May Releases: The Big Red One SE, Battle of the Bulge and others

Discussion in 'DVD' started by BillGo, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. BillGo

    BillGo Stunt Coordinator

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    According to last Sunday’s L.A. Times, an extended version of Samuel Fuller’s film, The Big Red One, was shown at Cannes. Fuller, whose life long ambition was to restore the film to conform more closely to his original vision, died recently. The film recounts his experiences as a member of the U.S. Army’s 1st division during WWII.

    The extended edition is planned for a release by Warner on DVD to coincide with VE day (May 8, 2005).

    This should be welcome information for fans of the film. I assume it will be in OAR and have remastered sound.

    Has anyone heard any verification from Warner concerning the release of the DVD?
     
  2. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    While I haven't heard any news, this month's FILM COMMENT has a cover story on the film, as well as a story by Richard Schickel on the restoration.

    No word on it being released on DVD or theatrically though.
     
  3. Chris Stainton

    Chris Stainton Second Unit

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    This has been one of my very favorite WWII films for a long time. I look forward to seeing an extended version.
     
  4. Drew Reiber

    Drew Reiber Supporting Actor

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    I'm going to re-read that article soon, but I hope Shickel made it clear that his "story" is most likely part of a much larger interaction with this movement on part of WB. Having done the commentary for Warner's DVD for Once Upon a Time in America, I don't doubt that there is some monetary exchange for his input.

    As WB has put a lot of work into this new print, it's probable that Shickel will do the same for this new DVD set. It just rubs me the wrong way that he's supplying this article, most likely for a product he's getting paid to work on. Doesn't that almost turn it into an advertisement rather than an unbiased reaction to the work?
     
  5. Jeff Newcomb

    Jeff Newcomb Second Unit

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    Well, I don't think that it was ever really presented as an unbiased review. The Schickel article seemed to me to be more like a production diary. He was very forthcoming about the fact that he initiated the project and oversaw the restoration. And I would certainly hope that, given his involvement in the project, he would be closely involved with the DVD production as well. I'm sure that Gavin Smith said, "Hey Richard, nobody knows more about this project than you, would you mind sharing a little bit with our readers?" To me, it's no different than having Robert Harris or Kevin Brownlow tell about a project they worked on.
     
  6. Drew Reiber

    Drew Reiber Supporting Actor

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    Ah, thanks!

    I was reserved about making that earlier post, as I didn't want to seem like a jerk. Shickel has appeared on the oddest releases lately, and for the life of us, my friends and I can't figure out why WB and MGM keep choosing him for commentaries on Leone's work over experts like Christopher Frayling. Shickel's comments in the making-of segments for "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" were so general and irrelevant that they bordered on complete speculation. I stupidly assumed that while he was involved in the re-release of The Big Red One, he once again had nothing to do with the re-production itself.

    I haven't had a chance to read the whole article, but I'm very happy to see historians like Shickel becoming actively involved in getting the intended visions of the filmmakers out there. I feel Warner has done a terrific job of late improving and restoring films, but I'm beginning to doubt that some - Blade Runner, Once Upon a Time in America or Superman II - will ever be properly revisited. The lack of complete restoration is probably beyond their power, as the tasks may prove impossible for a variety of reasons, but I still feel that there should be more insight provided into what's missing or changed in each case from the original intentions at their inception. Oh well...
     
  7. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Does anyone have any idea of how long Fuller intended the film to be originally?

    Great news.
     
  8. BillGo

    BillGo Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know how long Fuller originally intended the film to be, but the restored version is reportedly 40 minutes longer than the theatrical release, which was cut to less than 2 hours.
     
  9. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Schickel had a lot of interesting things to say in the FILM COMMENT article. One thing, all the original film was stored in a vault and Schickel had to get WB to keep digging to turn up new footage. It seems, at least from the article, that he really was the person who was responsible for this.

    As far as the running time, Sam Fuller's autobiography was published a year ago and is EXCELLENT. Honestly, it is better than any of his films. He talks about the film quite a bit and what was cut.
     
  10. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    Does anyone know if Warners has plans on releasing any other Fuller titles with the release of The Big Red One? Merrill's Marauders would be a good choice. I am not sure of exactly what other titles besides Run of the Arrow (RKO) Warners holds the rights to, but, I have heard that they also hold the rights to Fuller's early films released by Lippert Productions, such as I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet, each of which I would almost kill for. I don't know what condition the elements are in, or if it would be financially possible to visit them now. The only time I have seen Run of the Arrow the color was faded to pink, but I would imagine that the original elements haven't seen much use, considering few people have had the chance to actually see these films, and could be as beautiful as Warners release of Gun Crazy. I can always hope.
     
  11. Dorian Gray

    Dorian Gray Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I don't know if they plan to, but they should !
    And I'm pretty sure they own I shot Jesse James as I've taped it on TCM France (which only broadcasts Warner catalog titles).
     
  12. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Dorian, Thats great to hear!
    I hope that these films will have a chance to be seen by a new audience. Samuel Fuller has been gaining a larger cult following in recent years, yet it is pretty difficult to find the majority of his films. And, even then they tend to be multiple generation bootleg copies (at least, that is what I have run into). I think there is a greater chance of the Warner titles seeing the light of day, compared to say Park Row,(one of my personal favorites) which is now owned by Sony/MGM/UA. But, it seems Fox is the most likely to release the rest of their Fuller titles House of Bamboo is coming in March (and was never released on VHS), and hopefully Forty Guns will follow (possibly leased to Criterion). I would also love Columbia to release Underworld U.S.A. & The Crimson Kimono, maybe they could toss in Park Row and release them as a set! but, I would doubt it. I am glad to know that Warners has a good supply of his films though, it may give them the incentive to release them together as a set, but again I kind of doubt it. I will keep hoping!
     
  13. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    This is playing in my neck of the woods in January, a new restored 35mm print with a run time of 158mins, and it playing with a restored 35mm print of Park Row (88mins).

    I was wondering about a DVD of this as well, maybe Warners is putting together a box set? Fuller is name dropped like crazy by film scholars and directors alike, and Warners has put other companies titles in there sets before as well.

    The same theater (The Metro, for any Edmontonians out there) is also showing a restored cut of Heavens Gate, @ 220 min the same month. Not to take this thread off tangent, but this would make an interesting DVD as well.
     
  14. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    MGM's current release is the restored 219 minute version; a decent SE wouldn't go amiss though I agree.
     
  15. Derek Estes

    Derek Estes Stunt Coordinator

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    The restored version of TBRO will be playing here in Portland next week, and the new poster for it has the Warner Home Video logo printed on the bottom. This isn't much, but it's the closest I have seen to an actual DVD announcement other than this tread. I am excited to hear the print of Park Row playing in Alberta, is restored. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is coming to DVD, but it is good to know something is being done. I would love to hear how it looks Russell, if you decide to see it. It's one of my favorites.
     
  16. Jim Barg

    Jim Barg Second Unit

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    In a couple of articles/interviews I've read, it's mentioned that the set will be 2-disc, with a Schickel commentary, Fuller documentary and the theatrical cut.

    All signs point to a spring release (though, of course, nothing official has been announced). I'll try to post some links later.
     
  17. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I was under the impression that the one screening at the metro was newly restored, as they reffered to it as being redone by the DP. What is the preffered cut of this? I've never seen it, but I'm curius as heck to check it out.

    They also have a new 35mm print of Marlon Brandos Burn playing the same month, anyone know if this is worth checking out?
     
  18. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Well, Cimino originally presented a cut to UA that was five hours and 20 minutes long; the cut on the current DVD is excellent, though the sound suffers in the early scenes.
     
  19. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    It's a new print (not a new cut) of the original full-length theatrical version. Even though it's flawed, the film is well worth seeing theatrically.
     
  20. Anthony Neilson

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