They added digital pants!

Will had a sleep-over last night, so Annette and I went out for a happy hour and an early dinner at the Sidetrack with friends/colleagues from work, and then we went to see an early showing of Sideways. Pretty good movie, we thought, though we don’t have much to compare it to because this is the only Oscar contender we’ve seen this year. Lots of DVDs at home, and lots of kid movies in the theaters.

Anyway, we got home and were channel-surfing and came across Animal House on VH-1. What a classic– I can’t remember the last time I saw that movie all the way through, but it certainly is a flick burned into my memory.

Now, obviously, VH-1 et al had to do A LOT of editing of the many uses of “shit” and “fuck,” and of the various boob scenes. That’s typical of a movie like this, and it’s usually pretty obvious what and when something is being edited out. But there was one kind of editing I hadn’t seen before: digitally added pants.

There’s a scene about two-thirds of the way through the movie where the frat guy Boon is dropping in unexpectedly on his girlfriend Katy. It’s established earlier that Boon and Katy are “serious” and in love, but Katy thinks that the Deltas are a bunch of immature drunk idiots and that Boon really ought to grow up and leave that all behind. She is of course right. Anyway, Boon surprises Katy, who is standing there in a night shirt and who is obviously uncomfortable about his dropping by. And we learn pretty quickly why that’s the case as a male voice calls out from the back room. Boon is of course mad and storms away.

Here’s where we get to the edit. It turns out that the male voice in Katy’s bedroom is none other than the English professor guy (the one who is teaching a class earlier in the movie and who gets them all high), played by Donald Sutherland. In the original version of the movie, he comes out, wearing only a heavy cardigan sweater, his bare legs apparent for all to see. The professor exchanges a kiss and some banter with Katy, and then he goes into the kitchen in the background where he reaches up to get something from the cupboard, raising up the sweater and exposing his bare ass in the process. Ha ha, bare ass.

In the edited version, Sutherland’s character comes out, but this time he is wearing khaki trousers. He gets something from the cupboard and all we see are his khaki covered ass. Now, either they shot two versions of this scene just for such a purpose (I think not), or they actually added digital clothing.

Assuming it is the digital pants, this strikes me as kind of odd for at least two reasons. First, this the first time I can recall seeing a movie where they added digital clothing. There must be others, but none come to mind. Second, this strikes me as a pretty significant edit because the fact that he comes out dressed not like a guy who just had sex with Katy and is instead dressed like, well, a college professor on his way to class, kind of erases the implied sex scene.

I don’t want to belabor this– after all, we’re talking about Animal House here– but I’d have to wonder what someone who hadn’t seen the original would think of a scene like that. Wouldn’t they be pretty surprised to see the “real” movie, sans pants?

One thought on “They added digital pants!”

  1. I saw this same version recently on AMC. They also cut the shot of Belushi’s character chugging the bottle of Jack Daniel’s, which is the scene depicted on 90% of Animal House merchandise!!

    This editing for tv stuff has to stop. Especially when we’re paying for the programming.

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