A Few Words About A few words about... Prime Cut

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Cinema Center Films was the theatrical production arm of CBS, which produced 18 films over four years, inclusive of some very good ones.

    Beginning with The April Fools in 1969, and ending with the animated Snoopy Come Home in 1973, their productions ran the gamut of romantic comedies to westerns, crime melodramas and documentaries.

    Of the 18, only a handful have arrived on DVD, inclusive of Rio Logo and Big Jake, released by Paramount in April of 2003.

    The June release of three more hopefully means that the others are being preserved and newly mastered. I'd love to see The April Fools, Monte Walsh and Darker than Amber made available. All would make superb releases.

    One of the three June releases (the others are yet another Steve McQueen project, The Reivers, a film of pure Americana based upon the work of William Faulkner, which comes recommended, and Arthur Penn's Target, with Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon, a film which should have been better, and does not.

    The third new release is Michael Ritchie's Prime Cut, an odd little film with wonderful performances by Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman, and boasting the first major role for a young Sissy Spacek.

    For those appreciative of rather dark humor (the film has a superb opening sequence) and a mid-western setting for a good tale of old-fashioned American crime, Prime Cut comes very recommended.

    If any research is done on the title, it will be noted that the film was released in to two cuts, one running 86 minutes, and another longer cut which ran several minutes longer.

    Fear not. The version released by Paramount, which is the shorter, is the correct cut of the film in its complete form. In this case, very much the "filet."

    RAH
     
  2. RoyM

    RoyM Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,

    I'm curious about this shorter cut. The film itself has considerable in the way of edgy (even tawdry) content (white slavery, and so on), and of course was originally released in a decade when mainstream sensibilities were more open to such controversial elements. Were these edits to remove some of the more suggestive content, or simply to tighten the film?

    I have only ever seen the movie in TV prints myself, so I wouldn't be able to judge. But even in its watered down format, it struck me as very daring and provocative, and something we definitely would not see produced by a major studio these days. I am definitely looking forward to seeing it in its original intended cut, but hope that we won't get an expurgated version on DVD.

    Oh, and I would also HIGHLY recommend "The Reivers", which is one of Steve McQueen's very best films. Everyone should pick that up when it comes out this month.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Lee Marvin's final line to Ms. Spacek at the end of Priime Cut speaks volumes for the film itself: "You've got fine style."

    There are scenes in the film which will bring back the corn fields in North by Northwest; violence set against landscapes of incomparable beauty.

    It is the shorter version of Prime Cut that is the complete un-cut version. The longer version contained cuts for nudity and violence, which necessitated additional footage to make up for the loss, creating a film not up to the quality of the un-cut.

    RAH
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Another of my guilty pleasures. A big thumbs up to Gregory Walcott who played Hackman's brother in this film. Some of you are going to love Hackman's first name in Prime Cut.[​IMG]






    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    I *loves* me the PRIME CUT and I can't believe that it's actually coming to DVD (the same month one of my other favorite '70's films, RACE WITH THE DEVIL, is released). While I wish there was some sort of archival material added to this release, the fact that Michael Ritchie died a couple of years ago makes it difficult.

    The cover's not particularly great (I found the much better one-sheet in Los Feliz about five years ago), but at Paramount's budget pricing, I ain't complaining.

    I can finally retire my crappy Key Video VHS and hope that another quirky, underrated thriller -- THE OUTFIT -- soon follows (and the never-on-video THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE).
     
  6. Charles H

    Charles H Screenwriter

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    PRIME CUT was a real discovery for me and Ritchie is very underrated (I hope that Paramount will bring his first film--DOWNHILL RACER--to dvd soon). He brings the eye of a documentarian to a surrealistic combo of film noir and black comedy and the film is essential Lee Marvin.
     
  7. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Another cool thing about PRIME CUT--

    At the beginning of the film (but after the opening credits), the guy who tips off Lee Marvin is Eddie Egan, the real "Popeye Doyle", portrayed by PRIME CUT bad guy Gene Hackman in the previous year's THE FRENCH CONNECTION!

    A fun flick, and a nice warm-up to the July R1 DVD release of the ultimate Lee Marvin film, POINT BLANK (1967).

    Great job, Paramount! Bring on MONTE WALSH (1970) and SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956)!

    --And if anyone at Fox or Universal are lurking here, please give serious consideration to giving us nice R1 releases of EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973, Fox) and Lee Marvin's classic half-hour TV cop show, M SQUAD (1957-60, Universal).

    All hail Lee Marvin! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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