We all recall last summer’s French Connection deleted-footage brouhaha, which involved the deletion of nine seconds of footage from a police-preinct scene featuring Gene Hackkman and Roy Scheider.
It was presumably deleted because Hackman’s detective character, Popeye Doyle, blurts out the N-word.
Perhaps some Woke Central pearl-clutcher complained and director William Friedkin acquiesced for some reason. I only know that on Friday, 6.9, HE commenter “The Multiplex” reported that “in Disney’s DCP asset list the currently-streaming [censored] version of The French Connection is listed as ‘2021 William Friedkin v2.’” He also sent visual proof of this.
The absence of the footage first became apparent during a 5.12.23 screening of The French Connection at Santa Monica’s Aero theatre. It was soon after apparent that the edited version was streaming on all the major services, including Criterion, iTunes, Apple, MAX, Amazon and (I think) Netflix. Nobody could get a statement from the ailing 87-year-old Freidkin. He died a couple of months later — 8.7.23. It was thereafter presumed that the mystery of the nonsensical edit would never be solved, and that the censored version would continue to be streamed on all the platforms.
Not true, as it turns out.
Earlier this evening “bentrane” reported that he recently watched The French Connection on MAX, and that the missing N-word scene has been restored. I immediately went to my Sony 65-incher and watched the scene in question on MAX. “Bentrane” is correct — the nine-second N-word excerpt is back, baby! The uncensored version is also showing on Apple TV — great. The film isn’t streaming on Netflix or Criterion as we speak, but the censored version is still streaming on Amazon.
Apparently Disney, which licenses and provides The French Connection to the streamers, dumped the censored version, possibly or presumably because of all the negative press. Maybe Disney felt free to switch it out after Friedkin’s passing. Maybe a Friedkin rep stepped in after he died and asked that the original version be restored. Who knows? No one said jack last May and June, and apparently no one has announced anything about the original.version being back in action.
Below are clips of the raw version vs. the edited version.