ATLANTA – So much for God and country, at least during some in-flight showings of the Oscar-nominated movie "The Queen." That's because all mentions of God are bleeped out of a version of the film given to some commercial airlines.
Even in these politically correct times, censoring references to God in the film wasn't a statement of some kind. Rather, it was the mistake of an overzealous and inexperienced employee for a California company that edits movies selected for onboard entertainment.
The rookie censor was told to edit out all profanities — including any blasphemy — for the version of the movie distributed to Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, Air New Zealand, and other carriers.
So the new censor mistakenly bleeped out each time a character said "God," instead of just when used as part of a profanity, said Jeff Klein, president of Jaguar Distribution, the company that distributed the movie to airlines this month.
"A reference to God is not taboo in any culture that I know of," Klein said. "We excise foul language, excessive violence and nudity."
In-flight viewers of the film at one point heard "(Bleep) bless you, ma'am," as one character spoke to the queen. In all, the word "God" is bleeped seven times in the version.
Fortunately, at no time in the original film is the common phrase "God save the queen" spoken or else passengers from the United Kingdom might have been royally irritated to hear "bleep" invoked to save Her Majesty.
Klein discovered the mistake after a London-bound Air New Zealand passenger complained earlier this month and the airline apologized for showing "the incorrect version of the film."
Airlines routinely work with studios to get film versions that have removed the kind of graphic scenes and strong profanities that would not be shown on network TV, Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said. Officials with Delta and Air New Zealand say their airlines have been showing the edited version of 'The Queen' on many international flights.
Jaguar has been replacing all the cassettes it sent out — in English and other languages — to its airline clients with the original, unedited version of the movie.
"The Queen" depicts the reactions of British monarch Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the week following Princess Diana's death in 1997. Much of the drama revolves around the opposed perspectives of the modernizing prime minister and the old-fashioned queen.
On Tuesday, the movie was nominated for the Academy Awards for best picture and best actress for Helen Mirren's performance as the queen.
The editor responsible for the mistake is still working in the editing laboratory of the Studio City, Calif.-based company, Klein said.
A spokesman for Miramax, which produced the film, declined to comment on the editing.