NYT says Big Red One Redux and DVD coming

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dennis Nicholls, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Samuel Fuller's film The Big Red One is being revised into a much longer film.

    http://movies2.nytimes.com/2004/10/0...red.html?8hpib



    There are many things I like about the current version of the film, and for this reason I look forward to this new release. Right now there are some choppy transitions between episodes. Perhaps the additional 40 minutes will make the film more coherent: it's a lot to add to the baseline 113 minutes.

    So far the only word I've heard of the "Redux" DVD is in this NYT article. Has anyone seen any other news of its release?
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  3. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    I think that this is one of the best things to happen in American Cinema in years. The Big Red One has always been, at the very least, a good film, but a version closer to Fuller's intended cut could indeed be a masterpiece. I love Fuller's films and this a momentous occassion fans.

    The DVD will apparently include anamorphic transfers of both cuts, a commentary by Schickel on the new cut, the scenes that don't have sound and more.

    It was hoped that Thys Ockersen's 75-minute 1979 behind-the-scenes documentary, Sam Fuller and the Big Red One would be included, but apparently, will not be included. It should - it's great.

    I hope that the restored version is shown here in the UK, but failing that, I'll pre-order the SE DVD, for sure.
     
  4. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Supporting Actor

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    It's coming to the Cinematheque Ontario in Toronto for showings on the 16th, 17th and 18th of this month as well. The viewing on the 16th will be preceded by a lecture by Richard Schickel. During this time (15th - 30th), Cinematheque will also be showing the "Best" of Samuel Fuller. Their Fall schedule isn't up online yet, but there's some news on the home page about it.

    The only Fuller I've seen is Pickup On South Street which was very good. I'd never really considered seeing The Big One (I vaguely remember bad reviews when it came out), but it's starting to sound quite interesting...
     
  5. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The only problem you'll have with The Big Red One is when Mark Hamill comes under attack. I keep expecting him to whip out his lightsaber...
     
  6. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    The restored/reconstructed version premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August.

    Alas, I do not know how it was recieved critically. I missed my opportunity to see it.
     
  7. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Producer

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    I saw the reconstructed, 158-minute version yesterday at the NY Film Festival. Schickel, co-stars Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, and Bobby DiCicco, and Christa Lang Fuller and Pam Marvin (Fuller's and Marvin's widows, respectively) were all in attendance and participated in a post-screening discussion, where the three charming and respectful actors, all thrilled to have been a part of the film, tried to outdo each other's Fuller imitations (I trust they'll participate in a commentary).

    The 1980 release version is perfectly valid, but it's trumped by the full (or Fuller)-length cut. A total of 24 new scenes have been retrieved from the bins and 13 other scenes have had additions made to them. At least one of the new scenes, a grisly/funny battlefield sequence that anticipates the likes of Quentin Tarantino, pushes the film into hard R territory. This is very much a vital, rather than a questionable, director's cut, many of which (IMO) fall short of their claims of greatness, and fail to displace the original release versions (like APOCALYPSE NOW). That said, I'm not sure THE BIG RED ONE is one of the two or three greatest war films ever made (per Schickel) but this reconstruction is nevertheless warmly appreciated (what an actor Marvin was, and apparently a good-humored mentor to his co-stars, whom he assisted in period weapons training based on his own experiences in the Pacific theater).

    Caveats. I'm not sure it was a wise idea, structurally, to add more scenes with the German officer Schroeder, Marvin's doppelganger. It's what Fuller intended, but the character is at best two-dimensional and falls entirely outside of the narrator's consciousness, which is otherwise focused exclusively on his sergeant and his comrades. Knowing more about him, however, does give a final ironic kick to the last sequence, which is more patently redemptive in the original version.

    I sat down in front. A friend sitting in the balcony reported that the print looked "digitally processed" to him, with artificial-seeming colors. Expect for a rising tide of grain in some sequences (this was not a big-budget production) I didn't notice anything that looked off to me. (Schickel said the elements for the original version, available for some time now on DVD, were in worse shape than what was found in most of the canisters).

    Everyone in the theater agreed, though, that the new sound mix is spectacular. Fuller said the best way to show the film would be to "strafe the audiences with bullet fire, from beginning to end," and, finally, that's what it sounds like.

    In short, it should make a terrific 25th anniversary DVD package next year.
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Great post, Bob!

    Cheers!
     
  9. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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    Indeed, I'm looking forward to a short run of the restored version in the UK. Excellent post, Bob
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Maybe this is why Mark Hamill was too busy/disinterested in recording a commentary for the SW box set.
     
  11. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    Maybe this will be one to check out on DVD even though the the original theater cut didn't turn me on.
     

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