Anyone who knows me knows I find digital alterations of older films sacrilege. While I fully support director’s cuts of films and the opportunity for a filmmaker to finally show the world the work he or she intended, I am equally adamant that once a film is out there, once it has been consumed by the public, become a part of our collective psyches, that it has a right to exist in its original form, as well as its director’s cut.
Thankfully, filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and William Friedkin, to name a few, have honored that very concept by releasing both original and altered versions side by side (E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, BLADE RUNNER, THE EXORCIST respectively). However, filmmakers like George Lucas have gone out of their way to actually destroy original cuts of their films (the original STAR WARS TRILOGY) in the hope that those original versions would disappear from history altogether. Ironic since Lucas himself once argued to the Supreme Court when fighting colorization that once a film is out there it belongs to the public and should not be altered or manipulated. Since those coherent days, Lucas has become the poster-child for film alteration and history re-writing. Much to the dismay and anger of many of his once loyal fans (this writer included–for me the original STAR WARS TRILOGY films are dead, never to be watched again).
Luckily for us, director Steven Spielberg stated recently his desire to allow his films, warts and all, to remain as they were presented to the world in their original forms out of respect for the films themselves and the history they represent.
“There’s going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I’m not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show… If 1941 comes on Blu-ray I’m not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-ray will bring the wires out that are guiding the airplane down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.”
Now if only he could talk some sense into his long-time pal Lucas and convince him to follow suit and respect the films, the history they represent, and their loyal fans.