George Stevens Battles for his Place in the Sun
Final cut is the holy grail for most directors but, as George Stevens discovered this week in 1965, the TV cut is the most painful. When he learned that NBC was to screen his 1951 A Place in the Sun with commercial breaks, he sued the network as well as the movie’s studio, Paramount, saying they had created “a distorted, truncated and segmented version” of his film. Dissolves had been replaced by fades which Stevens felt was "at the expense of the artistic integrity, the mood, effect and continuity of the film...It's like taking the cadenza out of concerto." Stevens struck a blow for directors in general, defending their right to have their films kept as they were originally released, and maintained that movies “should be respected as being more than a tool for selling soap, toothpaste, deodorant, used cars, beer and the whole gamut of products advertised on television.” The landmark case was finally decided in 1967, when it was ruled that Paramount were not allowed to cut the film, but that NBC could show commercials during its airing.