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Marx Brothers set censored?

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Marx Brothers set censored?

Old 10-31-04, 09:17 AM
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Marx Brothers set censored?

I got this link from another site.
http://www.magatopia.com/columns/Bec...rtainment.html

Not coming into the 21st Century with them -- at least, not in the new "Silver Screen" box set -- is the racially offensive material that has been deplored and debated in the "We're Going to War" production number in the Marx' anarchic 1933 anti-war film, "Duck Soup." Kudos to Universal for that. This well-made edit makes the film a pure zany joy without an ugly blot in it to spoil the fun.
Yikes! I wonder what else they decided was an "ugly blot".
Old 10-31-04, 10:09 AM
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Uh, does anybody know what he's talking about? I've seen Duck Soup a thousand times and can't imagine what the "racially offensive" material is. Color me confused.
Old 10-31-04, 11:49 AM
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I'm of the mind that stuff like that ought to be left alone. Even if there is some racially offensive material present in Duck Soup -- and I'm with you Groucho in not recalling it -- than it ought to be judged as merely reflective of the times. It's O.K. to take offense at the presence of such material, even to disavow the film altogether if it affects you that profoundly, but altering it to suit contemporary cultural values is a fundamentally misguided response. There are lots of events throughout history that we might take issue with today, but you never rewrite the history books as a response. Just look at how much magnificient artwork from the antiquity was defaced or destroyed throughout the Middle Ages because it displayed references to Greco-Roman polytheism or was brazen in its embrace of nudity or sexuality. Today we lose out on an extraordinary artistic legacy because of people's incessant need to reconcile art with contemporary values. Today's version of this is making these PC "corrections" to films. So we get a racially sanitized Duck Soup and guns replaced with walkie-talkies, etc. etc. No one says you have to like Duck Soup or endorse its views, on the contrary feel completely free to disavow and ignore it if you please, but for God's sake don't go changing it!
Old 10-31-04, 01:04 PM
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I don't think there are too many people on this forum who will jump for joy at a film being altered like Magatopia did. The very idea is stupid on many levels.

Now Duck Soup is my all time favorite Marx Brothers movie, and I've seen it many times. For the life of me I can't imagine what they are talking about either. I am tapped to do the review on this new set, and I'll let you know what I find. (Should have the reivew done by the end of the week.)

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Old 10-31-04, 01:15 PM
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Glad I haven't gotten rid of any of the old ones yet

It's also interesting to note that if there is "an ugly blot in it to spoil the fun" in the movie noone really seems to be talking about it or too outraged about it. I did a quick web search and the only think I turned out was that the Italians were offended by it when it first came out. Maybe part of it is in black face or something it's been awhile since I've seen it so I don't recall.

Last edited by nemein; 10-31-04 at 01:23 PM.
Old 10-31-04, 02:12 PM
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I've been a fan of the Marx Bros. and Duck Soup for years, and this is the first I've ever heard of the "offensive material that has been deplored and debated".

The only part I can recall that might even be remotely considered "racially charged" is when the brothers start singing "I got guns, you got guns, all God's chillun got guns", then the entire room starts swaying and flailing about behind them, presumably in imitation of a "negro" chorus??

While it's not exactly progressive by today's standards, it's hardly an egregiously offensive bit.

Last edited by bardevious; 10-31-04 at 06:02 PM.
Old 10-31-04, 02:52 PM
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Racially offensive? Because they do an imitation that most people in todays generation probably wouldn't even get and pull out banjos and do Ol' Susanna? You can see shit worse than this in Bugs Bunny cartoons. Hell, you can see much worse black stereotypes used in later uncut MGM Marx Bros films.

Duck Soup is one of the greatest comedy films in history. How dare Universal even think to edit it. Thank god I still have copies of the Image versions. I'm really sick of this overboard PC culture that wants to revise history all the time. We were who we were in the 30's. We have learned from those mistakes and don't always need to go around hiding our "shameful past". It was a freaking comedy film. In case anyone hasn't noticed black stereotypes are still used heavily for comedic effect today. Soul Plane was pretty much a 90 minute bad black stereotype. Some one ban that piece of crap and leave the Marx Bros alone.

Last edited by darkside; 10-31-04 at 02:57 PM.
Old 10-31-04, 02:57 PM
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Warner is supposed to be working on bring the original "The Jazz Singer" to DVD next year. There are ver famous scenes of Al Jolson performing in blackface. Wonder if that will be censored as well?
Old 10-31-04, 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by Tarnower
Warner is supposed to be working on bring the original "The Jazz Singer" to DVD next year. There are ver famous scenes of Al Jolson performing in blackface. Wonder if that will be censored as well?
Warner seems to care about film history. They will release Gone With the Wind and Jazz Singer uncut. People will just have to deal with it.
Old 10-31-04, 04:06 PM
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I find it very bizarre that they would cut anything from Duck Soup. As others have said, there is far more questionable racial material in some of their other work. I'm just glad I still have the now OOP version if this is true.
Old 10-31-04, 04:47 PM
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Before you go nuts over this, you might want to check this similar thread over at HTF:

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=215642

Basically, a reviewer who has the new disc has checked it and there doesn't seem to be anything missing on it that was in the old Image OOP DVD (for example, the Headstrong/Armstrong "darkies" line.)

As for the journalistic aptitude of a gossip columnist like Marilyn Beck, I doubt she knows who Bruce Willis is dating, let alone what DVDs have/have not altered content.
Old 10-31-04, 05:08 PM
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Why is it liberals aka The PC police object to censorship when it comes to rap music, but when it's stuff like Disney's THE SONG OF THE SOUTH it's lets not let the public see it!!
Liberals of today are different from the 60's liberals of wisdom.
Old 10-31-04, 05:23 PM
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Nice thread crap lopez. It isn't even clear that the disc HAS been altered, and you're seeing boogymen. *sheesh*
Old 10-31-04, 09:34 PM
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Another example of this PC hysteria run amuck is the 1980 Al Pacino film "Cruising." Gay activists and the rest of the PC police have been trying to get it altered for years. Personally, I don't like the film. It does portray silly, sometimes offensive, and ultimately very outdated, images of gay culture. It also just happens to be a terrible film in general independent of any offensive content. But should it be altered? No way. That said, I don't think it's wrong for consumers to boycott or protest things they take issue with. If someone makes a neo-Nazi propaganda film and a major studio decides to release it, it is perfectly within the rights of consumers to react by boycotting that studio and any of its partners/advertisers. It is also perfectly acceptible for a studio or any other commercial enterprise to say no way to such a project and refuse to release it or even finance it. People are guaranteed the right of free speech, but there is no guarantee of a forum or audience for your speech. So if Warner Bros. decides they do not want to release Cruising, either because they are worried it will have an adverse effect on their business because of bad publicity, etc., or because they believe it goes against their own internal corporate values or image, then that is their right. But altering the content of a film or piece of music is fundamentally misguided. And if the government is behind it, then it qualifies as censorship.
Old 10-31-04, 10:04 PM
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Originally posted by RevKarl
Before you go nuts over this, you might want to check this similar thread over at HTF:

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=215642

Basically, a reviewer who has the new disc has checked it and there doesn't seem to be anything missing on it that was in the old Image OOP DVD (for example, the Headstrong/Armstrong "darkies" line.)

As for the journalistic aptitude of a gossip columnist like Marilyn Beck, I doubt she knows who Bruce Willis is dating, let alone what DVDs have/have not altered content.
I was seriously hoping this editing was a rumor and not true. I don't know how Marilyn Beck got this information, but a gossip columnist is a pretty bad source of any information.
Old 10-31-04, 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by bardevious
The only part I can recall that might even be remotely considered "racially charged" is when the brothers start singing "I got guns, you got guns, all God's chillun got guns", then the entire room starts swaying and flailing about behind them, presumably in imitation of a "negro" chorus??
I was thinking that too (that and the "darkies" line), and all I have to say is, I'm gonna rush out and buy 'A Day At The Races' before somebody somewhere actually *watches* it and realizes how potentially offensive that one could be.
Old 10-31-04, 10:35 PM
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Originally posted by RevKarl
Basically, a reviewer who has the new disc has checked it and there doesn't seem to be anything missing on it that was in the old Image OOP DVD (for example, the Headstrong/Armstrong "darkies" line.)
I'm going to clarify that, because when I read it I got scared that you meant that the darkies line had been cut on the Image disc, then checked that forum; the Image OOP was uncut, and this one is the same, according to the folks at HTF.
Old 11-01-04, 10:13 AM
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Okay, I can definitely state that there is no difference between the Image DVD of Duck Soup and the new release when it comes to the"We're Going to War" production number. I synched up the new disc and the old one on my DVD player and laptop respectively. I watched the scene with both running at the same time, an they are exactly identical.

“But” you say, “what if Marilyn Beck just mentioned the wrong scene? After all, she talked about the recently released Marx brothers two disc set, and we all know that boxed set had five discs.”

Good question. To see if a cut may have been made elsewhere, I compared running times. If you zip to the end of the discs, you find that the movies run for:

Image DVD: 1:08:22

New Universal: 1:08:41

It looks like a differance, but if you go to the begining of the disc, you’ll find that the Image disc has two seconds of black before the first image (giving it a run time of 1:08:20) and the new release has a 21 second Universal logo graphic before the first image giving it a run time of 1:08:20.

Unless Universal actually altered the image, or the Image version has been edited an NO ONE has noticed it for the last several years, this movie is uncut.
Old 11-01-04, 10:17 AM
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Originally posted by RevKarl
Basically, a reviewer who has the new disc has checked it and there doesn't seem to be anything missing on it that was in the old Image OOP DVD (for example, the Headstrong/Armstrong "darkies" line.)
Speaking of that line, could somebody explain it to me. I've never gotten that joke.
Old 11-01-04, 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by wm lopez
Why is it liberals aka The PC police object to censorship when it comes to rap music, but when it's stuff like Disney's THE SONG OF THE SOUTH it's lets not let the public see it!!
Liberals of today are different from the 60's liberals of wisdom.
Greatest Groucho post ever! Oh, wait...
Old 11-01-04, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for the clarification, videophile. I almost checked the going prices on eBay for the old disc.
Old 11-01-04, 12:40 PM
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I knew something was wrong here when she mentioned a '2 movie' dvd set. What the hell was that about? It was a 7 movie set!
Old 11-01-04, 02:54 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Speaking of that line, could somebody explain it to me. I've never gotten that joke.
Neither does anyone else. It refers to a song title that was popular at the time the film was made but the reference is completely lost on modern audiences. I have never heard the song so I don't really "get it" either. I only know why I don't.
Old 11-01-04, 05:13 PM
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My Old Kentucky Home is the source of the darkies line I believe.

edit

Apparently it was a later racist number that used the darkies line.

Last edited by darkside; 11-01-04 at 10:14 PM.
Old 11-01-04, 05:53 PM
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It looks to me like the lyrics were revised to be about happy people. It looks like the original lyrics didn't have much happiness, either.

http://www.kdla.ky.gov/resources/KYSong2.htm

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