Author Topic: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films  (Read 4791 times)

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« on: February 13, 2010, 10:54:02 PM »
So as not to derail the Metropolis thread, I thought we'd talk about extended (or shortened) versions of various films and how we feel about them. It could be a Director's Cut, a studio edit, rediscovered 'lost' footage etc., anything goes.

In my experience, Director's Cuts are often worse than the original film, because they reinstate scenes that don't need to be there; they were cut for a reason, and to put them back years down the line is usually more about money-spinning than artistic improvement. Some things belong in Deleted Scenes. I can understand directors might have second thoughts about their work, or feel that they didn't have the resources to make the film they wanted at the time, but tinkering with a film after the fact suggests they released an inferior product at the time, and the film you've been enjoying for ages is now the 'wrong' version (George Lucas with Star Wars, James Cameron with Aliens).

In order to preempt this criticism, some directors stress that the theatrical release is their preferred version (Peter Jackson with The Lord of the Rings, Ridley Scott with Alien) and the new edit is just something interesting for the fans. I dislike that attitude, it's like they're saying "We'll throw out a longer version for a laugh, these people will buy anything".

Apocalypse Now Redux has some interesting new footage (Willard stealing Kilgore's surfboard, the second Playboy Playmates scene), but the French colony section is interminable. I really struggle to get through it and almost always end up skipping it, which means I might as well stick to the regular version.

I don't like the extended version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, because Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach simply don't sound like they used to, which makes the newly dubbed scenes very distracting. Come to think of it, the only alternate version of films I like are Das Boot: The Director's Cut (not the even longer version), and Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

How do you feel about extended/alternate versions of films?

Marty McFly

  • no, I said steamed HAMS
    • me dot com
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 11:08:56 PM »
Being a bit of a film geek, I do like to see the alternate/extended cuts, if only once, because it's always nice to get a glimpse of a few more minutes in that unique world, and sometimes plot points are cleared up, which does help. That said, though, the extra material more often than not works best as 'deleted scenes' as you say, and it's usually painfully obvious why the material was cut in the first place - timing/pacing reasons being the main culprit.

Take Ghostbusters for example, there are deleted scenes on the DVD but thankfully not inserted into the film. I think as soon as I got that DVD I went straight to the extras and watched them before I even watched the film proper. While there were some funny scenes (Murray and Aykroyd as two tramps stumbling through Central Park was one of them) and I was glad to see them, it was almost like watching scenes from another film altogether, because the film itself has been imprinted into my brain from so many viewings over the years.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2010, 11:22:03 PM »
Apocalypse Now: Redux is interesting but vastly inferior. It loses all the focus of the original one on the Willard-Kurtz obsession, adding in a stupid brief romance scene, a plantation scene that outstays its welcome and a bit more comedy. It's strange how it gives more time to the other characters in Willard's crew and makes it feel much more an 'ensemble' film. Seeing Willard mucking about and having a laugh is quite bizarre when you've seen the original so many times. I remember watching Redux just thinking "Oh, just fucking to Kurtz!"

I can't keep track of which Dawn Of The Dead (1978) I think is the best cut.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 11:51:58 PM »
I prefered Apocalypse Now: Redux, myself.

An interesting one is that because I got to see Das Boot as a tv series first, I've never brought myself to watch the film version as I just can't see how it could possibly be improved by a shorter running time.  The TV version is a masterpiece, especially on DVD where it's been edited into one seamless 5 hour film (albeit spread across 2 discs).

Another odd one is The Lord of the Rings.  The extended editions are again vastly superior to the theatrical releases, but I can see why they cut the extra stuff for cinema release, as some of it would have dragged in the cinema - whereas at home you can get blind drunk on the sofa and pause it when you need a piss.

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2010, 11:55:12 PM »
The TV version is a masterpiece, especially on DVD where it's been edited into one seamless 5 hour film (albeit spread across 2 discs).

Except the TV-original scenes have a big dirty scrape right down the middle on the DVD.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2010, 12:16:22 AM »
I liked the extended version of Aliens actually, no more than the original, but I think the little bit where it explains that Ripley lost a child adds another dimension to her protective feelings towards Newt.

torz77

  • its not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 03:21:14 AM »
I think The Wicker Man (the original, obviously) is a good example of a film where the Director's Cut is vastly superior.

The Theatrical Release just doesn't make sense in places as so much was hacked and slashed from the film. The Director's Cut is a work of brilliance though.

samadriel

  • De arimasu!
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2010, 06:27:05 AM »
The alternative cut of Alien 3 in the box set (it's not a "directors' cut", Fincher didn't do it) is heaps better than the original.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2010, 09:54:51 AM »
I liked the extended version of Aliens actually, no more than the original, but I think the little bit where it explains that Ripley lost a child adds another dimension to her protective feelings towards Newt.

I watched that recently but I think it just slows it down and takes way too long to get going.

One thing that's confused me is this: the DVD and TV version of Pulp Fiction has medium shots where there was closeup shots on the VHS version. For example the shot where Vincent and Mia drive up to Jack Rabbit Slims the shot includes the both of them rather than the VHS version where it just shows Vincent.

I only saw the uncut heart ripping scene from Temple Of Doom recently. It never made much sense in its cut version. Is it like that on the DVD?

Marty McFly

  • no, I said steamed HAMS
    • me dot com
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2010, 10:46:42 AM »
One thing that's confused me is this: the DVD and TV version of Pulp Fiction has medium shots where there was closeup shots on the VHS version. For example the shot where Vincent and Mia drive up to Jack Rabbit Slims the shot includes the both of them rather than the VHS version where it just shows Vincent.

Pulp Fiction was shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, so if you were watching it on VHS, it was probably the 4:3 pan-and-scan version, meaning that about 45% of the picture has to be cropped.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
    • theunredacted
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2010, 11:08:06 AM »
I think The Wicker Man (the original, obviously) is a good example of a film where the Director's Cut is vastly superior.

The Theatrical Release just doesn't make sense in places as so much was hacked and slashed from the film. The Director's Cut is a work of brilliance though.
I'm the opposite, I think the theatrical version is a much tighter, stronger film. None of the directors cut footage really adds anything to the film, especially the mainland scenes at the beginning which are just completly unnecessary exposition which tells you too much about Howie too soon. Which is why it was cut out in the first place. I also think the first appearance of Lord Summerisle is detrimental to the mystery of the character, although it is admittedly a nice scene.

joeyzaza

  • CORPSE, PLEASE ENJOY THE LAST TREMORS OF CHILDREN.
    • WWWaaaaah
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2010, 11:22:24 AM »
A notable exception to the usual "rule of bloat" is Wong Kar Wai's Ashes Of Time. The recent "Redux" version is actually about 7 minutes shorter than the original 1994 cut.

In order to preempt this criticism, some directors stress that the theatrical release is their preferred version (Peter Jackson with The Lord of the Rings, Ridley Scott with Alien) and the new edit is just something interesting for the fans. I dislike that attitude, it's like they're saying "We'll throw out a longer version for a laugh, these people will buy anything".

According to the commentaries, Peter Jackson seems to regard the extended LOTR cuts as the definitive versions, and the theatrical versions as a concession to avoiding inflicting cinema-goers with numb-bum. They obviously put a lot of thought into both versions, and seemed to apply consistent rules regarding what was excised (as opposed to just arbitrarily bunging some leftover footage into the extended versions). There are several story arcs which don't really exist in the shorter cuts, with all the setup and payoff occurring in the extended versions only. One indication that the longer cuts were more than just an afterthought to them is that, even after they'd already picked up a haul of Oscars for the theatrical version, they went back and did some pick-up shots for the extended version of the last film.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2010, 12:46:17 PM »
I hadn't actually seen the uncut clip of Batty [spoiler]crushing that guy's skull[/spoiler] in 'Blade Runner' until recently. It's certainly more gory but the most shocking bit of it was always Rutger Hauer's face while he was doing it combined with the screams offscreen.

NoSleep

  • feat. Keith Jarrett and his singing parrot
    • Space Is The Place
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 12:59:53 PM »

An interesting one is that because I got to see Das Boot as a tv series first, I've never brought myself to watch the film version as I just can't see how it could possibly be improved by a shorter running time.  The TV version is a masterpiece, especially on DVD where it's been edited into one seamless 5 hour film (albeit spread across 2 discs).


I saw the TV series, back in the 80s, and I still have the VHS recordings I made from then. One of the best series I've ever seen. May have to investigate a DVD upgrade.

Glebe

  • So here we are, then.
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2010, 01:30:53 PM »
Universal finally unearthed extra footage of Clive Barker's Nightbreed a little while ago, apparrently a director's cut is being prepared. I like the Lord Of The Rings Extended Editions myself, but then I am a fan. The Wicker Man certainly does benefit from the additional footage, of course according to a livid Christopher Lee, there was supposedly tons of extra film that was apparently used as landfill. Terry Gilliam apparently intends to do a director's cut of The Adventures Of Baron Munchasen at some stage; in any case, there are deleted scenes on the last DVD/Blu-ray release.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2010, 02:51:51 PM »
I'd usually take the directors intended cut over anything else, assuming there hasn't been some massive amount of fucking with going on like Mike Judges bizarre cutting up of various Beavis & Butthead episodes years after they've been watched, enjoyed and adored by people the world over, and have had time to become familiar with people, and generally became accepted that they worked in their previous form. It just seemed like a completely pointless thing to do, the editing didn't seem tighter and nothing seemed improved, just totally alien.

See also - The Warrior's directors cut. Walter Hill decided to insert a bunch of comic book style transitions between scenes and generally improved nothing, and did nothing more than make everyone regret not buying the original vanilla DVD. It's fair enough that it;s something he's always wanted to do, and he's well within his rights to do it, but generally it just served no purpose at all.  It turned out about as well as the kind of typical fan edit you'd see up for download somewhere, and generally nothing special at all.

If it's footage the director's always intended to have in the film then i can defenitely live with that, usually. The director's cut of Commando branches a few minutes of deleted scenes back into the film and generally turns out not too bad. They would have worked fine as seperate extras entirely and i don't think anyone would have noticed or cared otherwise, but it's quite a good thing to have that choice, especially on an officially released DVD, and with this type of film when all sorts of bullshit could, and has, happened such as putting the entirely wrong transfer out for people to buy without warning.

Just a case of finding a version you enjoy and sticking with it. There's some deleted scenes i'd like to have seen back in some films i've loved, but they're not. It;s no bother, the important thing generally is that you can see them any time you want and they're not left rotting in some backlot, some place.

I keep mentioning it elsewhere too but regardless of directors or stars wishes, one film i'd like to see with extras inserted in or at least on some kind of official outlet would be Bruce Lee's Big Boss. Someone out there is hoarding all that footage for themselves for whatever reason despite fucking enormous demand for 30 or so years.

surreal

  • The monkey and the plywood violin
    • toosurreal.com
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2010, 03:06:40 PM »
The International Cut of Leon is a big favourite of mine - 24 extra minutes, Mathilda being trained to "clean", asking Leon to be "her first", and so on.  Adds a lot of depth to what is already an amazing movie.

I also found the 3hr 40m "Ultimate Cut" of Watchmen with all the Black Freighter stuff added back was much more watchable and dragged far less than the theatrical release.  It's very long but something I would definitely watch again

Glebe

  • So here we are, then.
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2010, 05:29:20 PM »
I'm hoping that release that over here soon, actually. Overall, I'd have to say Watchman was a bit of a letdown (mainly due to the dumb, corny moments), but there are some very effective sequences. And I'd certainly like to see the whole hog, Black Freighter and all. I haven't actually seen Tales For The Black Freighter or the standard Director's Cut of Watchmen.

surreal

  • The monkey and the plywood violin
    • toosurreal.com
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2010, 06:02:29 PM »
I'm hoping that release that over here soon, actually. Overall, I'd have to say Watchman was a bit of a letdown (mainly due to the dumb, corny moments), but there are some very effective sequences. And I'd certainly like to see the whole hog, Black Freighter and all. I haven't actually seen Tales For The Black Freighter or the standard Director's Cut of Watchmen.

Luckily the Bluray is region free so if you have a PS3 or another bluray player it will play.  Expensive tho (about £38 on import)

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2010, 06:20:52 PM »
The obvious shit one is Donnie Darko - the original's pretty good, director's cut is drivel.  Horrible wank.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2010, 07:17:52 PM »
It's a shame that they didn't have the bottle to use the intened ending of 'Little Shop Of Horrors'. They filmed it, as can be witnessed on youtube, but test audiences deemed it too depressing.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2010, 07:41:21 PM »
The Shining is a film that exists in two alternate cuts.  The US version is roughly 25 minutes longer than the European cut, (I had a copy from the late 80s when ITV would show this in the early hours/Nightscreen period).  I lost this years ago, so this is  going from my memory; the most prominent cut being the doctor, who inspects Danny after his first blackout prior to the trip to the hotel, there's more of the initial tour of the hotel on closing day 'perfect for a child... well it's roomy', there are little bits of top and tails to scenes, (for example, a whole converstation between Wendy and Danny before the bedroom scene where jack is taking to Danny).  Halloran's journey back to the hotel, during the blizzard, is longer as is the climax, (including Wendy finding a long table surrounded by guests).

I'm guessing the cuts where to do with pacing up the film?  I do prefer the longer cut as it's more psychological and you do get more of a sense of isolation and stewing before all hell breaks loose.  Worth finding if you're interested?

What's more interesting is the Kubrik was still cutting the film during it's initial release.  After a few weeks open in the US he decided to cut down scenes, or lose them altogether, including a coda where we see Wendy in hospital.


Marty McFly

  • no, I said steamed HAMS
    • me dot com
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2010, 07:46:01 PM »
Oh yes, the Shining 'extended' edition has been mentioned several times on CAB. The US version is on the Region 1 DVD.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2010, 07:52:54 PM »
For a while I thought that was the only version and, as I hadn't the opene title taped, so when I saw it advertised on TV again I thought this would be an excellent chance to get the whole thing.  Was on late, so I set the timer and, stupidly, decided to tape over my old copy.  When I viewed this back the next day, only to find the shorter cut, I wasn't livid, or fucking furious, I was heartbroken.  DVDs were yet to be invented, you couldn't get this on VHS sellthrough, so I thought I'd never, ever see this again.  The now is class.

Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2010, 07:55:18 PM »
The International Cut of Leon is a big favourite of mine - 24 extra minutes, Mathilda being trained to "clean", asking Leon to be "her first", and so on.  Adds a lot of depth to what is already an amazing movie.

Good choice, I got it for Christmas and it works really well.

AsparagusTrevor

  • Member
  • **
  • I'm fine, thank you.
    • My DeviantArt page
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2010, 08:36:40 PM »
Love the international cut of Leon too, I had it on an imported VHS ages ago.

I've always liked the extended Terminator 2, but from what I've read around the net it's not too popular. I just like the added character development and relationship building, and the T1000 malfunctioning at the end, but mostly I like the brain surgery scene.

The Alien films, I think the first "director's cut" was a bad idea and ruins continuity between the films. I do like the second one, although it can drag a bit but it does add to the story. Alien 3 "assembly cut" or whatever they want to call it improves the film a lot, especially the added scenes with whichever McGann it was. Alien Ressurrection was shit in its original version and the extended cut is just longer shit.

Something that annoys me is these stupid versions which are released that say stuff like "too extreme/hot/shocking/sexy for cinemas!" but they're still rated 15 or something. They're usually American Pie style comedies with a few extra shots of tits added, or horror films with a bit more bloodshed.

I wonder which films have the most different versions? I have that Blade Runner tin which has 5 different versions, and there's that region 1 set of Dawn of the Dead with 3 different versions.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2010, 11:24:39 PM »
I'm the opposite, I think the theatrical version is a much tighter, stronger film. None of the directors cut footage really adds anything to the film, especially the mainland scenes at the beginning which are just completly unnecessary exposition which tells you too much about Howie too soon. Which is why it was cut out in the first place. I also think the first appearance of Lord Summerisle is detrimental to the mystery of the character, although it is admittedly a nice scene.

I agree with you regarding Sargent Howie's introduction and Lord Summerisle's introduction, both work better in the Theatrical version, but the cutting of the second night on the island doesn't really work in my opinion.  Also it's such a shame that "Gently Johnny" gets lost in the theatrical cut, as it's a really nice song and a great moment in the film.

Regarding Leon, I got the new version on Blu ray for christmas, and it is indeed much improved with the extra scenes.  Natalie Portman is absolutely amazing in it.  Apparently Luc Besson was devostated when American audiences laughed at the proposition scene during the test screenings.  It was jumping the shark as far as they were concerned, they thought it pushed the film into parody.  But it doesn't, it's totally true to her character.

Regarding Das Boot, I'd certainly really recommend getting the full 5 hour cut.  Not only has it been digitally cleaned up, but the sound has been redone as well to give a 5.1 surround sound track - which as you can probably imagine, is really powerful.

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2010, 11:33:01 PM »
So is my Das Boot DVD the only one that's got a big line down the middle?

rudi

  • I'm not interested
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2010, 11:46:31 PM »
So is my Das Boot DVD the only one that's got a big line down the middle?

You probably have the adidas version.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Extended/Alternate Versions Of Films
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2010, 11:54:14 PM »
Mine's got very nice picture quality!  It's not dodgy is it?  If not you may be able to replace it.

Edit:  I just found this on DVD Times:

Quote
There are dust spots visible now and again, one serious scratch down the middle of the frame during some early scenes and a fair level of grain in some shots, particularly above-sea submarine footage.

Is that what you were talking about?  If it's on my copy too, then somehow I've missed it.

http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=11472