful way, a would be a better way to handle it, I think.

J-I own about 500 ... (Below threshold)


I own about 500 or more movies all for the same reason you wrote about it - with no ten minute commercials either! I don't have all the movies I'd like - but I'd have to order them from Blockbuster since some of them would never be on a shelf. There are only some movies worth watching on tv because the cutouts don't matter but that's few and far between.


At last, have they no shame... (Below threshold)

At last, have they no shame? The Penguin scene, robbed of all it's glory and hilarity. Absolutely one of the scenes that stays with you for years after seeing the movie.

It hurts me man, it hurts me.

Avoid at all costs watching... (Below threshold)

Avoid at all costs watching "Casino," "Goodfellas" and, well, anything by Scorcese broadcast on any public airway...the editing completely ruins the films, just completely.

And, hearing Jack Ryan say, "this is someone's political agenda" instead of "this is someone's bull**it agenda" completely ruins "A Clear and Present Danger" viewed in "edited" version.

They have to come up with a better plan for public broadcasts of films, because what's in place just doesn't fly. It will be a horrible day, a horrible day indeed, when "The Sopranos" is attempted to be broadcast in "edited" version.
Yeaarghh, I can't stand the very idea.

I quit watching AMC altoget... (Below threshold)

I quit watching AMC altogether several years ago. Why would I want to watch movies that the original director had never produced? Obscene language is a fact of life, and in some situations, is totally warranted. To censor those moments from movies is to censor reality, which leaves the censored movie as a fourth rate fantasy. Yech!!

I think I have this movie, ... (Below threshold)

I think I have this movie, want to rent it from me?


For the record, that little... (Below threshold)

For the record, that little addition to 'Star Trek II' is part of Nicholas Meyer's preferred director's cut.






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