For days and days the French Connection censorship story has confounded everyone. The “whodunit” factor, I mean, although it’s been obvious for several days that the nine-second deletion was done at the behest of director William Friedkin (formerly known as Hurricane Billy).

Has the 87-year-old Friedkin gone silly in his old age? Bending over in obeisance to the wokesters? I personally think —- all due respect —- that this formerly ballsy, gold-standard helmer should be roasted on a spit for censoring his own film. It sets a terrible precedent.

Last Wednesday (6.14) I summed it all up. The bizarre deletion of that brief French Connection scene (’71) has apparently been done with Friedkin’s approval or at his behest….good heavens!

On Friday, 6.9, HE commenter “The Multiplexreported that “in Disney’s DCP asset list the currently-streaming version of The French Connection is listed as ‘2021 William Friedkin v2.'” This info, I noted, “is seemingly fortified by a statement from The Criterion Channel, passed along by “The Connection” in another 6.9.23 HE story titled “HE to Friedkin re Censorship Fracas.” CC’s statement said that “according to our licensor [Disney], this is a ‘Director’s Edit‘ of the film.”

So that’s it. Shame on that Friedkin mofo. And yet all the while several HE commenters have insisted that the issue won’t be settled until Glenn “the last word” Kenny has reported on it. I had expected Kenny’s piece to appear last week, but it didn’t. Behold…it finally surfaced this morning (“Who Censored ‘The French Connection’?” Is A Case That Only Popeye Doyle Can Solve“), and yet — hold on to your grief and your weltschmerz, Kenny fans! —the article contains no Friedkin smoking gun.

After reciting the same evidence that I reported several days ago — “2021 William Friedkin V2.” plus Criterion calling the censored version a “Director’s Edit” — Kenny merely says that “this ostensibly puts the ball in Friedkin’s court.” Ostensibly?

Kenny adds that (a) he’s “reached out to Friedkin through CAA and received no response” and that (b) “a film asset manager I’ve asked about this matter has reached out to Friedkin personally and received a response from Friedkin’s personal assistant saying basically nothing.” And the name of that tune is The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight (In My Coffee).”

My favorite Kenny passage in the whole piece: “Jeffrey Wells, as mentioned, first brought the issue up on June 3rd, in a post titled “Criterion’s ‘French Connection’ Censorship.”

“Wells likes to cultivate a barrel-chested, combative, curmudgeonly air in his writings. (Commenting on the blanket of orange wildfire smoke that recently enveloped Manhattan, he shrugged it off, stating, “You should try breathing Hanoi air on a shitty day. Tough guys only.”) He’s long had differences with Criterion’s physical product practices, over issues like aspect-ratios and color timing. He almost invariably couches his complaints in ad hominem terms, and this French Connection business allowed him to really go to town in that respect.

“In one of several subsequent posts commemorating the Twitter rage over what many were still calling Criterion’s censorship of Friedkin’s film, Wells instructed the company’s president to ‘blow it out your ass,’ never specifying the “it” to which he referred. As with the inference that Criterion is some kind of ‘woke’ company, Wells believes that the label represents what he calls a ‘dweeb’ sensibility, and is populated by people who would more than likely snub him at receptions and on movie queues. And honestly, on the latter count, he’s probably not wrong, although not necessarily for the reasons he thinks.”