Saturday, March 25, 2006

Insane Americans and Shakespeare

I listened to the commentary track of The Merchant of Venice recently. It was very interesting. Of most interest was the comments on what had to be edited out for the American television release. Now this movie has a few prostitutes in it that show their breasts. These are understandably (to a point) removed. The director even went to the trouble of shooting all scenes of nudity separate for TV with cloths. This was not good enough. Here is a list of things that did not make the American T.V. cut.
Two Kisses had to be removed from the film. These were not even erotic kisses, just little pecks on the lips. You say that's not enough to get the scene cut. It is if it is between two men. Now in the original play s all kisses were between men. Look how far we have come.
They are cutting out the scene of Shylock buying raw meat. God forbid someone shows meat on T.V. Oh and FYI, the scene of the lamb being butchered is fake. No animals were hurt in the filming of this movie.
There is a scene where two servants present their master with a basket of doves heads. A very traditional gift of the time. It's cut.
Oh and the last is the best. They were able to film a few of the scenes in Venice in some sixteenth century villas. One scene was shot in a room with all the walls covered with art masterpieces. The director estimated that there was 100 million dollars of sixteenth century art covering walls for this scene. This all has to be “paint boxed” out so none of it is seen. Why you ask. Well the Sixteenth century artists forgot to draw cloths on one or two of the subjects. Now I don't know how many art museums you have gone to but many of this worlds masterpieces, tend to have scantily clad subject. Should we not look at them because of this. Oh I know, A small child could be watching Shakespeare and be forever scarred at seeing the art in the background of this scene. I didn't notice these paintings until I watched the film with the commentary track on. These paintings are nothing compared to the dialog. Shakespeare plays are filled with crude sexual jokes. The only reason they are safe from the American censors is because the Americans are to stupid to get the jokes.


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