The LA Times held a 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Arc this weekend, and none other than Steven Spielberg himself was there in attendance, and was kind enough to spend some time doing an audience Q&A afterward. During the session, he made some admissions that will gladden the hearts of an fan tired of worrying that they’re always going to have to worry about the editing of films for each new format.
Mentioning specifically that George Lucas can do whatever he wants with his movies, Speilberg confessed that he regrets the edits he made to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for its 20th anniversary.
For myself, I tried this once and lived to regret it. Not because of fan outrage, but because I was disappointed in myself. I got overly sensitive to [some of the reaction] to E.T., and I thought if technology evolved, [I might go in and change some things]…it was OK for a while, but I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T.
What you just heard was the sound of hundreds of Star Wars fans leaping out of their chairs and shouting “YES. THIS.”
Spielberg said the only thing he could do to make up for it was insist that Universal put both versions of the movie in one set, without increasing the price. He then asked the audience “If I put just one cut of E.T. on Blu-ray and it was the 1982 [version], would anyone object to that?”
And when the response was a big no: “OK, so be it.”
Mr. Spielberg, you are a gentleman and a scholar.
PS. You know this is going to make the edited edition a collectors’ item, right?