Okay, I was talking to my sister (not the one I just referenced in IMHO!), and she asked me if there was either an alternate ending to or director’s cut of the movie Shallow Grave. Because, she said, recently someone had been insisting that the “original”, UK version had an ending that was a real downer, and the version released in the sensitive American market had some kind of last-minute save. Sis finally silenced him, if not convinced him, on the grounds that Shallow Grave was made on a very low budget. They could not afford to release two different versions, and foreign markets were probably not a priority. Also, “Whaddya mean, the UK got the downer ending? The ending I saw was a downer! What’s the UK ending — Edinburgh gets nuked?”
I mean, some movies have director’s cuts: Blade Runner, Aliens. And alternate endings have shown up on DVD: Clerks, Fatal Attraction. But what Sis kept pounding away on, and the guy didn’t want to accept, was that “final cut” means just that. Only exception either of us could think of was Brazil; other than that, the same edit goes to every theater in every area in every country. And once it’s released, there’s no re-editing it and hoping this version succeeds. (Okay, another exception: Heaven’s Gate. But a lot of things were odd about that production.) So yeah, Shallow Grave had one ending. And probably the guy was conflating two different films.
That’s not really true, particularly in the days of digital film distribution. Lots of studios will re-edit films to remove references to gay characters before they release them in China, for example. In addition, state censors will often make changes to films before allowing them to be released in their countries. The Chinese version of Fight Club removed the final scene of the office buildings exploding with a title card explaining that the authorities showed up and arrested everyone, and order was properly restored.
Does this re-editing ever involve anything other than cutting material? Or does censoring gay references sometimes involve adding shots/scenes not present in the original cut, or changing the order of existing shots?
Some versions of films that have been edited for content do include extra footage not in the original cut, yes. I don’t imagine it’s common, but it does happen.
Typically you’d see this when a very dirty movie got played on a network, like ABC Sunday Night Movie showing Animal House or whatever back in the '80s. I’m not sure if this is really a thing anymore. All I can say is it was.
I know that it sometimes happens in the general case—I was interested specifically in the censored Chinese versions that @Miller is talking about. In some cases simply excising all references to a character’s homosexuality might introduce plot holes that would need additional material, or a clever reworking of existing material, to patch up.
Way before digital prints were a thing, “Exorcist 2” was pulled from the theaters and the ending was cut/reworked to make it less asinine. I saw it at the Hollywood premiere with the original “Regan is The Second Coming!” ending, and…wow.
None that I know of off the top of my head. Usually the gay content is pretty inconsequential - Rise of Skywalker had a half-second shot of two female Resistance pilots kissing after the big battle. Super easy to snip out without changing continuity or shot composition or anything like that, and they can still tout it as evidence of their “inclusiveness” for the domestic market.
Yes, but not always. Deathtrap springs to mind as a film where a character’s homosexuality is overtly referenced only in one brief scene, but is absolutely vital to understanding the movie’s plot. I wonder how the Chinese censors handled that one, or if they gave up and simply didn’t release the film at all there.