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Warner Bros. – We Want A Richard Donner Re-Cut of Superman II

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Tom Brennan, Oct 17, 2001.

  1. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Well-Known Member

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    In the recent chat with Warner Brothers, I asked a question regarding the possibility of having “Superman II” released in the form of a Richard Donner re-cut.
    For those who don’t know about the production history of “Superman II”, I suggest you head to the great Superman Cinema website here: http://supermancinema.co.uk/
    There you can read all about the history of the production woes in great detail. Be sure to click on the link to the "Superman II Analysis" as it is a must read. You can also read a very informative article on the firing of Richard Donner. In the "Supeman II" seciton, another must read is the original 1977 Tom Mankiewicz script for “Superman II” which best describes what the film was supposed to be. There are a great many things on the site; too many to list here, so I suggest you head there if you are not familiar with the problems of “Superman II”.
    For those who just want a brief synopsis, I’ll try my best to break it down. In short, Richard Donner was shooting “Superman: The Movie” and “Superman II” simultaneously in 1977. A decision was made to put off all remaining filming for “Superman II” until all the footage for the first film was complete.
    However, upon completion of the first Superman movie, Richard Donner was fired by the film’s producers. With the firing of Richard Donner, “Superman II” took a turn for the worse. Director Richard Lester took over as director. Lester not only filmed scenes that Donner was unable to complete (The Metropolis Battle for instance), but he also re-shot many scenes that Donner had already filmed. This was mostly done on the producer’s part to prevent Donner from getting a Director credit on the film. Many key elements and scenes were changed and re-written needlessly. Perhaps the most famous of all changes, was the removal of all key scenes involving Marlon Brando. Brando would not allow his footage to be shown in “Superman II” due to legal issues which have since been settled. Brando’s scenes are so very crucial to the narrative tone of “Superman II” and the film suffers with their absence. The entire opening for “Superman II” was also re-done. The original opening; which is detailed in the 1977 Tom Mankiewicz script, is far superior to what appears now and was filmed by Richard Donner.
    Another tragedy of Donner’s firing was the fact that John Williams did not return to score “Superman II” as he had done with the previous film. As a result, the soundtrack to the film suffered greatly. They were able to get away with using his music because the studio owned the music rights. Ken Thorne was hired to rearrange the Williams music, and the sound of the film sounds terrible because of it. The music in “Superman II” sounds like a high school marching band performing the score as opposed to the London Symphony Orchestra.
    Gene Hackman also did not return after learning of Donner’s firing. Despite the fact that his scenes were complete for “Superman II”, he was asked back for needless re-shoots. Hackman refused, and instead they used a body double and hired a Hackman impersonator for voice over work. If Donner’s footage is fully restored, the use of the body double and impersonator wouldn’t be needed at all.
    It has been determined that approximately 70% of “Superman II” was shot by Richard Donner. However, only 30% of Donner’s footage appeared in the theatrical version of the film because of the various changes and re-shoots.
    Warner Bros. responded to my question about the possibility of a Donner “Superman II” by saying that it has been discussed, but that it would be very costly and time-consuming. They also stated that they would prefer not to do anything without Richard Donner's participation, which is understandable.
    Richard Donner has expressed interest in re-cutting the film in various interviews. In a July issue of Entertainment Weekly, Donner stated that the door is still open for a reedited version. Donner went on to say: "Somewhere in the archives of Warner Bros. are scenes for II that are better than what are in II. Hopefully, someday we'll put them back and show the audience what they could've had."
    Warner Bros. knows that the interest is there, but we need to show them just how much interest there is.
    Warner, do you have any idea how profitable a Donner re-cut of “Superman II” would be? Superman fans and film fans in general want to see this film as it was originally meant to be seen. We want a Richard Donner re-cut of “Superman II”, or at the very least, a Special Edition where Richard Donner’s cut scenes can be shown in a deleted scenes section.
    It would also be fantastic for the soundtrack of the film to be re-scored by John Williams. As it would greatly improve the soundtrack and take that high school marching band sound out of the film.
    I would like to start a campaign to support a Richard Donner re-cut of Superman II. Let’s let Warner hear from us. Please show your support by replying to this thread.
    Sincerely,
    Tom Brennan
    [Edited last by Tom B on October 19, 2001 at 08:39 AM]
     
  2. TheBat

    TheBat Well-Known Member

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  3. Brion Lydon

    Brion Lydon Well-Known Member

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    I want a Donner cut of Superman II. Please make this come true Warners!
     
  4. TheBat

    TheBat Well-Known Member

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    i was talking with Jonathan Gaines from the Superman: SE dvd. He liked the idea of having a commentary track with the 3 phantom zone villains. I would want that on the disc.
    JACOB
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  5. todd s

    todd s Well-Known Member

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    I also want this reedit. Please Warner do the right thing.
     
  6. Graham Perks

    Graham Perks Well-Known Member

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    That would be cool! I wonder though, if Donner was 70% complete, where would the remaining 30% come from? Lester's footage? What about scenes from the Donner storyline that were not filmed at all?
     
  7. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Well-Known Member

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    Graham,
    Obviously some Lester footage would have to be used to fill in the gaps. For instance, Donner never filmed the Metropolis Battle Sequence; so the use of scenes that Richard Lester shot would be needed. Although I would hope they would edit out some of the more slapstick aspects of Lester's Metropolis Battle. You should check out the web site I linked in my post, you'll find more details on this there.
    Tom
    [Edited last by Tom B on October 18, 2001 at 10:37 AM]
     
  8. Matt_A

    Matt_A Well-Known Member

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    A re-edit of this movie would be very cool! I always thought the film was lacking in comparison to the original. It could have been so much better! Hopefully, the powers that be will make this happen.
     
  9. Ricky f

    Ricky f Well-Known Member

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  10. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Well-Known Member

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    I would absolutely go bonkers to get my hands on a special edition DVD of Superman II featuring Richard Donner's restored footage. Some of this film is noticably cheesy while other parts are absolutely terrific. Funny how if you research the thing (thanks to www.deceptions.net/superman ) you find that cheesy = Richard Lester and terrific = Richard Donner. No surprise there, I guess.
    Somebody make this happen!
    We'll even chip in $10 each to pay off Marlon Brando, if that's what it takes.
     
  11. John Stockton

    John Stockton Well-Known Member

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    Quoting Bill Murray from Ghostbusters: "I love this idea, I am glad to be a part of it".
    Tom
    I too am in complete agreement with you. Superman II is good , but it could have been so much better had Donner finished the film. My only concern is what if Richard Lester objects to all this.
     
  12. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Well-Known Member

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    I really love the special treatment that Superman: The Movie received and purchased the DVD. I did not purchase Superman II however. Mainly because it was not given equal treatment, and partially because of the issues at hand. A Richard Donner re-cut of this film would guarantee a purchase from me. Please bring it on.
    ------------------
    Bill [​IMG]
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  13. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Well-Known Member

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    John,
    Richard Lester has shown little interest in Superman. He has made it quite clear that he is not a fan of Superman. He took on the job because he was owed money by the film's producer's, the Salkinds.
    With Donner's footage fully re-instated, Donner would have over 70% of the film be his. He would have the Director credit he so richly deserves.
    He could possibly have more then 70% of the footage for "Superman II" be his if new effects could be added such as the original opening where the villians get freed from the Phantom Zone because of the nuclear missile Superman hurls into space in the first film (not the silly Paris sequence). It is unclear whether or not the effects for this were completed. Many of the effects for "Superman II" were uncomplete.
    In order to receive a Director credit, I think you have to have directed over 50% of the film. Obviously, if this re-cut happens, Donner would have full Director's credit. Richard Lester wouldn't have much say, and judging by his comments, I doubt he would care. However, he would have to be credited in the end credits in some capacity.
    Regardless, I don't want to speculate here. My goal here is just to generate interest and show Warner Bros. that this would be a worthy investment.
    Tom
    [Edited last by Tom B on October 18, 2001 at 01:01 PM]
     
  14. Todd H

    Todd H Go Dawgs!

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    Count me in!
     
  15. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see this. Add my vote to the pile.
     
  16. Dave H

    Dave H Well-Known Member

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    To my understanding, given all of the crap that happened with Superman II, Donner wants nothing to ever do with it. Have you heard this?
     
  17. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Well-Known Member

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    Not true Dave. You are misinformed. You obviously didn't read my full petition. I gave specific quotes from Donner where he expressed interest.
    Tom
    [Edited last by Tom B on October 19, 2001 at 09:33 AM]
     
  18. TheBat

    TheBat Well-Known Member

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    For many years, donner was not intersted.. but when the interested from the fans, he has reconsidered it.
    its not fun for anyone to get fired from a job.. even from a film or even a local job..
    JACOB
     
  19. Wes Ray

    Wes Ray Well-Known Member

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    I too would like to see Donner's cut of this film released on DVD. Make it happen, Warner Bros!
     
  20. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Well-Known Member

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    I would also love a Donner cut. We got a small hint of what we could be getting on the first disc, the audition footage showed the original wat Lois finds out about Clark, not that stupid fireplace bit.
    I'm kinda partial to the Paris bit though, simply for the exchange between Clark and Perry:
    "Well, gosh, that's terrible!"
    "That's why they're called terrorists, Clark."
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