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Has HBO 'disappeared' an original movie after one showing because it was controversial or was it just bad?

By Andrew Pollack on 04/29/2004 at 02:06 PM EDT

The other night I taped a show to watch later. It was to be a

"...cautionary scenarios in which two graduate students - one a female American in China, the other a male Arab in New York - are detained without hard evidence and interrogated about activities which may or may not relate to terrorist plots. The film explores the plights of these very different people, both of whom are relentlessly questioned and then strip-searched by a pair of government officials who are intent on eliciting information to protect the public safety in the face of the threat of imminent terrorist attack. "

Personally, I thought the film was pretty good, though more than a little unsubtle in its message. The only real flaw I thought was that its title and essentially one scene were both more salacious than was otherwise justified by the movie. I suppose they wanted people to watch it though.

Anyway, I went to HBO's site to find out about the film a bit, and couldn't find it. Right. I couldn't find it at all. I did a search using HBO's web site search and nothing came up. It isn't listed on the movie premier page, it isn't listed on the HBO film's home page, current movies page, archive page, etc. I did a google search and found a link to the original "information" page on the show, which doesn't appear to be link any longer to any other HBO pages. Its an orphan. For as long as it lasts, here it is:

Digging a bit more, the movie is still listed in the printed program guide and the PDF file of that which you can download ( ). I found it listed for play on May 2, 6, 10, and 14. Looking at HBO's online program guide though, I couldn't find it.

I thought I'd ask them about it via the HBO bulletin boards, but the film has no entry in the list of boards. In the general discussion, there was only one person asking for comments, and another replying that they only saw half the show before it was removed and an unscheduled "Chris Rock" episode was put in its place. I have no idea if that is an accurate assessment as the times he lists don't make sense (it was only a 1 hour film -- at least what I saw was).

Anyway -- nothing in the film was all that out of line, and HBO clearly doesn't shy away from offending people on a regular basis. If you've missed the show they call "Deadwood" and some of us have re-named "Motherf***ing Co**su****" for the number of times that phrase is uttered each week, you know what I mean. (actually, the show itself isn't bad, but the language is pretty over the top)

So, what's up HBO? Did you pull it because it was just bad? That's hard to believe given some of the other shows that run pretty frequently.

There are  - loading -  comments....

Sounds like censorship to meBy Ben Langhinrichs on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Of course, why HBO would censor this show just as the Supreme Court hears about the Gitmo detainees, who can say? Pure coincidence, I imagine.
Yeah, I'm with BenBy Rob McDonagh on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I'm betting HBO got some really serious pressure from somebody who's uncomfortable seeing this issue get air time. Given the current administration's drive to expand the (ironically named) Patriot Act, I could make an educated guess about where that pressure came from...
Big Brother no doubt....By Vincent Genn on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
Could that someone applying the pressure be the Homeland Security Dept? Freedom in this country has changed no matter how you look at it.
STRIP SEARCHBy SIDNEY AMM on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
dear sirs; let. us see STRIP SEARCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
STRIP SEARCHBy SIDNEY AMM on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
dear sirs; let. us see STRIP SEARCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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