BBC1 screened one of my favourite films last night, The Big Easy (1986). I've already got it on DVD, but meant to record the transmission as there are two endings, and I don't have my preferred finale on disc. Turns out last night's broadcast was the common, inferior ending. No matter - if you've never seen The Big Easy, do yourself a favour and watch it for free via iPlayer here.
It's a sexy, sassy film about lovable rogue cop Remy in New Orleans (Dennis Quaid) and his collision with uptight, by-the-book district attorney Anne (Ellen Barkin). There's a crime spree, corruption and all sorts of attempts at a Cajun accent. Some wonderful Zydeco music too, if you like that. Plus it's got a fully clothed sex scene that trumps the usual naked gymnastics.
Most screenings and DVDs of The Big Easy end with an explosion, before cutting straight to the credits. But there's another version where Remy and Anne trade some barbed quips (and Dennis Quaid flashes his taut arse, if that floats your boat). It's a great call-back to earlier in the film, and caps off the relationship with a deft flourish. Class writing by Daniel Petrie Jr.
So why isn't this version commonly available? It only adds 90-120 seconds to the running time, but adroitly pulls together a fistful of narrative threads while being perfectly in keeping with all that's gone before. I keep buying new editions of The Big Easy on DVD, hoping they'll be the full version - no luck yet. One day it shall be mine...