The following is a list of notable films that were modified by the studio after their original theatrical release, particularly films that were edited without the director’s permission or involvement. In some cases, these recuts were done by the filmmaker(s).
Some notable examples from the list:
King Kong (1933) – Several minutes of objectionable footage deleted for subsequent reissue. One other sequence (the “Spider Sequence”) was shot but deleted, that footage has been lost permanently (however, it has been recreated for its DVD release by Peter Jackson, director of the 2005 version). Approximate director’s cut now available on DVD and television.
The Paradine Case (1947) – Hitchcock’s rough cut ran close to 3 hours, but over the studio trimmed the film into 131 minutes, then again to 94 minutes. It has restored it to its present length of 114 minutes, and some of Hitchcock’s scenes were also reshot. Some time in the 1980s, a flood destroyed Hitchcock’s rough cut.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – Approximately 3 minutes of suggestive scenes that director Kazan had filmed were removed because of demands by the Hays Code and groups like the Catholic Legion of Decency; Kazan fought to have the footage kept in the film but lost. In 1993, a director’s cut restored version of the film was released in theatres and that version has been released on video and DVD.
Spartacus (1960) – Premiered at 184 minutes, re-released in 1967 at 161 minutes then finally restored in 1991, running at 198 minutes. The most notorious scene that has been reinserted is a bathing scene involving Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis, as the dialogue was very metaphorically suggestive of homosexuality. The rediscovered footage was absent of a soundtrack, so Curtis redubbed his own lines and Anthony Hopkins was used for Olivier’s part, Olivier having died in 1989.
Superman II (1980) – Never originally completed and edited as intended as Richard Donner was fired; much of the film was re-shot by credited director Richard Lester. Approximate director’s cut (“…The Richard Donner Cut”) now available on DVD.