Uncut Vs Cut


Pittsburgh is no stranger to cinema. From Night of the Living Dead to Mothman Prophecies and The Dark Knight Rises, Pittsburgh has a long history of movies being filmed here. And Pittsburghers love the silver screen back with a plethora of film festivals, including the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival, the Asian Silk Screen Festival, the Jewish Film Festival, and of course, our own Reel Q.

But what secrets lie behind your favorite films? It’s no secret that studio heads often cut controversial content from films, it’s just the content left on the chopping block may surprise you. Imagine how LGBT history might have been different had the original versions of these films been shown:


The novel and the little-known 1931 film version of this movie never shied away from the homosexual tension between Joel Cairo and his young assistant Wilmer. But once the Hollywood Code came into effect, the filmmakers remade the more famous version with Humphrey Bogart that cut any scandalous content. The Cairo of 1941 is effeminate compared to the rugged Bogart – but that’s all.


Why is the protagonist in Billy Wilder’s classic film so tense? What drives him to addiction? In the film, it’s his failed career. In the source novel, it’s a college tryst with another man.


What exactly was the relationship between Brick (Paul Newman) and his deceased friend Skipper? This whitewashed film never answers it quite like the original stage version. Both writer Tennessee Williams and star Newman disapproved of the film for removing Brick’s homosexuality, with Williams saying the film would “set the industry back 50 years.” A 1984 film adaptation starring Tommy Lee Jones finally got it right.


In perhaps cinema’s most famous deleted scene, the General Crassus (Laurence Olivier) attempts to seduce his slave boy Antoninus (Tony Curtis) through his infamous “oysters and snails” speech. The scene was restored in 1991 thanks to contributions from Curtis and Anthony Hopkins. Most versions today include it.


Against all odds, filmmakers somehow kept the scandalous name “Pussy Galore” intact from the novel, but preserving the femme fatale’s status as a lesbian was a bit too much. The film version of Galore comes across as cold, but she’s still easy pickings for the seductive charms of a Connery-era Bond.


Yes, it’s true…our mothers’ favorite film about friend, family and tomatoes originally had gay content. The lesbian relationship between protagonists Ruth and Idgie was instead made ambiguous; the film won a GLAAD award regardless.

54 (1998)

No one calls this forgettable flick about the 1970s disco club a “classic,” by any means. But it is an interesting case study. Studio heads demanded extensive reshoots and cuts to remove a romantic subplot between characters played by Breckin Meyer and Ryan Phillippe. The Huffington Post reports that director Mark Christopher once screened the director’s cut at Outfest in 2008, but a scene showing the kiss between the two men has been leaked online.