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Johnny Got His Gun - Is this true?


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#1 of 27 Reggie W

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Posted August 17 2008 - 08:07 AM

I was thinking this film would be perfect for a Criterion release then I was told that the reason this picture has not been given a region 1 DVD release is because the band Metallica bought the film for use in one of their videos. Is it true that the band owns the film and has blocked a DVD release?

#2 of 27 ahollis

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Posted August 17 2008 - 10:52 AM

The story is that Metallic wanted to use clips from the film for a music video of their 1988 song “One.” The tale goes on that they could not get the clips unless they purchase the film out right as you heard.

The film was produced by a shot in the dark production company called World Entertainment and distributed by Cinemation Industries. Cinemation was a New York based distribution company for exploitation films and “The Cheerleaders” and “Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Asssssong” were their better known titles and the company ceased to exist in 1975 with its catalog going to other companies to pay off debt. With that fact, I would speculate that the Metallic story is true.

There is a Region 2 and Region 4 release of the film, so there are elements for the film out there, not sure what kind of shape they are in. I honestly don’t think they are keeping the film from a DVD release as the Gershwin estate is for “Porgy and Bess.” They more than likely have other things on their mind than getting “Johnny Got Your Gun” on DVD.

“Oh, Calcutta” was also one of Cinemation’s films, so since that has a DVD release, hopefully we will see “Johnny Got His Gun” sometime and all it takes some time is for someone to ask where it is. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and a WGA award. It also won a couple of Cannes prizes. It has been said that this is the best anti-war film that has been produced.
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#3 of 27 johnmn

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Posted August 17 2008 - 11:26 AM

I own the R2 release of "Johnny," playable on my Oppo. It looks pretty good--a little out of sync but the elements seem fine for a film that age.

--John

#4 of 27 Bob Cashill

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Posted August 17 2008 - 11:35 AM

I believe a couple of clips appear in the new TRUMBO doc. It does air on cable, too.

#5 of 27 walter o

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Posted August 17 2008 - 04:34 PM

Metallica does NOT own the film, it will be coming out on DVD soon though, from a very reputable DVD label, so not to worry.

#6 of 27 Eric Peterson

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Posted August 18 2008 - 12:18 AM

Excellent news! I have a Region 0 copy that is PAL and the print is in pretty good shape, but it has one glaring censor cut....so I hope whomever is working on this title is aware of it.

#7 of 27 Reggie W

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Posted August 18 2008 - 01:19 AM

Thanks guys for all the input. Yeah, I was a bit worried that Metallica owned this film. It seems to be a story that's out there as Allen confirmed.

Walter, that's great that you've heard it's going to be released. I thought it would be a good choice for Criterion because the film has a special place in history as Trumbo's only directing effort and as pointed out by Allen many people feel it's one of the greatest anti-war statements ever put on film.

I'm still sort of skeptical though because further research shows that the film has been remade (the stage version was filmed) with some minor involvement from Metallica and is supposed to be coming soon. Now the reason Metallica has some involvement with the remake is because it is said that they still own the rights to the original film. Now having said that it does seem as if this film could not come out on DVD without the approval of the band. As I understand it they do not own the rights to the new film but they still own the rights to the original.

The other thing that worries me is that I went and looked for their video that uses clips from the film and it looks like it's in terrible condition in the clips. Unless it was processed to look that way, I really don't know. I've seen some clips from the Region 2 disc and it looks a lot better there so I'm not sure why it looks the way it does in the clips from their video.

So, I'm just curious Walter, are you sure it's the original film that's coming to DVD or the 2008 remake?

#8 of 27 cafink

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Posted August 18 2008 - 02:44 AM

Walter,

Your post is the first I've heard about a Region 1 release of this film. What is the source of your information?

Eric,

What part of the film was cut in your Region-free DVD?

I have the Japanese (Region 2) DVD of Johnny Got His Gun, and am mostly pleased with it, but a comment I read in an older thread on the film has me worried that it might be slightly cut. I've never seen the film elsewhere, so I have no point of reference to check for myself.
 

 


#9 of 27 Eric Peterson

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Posted August 18 2008 - 02:49 AM

What part of the film was cut in your Region-free DVD?


Near the beginning when he goes to bed with his girlfriend, there is a full-frontal shot of her in the mirror as she undresses. This is completely missing on my DVD, but it was on an old VHS copy that I had. I didn't notice any other cuts, but I wouldn't rule them out.

#10 of 27 cafink

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Posted August 18 2008 - 03:55 AM

Well, I found the post that made me suspect that the Japanese DVD was cut, and it was actually one of yours, Eric--this one, in fact. Before purchasing the DVD, I had searched through older HTF threads to find out whatever I could about the various non-region-1 releases of the film. I didn't have any particular reason to think that the Japanese release would be edited, but just to be safe, I checked that scene right away and found that it was as you described it on your region-free DVD--no nudity.

So, either the Japanese DVD is also cut, or you are misremembering. In your previous post, you called it an "apparent edit," said that you "remeber" the unedited version, and claim that the DVD is cut "unless I'm going crazy." Now you say very matter-of-factly that the scene "was on an old VHS copy that I had."

How confident are you that the scene originally contained on-screen nudity, as opposed to the possibility that your memory is simply playing tricks on you? As I said, I've never seen any other release of the film, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I looked pretty hard and was unable to find any other reference to this scene having been edited.
 

 


#11 of 27 Eric Peterson

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Posted August 18 2008 - 04:18 AM

How confident are you that the scene originally contained on-screen nudity, as opposed to the possibility that your memory is simply playing tricks on you? As I said, I've never seen any other release of the film, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I looked pretty hard and was unable to find any other reference to this scene having been edited.

I would put it at 99.999%

I saw the movie at least 3 times on VHS and each time I remember being somewhat shocked by the footage primarily because it was made in the early 70s. The final time that I watched it on VHS was with my father and brother-in-law (who is very conservative) and when that scene happened he was quite offended (...or at least pretended to be) and turned his head. In other words, I distinctly remember seeing it multiple times. I would go back and verify it, but I loaned the VHS copy to a friend and it was never returned (convenient, heh?)

Here is a link that also alludes to it.
http://alsolikelife.com/shooting/?p=62

#12 of 27 Reggie W

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Posted August 18 2008 - 04:51 AM

That site also has yet another reference to Metallica owning the rights to this film. This seems to be the most popular take on the internet about it. How do you know Metallica does not own the rights to the film, Walter? I don't doubt what you say but obviously we're curious here.

#13 of 27 oscar_merkx

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Posted August 18 2008 - 11:27 AM

Sounds cool if this film gets a release.

Always loved the original video for One
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#14 of 27 walter o

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Posted August 18 2008 - 11:38 AM

I am not liberty to mention whom or what, but I can say the rights/copyright owner and their attorney, when I asked them about Metallica's ownership, told me they have no ownership on the film whatsoever, and yes, they do have key elements to do a proper DVD for the U.S.

#15 of 27 Eric Vedowski

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Posted August 18 2008 - 12:29 PM

If the people doing the DVD want an easy extra they could include James Cagney's radio version of the story-only runs 30 minutes. A excellent sound quality version of the show, from Arch Obler's Plays (NBC March 9, 1940) can be heard here:
Blubrry - OTR Variety Showcase - Johnny Got His Gun--James Cagney
Cagney considered the story as a potential screen vehicle at one point.

#16 of 27 oscar_merkx

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Posted August 18 2008 - 07:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by walter o
I am not liberty to mention whom or what, but I can say the rights/copyright owner and their attorney, when I asked them about Metallica's ownership, told me they have no ownership on the film whatsoever, and yes, they do have key elements to do a proper DVD for the U.S.

Thanks for the encouraging news

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#17 of 27 ahollis

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Posted August 19 2008 - 07:05 AM

You know more that I find out about the rights of “Johnny Got Your Gun” I seem to believe that the Metallica story was exaggerated in that the band just wanted a few clips from the film, but I now understand they had to pay a large clip use fee for the entire film. They don’t own the film out right, just the option to use any clips from any part of the film. I also heard from a reliable source that the DVD owners would like to release if a couple of weeks before the election this year, but that might be to quick.
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#18 of 27 Reggie W

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Posted August 19 2008 - 08:13 AM

Thanks Walter, I look forward to this film getting a region 1 DVD release.

Allen, I'd say you may be right. That's how things go on the internet. Somebody posts a story somewhere and they may have their facts wrong but before any correction can be made it spreads like wildfire. This is probably the case with this Metallica story. I think this film is sort of a hot item right now due to the recent Trumbo documentary and of course releasing it during an election cycle could be pretty interesting timing. It appears (reading things on the internet) that there are a lot of Metallica fans that would like to see this film thanks to the video so I think the market for the film looks pretty good.

I'll preorder this whenever it is ready to go. I just hope they get it out in a full uncut version. If they need to take their time to do that, that's fine with me.

#19 of 27 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 20 2008 - 10:15 AM

Great film. I own the UK edition. The German edition has a 60-minute documentary on Dalton Trumbo, btw. Dalton Trumbo: Rebel in Hollywood (2006). Review.

I'll be interested to see the specs for the R1 edition.

#20 of 27 Tony S

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Posted April 02 2009 - 07:45 AM

Any further news/updates on the R1 release?