Questions about Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Kramer Lowry, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. Kramer Lowry

    Kramer Lowry Second Unit

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  2. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    I am not totally sure what you are asking. Those 2 scenes were not cut from the DVD - they were not in the theatrical run. They were later shown on many of the television broadcasts and were on the Japanese laserdisc (at least I think they were). Anyways, the 134 minute cut is approximately how long the original cut of the movie was. It was supposedly shown to preview audiences, it bombed, so they hacked the movie down to its present length. The original film contained a whole other plotline with a second Nuclear Man - actually, the one in the film now was the second one - notice how Luthor asks Superman if Nuclear Man looks familiar? There was another one before him. He wasn't too bright, Superman fought him at a night club, etc. Also, it went more into another subplot where Nuclear Man II falls in love with Lacy (ever wonder why he decides to chase Superman down in order to get her?). Also, the storyline with Jeremy was fleshed out more, with Superman going to his school, and the movie also ended with Superman flying Jeremy around and then him giving a "speech" on how you couldn't tell where one country ended and other began, etc etc etc. "It's just one world." If you go to www.supermancinema.net you can see pics from most of the cut scenes. I'm not sure if I answered your question at all.
    Sorry for the overly long post. Big Superman movie fan here. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    The two additional scenes are, in fact, on the Japanese laserdisc. I know, I have it. I found it on eBay a few years back. Cannon Films did a 93-minute cut for European theaters with slightly modified main title credits and included those two additional scenes; otherwise, it's arranged similarly to the 90-minute U.S. cut.
     
  4. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    Hey Bill,
    Thanks for that info on the laserdisc. Just out of curiosity, what are the differences in the main title?
     
  5. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    I don't think that's fully accurate. Remember that the movie was supposed to open at Christmas '87, and it was rushed out for August and wasn't finished properly. Studio execs saw the movie and decided to hack it down, but one of Sidney J. Furie's editors had told me that the movie was never fully completed and no longer version was actually previewed for audiences. There wasn't any time to do it, for starters.

    This myth that there's some completed 134 min. version of the movie out there (that aired on TV somewhere in the world, no less) is another IMDB inaccuracy.
     
  6. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    Bill, is it true that the Japanese Superman IV laserdisc is letterboxed to 1.85:1?



    Not according to Harrison Ellenshaw, who attended the preview screening.

    Harrison Ellenshaw Interview

    Q: The first director's cut of SUPERMAN IV was 134 minutes long, and rumor has it that it was screened in Orange County with disastrous results. Were you there?

    Harrison Ellenshaw: I am afraid so [laugh]. What a nightmare. The studio had recruited people who hadn't been told what film they were going to see until they were seated in the theatre. Just before the screening it was announced that they were about to view the next SUPERMAN movie. The audience was thrilled; they applauded and cheered. Expectations were, to say the least, very very high. Well, this was a rough cut, and even though it still had Nuclear Man 1 in it, the story was still kind of "clunky" -- it just sort of plodded along - most first cuts are like that, usually too long and unrefined. Unfortunately the audience was hugely disappointed and, by the end of the film, the people who hadn't walked out, jeered and booed, some even threw things at the screen. It was pretty depressing to all concerned. Then when word of this reaction got back to the big wigs at Warner Bros., they just took it as an excuse to give up totally on the film. Word came down to make wholesale cuts, no refinements were attempted, and it just got pushed out into a quick release without any studio support at all - they cut their losses and deserted it.
     
  7. ZackR

    ZackR Supporting Actor

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    I don't believe that it was ever shown on TV - that is a myth as far as I am concerned, but I have always been of the understanding that it was shown to a preview audience. Either way, I would be curious to see the longer cut if the footage still exists anywhere...
     
  8. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    The only real title differences is that on the Japanese laserdisc it starts off with the Japanese text credits, followed by a crystalline "Superman IV" logo in Kanji script. It then starts off with the Cannon logo, followed by the main title credit cards "The Cannon Group Presents" and "A Golan/Globus Production", followed by the rest of the film as we know it. All of the foreign-language subtitles are superimposed on the right of the screen from top to bottom, with regular Japanese subtitles at the bottom of the screen, and all in Kanji.

    The 93-minute film print that was used for the Japanese LD appears to be 2:1 format and at times a little washed out, but it's the only known source print that incorporates the extra footage in it.

    As for the original running length being 134 minutes, we've got enough proof that it could have in fact been 134 minutes:

    - The above-quoted Harrison Ellenshaw commentary.
    - An interview with Alexander Courage in Jeff Bond's "The Music of Star Trek" in which he states that he composed 105 minutes of music for the film.
    - An online chat in 1998 or 1999 (I forget which at the time, but I was in on it) with Courage, Dennis McCarthy, and Don Davis in which Courage quoted the same info.
    - At the same time of the film's U.S. release, Starlog magazine printed a small blurb in its movie section stating that approximately 30 minutes of footage had been cut from the film's original 120-minute running length.

    The myth that the 134-minute cut was shown on TV is just that: a myth. It got started in the early to mid-90's that it had been shown on the now-defunct SFM Holiday Network, and that someone's brother/father/sister/mother/aunt/uncle/friend taped it but later recorded over it/lost the tape/couldn't find the tape. Here are the facts:

    - There was in fact a Christopher Reeve film that aired on SFM, but it was NOT "Superman IV". It was, in fact, a 60-minute made-for-TV movie called "The Last Ferry Home", which ran in 1988. I know - I recorded it.
    - There were rumors surfacing that various people had a VHS copy of the film (or at least a workprint of it) and were selling it. One message board actually gave the name and address of a fellow in Washington state who supposedly had it. His reply: "I'm sorry, I don't have 'Superman IV'." I know - I contacted him and verified this myself.
    - Just recently, in the last couple of months, a wild rumor surfaced that a guy over in England was selling a DVD workprint of the film, and he had supposedly included scans from Superman's battle with the first Nuclear Man. You should have seen the people that went ape nuts over it. I contacted the fellow to see if he in fact had it, and the only information he gave was just a couple of lines, not much to go by. I hesitated about following up on it, because I was simply running short on finances at the time. eBay pulled the auction, and it's never been on there again. I e-mailed the guy, and he told me that he'd sold the DVD. Apparently, it all turned out to be a hoax, as numerous people said that the timing codes were different and all wrong to be anything other than a fake.

    But we do know of other places where extra footage from the master cut of the film has appeared in an official format:

    - The film's theatrical trailer, on the current DVD, has Lex Luthor saying, "I'm smarter than I thought!" and a shot of the second Nuclear Man in his missile silo.
    - One of the rarely seen 1987 TV spots for the film had a couple of extra shots, of Lex and Lenny donning nuclear garb to witness the creation of the first Nuclear Man, and of Lex Luthor pointing to the second Nuclear Man and saying to Superman, "Is that adorable?"
    - A TV spot for the 1990 TV premiere of the film had an extra shot of Clark and Lacy kissing in the back seat of a cab.
    - An overseas trailer that appeared on the head of Cannon's VHS release of "Masters of the Universe" that had an extra shot of Superman flying, of Clark and Lacy kissing, and a clip of Superman's fight with the first Nuclear Man. I was sent a very thoroughly detailed transcript of this trailer.

    The sad thing of it is, Cannon was cheapjacking its budget on lots of films, and "Superman IV" was no exception. They got the greenlight on it when they acquired the film rights at that time and got Chris Reeve back on the condition that he could do a film project of his own selection as part of the two-picture deal with Cannon (the other picture being "Street Smart"). And they just ran out of money. I personally attempted to contact Sidney Furie through his agent out in California back in 1998 to get some information about it, and I never heard back from him. That leads me to believe that he wasn't willing to discuss it. And I learned recently that when Chris was offered a print of the 93-minute cut, he wanted nothing to do with it.

    Will that extra footage ever surface for a SE DVD? Nobody knows. Reports are that the extra footage was destroyed and is gone forever. But then again, we believed for years that the original cuts of "Alien 3", "Legend", and "Supergirl" were gone forever, and they were eventually preserved on DVD and released to the public, so you never know, but I'm not holding my breath, either.
     
  9. Kramer Lowry

    Kramer Lowry Second Unit

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  10. James Phillips

    James Phillips Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, that was definitely a fake. The seller was using screen captures taken from downloaded behind the scenes footage that I supplied to the Superman CINEMA site, as 'evidence' of the extra footage. [​IMG]
     
  11. Kramer Lowry

    Kramer Lowry Second Unit

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  12. Jeff Jacobson

    Jeff Jacobson Cinematographer

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    All I get when I click on that link is a bunch of ads for Eminem CDs.
     
  13. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    www.supermancinema.co.uk

    The complete cut of the film was destroyed according to the people who worked on the film.
     
  14. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

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    I do wish cut footage would show up. Maybe it is just a pipe dream.
     
  15. Kramer Lowry

    Kramer Lowry Second Unit

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  16. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    I think some of you may have hit this one right on the nose. Bill Williams, especially, you know your Superman IV.

    As I have stated time and time again, the whole battle (if there is one) is drawn along several corners.

    In one, you have WB, which currently holds home video rights (and had to cut through a lot of legal red tape to get "Superman IV" back on U.S. home video in the first place, especially on DVD).

    In another, you have Paramount Domestic Television/Viacom. Viacom, of course, holds the television rights to most of the Cannon Films library ("Superman IV" was part of the Superman movie package Viacom pieced together, and since this was a Cannon/WB joint production, and Viacom had access to Cannon's films for television anyway, it was incorporated into this package, along with the TV rights to "Superman III" and "Supergirl"). Viacom still holds TV rights today.

    And in the last corner, you have Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (now owned by the Sony/Comcast co-op). MGM bought the ancilliary rights to a majority of the Cannon library shortly before the studio folded. MGM now holds international (outside the U.S.) rights to "Superman IV", and shares the film's copyright with WB.

    Three entities...but does one know which holds the piece of the puzzle? We'll perhaps never know the answer.

    Bill Williams, please take a note of all of this and E-mail me...
     
  17. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    Hmm....as usual, no one wants to make a comment on my comment. I guess we've heard enough on this not-so-super sequel.
     
  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    what do you want people to respond to exactly?
     
  19. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    Jo_C, YGM! [​IMG]
     
  20. Jerome

    Jerome Second Unit

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    Warner France has finally announced a DVD release for Superman IV in France after years of no releases, on november.

    I will let you know if the DVD will include the two scenes of the European Cut.
     

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