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attention WB: more ALTERED STATES


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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2006 - 01:41 AM

Looking for a back-catalog title that you can make a lot of money on?

Take another look at ALTERED STATES.

Specifically the director's cut that you previewed. It was just under three hours as I recall, with an abundance of wild and insane footage that made an audience of 900 people howl in their seats. Ken Russell knew how to provoke a reaction, and if his longer version were to be seen today in all its glorious political incorrectness, it would provoke an even bigger reaction.

A documentary might even outshine the film. It's history how, so why not let all the on-set conflicts be discussed openly. Making this film was like fighting a war. Celebrate it. Dig up some of the TV interviews where Paddy Chayefsky had his say. Try to locate some footage of Blair Brown's agent at the preview, looking as if he's about to have a stroke at what he's just seen. Invite the director to entertain us further with a commentary. Encourage the actors to fight it out all over again in a commentary of their own.

Controversy sells DVD's.

#2 of 39 OFFLINE   Christopher Lee

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Posted January 25 2006 - 02:32 AM

That's a great idea Richard; I think that such a release would be a hell of a lot of fun. That has to be the most energized performance of William Hurt's career. I wish that Hurt was still commanding leading roles: who can forget his brilliance in Children of a Lesser God and Kiss of the Spider Woman? In any case, I have always felt that Altered States seemed somewhat truncated in its original release, and that it would truly benefit from an expanded version, if possible.

CLD

#3 of 39 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted January 25 2006 - 02:55 AM

Blair Brown had more screen time in the preview cut, especially in the last ten minutes, which is certainly truncated in the released version. She's wonderful, very brave, and more than a match for Hurt. If her scenes were reinstated she'd steal the film right out from under Mr. Hurt. I would also like to see all the outragageous and explicit bits of business restored to the "trip" sequences. What a shame to undertake all those expensive and time-consuming optical effects, and then trim the scenes down to almost nothing. The full-length "trip" sequences are crucial to Ken Russell's art and a true viewing experience.

No doubt WB can expect an NC-17 rating, but who cares 25 years later? Have fun with it.

If WB is looking for a cult director who can sell DVD's like crazy, they should turn Ken Russell loose on his own catalog.

Then give him some money to make new films.

#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Bob Graham

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:23 AM

Actually, WB could do a really interesting Ken Russell boxset: THE DEVILS (a DVD is already underway), ALTERED STATES, THE BOYFRIEND, LISTZOMANIA and SAVAGE MESSIAH. Man, what a set that would make!

#5 of 39 OFFLINE   Felix Martinez

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
Blair Brown had more screen time in the preview cut, especially in the last ten minutes, which is certainly truncated in the released version. She's wonderful, very brave, and more than a match for Hurt. If her scenes were reinstated she'd steal the film right out from under Mr. Hurt. I would also like to see all the outragageous and explicit bits of business restored to the "trip" sequences. What a shame to undertake all those expensive and time-consuming optical effects, and then trim the scenes down to almost nothing. The full-length "trip" sequences are crucial to Ken Russell's art and a true viewing experience.

No doubt WB can expect an NC-17 rating, but who cares 25 years later? Have fun with it.

If WB is looking for a cult director who can sell DVD's like crazy, they should turn Ken Russell loose on his own catalog.

Then give him some money to make new films.

I would absolutely love to see a new release with all of the things you mentioned. As this may or may not see the light of day, can you please elaborate on what was cut and some of the outrageous things on and off the screen...? Posted Image

I'm very curious. I'm a big fan of the film, but haven't revisited it in some time.

#6 of 39 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:02 PM

I had no idea ALTERED STATES was so...um...altered. I'd love to see the original director's cut!

#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 26 2006 - 03:45 AM

So would I. Consider this: Despite its SF leanings, it is a major film release that has, as its core subject, the experimenation with psychedelic substances (specifically, in the beginning of the film, the use of DMT). That Hurt's psychedelic-tinged isolation experiments led to his devolution into a protohuman, of course, makes for a fun experience. Posted Image

#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Paul Linfesty

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Posted January 26 2006 - 05:28 AM

I had no idea ALTERED STATES was so...um...altered. I'd love to see the original director's cut!


Wasn't the general release the director's cut? A preview cut is just that. There is not the intention of ever releasing this preview cut. It is merely a rough assemblage of shots that have yet to be fully shaped. It is strictly for the benefit of the director, editor and producers to gouge what scenes need to be cut and in some cases what needs to be re-shot.

There would never have been any consideration to release this kind of movie at a 3 hour length in 1980.

#9 of 39 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted January 26 2006 - 05:33 AM

I love the look & sound of this film in its current state
(some excess grain & print damage).
An early DVD release which hit the street in the ten buck range, with anamorphic transfer & 5.1.
Any alteration in the form of an upgrade would indeed be welcome!
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Jefferson Morris

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Posted January 26 2006 - 09:25 AM

Wow, you've certainly piqued my interest. I'm a big fan of this title as well, and wouldn't think twice about springing for a new DVD of a longer version, however unpolished.

--Jefferson Morris
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#11 of 39 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted January 26 2006 - 01:46 PM

Quote:
Wasn't the general release the director's cut? A preview cut is just that. There is not the intention of ever releasing this preview cut. It is merely a rough assemblage of shots that have yet to be fully shaped. It is strictly for the benefit of the director, editor and producers to gouge what scenes need to be cut and in some cases what needs to be re-shot.

There would never have been any consideration to release this kind of movie at a 3 hour length in 1980.

Fine, call it whatever you want, but I want to see the longer version of this film.

#12 of 39 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted January 26 2006 - 11:45 PM

Quote:
can you please elaborate on what was cut and some of the outrageous things on and off the screen...?


It's been over 25 years! No, I can't. But I do remember that the Preview was even more unhinged, more flamboyant than the Theatrical Release. Entire scenes I had enjoyed in the Preview were missing from the Theatrical Release. Existing scenes are shortened, or tightened up in the Theatrical Release. Blair Brown's character had more to do and say. At least one entire "trip" was cut before Hurt regresses into a neandrathal [sp?] There was more exposition, more romance academic-style, more cussin', more nudity, more hot-tempered debates, more imagery in the "trip" sequences calculated to push our buttons and provoke our reactions.

Quote:
Wasn't the general release the director's cut? A preview cut is just that. There is not the intention of ever releasing this preview cut. It is merely a rough assemblage of shots that have yet to be fully shaped. It is strictly for the benefit of the director, editor and producers to gouge what scenes need to be cut and in some cases what needs to be re-shot.

There would never have been any consideration to release this kind of movie at a 3 hour length in 1980.


You're correct, of course. It was just a Preview. The footage that was removed was substantial, however. Finished scenes, not throw-away stuff. My guess is that WB probably had to appease the ratings board. No doubt the director must have found it painful to trim so much of his finest work. Either way, there's another perfectly legitimate film to be had out of that Preview which could give new life to ALTERED STATES in the home video market.

Right now studios are tripping over themselves looking for vault materials to supplement DVD's because DVD's with supplements sell better than those without supplements. So I suggest that Warner Brothers take a hard look at what they've got for ALTERED STATES and consider the possibility of issuing an expanded version -- with Ken Russell's participation, of course. That's all I'm suggesting.

Remember, ALTERED STATES was a major A-list release in 1980. It performed well at the box-office and got rave reviews. Thematically it's still light years ahead of anything in the movies now. It was also controversial, with its flamboyant combination of sexual and religious imagery. People had very strong feelings about it. It was one of the most outrageous films anyone had ever seen -- or made -- up to that time. The optical effects were state of the art both technically and in terms of telling a visual story.

Further, it was an original story. Nobody had ever told a story remotely like it on the screen before. Also, there was a lot of conflict on the set, and with the author of the book, Paddy Chayefksy, who disowned the movie and went on talk shows telling people not to go see it. Chayefksy based his novel on actual events, but he didn't like how the film altered his ideas and went down different avenues. The film shocked him. There's one helluva of a documentary to be had here.

I watched the DVD recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. The DVD is fine, nothing wrong with it, but my enjoyment of the film turns my mind back to the Preview, and the possibilities.

#13 of 39 OFFLINE   Philo MacDuff

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Posted January 27 2006 - 10:03 AM

Maybe I dreamt this after a visit to that Mexican tribe but I swear I read on a forum that a special edition was already in the works for this film.

Also, a couple of years ago it was reported that Warner had hired a screenwriter for a planned remake. No idea what happened to that. Maybe the writer regressed during preproduction and ate the executives in charge.

--------

I knew I'd read some blurb about a SE somewhere. Turns out I read it right here on this board in a thread about THE DEVILS. Unfortunately I'm unable to post the link but it was mentioned by member Gordon McMurphy in March of 2005.
Quote:
Warner USA are planning on working on all of the films they own but they won't be out until next year, with a remastered SE of Altered States.

Half Man... Half Ant... All Terror!

#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted January 31 2012 - 05:41 AM

Prompted by an upcoming screening of ALTERED STATES at the Walter Reade, I posted to Warner Archive's Twitter and Facebook accounts about the possibility of them or some more appropriate faction of WHV releasing Russell's full preview cut of ALTERED STATES on Blu-ray or DVD. We can dream, right?

Quote:
[TABLE] [TR] can you please elaborate on what was cut and some of the outrageous things on and off the screen...? [/TR] [/TABLE]
It's been over 25 years! No, I can't. But I do remember that the Preview was even more unhinged, more flamboyant than the Theatrical Release. Entire scenes I had enjoyed in the Preview were missing from the Theatrical Release. Existing scenes are shortened, or tightened up in the Theatrical Release. Blair Brown's character had more to do and say. At least one entire "trip" was cut before Hurt regresses into a neandrathal [sp?] There was more exposition, more romance academic-style, more cussin', more nudity, more hot-tempered debates, more imagery in the "trip" sequences calculated to push our buttons and provoke our reactions.
Quote:
[TABLE] [TR] Wasn't the general release the director's cut? A preview cut is just that. There is not the intention of ever releasing this preview cut. It is merely a rough assemblage of shots that have yet to be fully shaped. It is strictly for the benefit of the director, editor and producers to gouge what scenes need to be cut and in some cases what needs to be re-shot. There would never have been any consideration to release this kind of movie at a 3 hour length in 1980. [/TR] [/TABLE]
You're correct, of course. It was just a Preview. The footage that was removed was substantial, however. Finished scenes, not throw-away stuff. My guess is that WB probably had to appease the ratings board. No doubt the director must have found it painful to trim so much of his finest work. Either way, there's another perfectly legitimate film to be had out of that Preview which could give new life to ALTERED STATES in the home video market. Right now studios are tripping over themselves looking for vault materials to supplement DVD's because DVD's with supplements sell better than those without supplements. So I suggest that Warner Brothers take a hard look at what they've got for ALTERED STATES and consider the possibility of issuing an expanded version -- with Ken Russell's participation, of course. That's all I'm suggesting. Remember, ALTERED STATES was a major A-list release in 1980. It performed well at the box-office and got rave reviews. Thematically it's still light years ahead of anything in the movies now. It was also controversial, with its flamboyant combination of sexual and religious imagery. People had very strong feelings about it. It was one of the most outrageous films anyone had ever seen -- or made -- up to that time. The optical effects were state of the art both technically and in terms of telling a visual story. Further, it was an original story. Nobody had ever told a story remotely like it on the screen before. Also, there was a lot of conflict on the set, and with the author of the book, Paddy Chayefksy, who disowned the movie and went on talk shows telling people not to go see it. Chayefksy based his novel on actual events, but he didn't like how the film altered his ideas and went down different avenues. The film shocked him. There's one helluva of a documentary to be had here. I watched the DVD recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. The DVD is fine, nothing wrong with it, but my enjoyment of the film turns my mind back to the Preview, and the possibilities.



#15 of 39 OFFLINE   scribe1964

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Posted February 01 2012 - 07:49 AM

I saw ALTERED STATES when it was first released and many times since. I actually just watched the DVD about a month or two ago. I think it's a very flawed film, but I love it anyway. It's such a weird mixture of things, and it certainly aims high. I'd love to see a Blu-Ray as well as this preview cut. It would also be nice to see a documentary about the making of the film. With the problems Russell and Chayevsky had, it would probably be as dramatic as the movie.

Remember, ALTERED STATES was a major A-list release in 1980. It performed well at the box-office and got rave reviews.

I'm pretty certain that is actually bombed at the box office. Not so sure about the reviews, though I know Pauline Kael hated it (then again she hated everything Chayevsky wrote).

#16 of 39 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted February 01 2012 - 09:46 AM

I've enver seen the movie, but I would blind buy a Warner's Boxset of Russell's films remastered in a heartbeat. Preferably in Blu.



#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted February 02 2012 - 04:12 AM

Film Comment magazine is screening the movie at NY's Lincoln Center on Friday, Feb. 24, at 9:30pm.

#18 of 39 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted February 02 2012 - 04:57 AM

Film Comment magazine is screening the movie at NY's Lincoln Center on Friday, Feb. 24, at 9:30pm.

Yes, that's what prompted me resurrecting this thread and asking WB about it. They replied to me on Facebook and Twitter. They thought it sounded intriguing, but warned against getting too optimistic that the preview cut and / or elements still exist.

#19 of 39 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 05 2012 - 08:10 AM

Does that mean they are actively looking for the preview cut and / or elements? I've never understood how studios can lose and / or misplace footage in the first place. http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ Let us know your impression of the film and he response of the crowd at Lincoln Center.

#20 of 39 OFFLINE   Jon Hertzberg

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Posted February 06 2012 - 08:06 AM

Does that mean they are actively looking for the preview cut and / or elements? I've never understood how studios can lose and / or misplace footage in the first place. Let us know your impression of the film and he response of the crowd at Lincoln Center.

Sounds like they would do at least a cursory look around the premises to see if the excised scenes pop up anywhere. Their response doesn't indicate misplaced or lost footage...sounds more like they are saying that materials in this category were often discarded or destroyed when it was deemed that they would not be used in the short term. I recall reading that another studio, Universal, got rid of plenty of trims / outtakes--permanently--in the early to mid-'80s. The story arose out of a discussion about FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and the footage that was cut in order to receive an R rating, as well as the extra scenes that have appeared in television edits of that film since the '80s. My hunch is that these scenes from ALTERED STATES, if they still exist, are somewhere that would require more extensive digging a la the BLUE VELVET "long-lost-and-much-later-found" outtakes. I'll be sure and report on the screening at Walter Reade...I'm just hoping they definitely get a 35mm print as they have been woefully inconsistent in this area in recent times.


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