So much for God and country, at least during some in-flight showings of the Oscar-nominated movie "The Queen." All mentions of God are bleeped out of a version of the film distributed to Delta and some other airlines.
Jeff Klein, president of Jaguar Distribution, the Studio City, Calif., company that supplied the movie to the airlines earlier this month, said it was a mistake, committed by an overzealous and inexperienced employee who had been told to edit out all profanities and blasphemies.
"A reference to God is not taboo in any culture that I know of," Klein said. "We excise foul language, excessive violence and nudity."
Airline passengers watching the movie hear "(Bleep) bless you, ma'am," as one character speaks to the queen. In all, the word "God" is bleeped seven times. (At no time in the original movie is "God save the queen" uttered.)
Klein said he discovered the mistake after a London-bound Air New Zealand passenger complained. Jaguar has been sending out new, unedited copies to the airlines.
Airlines routinely show movies from which graphic scenes and strong profanities are edited out.
"The Queen" is about Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the week following Princess Diana's death in 1997.
A spokesman for Miramax, which produced the movie, had no comment on the episode.
The editor responsible for the mistake is still working in the Jaguar editing lab, Klein said.
It's all part of a major shift in how airlines think about the $1.75 billion-a-year industry for in-flight entertainment.
Every reference to God in the movie is censored - replaced by a beep.
"We're not afraid to look at some movies that our competitors wouldn't."
Some flights were delayed and some passengers missed flights because they couldn't board in time.