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Billy Wilder's FEDORA


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#1 of 16 rexMcgee

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Posted February 22 2006 - 11:32 PM

Warner just confirmed that they no longer have the rights to Wilder's FEDORA. Who does?

I was a personal assistant to Billy on this film, and I preserved a preview print of the film from the original camera negative and donated to AMPAS in 1996. It is 8 minutes longer than the release version and contains the entire Miklos Rozsa score before it was chopped up by the producers. Excecpt for having turned pink through the last 28 years, it is in pristine condition and in fact has never been projected. I also donated boxes of outtakes and deleted workprint scenes and screen tests to the Academy. I wrote an article about the production for American Film magazine, and I still have hundreds of high-quality production stills from the film.

How do we get some DVD attention for this admittedly flawed but fascinating film? I have tried to contact WB's Michael Radiloff and George Feltenstein, but I've had no luck with responses.

Can anyone out there help? EMAIL me at:

rexmcgee@hotmail.com


#2 of 16 Eric Peterson

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Posted February 23 2006 - 12:25 AM

I wish that I knew the answer. Wilder is hands-down my favorite filmmaker of all-time and I've seen all of his films at least twice, and most upwards of 5+ times. I managed to pick up Fedora on LD off of Ebay a few years ago, but I love to get an anamorphic presentation with the extra material that you mentioned.

What was it like working with Wilder? I planned for several years to fly out to California in an attempt to meet him, but unfortunately I waited too long.

From reading nearly every book released, he sounded like an absolutely fascinating man.

#3 of 16 Bruce Morrison

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Posted February 23 2006 - 05:12 AM

Fedora is definitely in my list of most-wanted films on DVD! It's been criminally underrated in my view.

I'd also like to know who has the DVD rights. I'm also wondering whether Criterion could be prevailed upon to investigate, with a view to releasing it themselves. It's just the sort of film that would be a valuable addition to the Criterion library.

In desperation, I bought the Japanese DVD edition, but I would warn anybody else not to bother. It's taken from a French print (all the credits are in French), and it looks like a poor-quality VHS copy. I gather the edition released in Spain is from the same source.

We really need somebody to step up and bring this great film out on R1 DVD in a high quality transfer.
Bruce Morrison

#4 of 16 Joe Caps

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Posted February 23 2006 - 05:20 AM

Rex - you mention the print includes ALL of the Rozsa score before the producers tamepred with it. This is awesome. I saw a test screening of this version in New York before the film opened.

Anway, you mention the producers tampered with the score. Does this mean that Mr. Wilder did not want Rozsa music taken out? If no, could this print be looked upon as the directors preferred version?

#5 of 16 rexMcgee

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Posted February 23 2006 - 07:53 AM

The producers (Lorimar) convinced Wilder that the score was "old-fashioned," so he let them hack it up. Wilder and Rozsa never spoke after that.

#6 of 16 rexMcgee

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Posted February 23 2006 - 07:55 AM

The producers (Lorimar) convinced Wilder that the score was "old-fashioned," so he let them hack it up. Wilder and Rozsa never spoke after that. The longer version of the film was previewed in Santa Barbara (I was there), and it was not well received, to say the least. Thus the hacking.

#7 of 16 Joe Caps

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Posted February 23 2006 - 09:47 AM

Rex, could you get the longer version released that has ALL of Rozsa score in it.
Is this possible?

#8 of 16 Mark Edward Heuck

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Posted February 23 2006 - 03:56 PM

As I hypothesized in the post-chat thread, I suspect FEDORA may now be controlled by the German tax-shelter company that helped finance it. Other films they were associated with such as THE WILD GEESE, ZULU DAWN, and ASHANTI, have wound up at upstart Tango Entertainment. I have not seen them issue any statement about upcoming releases, but that would be where my detective nose would go to first.
"As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies." -- Gore Vidal

#9 of 16 Stephen PI

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Posted February 24 2006 - 02:38 AM

Quote:
Warner just confirmed that they no longer have the rights to Wilder's FEDORA. Who does?


With Lorimar and United Artists involved I would have thought that Sony had control over this film now.
Steve Pickard

#10 of 16 rexMcgee

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Posted February 24 2006 - 02:45 AM

UA only made a distribution deal for the film, but you may be right about Sony ...

#11 of 16 Guido Bibra

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Posted February 24 2006 - 03:11 AM

With Bavaria Films co-producing Fedora there might be a slim chance that a German studio gets it, maybe Kinowelt or Koch Media, but don't know exactly where the rights to the 70s Bavaria catalogue went.

But what about "Buddy, Buddy"? It's no great movie, but Wilders last and to see Jack Lemmon and Walther Matthau together is always wonderful. I've watched a horrible Pan&Scan-Version in the late 90s on TCM Europe, but where are the rights now? The movie had a MGM logo in front, but I think it was a UA production in the muddled times when MGM bought United Artists. Maybe the movie is back at MGM now?

#12 of 16 walter o

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Posted February 24 2006 - 04:04 AM

If FEDORA is with Tango, it certainly will not be a acceptable release, their ASHANTI was a pan and scan abomination!

#13 of 16 Will Ryan

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Posted February 24 2006 - 09:07 AM

MGM/UA did release a VHS of BUDDY/BUDDY in the mid 90's, but no laserdisc---and I thought it had a Turner logo on the front of the vhs, but I'll have to check my copy. Is this title in the hands of Sony with the whol UA buy????

The warner brothers lasers of FEDORA are known to rot (sony plant), if you can, burn it to DVD-R until an offical release comes out

#14 of 16 Mark Edward Heuck

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Posted February 24 2006 - 02:52 PM

I suspect that BUDDY BUDDY may have reverted to producer Jay Weston; he currently controls the rights to another film he produced, NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER, which initially was released by Columbia. He may be one of those lucky producers who gets ownership of his movies back after so many years.
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#15 of 16 jorge antonio

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Posted April 20 2007 - 10:57 AM

Hi everybody,

I'm Jorge from Spain. Sorry if my English is not very good.

I have the Spanish DVD edition (a copy of the French print), and unfortunately it really looks like a VHS copy. But, watching FEDORA again,
does anybody know which is the first piece of music used in the film? It's played by a group of funeral musicians.

I have the Rozsa's soundtrack (marvellous), and there it doesn't appear. Reading in some sources, the Sibelius' "Valse Triste" is used, but it's exactly the second piece, just after, at the moment where Detweiler sees the countees, the count and doctor Vando in the funeral.
So, is it another Sibelius? maybe Grieg? I couldn't find in any source.

Thank you!

#16 of 16 Claude North

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Posted April 20 2007 - 12:54 PM

Wow! I love this film and certainly hope to see a definitive DVD release of it.