“Eyes Wide Shut” unrated DVD

Despite the de riguer practice of releasing unrated versions of films on DVD, six years ago Warner Home Video decided to release only the digitally covered-up version of Stanley Kubrick‘s Eyes Wide Shut (i.e., the one with the hooded CG figures standing in front of sex acts in the orgy scene) because, it was said, they wanted to respect Kubrick’s vision. In fact, Kubrick’s original vision didn’t include the cover-ups (which were inserted after his death in early ’99), so the WHV people who said this were totally full of it.

In any event, the just-released Eyes Wide Shut Special Edition DVD (which includes two discs) signals a major turnaround because it contains the unrated, uncensored, European version of the film. Whomever was insisting on releasing only the covered-up version has either seen the light, died or been fired.

That said, there’s a mistake on the packaging. The disk, it says on the back, is supposed to contain both versions of the film (unrated and rated), but pop in the disc and you see right away that only the European version is included. Totally fine with me — it should have been this version all along — but someone who works in the WHV packaging division screwed up. But please don’t fire them. .

  • Noah

    The collection that I got years ago has Lolita and Dr. Strangelove in it, so I don’t understand why this one doesn’t. Regardless, I want that unrated EWS as well as the Life in Pictures doc, which is really fascinating.

  • Noah

    I just realized there’s no Barry Lyndon either in this collection. WTF?

  • mutinyco

    The real major screw up is in shipping. Most stores won’t be receiving copies for sale for at least another week. Amazon is stuck, went by Kim’s and it was the same problem.

  • D.Z.

    I’m still waiting for the alternate ending for Dr. Strangelove…

  • Jay

    The big question is: How do they look? I have the earlier box set and have been VERY dissatisfied with the picture quality of The Shining and Barry Lyndon. They look awful on a big screen. I want to buy this set, but only if this has been dramatically improved.

  • T. Holly

    They look great on that table, I was starting to itch from the Oriental rug.

  • D.Z.

    Also, I’m guessing the real reason they edited EWS is because Xenu Jr. was(and still is) a possessive freak, and he didn’t want his (then) wife’s attributes to upstage his “acting”.

  • PastePotPete

    “Also, I’m guessing the real reason they edited EWS is because Xenu Jr. was(and still is) a possessive freak, and he didn’t want his (then) wife’s attributes to upstage his “acting”. ”

    Actually the edited scenes had nothing to do with Nicole Kid- oh wait DZ wrote that. Nevermind.

  • http://www.ludovicotechnique.com RMBurnett

    Folks,

    Barry Lyndon was also re-release on Tuesday, although inexplicably not as part of the box set. It sports a new anamorphic transfer…but it’s available not in Hi-Def.

  • lazarus

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t part of Kubrick’s contract with Warners that he had to deliever at least an R-rated film? I know he had final cut but I thought that was the stipulation. If so, it’s hard to say that the digitally obstructed nudity is against his wishes or any kind of studio censorship.

  • TL

    Barry Lyndon was also re-release on Tuesday, although inexplicably not as part of the box set. It sports a new anamorphic transfer…but it’s available not in Hi-Def.

    You sure? The only review at Amazon says it’s not 16×9.

    Either way, I’ll take a bye until they put it on Blu-ray.

  • TheJeff

    Same old non-anamorphic transfer on Barry Lyndon.

  • mutinyco

    Barry Lyndon is 1.66. Kubrick was adamant about that. Even if they’d done an anamorphic, they’d have left space on the sides of the image. Since it’s 1.66, it makes no difference whether it’s anamorphic or not — same amount of pixels, you’re just not squeezing the image.

  • http://cinemascience.blogspot.com/ colby

    I keep talking myself into and then out of buying this box set. I already own the one from a few years ago and am trying to convince myself I don’t need to buy new copies until I upgrade to a HD DVD player.

  • MathewM

    I have to say that this is the first set of films that have me thinking about upgrading to an HD player. 2001 would be killer projected on a 100″ screen (though never fully capturing the 70mm IMAX glory I was able to experience 10 years ago at the Navy Pier in Chicago). Except that for whatever reason there isn’t an HD version of Barry Lyndon which over the past five years is probably the Kubrick film that I’ve watched the most.

  • jeffmcm

    You can stop waiting, DZ, since Kubrick destroyed all the unused footage from Dr. Strangelove.

  • The Hoyk

    Ever since the early ’90’s, WB had an adamant “No NC-17″ policy regarding their films, in any medium. And it caused many troubles over the years. For example, a ’93 reissue of THE WILD BUNCH was delayed for months because the restored edition had been rerated NC-17 and WB refused to release it that way; luckily, archivists were able to find documentation that the “new” version submitted was the same that had been granted an R on a previous submission, and the reissue went ahead, though too late for the 25th anniversary.

    WB seemed willing to let up on this policy when they announced a release of Oliver Stone’s unrated director’s cut of NATURAL BORN KILLERS, in the late ’90’s. However, when conservative groups were protesting the impending release of Ice T’s punk band project Body Count and the song “Cop Killer,” (which was dropped and offered for free directly through the fan site), this planned release was lumped in to the group’s laundry list of “Warner Bros. corrupting influence,” and they cancelled it. In a unique arrangement, they allowed equity partner Arnon Milchan’s Regency Enterprises to sublicense the director’s cut to Trimark Pictures (now Lionsgate). Meanwhile, this policy has been cited as not only why, up to now, the censored EYES WIDE SHUT was put out, but an unofficial reason why an uncut edition of Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS has not yet hit DVD. The only occasions where WB has released unrated, “NC-17″-level material was the director’s cut of TRUE ROMANCE, because Morgan Creek’s rights as the copyright holder of the movie overrode the studio’s existing policy.

    As you suggest, perhaps there is new blood in home video less willing to cave to pressure groups over explicit content, since besides EWS, unrated editions of CRUISING and PERFORMANCE have surfaced. Now if only THE DEVILS, complete with its restored “Rape of Christ” segment, could get released. Heck, WB could do a simliar box set treatment for Ken Russell, with THE DEVILS, LISZTOMANIA, SAVAGE MESSIAH, THE BOYFRIEND, and ALTERED STATES. I’d buy that.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mistressmalevolent Mistress Malevolent

    I don’t think you should hold your breath waiting for a N-17 version of “The Boyfriend” The Hoyk. I think it must be a U or a G. It’s a musical starring Twiggy.

  • Sam Adams

    WB used to have a corporate policy against releasing unrated material on DVD (thus the truncated cut of Natural Born Killers in the Oliver Stone Collection). Figured it would go by the boards once they wised up.

  • Craptastic

    My only beef with this collection (as it is) is that FMJ is lacking in extras. Vivian Kubrick shot (but never finished) a documentary on the making of the film as she did with The Shining. I’m very curious as to why this has never seen the light of day

  • D.Z.

    From The Digital Bits:

    Another issue: The Eyes Wide Shut discs (all formats – as originally announced back in July) were supposed to include scene specific audio commentary by Sydney Pollack and historian Peter Loewenberg. They do not, although upon checking, a revised spec list sent to us on 9/1 had already omitted the commentary.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mistressmalevolent Mistress Malevolent

    Because daylight is very harmful to film.

  • The Hoyk

    Thank you, Mistress Obvious. Alex, I’ll take “NO SHIT SHERLOCK” for $1000.

  • jeffmcm

    Thanks, Hoyk. I’ve been wondering why The Devils was MIA on DVD.

    I’m guessing that they were justifying the Eyes Wide Shut release by calling it an ‘unrated bonus feature’ on the R-Rated DVD, but then somebody screwed up and didn’t include the R-rated version. Seems like something Walmart could sue about if they wanted to.

  • alynch

    I assume that Sydney Pollack was unable to do a commentary on the Eyes Wide Shut DVD due to his recent health problems.

  • christian

    Are they ever going to get this shit right?

  • movieirv

    Warners also released the unrated version of Once Upon a time in america with the infamous rape scene intact.

  • BurmaShave

    I misread D.Z’s last post and I thought he was making some reference to 9/11, and I have to say, I was actually pleased. Damn.

  • otakuhouse

    Craptastic –

    I’ve heard… There’s a really big story there, and the first clue can be found if you just google her name. That’s all I’m gonna say.

  • T. S. Idiot

    Dave Kehr offers his 1.33:

    http://www.davekehr.com

  • Rich S.

    This is actually at least the third Kubrick box set. I bought the original not long after DVD broke big. It includes Lolita, Strangelove, 2001, Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket. They then released another one with the same lineup and including the U.S. theatrical of Eyes Wide Shut. I think that release also might have included the documentary that’s in the latest set. Strangelove was later dropped from the package after Warner’s option with Columbia ran out.

    I want to buy this set, but if I do, I think it will make my fourth versions of both Clockwork and 2001. I just wonder whether the extra materials are worth the quadruple dip. I’m sure some of 2001’s appeared on the MGM laser disc box set.

    Some of the Strangelove outtakes mentioned above appear as stills in the Taschen Kubrick book, but that’s the only place I’ve seen them.

  • TL

    Barry Lyndon is 1.66. Kubrick was adamant about that. Even if they’d done an anamorphic, they’d have left space on the sides of the image. Since it’s 1.66, it makes no difference whether it’s anamorphic or not — same amount of pixels, you’re just not squeezing the image.

    Actually, there’s an 18% gain in resolution for anamorphic 1.66.

    More importantly, there’s no good way to watch a non-anamorphic 1.66 picture on a 16×9 display; you either have to blow it up and have the TV crop it at 1.77, or watch it in a tiny 1.33 box.

    I didn’t care about that before I went 16×9, but I do now, and one day you will too.

  • DavidF

    FYI – the “European” version of EWS screened here in Canada with no big deal.

    It’s only your messed-up country (home of the brave, unequivocal right to free speech etc etc) where a special version with fewer disturbing naughty bits needed to be created.

  • Howlingman

    jeffmcn: “I’ve been wondering why The Devils was MIA on DVD.”

    I did grab a copy of the bootleg “uncut” DEVILS on DVD that includes a pretty comprehensive documentary by Mark Kermode and the “Rape of Christ” sequence — although said sequence is not included in the cut of the film.

    It’s also incorrectly matted, so I’m reduced to watching another grainy bootleg for the right aspect ratio.

    I’d love to see it get a proper release. We had to wait years for THE WILD BUNCH so hopefully THE DEVILS won’t be impossible.

  • GLee2112

    Does anyone really care about a little added nudity in this otherwise forgettable Kubrick film?

  • ZayTonday

    The 2001 Blu-ray looks AWESOME. From the reviews apparently The Shining looks amazing too. Eyes Wide Shut didn’t fare so well in hi-def though.

  • hatchetface

    GLee2112:
    ..says the guy named in reference to a band with the most superfluous discography in history.

    EWS is strange, even entertaining. It’s also a great director’s final film. The interest in an uncensored version is not really so hard to understand then, is it? When an infamous film’s only representation in home release is altered, there’s bound to be a bit of outrage, especially when it’s altered in an attempt to tone it down, or make its content more chaste in any way, removing nudity and sex, violence etc. I don’t actually think you are surprised at the interest or controversy at all, and are in fact just trying to be an asshole.

  • Sean

    “You can stop waiting, DZ, since Kubrick destroyed all the unused footage from Dr. Strangelove.”

    Jeff – you are wrong. The alternate ending of ‘Dr. Strangelove’ was shown theatrically in England shortly after his death. From what I understand, a museum has the footage, and you can get access to it under certain circumstances (obviously including being in England).

    I didn’t believe it when I heard it either, because many people, including Terry Southern, said that Kubrick had the footage destroyed, but it does, in fact, exist.

  • Sean

    “The collection that I got years ago has Lolita and Dr. Strangelove in it, so I don’t understand why this one doesn’t.”

    A) they don’t want to make people double-dip unless they’re upgrading the movie (for some reason, they still refuse to release the Kubrick-approved aspect ratio for ‘Lolita’)
    B) ‘Strangelove’ is owned by a different studio; WHV had to license it the first time around.

  • Craptastic

    Otakuhouse…

    Vivian Kubrick is a Scientologist?! Explains a little bit about the Cruise connection and why she was the only person not interviewed in the Eyes Wide Shut documentary on the disc but I don’t see how that would stop anyone from releasing the footage from her FMJ doc.

    Unless she owns the full rights… which still wouldn’t make sense seeing as that The Making of The Shining was finally released.

    What gives? I want more of Kubrick in action!

  • Sean

    Craptastic – I don’t have a full story, but it’s possible that she doesn’t own the rights to ‘The Making of the Shining’ because it actually aired (on BBC, I believe). I’d say that it’s likely that she does own the rights to the FMJ doc… since she never finished it, and nobody took it away from her or did anything with the footage.

  • LOGGEDINguy

    Time to say something extraordinarily unpopular:

    I prefer the theatrical cut of the movie. And yes, that is with the digital people standing in front of the orgy. Particularly with the digital people. While Warner Brothers did change the movie for the most corporate of reasons, it accidentally played perfectly with the general theme of blue balls that Tom Cruise is getting everywhere he turns. Kubrick is not an overtly sexual director and the power of the movie is the desire of wanting to “fuck” without being to act on it.

    In the uncut version, there is nothing sexy or fascinating about what was being shown. It wasn’t decedent or evocative. It was simply posed. By partially withholding it from us, I am more worked up about what I am not allowed to see.

  • Jay T.

    I’m truly shocked we have yet to see a promotion for Eyes Wide Shut: Unrated Edition.

  • http://livingincinema.com cjKennedy

    Does anyone know, are Lolita and Barry Lyndon in the works for BluRay and is there a reason they were skipped this time around?

  • DarthCorleone

    About time. I boycotted this thing at the theater over this issue. Stupid Warner Brothers. When I did finally catch the film on cable, I was appalled by how silly the obscuring figures looked. Kubrick shot the scene as if we are seeing Tom’s character’s perspective, and inexplicably Tom’s character has no interest in seeing what’s actually going on. He likes to stand behind tall figures cloaked completely in black.

    LOGGEDINguy, I see your point about the metaphor, but we’re talking about common sense here. Is a guy with blue balls going to consciously stand behind people obscuring his view of the action, or is he going to step one foot to the left? It’s a little more disbelief than I could suspend.

  • Caustic712

    While I have not seen the uncut version of EWS, I agree with LOGGEDINguy that thematically, it makes more sense to have obstacles in Cruise’s way.

    Are they ever going to release the version where the orgy turns into a pie fight?

  • http://christiandivine.com christian

    Watching the censored couples in EWS is like watching Inspector Closeau walk through the nudist camp in A SHOT IN THE DARK. Silly.

  • DavidF

    LOGGEDINguy makes an interesting point, but totally misses the real point: That was not the “theatrical version.” It was something imposed by censors because a) Kubrick was too dead to fight it b) you have the most messed-up ratings system on earth.

    Every studio lives in fear of being rated NC-17 because the movie won’t be shown in theatres even though NC-17 was created for the express purpose of ensuring that “dirty” movies like EWS WOULD be show in theatres. It’s absurd.

    In Ontario our “R” means no one under 18 gets in, period. So that’s harsher than NC-17 and it happens all the time. (For that matter, I think EWS might have been rated AA which means you can get in if you’re over 14 or accompanied by adult. Saving Private Ryan, for example, was AA.) If you’re a reasonable, free-thinking grown up you can handle all the boobies and f-words that come with this kind of freedom.

    The “European” version should be called the “Everywhere But Land of the Free” version. It’s really quite silly. It’s not a movie. it’s not a cut of the movie. Watching it is more like reading a book where someone has torn out some of the pages without the author’s consent and then saying, “Yeah, I read the American version of that one.”

    And if I can respond to something way upthread: the DVD of Once Upon a Time in America does include the once-excised rape scene. BUT I’m pretty sure that Leone’s original cut had even more of it – that movie has nearly as many versions as Blade Runner.

  • http://christiandivine.com christian

    It’s actually the fault of Blockbuster Video which refuses to carry NC-17 films. This is the major reason because the studios are in collusion with that horrible censoring chain that every film lover should boycott.

    http://bbv0.tripod.com/

    And they’re based in Dallas. Strike Three!

  • http://livingincinema.com cjKennedy

    They’re already blacklisted in my book, but hasn’t Blockbuster recently backed off their stance on unrated movies?

    And that Clouseau reference was perfect.

  • D.Z.

    Speaking of NC-17, wasn’t there an extended version of A Clockwork Orange?

  • LOGGEDINguy

    Well, DarthCorleone,

    The whole movie operates under dream logic, so that doesn’t bother me at all. And if you then want to be realistic about it, Tom Cruise is also in a very dangerous place. He knows he would get himself and Todd Fields into trouble if he called attention to himself. So he holds himself back, like a not-cool kid wandering aimlessly through a party.

    Though few others would care, I was hoping the disk would have both cuts as it was originally announced. I’m also sad we lost the Sydney Pollack commentary. I could listen to that guy talk a few hours about anything.

  • Walter Sobchak

    “In Ontario our “R” means no one under 18 gets in, period. So that’s harsher than NC-17 and it happens all the time. (For that matter, I think EWS might have been rated AA which means you can get in if you’re over 14 or accompanied by adult. Saving Private Ryan, for example, was AA.) If you’re a reasonable, free-thinking grown up you can handle all the boobies and f-words that come with this kind of freedom.

    The “European” version should be called the “Everywhere But Land of the Free” version. It’s really quite silly. It’s not a movie. it’s not a cut of the movie. Watching it is more like reading a book where someone has torn out some of the pages without the author’s consent and then saying, “Yeah, I read the American version of that one.””

    Yeah, well… that doesn’t leave you off the hook for thrusting Rush, Howie Mandell, Celine Dion and The Guess Who on us….

  • GLee2112

    hatchetface:
    I don’t actually think you are surprised at the interest or controversy at all, and are in fact just trying to be an asshole.

    ZING! You really put me in my place. Your obvious slavish love for all things Kubrick has blinded you to the fact that this is easily the lamest movie he ever directed. If this movie had been directed by some hack like Brett Ratner nobody would care that a few seconds of nudity had been put back in the DVD.

  • alan

    I did, in fact, upgrade to HD DVD this week primarily because of these new Kubrick releases. Also, the fact that Best Buy was offering 9 free movies with certain players didn’t hurt.

  • http://christiandivine.com christian

    Don’t bag on Rush, Walter. And you should love them as they’re disciples of Ayn Rand…

  • Sepeda Motor Bebek Injeksi Kencang Dan Irit Jupiter Z1

    Are they ever going to get this shit right?