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Being There - outraged!


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#1 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted July 13 2005 - 09:52 AM

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"Being There" has been one of my favorite movies. Actually it’s one of my early "serious" movies where I grew up from watching "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" movies into watching "other" movies. Anyway has been a long time since I had seen it on VHS and saw that it’s available on DVD. Got the DVD and watched it tonight and was shocked to see the end credits! The bloopers.

I remember that the version I saw when I was young just ended with the end credits very nicely. So I did a little looking around and found out that there are 2 versions available. Saw this on IMDb

Quote:
Despite Sellers' repeated requests, the producers would not remove the out-takes from the version they submitted to Cannes.

Quote:
Peter Sellers was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor. Some said the reason Sellers lost was because of the outtakes at the very end of the movie as the credits are rolling. Sellers himself later said the outtakes "broke the spell" of the movie.

First what were they thinking? It’s completely out of place and ruins this perfect drama movie, it's not a comedy! Also learning that Sellers requested they be removed and they weren’t, makes me even more mad! Complete lack of respect. Had the director a hand in this or was it just the producers wanting to milk a little on his fame?

I wish they had included the other version on DVD. It's the only version I will remember. Anyway I’m just outraged! Yes maybe I’m 26 years late to say it but I had to get it out!

#2 of 37 OFFLINE   David James

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Posted July 13 2005 - 11:07 AM

Also one of all time favorites and coincidentally I was thinking about getting this just the other day. No Blockbuster in my area carries it though.

How is the transfer?

#3 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted July 13 2005 - 11:32 AM

Made some screenshots:

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#4 of 37 OFFLINE   Mike Heenan

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Posted July 13 2005 - 11:35 AM

I actually liked the outtakes as I recall when I first saw the film. But it's a shame he didn't get the oscar and it's also a shame that this wasn't his last film either. Too bad since Tom Hanks won an oscar for what was basically the same role.

#5 of 37 OFFLINE   Jordan_E

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Posted July 13 2005 - 12:41 PM

"I like to watch."
God, what a fantastic movie! Thanks for reminding me about it...
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#6 of 37 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted July 13 2005 - 01:52 PM

I saw the film in Washington, D.C. when it premiered and don't think I've seen it since. (It is not a film I would have wanted to see in 4:3 on television and I never owned the laserdisc.) I clearly recall having seen the out-takes. Maybe they removed them in the European general relesae prints, If the DVD reflects what was seen in the theaters, I don't see the problem. And I don't believe that seeing them undermined anyone's appreciation of Seller's performance (if anything the out-takes should have enhanced everyone's admiration for his skills), much less cost him the Oscar.

Regards,

Joe

#7 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted July 13 2005 - 02:13 PM

Well, it’s like if the producers of Million Dollar Baby decide to add outtakes to the end of the movie (so people could admire how great Eastwood and Freeman were when they were not fooling around!) It’s absolutely unheard of adding outtakes to the end of a drama. There is a reason if they don’t do that!

It’s no Rush Hour or a Jackie Chan movie. I think that they got scared (or greedy). They might have said we have a Peter Sellers movie and it’s dark and unusual, let’s give the people some laughs at the end so they would leave the theater happy!

If they wanted to add it, it should have been as a supplement. Especially that we are dealing with DVD here and you have the possibility.

#8 of 37 OFFLINE   walter o

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Posted July 13 2005 - 02:26 PM

I too saw this on the big screen (it was in Japan), and it ended with a regular end credit (just like the old MGM/CBS video edition), but when I saw it on showtime in 1981, it ended with the outtakes, so I asked my classmates, and most said when they saw it on the big screen it did have the outtakes. So I have no idea which version was the one widely seen.

#9 of 37 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted July 13 2005 - 03:56 PM

I wouldn't take the Oscars that seriously.

Remember, they decided to give Rex Harrison (for My Fair Lady) the Best Actor Oscar instead of Sellers for his performances in Dr. Strangelove in 1965.

Hell, we're talking about the awards that chose Kramer vs. Kramer over Apocalypse Now, How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon, etc. Hitchcock, Scorsese, and Kubrick didn't exactly get honors from the Academy, either.

As for the credits, I do feel that they're a little out of place since Sellers is so convincing as Chance. I wouldn't blame WB, though. The outtakes credits are probably what's on the negative and also the most common.

Also, Being There seems to be more of a comedy rather than a drama. Just a very restrained comedy.

#10 of 37 OFFLINE   JeffMc

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Posted July 13 2005 - 06:14 PM

Ya, the outtakes were definitely always part of the original US theatrical release. I saw the film a few times in the theater at that time and the audiences always enjoyed the outtakes. I didn't feel that it hurt the preceeding film one bit, either - the film stands on it's own - and when the credits rolled, the film was over and you could then laugh in a different way at the outtake segment.

That said, I can also understand Sellers' opinion on the matter and must say that he did have a point. Showing such outtakes could be detrimental to some degree to some audience members and have an effect on how they viewed the film. However, in that day and time, the outtake gimmick was pretty fresh and seemed appropriate - even at the end of a film like BEING THERE. Audiences seemed to really go with it. I know it didn't hurt my opinion of the film or Sellers' performance one bit. It actually showed that he had a great sense of humor and I appreciated his performance even more on repeat viewings. Nowadays, an outtake reel seems really cheap and cheesy, but I don't think it had that aura back then. It was a different age and mindset. Times have changed.

I remember some fans being upset years ago when video versions or cable showings OMITTED the end credit outtakes sequence. So, there you go. You can't please everyone! I can't really fault Warners for restoring the film to its original US theatrical version. Like it or not, that's the way it was originally released in the US and you can't change history.

#11 of 37 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted July 13 2005 - 10:05 PM

Quote:
I know it didn't hurt my opinion of the film or Sellers' performance one bit.
Yes, indeed, it doesn’t change our opinion of his performance but it’s a mood breaker and that’s the point. There is a momentum and mood with every movie and how emotions built up upon each other. Why do we all hate seeing a movie on TV and oppose to ads? A good movie, is a good movie, no matter how much they add ads in it, it’s not going to change it! Well we hate it because it’s a mood breaker.

Quote:
can't really fault Warners for restoring the film to its original US theatrical version. Like it or not, that's the way it was originally released in the US and you can't change history.
Well, yes you can! Look at Brasil, Blade Runner, The Big Blue and many other movies that were tampered with in the US theatrical cut. Posted Image

#12 of 37 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted July 14 2005 - 01:56 AM

Quote:
Yes, indeed, it doesn’t change our opinion of his performance but it’s a mood breaker and that’s the point.


But the end of a film is always a "mood breaker". The lights coming up, the chatter, the people collecting coats and umbrellas and moving towards the exits are part of the breaking of the spell that any film creates. And lets face it, most people in most theatrical audiences don't even sit through the closing credits anymore. It is only film geeks like us that bother with such things, so it probably had no effect one way or the other on 80% of the people who saw the movie in its first run.

Regards,

Joe

#13 of 37 OFFLINE   Will_B

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Posted July 14 2005 - 02:39 AM

Sounds like they were ahead of their time, realising that special features like bloopers would be wanted. So they didn't have DVD then and stuck them onto the end credits, so what? At least they provided them.
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#14 of 37 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted July 14 2005 - 03:10 AM

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It’s absolutely unheard of adding outtakes to the end of a drama. There is a reason if they don’t do that!

Drama? Being There? This wonderful film may be many things but IMO is definitely not a drama, it's a dark cynical satire of political, social, class and media life, basically pointing out the fact that people will see what they want to see (or need to see) no matter what actual reality might be. It is not a drama as far as I have ever noticed.
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#15 of 37 OFFLINE   Ron Morgan

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Posted July 14 2005 - 03:28 AM

I agree with Patrick that BEING THERE is a comedy, also a wonderful satire. Certainly not the type of lighthearted slapstick of the PANTHER films, though.

As for the bloopers during the end credits, while it would be OK to have them as an extra, even if that was the most widely distributed version I still would prefer they not be there. It is true a movie ending is a "mood breaker," it doesn't have to be a tone breaker. Those bloopers are frivilous and silly, completely at odds with the tone of the film proper.

Actually, I've seen two other variations of the end credits. The credits roll over an image of TV snow on one. The other they roll over a DASTARDLY & MUTTLEY cartoon.

#16 of 37 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted July 14 2005 - 03:36 AM

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Drama? Being There? This wonderful film may be many things but IMO is definitely not a drama, it's a dark cynical satire of political, social, class and media life, basically pointing out the fact that people will see what they want to see (or need to see) no matter what actual reality might be. It is not a drama as far as I have ever noticed.

I agree 100%. A drama Being There most certainly is not. And I have no problem with the out takes. They are hilarious and I'm sure had absolutely NO bearing on whether Peter Sellers was denied an Oscar.

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#17 of 37 OFFLINE   Rich Malloy

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Posted July 14 2005 - 04:57 AM

While I'm not outraged, I sympathize with Sam's point. I also associate the "outtakes over credits" with lesser films that seek only to amuse. I've never seen "Being There" with the outtakes, but I can certainly see how they would clash with the quiet wonder of the film's ending (even the film as a whole).

And "Being There" is a comedy to a large degree, but it's not merely that. Jerzy Kosinski is certainly considered an author of true merit, one with something important to say about human nature and not just admired for the yuks. Likewise, the director Hal Ashby is one of the giants of 70s American cinema, with at least four highly significant, even iconic films to his credit. There's a depth to "Being There" and an appreciation of human nature that goes well beyond many "serious dramas". IMO, outtakes seem particularly gimmicky in this context, and more than a little out-of-place.
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#18 of 37 OFFLINE   Jon Martin

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Posted July 14 2005 - 05:00 AM

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Look at Brasil, Blade Runner, The Big Blue and many other movies that were tampered with in the US theatrical cut.


Honestly, I like the original US cut of THE BIG BLUE to the director's cut. Especially the music score. Bill Conti's US score is one of my favorites and Eric Serra's, well, isn't. So, this is one case where I wish the US cut was released.

#19 of 37 OFFLINE   Paul Linfesty

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Posted July 14 2005 - 05:03 AM

When the film debuted at the Regent Theatre in Westwood Village (prior to being "platformed out") there were no bloopers at the end, at least in the first week. However, a friend of mine saw it at that same theatre a month later (still in an exclusive run) and said that it had bloopers during the end credits, so it must have been added sometime during the first few weeks of the exclusive run engagements. I saw the bloopers myself during the national break a few months later.

#20 of 37 OFFLINE   JeffMc

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Posted July 14 2005 - 06:06 AM

Well, yes you can! Look at Brasil, Blade Runner, The Big Blue and many other movies that were tampered with in the US theatrical cut.


I think simply adding something to the end credits is a lot different than totally re-cutting a film or adding narration to a whole film. Maybe you don't like the outtakes and that's your prerogative. I don't like a lot of things about a lot of movies, but that doesn't mean everything needs to be changed constantly (ala Lucas). I hated the manipulative ending of the current WAR OF THE WORLDS. So what? A lot of people may have liked that ending. Should Paramount change the ending just for me when it comes out on DVD? I don't think so.

As far as the outtakes being a "mood-breaker", I have to agree with Joe that once the film's end credits start rolling, the film is basically over anyway. I don't think Hal Ashby "directed" the credits. The film was done, it was great, and then here are some outtakes. Big deal. Back in 1982, I worked at the Avco Cinema in Westwood (a flagship premiere movie-house at the time before being chopped-up) and I still remember when we were showing SOPHIE'S CHOICE, a woman came up to complain after the final credits had finished. It seems that after the 5 minutes or so of the somber final credit roll, the lights came up and the automatic 'muzak' started in the auditorium. She thought the auditorium muzak was inappropriate (some light-hearted 50's instrumental). Where do you draw the line to prevent someone's mood from being broken? Do you have to walk each customer out to their car and console them along the way? Follow them home? Tuck them in?

I do agree the outtakes probably do look today a lot more like a gimmick or cheesy, but in 1979, that wasn't so much the case. I really couldn't care less about those outtakes myself, personally, but I guarantee you people who saw and loved the film (with the outtakes) back in 1979 still remember those outtakes as being part of the film. And I doubt that many of those older fans have gotten their panties in such a bunch that the outtakes are included on the DVD. I think a lot of them actually WANT them in the film as they remember it. So a few younger people who grew up watching "INDIANA JONES" (!) now want to have it their way. I say 'so what'. The film may actually work better without those outtakes, but who are you to dictate this? Don't like 'em - don't watch 'em - it's not like they've been inserted into the middle of the movie.

I suggest next time you watch BEING THERE, simply turn the DVD off as soon as the end credits begin. And if you want to see those credits sans outtakes, you can watch your old VHS tape. There, all solved.


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