The Lost Cut- Alternate versions of movies

Discussion in 'Movies' started by David_Blackwell, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    The talk about Superman 2 having tons of lost footage due to the movie being reshot has inspired me to start this topic (maybe I will write an article about alternate versions of movies for my site).

    Then there is the recent case of Exorcist: The Bweginning which has virtually been reshot (and the first version of the movie may never be seen). The original version of Exorcist 3: leggion isn't available anywhere. there was some reshooting there to include an exorcism and include a different ending.


    Also I have read that Superman 4 had 45 minutes cut from it.

    So I want to know what movies had footage cut that aren't available in their original versions or longer versions. However this isn't a thread to discuss what should be out on DVD. This is about alternate versions of movies that have never been seen or may never be seen.

    Movies cut down to their final theater forum from longer versions:

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (first cut- 5 hours, second cut- 3 hours 20 minutes)
    Braveheart- first cut came out at 6 hours.
    The Thin Red Line- edited down from six hours
    Dune- Cut down from a version that may have been closer to 4 hours. TV version even omits some stuff that had been shot.

    Event Horizon- 30 minutes cut from a 130 minute version
    Waterworld- 3 hour cut that has been seen on TV
    Far And Away- longer version seen on TV
    Titanic- at least 30 minutes cut (some footage seen in a Titanic documentary on FOX).

    Gangs of New York- cut down from 4 hours
    Wicker Man- Christopher Lee had said there is a longer version, but the footage has disappeared.

    Star Trek: Nemesis- 45 minutes cut (only 20 minutes seen on DVD)
    Star Trek 5: Final Frontier- Shatner's cut was 20 minutes longer

    OK, what other movies have been cut down from longer versions due to tinkering in editing or to fit a reasonable theaterical running time?


    Be Seeing you,
    David Blackwell
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    This happens on practically every film, does it not?
     
  3. David Forbes

    David Forbes Supporting Actor

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    Much longer cuts of films do not necessarily contain more story or narrative footage, but rather alternate angles, different takes of same scenes, etc. The time is whittled away as the director and editor makes choices about which takes and angles to use, etc. It doesn't mean the actual story was that much longer.
     
  4. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    You're right about Superman IV having 45 minutes carved out of the 134-minute master assembly of the film. Warner Bros. released a 90-minute edit here in the U.S. and Canada. However, a 93-minute version was released to U.K., European, and Asian markets. It's basically the same version but with the tornado and Russia scenes included (the version that has been telecast on TV since 1990). During the 90's, an urban legend surfaced online that it was shown one time on the SFM Holiday Network in 1989, that it was telecast in the midwestern U.S., and that someone's brother/father/mother/uncle/sister recorded it but later taped over it/lost it/couldn't find it. That urban legend was ultimately struck down, as it turned out that SFM never showed the film at all.

    Danny DeVito's original cut of The War of the Roses came out to 184 minutes. He cut it down to just under 120 minutes for the theatrical release, though he included some of the lost 60+ minutes of footage on the LD release (I don't have the DVD, so I don't know how much of that footage was included on the DVD.)

    And then there's George Lucas' original cut of Star Wars. A good 40-50 percent, if not more, of the film was shot in a documentary-style format to give him an idea of how to approach the film. Much of this original cut of Star Wars has yet to ever appear to the public at large, though the Star Wars Insider included a number of still shots from that lost cut a few years back. A few clips appeared on a Star Wars CD-ROM back around 1998, among them the lost Luke/Biggs scenes on Tatooine. (Those scenes were reported to have been shown on TV, but this never happened. Only a couple of behind-the-scenes clips from those scenes were included in "The Making of Star Wars", though.) And a few other clips from the lost cut were inserted into the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special".

    And one of the most notable films to have had severely altered versions run in U.S. and overseas theaters is Ridley Scott's Legend. The 90-minute U.S. cut with the horrendous Tangerine Dream underscore, and a 94-minute overseas cut with Jerry Goldsmith's music, were both slammed together from the original 120 minute-plus master assembly. It wasn't until the 113-minute answer print turned up on the 2-disc DVD that fans got to see close to Scott's original vision for the film. It's this film that has me hopeful that the 134-minute print of Superman IV will one day turn up, but I'm not holding my breath for it, though.
     
  5. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I don't think it is rare that the first build of a film ends up being substantially longer than the finished product. Scenes end up being dropped for pacing, continuity, confusion, or just plain ineffectiveness. All of that is part of the editing. Heck, the majority of the deleted scenes that I've seen have commentary that they were initially included but dropped for those various reasons.

    I would consider that very different from the results of studio tinkering or being handed to another director. In those cases, the director often seems to have a final approved version that is modified beyond his control. I would be most interested in seeing those.
     
  6. Jason Adams

    Jason Adams Supporting Actor

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    How about Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra? There is the 4 hour and 8 minute roadshow version, there is the 3 hour version for general release, and the 6 hour complete version that has yet to be seen. Though footage has been found, and seen in the DVD documentary.
     
  7. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    There's a 2 and a half hour cut of Batman Forever out there. I'd be interested in seeing it. The IMDB description sounds like it could be a better movie.
     
  8. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    There's the infamous producer's cut of "Halloween 6," but that can be had at most any con in the world. (It's still a sucky movie by the way).

    My favorite lost gem (also readily available at most cons) is Roger Corman's version of "The Fantastic Four." So bad it's great.
     
  9. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    The Avengers lost 20-30 minutes out of the movie (some extra scenes that may or may not have made the movie better and explains some parts of the movie better).

    I liked the producer's cut of Halloween 6 better than the final version of the movie.


    Hellraiser: Bloodline got recut and lost 20 plus minutes from the movie including some additional footage shot bya different director who did teh re-edit (since Miramax/Dimension wasn't satisfied by the cut of the movie turned in by the first director).

    As for Star Wars episode 4- A New Hope, I read at imdb.com that a longer rough cut was discovered years after the movie's release and it lost all of it's color due to falling behind a cabinet and lay undiscovered for years, and the print was in black and white.

    Be Seeing you,
    David Blackwell
     
  10. Kevin Leonard

    Kevin Leonard Supporting Actor

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    There's a workprint of Apocalypse Now floating around the net which runs approximately 6 hours.

    And though the negative was reportedly destroyed, Woody Allen reshot the entire film of September after he was unhappy with the original version (which had a totally different cast).
     
  11. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    Kevin, the rough cut of Apocalypse Now is more around 5 hours.

    Stargate has a three hour version no one has seen.

    Be Seeing you,
    David Blackwell
     
  12. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    Another example of an alternate version of a movie is Payback starring Mel gibson. mel Gibson took the movie away from the director and reshot some of it. The Gibson version runs 15 minutes shorter than the Brian Helgand's cut. The original version was darker.

    For more details of what was cut, go here:
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0120784/alternateversions

    Also Tank Girl really suffered in editing with many scenes cut.

    The original cut of Nightwatch (the remake from Dimension) ran 2 1/2 hours long.

    there is an alternate cut of Hard Traget that is 20 minutes longer and has an alternate ending.

    Also there is an earlier cut of Gattaca that is 121 minutes long.

    Be Seeing you,
    David Blackwell
     
  13. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I sure to want to see the big scene cut from the end of the Big Chill with Kevin Costner. I dont think its ever been shown anywhere.

    Ditto on Star Trek Nemesis. Why did they have to take out most of the character scenes that could have made it a richer film?
     
  14. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

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    I heard "The Saint" was a much better film. Some scenes were re-shot and a big fight scene was dropped because it didn't work with the new footage. Elizabeth Shues character died in the original version. I would like to see the directors cut on DVD. [​IMG]
     
  15. andrew markworthy

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    The Draughtsman's Contract was originally over four hours long (and might have made more sense in the longer version).

    The Avengers, as someone has alreday noted, was originally substantially longer (indeed moments from a couple of the subsequently clipped scenes may be seen in the trailer).

    The Big Sleep was drastically cut and more Bogart-Bacall scenes shot and inserted to take advantage of the 'screen chemistry' noticed during test screenings (both versions of the movie are on the DVD - the original version has a far more coherent plot).
     
  16. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I would love to see the orignal cuts of Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin.

    Be Seeing You,
    David Blackwell
    (goes off to think what he was originally going to mention)
     
  17. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

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    It should be pointed out that these run times are from rough cuts of the film. So edits are tighted up which adds up. Plus, I mostly assume a lot of that stuff is just trash and add nothing to the movies. Of course some are for theaterical length and could have interesting footage. But I think most deleted scenes you find on DVD's are just garbage that didn't work out. Still, would be interesting to see the stuff. I think MI:2 was 3 hours after the first cut.
     
  18. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    Some of the movies mentioned in this topic had footage cut to match a reasonable theaterical length. Some were edited severly or parts reshots due to the whims of the producers and test audience responses (nnever a good way to go. I don't have total faith in test audiences).

    Be Seeing You,
    David Blackwell
     
  19. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    Someday, I'd like to see the un-cut version of The Black Cauldron, without the Katzenberg edits.

    I'd like to see Richard Donner's assembly of Superman II.

    Top of the list, though, is the long-lost Welles cut of The Magnificent Ambersons.
     
  20. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    The grand-daddy of them all is Erich von Stroheim's Greed, an adaptation of Frank Norris's McTeague. Originally clocking in at an astonishing nine hours, von Stroheim managed to get a cut down to six hours but adamantly felt that nothing more could be taken out. Louis Mayer disagreed and the result was a fistfight between von Stroheim and Mayer in Mayer's office. Irving Thalberg seized the footage and had an editor who had not worked on Greed cut a final release at 140 minutes.

    The movie flopped.

    Yet though it flopped, Greed became a critical success. The acting was phenomenal, the story so complete that von Stroheim filmed EVERY detail in the book. It became the exemplar of realist film making. To this day, Greed, even in it's butchered form (thanks Thanlberg [​IMG] ), is considered one of the finest films ever made.

    As Roger Ebert says, "The missing seven hours of Greed have been called the Holy Grail of the cinema." While those seven hours are very likely gone from earth, a reconstructed version using production stills has been created to approximate the missing scenes. It's not a bad version though it's mostly an exercise in film history.

    You can read more about Greed all over the internet and Roger Ebert's essay on it here.
     

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