Sunday, 30 March 2014

British Films With Alternate Versions (Part 2)

Concluding a run down of films with alternate scenes which began in the previous post ...

Witchfinder General (1968)
Starring Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy and Hilary Dwyer
This film had two versions with the export version containing more violent scenes and some nudity.  In both versions there is a scene in a tavern in which the Witchfinder's henchman is seen frolicking with two inn wenches.  In the domestic version they remain clothed but in the export version the wenches are played by two different actresses who are topless.  However the end credits remain unaltered and both versions credit Sally Douglas and Donna Reading for those roles.  Checking against those actresses appearances in other films these names would appear to refer to the clothed version actresses.  In a reference book about horror films two uncredited actresses were mentioned as playing inn wenches: Tasma Bereton and Sandy Seagar.  The dark haired topless girl in the export version looks reasonably like a known image of Tasma Bereton from the film "Curse of the Crimson Altar" from the same year.  Therefore the red-haired girl seems likely to be Sandy Seagar who has no other credits to check against.

Witchfinder General

School for Sex (1968)
Starring: Derek Aylward and the students (Amber Dean Smith, Françoise Pascal, Cathy Howard and Sylvia Barlow)
There is known to have been an American version of this film with additional nudity not present in the UK version.  Although it is somewhat strange because the UK version does have its fair share of nudity in the opening preamble scenes, but it all but disappears when the main part of the film begins.  Once the four main female students come into the story and enrol at the "school" to learn how to manipulate men to their own ends, there are no scenes with any of them topless.  However in a different version, prepared for American audiences, some of the same scenes were done topless or maybe fully naked. 

Indications of this can be seen from magazine scans of the time which show the four students naked in scenes that in the UK version were done in their undergarments.  And in a vintage trailer that still exists for the American version, parts of two scenes can seen that contrast markedly with the same scene from the UK version.  The UK version is the only one that is currently commercially available and it is not clear if the other version still even exists, other than the elements from it seen in the trailer.

School For Sex

For Men Only (1968)
Starring David Kernan, Andrea Allan and Derek Aylward
The UK version had little or no nudity.  However extra scenes with nudity (as opposed to alternate versions of the same scenes), were filmed for the American version which is approximately 15 minutes longer than the UK one.  The extra scenes feature a completely different set of characters involved in a peripheral plot concerning a rival magazine publisher whom we initially see auditioning a reluctant model and then later he sends some private detectives to investigate the country mansion (the location where the main story takes place).  Also there are scenes with a young couple who sneak into the mansion to use one of the bedrooms and who, together with a group of naked girls who were playing in a barn, are kidnapped by the private eyes.  However none of these characters ever interact with the film's main cast.  Despite some of the roles in these extra scenes being extensive and having named speaking characters none of them are shown in the credits.  In this case it is the longer version that seems to have survived.  I've not actually seen the shorter version although it could well be exactly the same just with the extra scenes missing.

The Big Switch (1969)
Starring: Sebastian Breaks, Virginia Wetherell and Derek Aylward
The UK version of this film does include nudity, but there would appear to be another version in which some of the scenes are done topless instead of clothed.  The UK version was recently released on a BFI DVD which included as an extra the film's trailer. However, this trailer contained unclothed versions of two scenes seen in the main movie and a fragment of an additional topless scene not in the film at all.  All of these involved Gilly Grant who is not actually seen topless at all in the UK version.

Scene 1
  • Trailer: Almost topless sitting around a table as she takes off her bra as a stake in the Strip Poker game - one nipple is glimpsed but the scene cuts off before she has lowered her arms out of the way - but one assumes that in the full version she would be seen topless mere moments later
  • UK Version: She bets and loses her necklace as being "worth a tenner" - whereas in trailer version it is her bra she bets while delivering the same line.
Scene 2
  • Trailer: Topless on a bed as she presses a lit cigarette butt against John Carter's (Sebastian Breaks) chest while he is being held down by her three male cohorts as they torture Carter to pay a debt.
  • UK Version: There is no equivalent torture scene either dressed or undressed - and there is even a line in the movie saying her character has no stomach for violence
Scene 3
  • Trailer: Topless standing as her boyfriend Mike (Brian Weske) gropes her breasts from behind while Mike's heavies continue to beat John up in the other room.
  • UK Version: She has her bra on to start with and is putting on her top while Mike is standing behind her groping her
Given these differences there could have potentially been other additional or alternate scenes in this other version that were not featured in the trailer, Apparently, the full export version is available on the BFI's Blu-Ray version of the same release, but I've not seen this to be able to compare any other differences.

The Big Switch

What's Good for the Goose (1969)
Starring Norman Wisdom and Sally Geeson
The UK version of this film is fairly tame on the nudity front.  There is a minor bit of rear nudity on a beach and a momentary glimpse of Sally Geeson's nipple while she's in a bath.  But in the hotel bedroom scenes Sally Geeson keeps her bra on throughout.  However there is a German version of the film in which Sally Geeson plays those same scenes topless.

The German version is actually 27 minutes shorter than the UK version running to 75 minutes instead of 102 minutes.  The most significant difference to the story created by the cut material is that at the end middle-aged Timothy (Norman Wisdom) is not seen repeating all the same fun activities with his wife that he enjoyed the previous day with youthful Nikki (sally Geeson).  It ends with Timothy looking dismayed to see his wife wearing a face pack.  This removes the well-rounded sweetness of the original film by making it seem as if Timothy is disheartened to be with his wife again when in fact in the UK version he finds out that he can do all the same fun things with his wife that he did with Nikki and is content with that discovery.

The opening credits are completely re-done in German over the same original speeded-up film sequence as in the UK version - so it is was clearly prepared at the same time with access to the same unfettered footage.  The German title is "Öfter Mal Was Junges!!"

What's Good For The Goose

Cry of the Banshee (1970)
Starring: Vincent Price, Essy Persson, Hilary Dwyer and Patrick Mower
There is a re-worked version of this film that removes all its nudity.  It is not only shorter by about 8 minutes but it also reorders some of the scenes including creating a pre-credits sequence of an attack on a coven of witches which has been transplanted from a point much later on in the film.  It also has a different opening credits sequence.  All the nudity was removed using editing techniques rather than through having alternate versions of the same scenes.

Soft Beds, Hard Battles (1974)
Starring: Peter Sellers, Lila Kedrova and Béatrice Romand
This film originally had a longer running time before being cut by 10 minutes for general release.  The DVD release includes the material removed in the form of "deleted and extended scenes" rather than presenting the entire longer version in full.  The additional scenes include a new topless scene featuring Gabriella Licudi.  

This is the text from the DVD that introduces the additional material: "Soft Beds, Hard Battles opened at the Carlton Haymarket in the West End on 24th January 1974 with a running time of 107 minutes and was subsequently re-cut to 97 minutes before going on general release.  The following deleted or extended scenes (together with original Peter Sellers narration) have been taken from the only surviving long version print and have not been seen since the initial London release.". 

Soft Beds, Hard Battles

Carry On England (1976)
Starring: Kenneth Connor Windsor Davies, Patrick Mower
There were two versions of this film prepared to obtain different certifications.  The main difference concerns the scene in which the ATS girls come onto the inspection parade topless.  The edited version of this scene is much shorter with the girls only seen topless momentarily.


Finally, I'm aware there is a longer director's cut version of The Wicker Man (1973) but the extra scenes do not add any additional nudity to the film with the exception of Britt Ekland's naked dance scene lasting a little bit longer.

If you can think of any others I've missed then let me know.


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