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‘Your mother knits socks in Hull’: what clean versions hold in store

Everybody knows that the best version of a film is the one you get shown during a flight. You know, the version that’s been jarringly edited to remove any trace of content that might somehow cause offence. The version that quite often doesn’t make any sense because of how roughly it’s been treated.

Sony Pictures knows this as well as anyone else, which is why it recently announced a “clean version” initiative, where these massacred films – edited without the permission of their directors – would be made available for purchase. The audience for these versions is potentially enormous, encompassing children, the sensitive and anyone who wants to re-create the experience of flying by watching a disappointing film while eating disappointing food, getting kicked in the back by a toddler and constantly being on the verge of tears without explanation.

Ridiculous edited-for-TV movie lines video

At least it would have been enormous, were it not for Judd Apatow. Fearful that his movies would be given the “monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane” treatment, Apatow tweeted: “This is absolute bullshit and @sony and @SonyPictures is gonna get hell for FUCKING with our movies. Shove the clean versions up your asses!”. This prompted the studio to backtrack: it will now only release “clean” versions of films if the director gives his or her consent. This is a shame. Apatow’s outburst might have denied us from ever seeing cleaned-up classics like these …

A little girl feels unwell, so her mother hires a circus clown to cheer her up. Unfortunately, the clown’s outfit is covered in soup, so he comes dressed as a priest instead. But the girl doesn’t mind and rewards his quick thinking by a) correctly guessing that his mother knits socks in Hull and b) absolutely going nowhere near any of his crucifixes.

A Brooklyn widow receives an invitation to appear on a gameshow. In preparation, she begins losing weight in an orderly and sensible fashion, much to the delight of her nice son. The film ends with Jennifer Connelly on her hands and knees, apparently in mild distress because she can’t locate a missing contact lens.

While she’s having a perfectly normal shower alone and fully dressed, Charlotte Gainsbourg’s son remains absolutely fine. To celebrate this, she goes on a nice holiday with her husband, full of smiling and hand-holding and just a ton of perfectly intact sexual organs. The film is best remembered for an appearance by a talking fox, which appears on screen and performs the “I’m loving it” McDonald’s jingle.

Two young tourists in Germany get a flat tyre and call on crazed surgeon Dr Josef Heiter for assistance. He helps them without hesitation and they go on to have a lovely trip. Note: this film is 45 seconds long.

A robot from the future arrives fully dressed to dissuade a woman from having a nice conversation in a car with another time traveller. Fun fact: I actually know how this version goes, because it’s the one that my dad recorded off the TV for me when I was 10, editing the film on the fly by pressing the “stop” button on our VCR whenever anything hairy looked like it was about to happen. Once again, thanks for that, Dad.