I sleep very well!!

by Bruce Spizer


By Bruce Spizer

As readers of the Great Lewis-Spizer Debate now know, Martin and I are not bitter enemies. We just disagree on something we both have great passion for-the wonderful music of the Beatles. I could write a lengthy response to Martin's latest post, but I think I made my points convincingly and need not say the same things again.

I did, however, enjoy his "Casablanca" movie analogy. It was a twist to an analogy I was going to post. But my film analogy is a bit different.

Rather than work with "Casablanca," let's pick another movie we all know and love, Alfred Hitchcock's "North By Northwest." Let's pretend that Hitchcock directed this film while still in England and that the film was titled "North By North." He worked with his British editor and the film ran twenty minutes longer than the version we are familiar with. The extra scenes are full of decidedly British humor. In addition, two scenes we are very familiar with and love do not appear in "North By North"- the crop duster scene and the battle at the top of Mt. Rushmore. Perhaps they are judged too "American" for British audiences. The film is all the rave in England.

When Paramount gets the film for U.S. distribution, the company decides that the film is too long. In addition, the company sees the deleted crop duster and Mt. Rushmore scenes and decides that these scenes should be put into the film because Americans will appreciate them. The film's name is changed to "North By Northwest" and re-edited to take out the "British humor" scenes and to put in the crop duster and Mt. Rushmore scenes. The U.S. version of the film runs 20 minutes shorter.

Americans are unaware of how Hitchcock's film has been re-edited, but they love the film as it is presented in America. It runs this way in American theaters and on television for decades. The same thing happens with the films "Psycho" and "The Birds." The British "Psycho" runs fifteen minutes longer than the U.S. edit, but is missing the shower scene. "The Birds" U.K. version is also longer, but is missing the children being attacked and the gas station explosion.

Then the DVD format comes along. The Estate of Alfred Hitchcock insists that only the British edits of his films be put on DVD. His films will only be presented as Alfred Hitchcock intended they be seen. Americans see "North By North" and the other British versions, appreciate some of the British humor, but they miss the U.S. films. In particular, they miss the crop duster and Mt. Rushmore scenes. They want "North By Northwest" on DVD! They miss the shower scene. They want "Psycho" on DVD! After several more years go by, the Estate of Alfred Hitchcock approves a DVD box set of the American versions of the films.

Americans rejoice! The New York Times film critic welcomes the DVD box set and even admits that some of the U.S. versions may even be better films!

But Martin Lewis is upset because this is not what Alfred Hitchcock or his editor intended. He doesn't want us to see the U.S. versions. But if we must watch the American version of these film classics, he suggests we watch our VHS or Beta formats of the films! Never mind the inferior quality of the format!

End of analogy. Come on Martin. We Americans deserve to have the Beatles the way we remember them in the highest quality format. Our records are scratched! We don't want to burn CDs from inferior sources! We want to pay Capitol/Apple/The Beatles for the CDs!

Wait a minute, Martin. Why are we still debating this? The CD box set is out! Americans rejoice! The New York Times music critic welcomes the CD box set and even admits that some of the U.S. versions may even be better albums!

How do I sleep? Now that the U.S. albums are finally out on CD and sound terrific, I sleep very well. Thanks for asking!

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