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The Keep (1983)

Reggie W

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Title: The Keep

Tagline: THEY WERE ALL DRAWN TO THE KEEP. The soldiers who brought death. The father and daughter fighting for life. The people who have always feared it.

Genre: Horror

Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson, Jürgen Prochnow, Robert Prosky, Gabriel Byrne, Ian McKellen, William Morgan Sheppard, Michael Carter, Royston Tickner, Wolf Kahler

Release: 1983-12-16

Runtime: 96

Plot: Nazis take over an ancient fortress that contains a mysterious entity that wreaks havoc and death upon them.

 

Reggie W

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So, The Keep has now been released on a Region free DVD by ViaVision from Australia and is for sale on Amazon here in the US. At the time I started this thread there was, and I believe still is, a documentary in the works about this picture. I have the DVD and it is OK but the film would require a new scan to bring it to Blu-ray I'd say. I would hope that if they do bring this to Blu it will be in a new edition that is recut with additional footage by Michael Mann as this version seems to almost have been edited in a blender. Scenes don't flow, it is obvious there are bits missing, and the way this version ended up is almost as if the cuts were totally random. A Blu-ray with the new documentary would be wonderful. That would be a while in coming so the DVD is the way to see it at the moment.

keep doc.jpg
 

Walter Kittel

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@Reggie W - Does the DVD contain the theatrical cut? It has been ages since I've seen this, but your description of being 'edited in a blender' sort of rings true with regards to my impressions so many years ago at the theater. (I tried watching this via Amazon Prime but the version they presented was hideous. Easily one of the worst streaming presentations I've ever seen.)

- Walter.
 

Reggie W

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@Reggie W - Does the DVD contain the theatrical cut? It has been ages since I've seen this, but your description of being 'edited in a blender' sort of rings true with regards to my impressions so many years ago at the theater. (I tried watching this via Amazon Prime but the version they presented was hideous. Easily one of the worst streaming presentations I've ever seen.)

- Walter.

Yes the theatrical. Definitely a sloppy/choppy edit. There are at least a couple lines of dialogue that are in the trailer that were axed from the film. It’s such an awful edit that my guess would be that Mann did not have anything to do with the theatrical cut. In many ways the film barely makes sense in this cut. It’s such a cool picture though you hang with it. I’d like to see him recut it and add stuff to make it a better film if any of that footage exists.
 

Reggie W

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Yeah, so did I. The LD did come in a couple of versions, but I have forgotten what they were.

In reference to the different versions there were apparently several cuts of the picture. The theatrical, which is presented here on this DVD, is 96 minutes. Mann's first cut of the film which was said to be 210 minutes, a two hour preview cut which was shown to audiences and Mann was contractually obligated to deliver, a TV cut with a different ending than the theatrical, and a 91 minute cut made for home video or perhaps this is the TV cut which removes or changes the sex scene, not certain but that would make some sense.

The 96 minute theatrical cut is not at all Mann's version as it is the result of the 2 hour preview screenings going poorly and the film being taken from him and cut down to the fairly incoherent theatrical release. In his longer versions there was a major effects scene that never got finished and this appears to be the primary reason Mann feels he does not want to return to the picture to attempt a "director's cut" as the footage to do this would not be available. Also since the film was taken from him and chopped down by the studio there are questions as to what happened to the additional footage.
 

Reggie W

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It's also available on iTunes.

I've never watched any of the streaming versions but I've read a lot of complaints about them including that in some streaming versions there are music changes. I can't speak to that obviously but one of the good things about this DVD is it rates as the best presentation for home viewing I've seen and is the intact theatrical presentation.
 

dpippel

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DVD release? What is this, 1998? I really like this film, flaws and all, and hope that SOME day we'll see an HD release. Whether that's streaming or physical disc doesn't matter to me. If it DOES happen, it'll probably be years after The Abyss and True Lies get Blu-ray releases. :rolleyes:
 

Reggie W

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Yeah, so did I. The LD did come in a couple of versions, but I have forgotten what they were.

There are a couple of laserdiscs for sale on ebay, one the US version, the other a Japanese import, both appear to be bare bones versions containing the 96 minute cut.
 

Reggie W

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DVD release? What is this, 1998? I really like this film, flaws and all, and hope that SOME day we'll see an HD release. Whether that's streaming or physical disc doesn't matter to me. If it DOES happen, it'll probably be years after The Abyss and True Lies get Blu-ray releases. :rolleyes:

My guess is there is no HD quality scan of the picture available. The film has not been made available in a physical format since VHS and laserdisc. So, at least this is step in the right direction. I imagine the digital source for this DVD is the same source used for the laserdisc. When the film starts and the credits come up you will likely say "Uh oh!" because they don't look very good, when the film proper begins it improves greatly.

I'd like a blu too but I'd also like to see footage added back into the film as the theatrical cut is a crazy mess. The picture does work because it looks beautiful but plays like a disjointed dream or hallucination. It's pretty obvious that the relationship between Glaeken and Eva is totally chopped out as they meet, barely speak, are suddenly having sex, don't really interact much again, then she acts as if they had some big relationship at the end. I read the novel so I always feel like I know what is happening but my guess is someone with no knowledge of the story would wonder what the hell is going on.
 
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