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Who Framed Roger Rabbit


  • 4K Blu-ray / Blu-ray
  • French HDTV (2013)
Release: Dec 07, 2021 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the censored 4K UHD and the uncensored HDTV broadcast from France (2013).

- 3 differences
- No time difference

Single frame shenanigans and censorship in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1988, and while it's generally done in a child-friendly manner, it does of course offer enough gags for an older audience here and there. And at Disney, some animation artists had allowed themselves time and again to make jokes over the years, for example by smuggling in phallic symbols or the like for a few frames. The adventure with the lively rabbit and his lascivious Jessica is in this respect an often cited prime example.

A comparison with a German TV broadcast, which was based on an old master, has been in our archives for years. Since DVD times, as is well known, two scenes have been defused: Baby Herman sticks his finger under a lady's skirt and Jessic briefly lets it slip that she is not wearing underwear when she crosses her legs. But in 2013, an HD master was briefly used in France, which even included a third spot exclusively. Betty Boop lets her nipples flash very briefly here, while her dress was redrawn for this split second in other releases worldwide.

Several international forums have checked out various releases of the film since VHS times, as well as even 35mm prints. We didn't have all of them, but e.g. here in the forum the conclusion is that the part with Betty Boop was already censored on the first LaserDisc edition in 1994. The nipple was not visible here and thus it is a small miracle that it even reappeared in good quality and original picture format with the French HDTV release. The first LaserDisc was hotly sought after because of the single frame playback that was possible there, in comparison to VHS after all already much easier with this medium, because the other two moments were discovered so quickly:

Many retailers said that within minutes of the LaserDisc debut, their entire inventory was sold out. The run was fueled by media reports about the controversy, including stories on CNN and various newspapers.

The same version as on the Laserdisc was shown on German TV in the past, hence our old report with a broadcast on Super RTL from 2010. In the meantime, however, the DVD/Blu-ray master is in use on various channels. And as said, there were apparently "only" two additional moments to be discovered, while the French HDTV release had a third.

Last but not least, it should be mentioned that on the one hand further picture censorship has been discussed for years, e.g. smearing in the background or further moments with Jessica's dress. However, no evidence of any other scene has appeared in any release of the film, not even in the present HDTV release in France. On the other hand, a few sound censorships are very obvious, collected here: "poor guy / bastard", "Gee whiz / Jesus", "no kidding / shit", "a lot of brass / balls". Supposedly, lip-reading is a way to guess the original words. However, this too has only been available in censored form since the very first theatrical release and thus cannot be clearly proven by any corresponding release.

The 4K UHD premiere of Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Since December 02, 2021, the 4K Blu-ray is available in Germany (and abroad a few days earlier). Before that, the film was already available on Disney+ as VOD in 4K. The streaming offer already gave an idea of what can now be confirmed with the disc version: You get the same version here that has been the norm since DVD times. The little jokes from the animation department have thus continued to be covered up here. It should be emphasized again that we are really talking about frames here.

During normal viewing, none of the three described spots is really noticeable. You really have to look very closely or click through frame by frame to discover the small obscurities. Accordingly, you can still live well with the toned-down version. According to our comparison, this also looks exactly the same as the previous Blu-ray - and this in turn also like the last DVD releases. On the very first DVD, Jessica's panties are supposed to have been redrawn a bit differently. However, we have not been able to verify that so far. In any case, in the present comparison it remains to be seen which censorships are to be objected to for the (U)HD release that will remain common in the long run.

At the same time, it should be clearly emphasized that the censorships described here were already made in the 90s. They are therefore not a subsequent adjustment on the part of Disney in the streaming age, as has been reported more frequently in other recent cases. Of course, they are still exciting and it is a pity that the topic did not get a new chapter with the 4K UHD. Qualitatively, the disc is otherwise clearly recommendable and a clear improvement to the Blu-ray. It's a pity that the Blu-ray in the 4K set is the old edition from 2013, not a new master. But it's the main disc in 4K that counts anyway, and we can recommend it despite the censorships.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: 4K UHD / French HDTV

Note: Compared with the 4K Blu-ray, the screenshots were also taken from the Blu-ray for simplicity.

The 4K UHD / Blu-ray starts with two company notes.

+ 21 sec

Shortly after, a French title addition. The title of the first cartoon was also added.

4K UHD / Blu-rayFrench HDTV

04:47-04:48 / 04:26-04:27

As Baby Herman walks along under the woman's skirt, he briefly stuck out his finger in the original version. It's only a few frames, but of course it looks a touch more crude that way, as he stretches his arm up towards the genital area at that exact moment.

4K UHD / Blu-rayFrench HDTV

18:13 / 17:52

Just before Jessica takes the stage to start the show, Betty Boop is again seen standing sheepishly next to the excited Eddie. For just a single frame, her nipples are very briefly exposed there as she moves. In the familiar VHS/DVD/Blu-ray/4K master, this was always retouched: here, the dress covered everything, as it did in all the remaining frames of the scene.

4K UHD / Blu-rayFrench HDTV

76:14 / 75:53

When Jessica is thrown out of the car, a bit more of her genital area is briefly visible in two consecutive shots.

4K UHD / Blu-rayFrench HDTV

Since the images above have of course been compressed to our usual small size, here are additional zoomed-in shots of the relevant parts of the image in near-original HD size.