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NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS -- blu-ray restoration


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#1 of 52 Richard--W

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Posted November 17 2012 - 05:33 PM

In 1971 Dan Curtis delivered a 150-minute version of Night of Dark Shadows that he was very happy with knowing as he did so that James Aubrey, the head of MGM, would demand further cuts. Curtis trimmed another painful 21 minutes, resulting in a 129-minute version that he thought would satisfy Aubrey. This version was screened for MGM executives and approved for theatrical release. Then, to his dismay MGM hacked an additional 34 minutes for theatrical release without consulting him, resulting in an incoherent 95 minute film. The imdb relates a slightly different version of Night of Dark Shadows history:

The original director's cut of Night of Dark Shadows was screened for MGM executives at 129 minutes. Unhappy with the running time, studio head James Aubrey ordered director Dan Curtis to cut around 40 minutes out of the picture, as it was considered a B-programmer. Curtis was given only 24 hours to re-cut the picture, and the 97 minute version was approved by Aubrey. The picture was press screened at that length, but afterward an additional 4 minutes were cut from the picture without Dan Curtis' consent, probably in order to guarantee a GP rating (1971's PG equivalent) as all of this material cut was violent or sexually suggestive in nature. During release some of the preview (97 mins) prints were accidentally circulated and still show up today, probably through private collectors as the 97 min prints are no longer held in MGM's archive. Dan Curtis' 129 min original version has been considered lost and presumed destroyed for decades, but film historian Darren Gross unearthed the sole existing material for this version in August 1999. Plans for restoration and release of this version are currently being formulated. http://www.imdb.com/...ternateversions

Several years ago film archivist Darren Gross posted this list of cuts to the 129-minute version on a website devoted to the restoration, which has since gone off-line:

Tracy wakes Quentin after their first night at Collinwood. She tells him that she woke up in the middle of the night to find Quentin gone. Quentin has no memory of leaving the room and he pulls Tracy to him for a passionate kiss. Tracy sees Gerard and his two Dobermans staring up at her as she drinks coffee in the Gallery. Carlotta tells her that the man is Gerard Stiles, the handyman as well as her nephew. The horse Quentin rides bucks wildly, trying to throw him off. Quentin has a flashback to 1810 where he sees Charles and Angelique sharing an intimate scene at the piano. They are interrupted by Laura who accuses Angelique of bewitching her husband. Quentin and Tracy explore the dilapidated greenhouse watched by Angelique's ghost. Quentin enters the dining room limping and wearing the riding clothes given to him as a present. When Quentin attacks distracted and trancelike, Tracy recommends he see a doctor. On the railroad bridge, Alex tells Quentin the sordid history of Charles, Angelique, Gabriel, and Laura. Though dismissive of Alex's fears, Quentin agrees to stay away from the tower. Tracy notices that Quentin has removed Angelique's portrait from the gallery. After Quentin slams the tower door on Tracy, he works on continuing Charles' unfinished portrait and embraces the ghostly Angelique. Seeing Angelique's silhouette in the tower window, Tracy pledges that she will save Quentin. In the cottage, Quentin and Alex find a sobbing, terrified Claire who tells them that Gerard attacked them and abducted Tracy. Alex helps Quentin force the basement door open which banishes Angelique's ghost and saves Tracy. Claire enters and tells them that the ghost that attacked Tracy was the same one that attacked Alex earlier in the cottage. Quentin finds a brick wall where a door should be and realizes that Angelique and Charles Collins are buried behind it. Quentin summons up Angelique's spirit during a séance in the gallery. As Angelique's spirit begins to fade away, Carlotta (who has been watching from the music balcony) interrupts the séance, causing Quentin to fall unconscious. Alex confronts the furious and hysterical Carlotta telling her to release her hold on Angelique's spirit. Carlotta runs from the balcony and Alex races up the stairs after her. After Carlotta leaps to her death, Quentin wakes in Tracy's arms. As the day breaks through the gallery windows, Quentin says that the nightmare is over.

This Dark Shadows fansite offers a more comprehensive list of cuts: http://www.collinwoo...s/misc/nods.htm When the 95-minute theatrical version was being prepared for TV broadcast, an additional 1 minute was cut. There were also a number of sound drop-outs while the beginning and ending of lead-ins (music, sound effects, and snips of dialog) to cut scenes were left intact. This version was later pressed to VHS and laser-disc, and now it has been transferred to blu-ray and DVD, albeit in the correct aspect ratio. On the plus side, the transfer is clean and generally free of dirt. There is sharp detail and texture. However, the color has been dialed down in intensity and brightness boosted much higher than it needs to be, rendering day-for-night shots into illogical day. There is an odd bluish tint to many shots that doesn't match the rest of the scene (the funeral in the rain, the witch hanging from the tree, for example). The bluish tint has never been there before, not in the theatrical prints nor in the VHS / laser disc. Toggling back & forth from the foreign language dubs exposes many defects in the English track. The most noticeable instance of a sound drop-out comes at the very beginning during the POV shot from inside the tower looking down at Quentin and Tracy standing beside their car. The drop out starts at 2 minutes 53 seconds and lasts until 3 minutes 8 seconds. The foreign language dubs contain the ominous music that is supposed to be heard over this shot. The foreign language dubs are generally correct for sound effects, dialog, and music that are missing from the English track. The foreign language dubs are also free of the audio lead-ins to the cut scenes. Of the missing footage, the most obvious and jarring jump cut comes 60 minutes 30 seconds into the blu-ray when Tracy tells Quentin "Don't touch me like that!" Following leads provided by people who worked on the production, film archivist Darren Gross searched for and recovered missing footage. When told by the studio that the audio portion no longer existed, he paid to re-record missing dialog with the participation of the original actors. Later, when Warner Brothers obtained the rights to the film, they were informed of his restoration efforts and invited to participate, but they did not respond. Since then, most of the original dialog and audio tracks have been located as well as more of the excised footage. Both the sound and picture elements are in good shape. All of this was offered to Warner Home Video long before the blu-ray was announced. There is very little work remaining to be done. The film could have been returned to its original state at minimal expense. In slapping the TV-safe version of the shortened theatrical release to blu-ray and DVD, with missing footage and defective sound, Warner Home Video treated the film with disrespect and an utter lack of care. They also disregarded over 12 years of persistent petitioning from the fans for a restoration, dashing expectations that there will ever be one. Now that a blu-ray is out, WHV has washed its hands of Night of Dark Shadows. Knowledgeable Dark Shadows enthusiasts are cordially invited to offer additions, corrections and your personal observations to this post.

#2 of 52 David_B_K

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Posted November 18 2012 - 12:48 AM

Wow. The Blu-ray sounds like a complete waste of time. I almost bought it as I watched this show after school as a kid. This needs a fan edit.

#3 of 52 Richard--W

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Posted November 18 2012 - 03:09 AM

Last night while editing the initial post we had an outage. The draft sat on the desktop until the connection came back on a minute ago.

#4 of 52 Tom M

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Posted November 18 2012 - 03:29 AM

This DS fan is satisfied with the Blu-Ray. It's better than nothing but I'm sure some would disagree. I'm just of the opinion that life is too short to wait for something that might never come. Personally, speaking just for myself, I never thought the movie was incoherent. You still get enough of the story to get the gist of what's going on. Make no mistake though: I would LOVE to see Dan Curtis's cut restored but untill that happens I will continue to enjoy the movie as it currently exixts. A "fan edit" is impossible as the footage is not available in any way to the general public and Darren Gross does not seem inclined to do such an edit himself and possibly risk angering the current copyright holder and preventing a legitmate release. These releases seem to have been timed specifically to accompany the home video release of the 2012 DS movie. It in no way means WB will never restore Night Of DS. They just chose not to do it right now. We don't know what contributed to their decision. Untill WB or Darren Gross, actually gives us some information it's usless to speculate. Now, as for the editing history, The Dark Shadows Movie Book makes it perfeclty clear that Dan Curtis supervised the marathon editing of Night of DS. Curtis also restructured the movie, moving scenes around and combining dreams and past life remembrances in an attempt to make the movie flow as smoothly as possible. Dan Curtis is on record as saying that the 129 minute cut of Night of DS is his preferred cut and no other version. Curtis also denied a longer version ever existed except for "assembly edits" which used all filmed footage (including multiple takes of scenes) which was then slowly cut down to form the final edit. I would encourage DS fans to keep the faith and to never give up. Not now does not mean "never". Keep letting WB know you want to see Night Of DS restored and maybe it'll happen one day.
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#5 of 52 bgart13

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Posted November 18 2012 - 04:48 AM

Perhaps Darren can convince WB to let him finish this project and release it via the new Warner Archive blu-ray series...?

#6 of 52 Richard--W

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Posted November 18 2012 - 05:38 AM

I'm not as optimistic as Tom M. After 13 years of being solicited for a DVD release and a restoration, and with 90% of the work done for them, the studio finally gave it the brush off. The folks at Warner Brothers are not interested in doing a restoration. Their indifference and lack of respect for the film is evident in the blu-ray release. It's over and done with. This is why I recommend everyone buy the blu-ray (used, if possible, so that you're money doesn't reward the studio). Although it contains the shortest 94-minute version with sound defects and jump cuts, it's all we'll ever see. The Dark Shadows Movie Book (published 1998) is a compilation by actress Kathryn Leigh Scott and Curtis' assistant Jim Pierson. It includes several chapters written by the actors, and reproduces Dan Curtis' actual shooting scripts with his hand-written annotations for both films.. Here is a brief excerpt from "Collinwood At the Cinema" the chapter written by film archivist Darren Gross:

When the film was completed, [Dan] Curtis, [Robert] Cobert [the composer] and screenwriter Sam Hall flew to Culver City, California, to screen it for James Aubrey and Douglas Netter at M-G-M. Much to Curtis' surprise, the studio heads were extremely dissatisfied. Aubrey demanded that at least 40 minutes be eliminated from Night of Dark Shadows, ordering a revised cut be delivered the next day, a ridiculously inadequate amount of time in which to oversee such a major re-edit. Curtis and editor Charles Goldsmith had spent several weeks on their final cut. If Curtis did not deliver the shorter cut overnight, Aubrey threatened to do the recutting himself. Curtis was given an old-time M-G-M staff editor who never betrayed the slightest reaction to the frenzied activity. The following day, Curtis delivered a shorter though less coherent film. Cobert also edited his score to fit the revised cut. Aubrey was satisfied with the changes, remarking "It's a tight little thriller." "But the film doesn't make sense anymore!" Curtis argued. "With your audience" Aubrey shot back, "it doesn't matter!" With no room to bargain, Curtis flew back to New York with Hall and Cobert. "I sat on the plane thinking about what had happened and I broke down crying when the impact of it finally hit me," remembers Hall. "It wasn't just my work they butchered, but my wife Grayson's as well. That affected me more. I didn't want to have to tell her." David Selby adds, "When the film was re-edited, Johnny Karlen and I went to California to "loop" additional dialogue because some scenes were rearranged." page 26

Here is an excerpt from Darren Gross' "Editing Summary" at the end of the book relating to Night of Dark Shadows:

#7 of 52 Darren Gross

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Posted November 18 2012 - 06:52 AM

Dan Curtis is on record as saying that the 129 minute cut of Night of DS is his preferred cut and no other version. Curtis also denied a longer version ever existed except for "assembly edits" which used all filmed footage (including multiple takes of scenes) which was then slowly cut down to form the final edit. I would encourage DS fans to keep the faith and to never give up. Not now does not mean "never". Keep letting WB know you want to see Night Of DS restored and maybe it'll happen one day.

My ears are burning.:) If I did say something like that, I misspoke or it was misinterpreted... The rough assembly edits were around 3+ hours. Mr. Curtis spoke of this in telling the re-cutting tail story over the years, and it became a fish story, it would get longer in each telling, so that by the 80s and 90s, he was saying the film was 4hrs, which isn't actually true, and it was a flabby rough cut. It was honed down to a fine cut running approx 150mins. This version was screened for the post-production crew, and composer Bob Cobert is on record, saying he thought this version was a "masterpiece." But Curtis was at the bottom-line a very practical man, and a producer by nature and knew there was no way a 2-1/2 hr movie would be acceptable to the studio. So he cut it down to 128+mins and delivered that to the studio. No one from M-G-M got to see it until it was delivered in late July 1971. Given that post-production went later than scheduled, Curtis most likely had spoken to Aubrey by phone to explain the lateness and also to inform them about the running time, but that all went out the window when the recutting was ordered. Curtis was thrilled that the 128+ min version was found, but also said, "What I'd really like to see is the stuff I cut out of it back in NY (from the 150min version)-- there was some amazing stuff in it..." So, in a perfect world, we'd be restoring a 150min cut, but none of that footage exists. We did have the actors record all the dialogue from those additional scenes though, with the hopes of having a still reconstruction of those scenes for DVD or Blu-ray, but ONLY as an extra. The still record is too poor on many of those scenes to think beyond that. In an ideal world, both the theatrical 94min version and the 129min versions would be available- there's a teeny bit of material exclusive to the 94min version, and in a future date, it would be valuable for scholars or researchers to be able to compare them. I haven't given up all hope yet, and neither have my cohorts.

#8 of 52 cineMANIAC

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Posted November 18 2012 - 07:38 AM

Any interest I had in this release is now gone. If I'm going to blind-buy this on Blu-ray it will have to be the full original 150-minute cut, nothing less. I want to watch everything the director shot, not a butchered, watered-down TV edit, no matter how good it looks. No sale.
 

 


#9 of 52 Paul_Scott

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Posted November 18 2012 - 08:42 AM

This DS fan is satisfied with the Blu-Ray. It's better than nothing but I'm sure some would disagree. I'm just of the opinion that life is too short to wait for something that might never come. Personally, speaking just for myself, I never thought the movie was incoherent. You still get enough of the story to get the gist of what's going on. Make no mistake though: I would LOVE to see Dan Curtis's cut restored but untill that happens I will continue to enjoy the movie as it currently exixts. ... I would encourage DS fans to keep the faith and to never give up. Not now does not mean "never". Keep letting WB know you want to see Night Of DS restored and maybe it'll happen one day.

I finally got around to spinning this last night. Never saw it (or House...for that matter) until these Bds. I was aware going in of all the kvetching about studio imposed cuts, and was fully under the impression that House was the 'good' film while Night was seen to be the stake in the heart of the properties theatrical aspirations. Fortunately I ignored that chatter and ordered both at the same time since they were relatively inexpensive enough (had they been $20 Bd archive titles, I'd likely have only picked up House as the 'safer bet'). Good thing as I found House to be so fast paced and hell bent on cramming as many episodic plot points from the serial in, as to frequently induce laughter. I've read of the list of cuts on that one, and frankly don't see much of them adding or alleviating the main problems the film has- which is just trying to cram in too damn many things for it's own good. More is definitely less here. OTOH, I had no problem whatsoever (until some jarring cuts show up in the climax) in following Night, and the more relaxed pace helps to worm the creepy vibe under your skin. Not a 'great' horror movie, but a pretty good one as it is. I would love to see a longer cut at some point in the future- but I don't see buying used copies of this on Bd as doing anything to help the cause any. There is only one way to cut through the corporate fog and that's putting your money where your mouth is. If they think there is a market segment worth exploiting, they will- eventually. The woeful Burton adaptation didn't help the cause of getting a taint off this property either.

#10 of 52 Tom M

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Posted November 18 2012 - 09:18 AM

Darren, thank you for your insight and corrections. Odd that some are just giving up on a DC of Night while Darren is and his cohorts are not. Untill Darren Gross says "it's never going to happen" then there is still hope. Darren should be commended for his perseverance on this when lesser individuals would have long given up, he has kept on. I truly admire him and so should everyone else here!
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#11 of 52 Darren Gross

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Posted November 18 2012 - 09:28 AM

Welcome to the club, Paul. You're clearly a man of refined taste. I wouldn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater-- the film is wonderful, moody, and fascinating in its 94min version, hacked down though it may be. It's the version i and many, many others fell in love with. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that the short version is bad and the long version a masterpiece. The short version has great stuff in it, the long version even moreso. It also has more peaks of violence and sexuality as well as the sustained gothic mood. I'm so enmeshed with the long version, and have seen and worked on it for so long, that watching the short version is a somewhat odd experience to me. I fall in love again, but when suddenly it merrily skips over the climax, it's befuddling. The long version is very European/Italian in tone. I think the French, Italians and British would go gonzo for it. Now if BSKYB and Skyitalia could get interested in it or even Starz or HBO, then maybe we could get something going... re: Cinemaniac- the 150 min version is gone for good, tragic though that may be. Curtis had all the additional material destroyed when he moved from NY in the mid 70s.

#12 of 52 Darren Gross

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Posted November 18 2012 - 09:38 AM

Darren, thank you for your insight and corrections. Odd that some are just giving up on a DC of Night while Darren is and his cohorts are not. Untill Darren Gross says "it's never going to happen" then there is still hope. Darren should be commended for his perseverance on this when lesser individuals would have long given up, he has kept on. I truly admire him and so should everyone else here!

Or pig-headed... I leave it to my close-friends to decide which! Thanks Tom, for the kind words. The head of my department calls me the champion of lost causes, as some have become un-lost on my watch, I'm happy to say. For each success though, there are 10 others where the trail goes cold, or the missing piece doesn't turn up. It tempers your ego a bit, but it's a bit of a rollercoaster ride. 2012 clearly wasn't the right time for a restoration- it wasn't in the cards, I suppose. I think we can forget about another Depp movie, but a time may come in future, and I don't think attempting to kill sales in the 94min Blu-ray will help... In fact, just the opposite...

#13 of 52 Michael Elliott

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Posted November 18 2012 - 10:28 AM

People don't hold out on the 8+ hour cut of GREED so I'm really not sure why a fan of the movie would hold off hoping something might eventually come. I'm more interested on why Warner doesn't want this longer cut IF someone else has already paid for everything and done all the work. Fans should certainly never give up hope (see METROPOLIS) but at the same time I've been following this hard work for over a decade now. Is there a reason behind the scenes that Warner doesn't want this extra footage? I'm guessing the remake was the only reason we eventually got these two movies and it's disasterous box office probably didn't give much hope for these older movies to get a special edition.

#14 of 52 Darren Gross

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Posted November 18 2012 - 10:52 AM

Everything is not done and paid for. A substantial amount of money needs to be spent to transfer and finish all the audio post-production work. And don't let the US numbers fool you. The Burton movie will have made $300 million worldwide when all is said and done, PLUS worldwide TV and home video. which should bring in another $200M. No one is going to be crying over that at the board meetings, I can assure you.

#15 of 52 Brian Himes

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Posted November 18 2012 - 01:44 PM

Darren, Well I'm glad that you still hold out some hope for the restored Night of Dark Shadows. Of the two films, it is my favorite. I do hope that your dream does come true and the restored version is finally released for everyone to see and then perhaps the bad reputation that Night of Dark Shadows has will finally fade. Sadly for myself, this ship has sailed. I do not hold out any hope to ever see the 129 minute version. I purposely avoided reading the film script for many, many years all in the vain hope that the longer version would some day surface. With the announcement of the films on DVD and Blu-ray, I finally gave up and read the script. In the end I felt that it was the only way that I was ever going to get the full story. If the film matches the shooting script even 90% then the imposed cuts and restructuring is even more sad. This film would have trully been something special. So, as I said I have given up. I did not buy the DVDs nor the Blu-Rays. I do not really care for House of Dark Shadows and buying Night of Dark Shadows just for widescreen and cleaned up picture and sound just wasn't a selling point for me. I have to agree with Richard-W. Warner's has washed their hands of the film and until another studio takes an interest then the film will forever stand at the 94 or 97 minute hacked up mess. Trully, trully sad. Sorry, but I just can't express my level of disappointment enough. I feel that Warner's really made a huge mistake here.

#16 of 52 Michael Elliott

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Posted November 19 2012 - 06:01 AM

Everything is not done and paid for. A substantial amount of money needs to be spent to transfer and finish all the audio post-production work. And don't let the US numbers fool you. The Burton movie will have made $300 million worldwide when all is said and done, PLUS worldwide TV and home video. which should bring in another $200M. No one is going to be crying over that at the board meetings, I can assure you.

Well, every movie eventually makes its money back but I think the film is still going to be seen as a bomb here. Even if it was a lukewarm money-maker, I doubt that's enough for the studio to pump more money into something new. I think it's great that these did get a non-DVDr releases and perhaps if these sell well enough the studio will pump more money back to your project. Have you tried private donations to come up with the rest of the cash? I know this is a lot harder but are there some rich, superfans out there who might be willing to put up the cash? Burton? Of course, the bigger question is how much more money is it going to take.

#17 of 52 Richard--W

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Posted November 19 2012 - 07:34 AM

My thanks to Darren Gross for taking time out of his busy schedule at MGM to clear up the confusion about NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS. For those who don't know, Darren is a blood-hound. I mean that as a compliment. When he heard that David Lynch had given up hope of ever finding the excised footage from BLUE VELVET (1986) he started searching. Eventually he found about an hour of substantial outtakes that changes our understanding of the film, including some of the most daring scenes Lynch ever attempted. Darren worked with the director to restore the footage. It's a supplement on the special edition blu ray (some of us are still hoping for an integrated edit, just to see how it plays). Read the HTF review here: http://www.hometheat...-blu-ray-review and a fuller essay here: http://www.slate.com...sic.single.html Like most archivists, Darren works behind the scenes and never gets the acknowledgement he should. What he did for BLUE VELVET could be done for NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS with a little co-operation and a little funding from the studio that controls it.

My ears are burning.:)... The rough assembly edits were around 3+ hours. Mr. Curtis spoke of this in telling the re-cutting tail story over the years, and it became a fish story, it would get longer in each telling, so that by the 80s and 90s, he was saying the film was 4hrs, which isn't actually true, and it was a flabby rough cut. It was honed down to a fine cut running approx 150mins. This version was screened for the post-production crew, and composer Bob Cobert is on record, saying he thought this version was a "masterpiece." But Curtis was at the bottom-line a very practical man, and a producer by nature and knew there was no way a 2-1/2 hr movie would be acceptable to the studio. So he cut it down to 128+mins and delivered that to the studio. No one from M-G-M got to see it until it was delivered in late July 1971. Given that post-production went later than scheduled, Curtis most likely had spoken to Aubrey by phone to explain the lateness and also to inform them about the running time, but that all went out the window when the recutting was ordered. Curtis was thrilled that the 128+ min version was found, but also said, "What I'd really like to see is the stuff I cut out of it back in NY (from the 150min version)-- there was some amazing stuff in it..." So, in a perfect world, we'd be restoring a 150min cut, but none of that footage exists. We did have the actors record all the dialogue from those additional scenes though, with the hopes of having a still reconstruction of those scenes for DVD or Blu-ray, but ONLY as an extra. The still record is too poor on many of those scenes to think beyond that. In an ideal world, both the theatrical 94min version and the 129min versions would be available- there's a teeny bit of material exclusive to the 94min version, and in a future date, it would be valuable for scholars or researchers to be able to compare them. I haven't given up all hope yet, and neither have my cohorts.

Check. So, the dialogue that you recorded is not applicable to the 129-minute version because it has sound elements?

...I wouldn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater-- the film is wonderful, moody, and fascinating in its 94min version, hacked down though it may be. It's the version i and many, many others fell in love with. It would be a gross exaggeration to say that the short version is bad and the long version a masterpiece. The short version has great stuff in it, the long version even moreso. It also has more peaks of violence and sexuality as well as the sustained gothic mood. I'm so enmeshed with the long version, and have seen and worked on it for so long, that watching the short version is a somewhat odd experience to me. I fall in love again, but when suddenly it merrily skips over the climax, it's befuddling. The long version is very European/Italian in tone. I think the French, Italians and British would go gonzo for it. Now if BSKYB and Skyitalia could get interested in it or even Starz or HBO, then maybe we could get something going...

I envy you getting to see the film, getting to know it and work with it. That's why I like it. I think everyone appreciates the fact that NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS is a more mature and sophisticated work than HOUSE. The films reputation has grown over the years. The availability of the 94-minute hack-job only served to generate more interest in the wldely-discussed and now legendary director's cut. There seems to be a shared understanding that the theatrical version is only a hint of what the film could be. Now that I've read the script again and compared it to the 94-minute blu-ray, it's not hard to see the film Dan Curtis and Sam Hall had in mind. One could go nuts thinking about it. I must say the Lyndhurst mansion with its period Gothic design, which I've posted about before here, and the surrounding estate lends itself to Curtis' style and atmosphere-conjuring. Once you've been in that house you really appreciate how imaginatively and resourcefully Curtis uses it.

re: Cinemaniac- the 150 min version is gone for good, tragic though that may be. Curtis had all the additional material destroyed when he moved from NY in the mid 70s.

What was he thinking?

...The head of my department calls me the champion of lost causes, as some have become un-lost on my watch, I'm happy to say. For each success though, there are 10 others where the trail goes cold, or the missing piece doesn't turn up. It tempers your ego a bit, but it's a bit of a rollercoaster ride. ....and I don't think attempting to kill sales in the 94min Blu-ray will help... In fact, just the opposite...

Nothing said here is going to kill sales. I just don't think Warner Home Video should be rewarded for cheating the consumers and disappointing a very large, active, organized and participatory fan base. Nor should they be rewarded for releasing unprofessional sound drops and jump cuts across missing frames -- they don't release other movies in that condition. As previously stated, 13 years is a long time to delay a release that everyone has been clamoring for. There was more money to be made from the director's cut of the film. Nobody's seen it, but everybody wants to see it and expresses a willingness to pay for it. So Warner Brothers turns their back on it. Perhaps they don't get it because they are only interested in the property as a new franchise. They're hung up on Tim Burton. More to the point, if MGM had released the director's cut in 1971, there's no doubt NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS would have been better received and earned more money at the box-office. It earned a little ($1,400,000 at start against a $900,000 budget), but it could have earned more if they hadn't hacked it into incoherence. Warner Brothers looks at that financial return, sees the hack-job didn't make a lot of money, decides it isn't worth restoring, and repeats MGM's mistake. They make no distinction between the value of the hack-job released in 1971 and the value of the unreleased director's cut. There is no doubt in my mind that the present blu-ray will be profitable, but in withholding the longer director's cut, they've made certain it won't be more profitable. Because the 128+ version is a better film that will be better received. Even if that weren't the case, the curiosity factor is so piqued and the dedication of the fans so intense -- more vigorous sales for the restoration were guaranteed. Further, buying the present blu-ray isn't going to persuade Warner Brothers to restore and release the director's cut. Quite the opposite. They will decide that the demand for the film has been satisfied and market for it exhausted. Additionally, if it isn't Tim Burton and Johnny Depp they're don't care. How in the world the current crop of young studio execs came to perceive DARK SHADOWS' worth solely in terms of Burton and Depp is the real mystery. The present blu-ray is a dismissal. It's a way of saying "This is all you're going to get so stop bothering us."

Everything is not done and paid for. A substantial amount of money needs to be spent to transfer and finish all the audio post-production work...

Hasn't most if not all of the missing audio been recovered, Darren? What form is it in and what kind of shape?

People don't hold out on the 8+ hour cut of GREED so I'm really not sure why a fan of the movie would hold off hoping something might eventually come...

I get your point, but the analogy doesn't apply. The 8+ hour version of GREED can't be released because it doesn't exist. There is a shorter version, and that hasn't been released on DVD either. The 128+ minute director's cut of NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS does exist and can be released after some routine editing on the sound. For that matter, according to my internet search and books I've been reading about the film, all the footage and audio for the 97 minute version exists in its entirely and could be routinely reassembled, although it might be superfluous considering that the 128+ minute version exists as a preservation element of the complete, finished director's cut made from the original negative with all opticals, dissolves, and FX intact. It just needs to be scanned, cleaned, timed and the audio edited and applied. Does that about sum it up, Darren?

... Is there a reason behind the scenes that Warner doesn't want this extra footage? ...

This is a good and intelligent question. You may well ask.

#18 of 52 Richard V

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Posted November 19 2012 - 08:25 AM

Does Mr. Gross track down missing elements of films from any studio? Or only MGM? Specifically wondering if he could turn his talents to The Keep? I know this is another movie that likely will never see the light of day in Blu ray or even DVD, but it is one of my all time favorites, and I understand there is a much longer cut of the movie that was shot, but never released. In any case, I know that I'm probably whistling in the dark.
See you at the pah-ty, Richter.

#19 of 52 KMR

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Posted November 19 2012 - 09:35 AM

Well, every movie eventually makes its money back

??? :confused:

#20 of 52 Brian Himes

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Posted November 19 2012 - 10:17 AM

That's why I like it. I think everyone appreciates the fact that NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS is a more mature and sophisticated work than HOUSE. The films reputation has grown over the years. The availability of the 94-minute hack-job only served to generate more interest in the wldely-discussed and now legendary director's cut. There seems to be a shared understanding that the theatrical version is only a hint of what the film could be. Now that I've read the script again and compared it to the 94-minute blu-ray, it's not hard to see the film Dan Curtis and Sam Hall had in mind. One could go nuts thinking about it. Nothing said here is going to kill sales. I just don't think Warner Home Video should be rewarded for cheating the consumers and disappointing a very large, active, organized and participatory fan base. Nor should they be rewarded for releasing unprofessional sound drops and jump cuts across missing frames -- they don't release other movies in that condition. As previously stated, 13 years is a long time to delay a release that everyone has been clamoring for. There was more money to be made from the director's cut of the film. Nobody's seen it, but everybody wants to see it and expresses a willingness to pay for it. So Warner Brothers turns their back on it. Perhaps they don't get it because they are only interested in the property as a new franchise. They're hung up on Tim Burton. More to the point, if MGM had released the director's cut in 1971, there's no doubt NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS would have been better received and earned more money at the box-office. It earned a little ($1,400,000 at start against a $900,000 budget), but it could have earned more if they hadn't hacked it into incoherence. Warner Brothers looks at that financial return, sees the hack-job didn't make a lot of money, decides it isn't worth restoring, and repeats MGM's mistake. They make no distinction between the value of the hack-job released in 1971 and the value of the unreleased director's cut. There is no doubt in my mind that the present blu-ray will be profitable, but in withholding the longer director's cut, they've made certain it won't be more profitable. Because the 128+ version is a better film that will be better received. Even if that weren't the case, the curiosity factor is so piqued and the dedication of the fans so intense -- more vigorous sales for the restoration were guaranteed. Further, buying the present blu-ray isn't going to persuade Warner Brothers to restore and release the director's cut. Quite the opposite. They will decide that the demand for the film has been satisfied and market for it exhausted. Additionally, if it isn't Tim Burton and Johnny Depp they're don't care. How in the world the current crop of young studio execs came to perceive DARK SHADOWS' worth solely in terms of Burton and Depp is the real mystery. The present blu-ray is a dismissal. It's a way of saying "This is all you're going to get so stop bothering us."

You have summed up ALL of my points and arguments about the release of the theatrical version on DVD far better than I was able to do at the time. Bless you.




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