The Next Man (1976)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeffrey:K, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Does anyone know what the legal status of this Sean Connery film is? Is it in the public domain?

    This movie was originally released (by Allied Artists) to US cinemas in 1976 at a length of 108 minutes. The following year, in 1977, it played on HBO at that same length. However, subsequent cable TV showings in the 1980s have featured a shortened version that eliminates Cornelia Sharpe’s nude scene amongst other cuts. This shortened version runs approx. 90 minutes and has been released on various public domain VHS labels under alternate titles (The Arab Conspiracy is one). It has also just been released on a crappy, VHS-quality budget DVD under the original title.

    I’m thinking that this short version is possibly an airline or broadcast TV version, since there’s no R-rated material in it.

    The odd thing is that the full-length version seems to have disappeared completely from public view, at least in the US. It’s never gotten a quality “legitimate” VHS or DVD release, and the only TV or cable showings in the US since the late 70s that I know of have been of the cut version.

    Does anyone know anything more about this?
     
  2. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Jeeffrey,

    the 108min theatrical cut is on video, on the rare Allied Artist video label,(ones that the tape slide from the side, came out in 1978) also the 108min cut has ran on Cinemax in the early 80's (last time it was on was in 85)as well as it used to air uncut all the time on Canadian late night TV in that time period.

    Just like GOLD, Warner probably still controls it, they just don't seem to care or do anything to stop the PB labels from putting it out.
     
  3. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Thanks, Walter. I didn't know about the old Allied Artists VHS release.

    I saw the Cinemax showing in 1983, and it was definitely the shorter version. I had seen the original HBO showing, so I noticed the differences right away (the most noticeable one being, no Cornelia Sharpe nudity).
     
  4. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    I recall there was odd cable showings of (mostly) WB movies being trimmed to 97min, like BOBBY DEERFIELD, LEPKE, BIG WEDNESDAY, BLOODBROTHERS, KIDNAPPING OF THE PRESIDENT, etc. Perhaps they were TV prints? Most were on Movie Channel (before Showtime bought them). I recall NEXT MAN aired in 1984-5, as I remember DEFIANCE being on the same day, and I saw TERMINATOR on the big screen, but my old college memories could be fading....
     
  5. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    I remember those recut Warners films airing on Cinemax. But in those cases the program guide specifically noted that they were special pay-TV editions, prepared by the directors. (I forget the exact language.) They weren't TV-sanitized, because Lepke (that's the only one of those I saw at the time) still retained much R-rated violence and nudity.

    In the case of The Next Man the program guide listed a shorter running time (95 min. or something like that) and an "R" rating, but made no note of any changes from the original.
     
  6. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, do you recall if that airing ended with a WB or Lorimar logo? Lorimar handled the Allied Artist library in the 80's (video, TV, etc), perhaps Cinemax accidently got the Tv print from Lorimar?

    I recall the shorter BLOODBROTHERS was on Movie Channel, it had a completely different title in the credits, like A BROTHER'S LOVE or something like that, while the guide listed BLOODBROTHERS.
     
  7. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    My memory is that there were no logos either at the beginning or the end, but I'm not 100% sure.

    The full-length version I saw on HBO a few years earlier opened with an Allied Artists logo, but this was gone from the shorter version.
     
  8. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    BLOODBROTHERS made its network TV debut on NBC under the alternate title A FATHER'S LOVE, so its possible Movie Channel received that source material for one of their broadcasts.

    THE NEXT MAN is notable for being the first full film score for the late Michael Kamen; the rare soundtrack album practically gushes about the "young new talent."

    I've always been annoyed at the cheap "ARAB CONSPIRACY" retitling because anyone who watches the film realizes that it is totally misleading. Connery plays an Arab, but he is the object of conspiracy, not the proponent. Without going to spoilers, THE NEXT MAN is the title that is more truthful.
     
  9. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    I have the soundtrack album too, a very good listen. Wished they put it out on CD.
     
  10. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    I should add that Mitchell is another Allied Artists title that seems to have been issued on cheapo VHS and DVD labels. There is a MST3K DVD that contains a shortened version, and a grey-market (VHS-sourced) Brentwood DVD that seems to be complete except for some audio deletions of profanity.

    I have a VHS recording I made of this movie from a Cinemax showing in the early 90s. It's uncut, and has logos for Warners and Allied Artists. (The Brentwood DVD has a Lorimar logo at the end.)

    I wonder if the MST3K DVD is a properly licensed release or if it's PD.
     
  11. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Jeffrey,

    they also ran the Warner version on Encore couple of years ago, this too, was only available on Allied Artist Video in 1978, very rare tape. The producer of the film told me it's still controlled by Warner,so it's in the same shoes as GOLD, and other Allied Artist titles that fell in the PD market like THREE THE HARD WAY.
     
  12. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    It can't be just a coincidence that several Allied Artists titles are being exploited by grey market labels. There must be some legal loophole common to them that exists, some rights specific to home video that have lapsed.

    After all, if it was just a case of the Warners lawyers being asleep at the wheel then surely these labels would be peddling some Warner Brothers or MGM releases, no?
     
  13. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    There is a tenet of copyright law that a title can be considered PD if their company of origin goes bankrupt. It's a vague statute that PD companies have exploited for years. Thus, since Allied Artists went out of business, the PD companies regard the library as fair game despite the fact that all their assets were acquired by Lorimar and then WB. Companies like National General (another library also picked up by WB) have also had their movies poached in this manner.
    As said before on this board, tiny companies like Mill Creek are smart enough not to just randomly issue any famous Allied Artists title like CABARET or PAPILLON, because those still generate revenue for WB and they would crack down. Instead, they steal flops like THE NEXT MAN or MITCHELL that are a lower priority for WB to enforce their copyright on. They also often use edited TV prints to source the videos, one because they're easy to come by since local affiliates no longer use 16mm for broadcast, and two because they could be argued as unprotected "variant editions" if they ever went to court. Even if WB tried to sue, it would be hard to pin down the culprits or collect damages, and a good lawyer could keep them tied up and spending money for years. Essentially, the studios are more apt to either give up and focus on the movies that they can protect, or if they do issue a PD title, use their in-house masters in the hope that the fans will buy their version for its better quality. Since WB has said GOLD would get a DVD release, perhaps we can hope for other AA and NGP titles to get similar treatment and render these cheap eysores obsolete.
     
  14. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Marc,

    it figures that is the reason why they constantly use TV prints, like BORN TO WIN, JOE, LADY ICE, as well as the cheap DVD of RED SUN and MAGIC that appeared in the early days of DVD.

    Of course, would be curious if any of these budget labels would dare put out MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, UP THE SANDBOX or THE GETAWAY!
     
  15. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Thanks, Marc. That explanation makes a lot of sense.

    I guess that explains why there were PD VHS tapes of THE GRASSHOPPER and EL CONDOR (both National General titles) competing with legit Warner releases of those same movies.
     
  16. walter o

    walter o Supporting Actor

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    Yep, and the fact they are all TV prints. I guess on the Allied Artist stuff, since GOLD, NEXT MAN, THREE THE HARD WAY, etc, was never re-released on video in the 80's, they probably didn't know the release in late 70's, so they figured, like Marc said, it wasn't on Lorimar's priority list, unlike the many Allied Artist titles Key videos and Fox re-released in the 80's.

    I noticed there are some Paramount titles that these PD labels put out Tv prints in the old vhs days, like HANNIE CAULDER, DESERTERS, KLANSMAN, competing with the legit Paramount video release as well.
     
  17. Jeffrey:K

    Jeffrey:K Second Unit

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    Going by what Marc said, I guess it's the fact that Allied Artists actually filed for bankruptcy in court that opened an avenue for these public domain suppliers.

    That you rarely see bootlegs of American International or Avco Embassy films, for example, may be due to the fact that these companies were bought/sold outright, without going through bankruptcy proceedings.
     

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