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Film Projectionists on Stolen Skin

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Andy Baratta from MoMA, Mike Katz from BAMcinématek, and Joe Stankus from IFC Center.

ANDY BARATTA: Jonathan Demme once told me that he showed a restored print of the movie Coming Home, with Jon Voight and Jane Fonda. He told me one of the reasons they had to restore the print was that there’s a sex scene between Voight and Fonda, and for the time it was pretty explicit, and the projectionist had kept cutting frames out of Jane Fonda’s breasts. By the time the print got to wherever he had seen it, the sex scene had gone from five minutes to like 90 seconds.

MIKE KATZ: Well, that’s true. Although the other famous breast scene that they would excise clips from was Fast Times at Ridgemont High

BARATTA: It’s been sliced?

KATZ: Yeah, it’s amazing how many slices are around those breast scenes.

NYM: Wait—this is a common practice?

KATZ: Basically, if you cut out a frame of 35-mm. film, it’s like a slide. So if you chopped out a frame, most people were thinking nobody would notice. The problem was, everybody thought, Well, nobody will notice me taking one cookie out of the cookie jar. And the next thing you know, there’s no more cookies in the jar.

JOE STANKUS: Hedy Lamarr did one of the first full-frontal nudity scenes ever seen in a movie, and I had heard the same thing, that like by the time that movie got around, in the ’30s, the nude scene was just completely gone, because everyone kept taking.

NYM: Okay, so admit it—have any of you guys ever done that?

BARATTA: Uh, I have … but not from a sex scene. Nowadays, you can see sex wherever you want.

KATZ: I have, but at the prompting of other friends.

STANKUS: I think I did it a couple of times in college.


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