***/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras F
starring John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmett Walsh
screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
directed by Joel Coen
by Walter Chaw For all the entirely-justified bile levelled at George Lucas's art-hating, self-abnegating decisions to redux his movies into oblivion while stashing the originals in dead formats and special features, there's been no commensurate disdain levied against the Coen Brothers for their desecration of their directorial debut, Blood Simple. Only long out-of-print VHS and LaserDisc editions offer access to the version of the film, compromised though it is, that most of us grew up with--the one that uses Neil Diamond instead of a Four Tops standard; the one that has Carter Burwell's brilliant score cue up a few seconds earlier as Abby (Frances McDormand) and her new lover Ray (John Getz) go to the house Abby shares with husband Marty (Dan Hedaya) to gather her things; the one that allows Meurice (Samm-Art Williams) an extra line as he's explaining to a hillbilly patron of the bar where he and Ray work (for Marty) why they'll be listening to Diamond's cover of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer" on the jukebox. I understand that the song was a substitution because initially they couldn't secure the rights to "The Same Old Song" for home video; what I don't understand is the further elision of an additional three minutes and the lack of any option to watch Blood Simple in that more complete form.