February 01, 2006

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Note the cheeky, "Whistler's Mother"-esque shadow R. G. Armstrong casts on the wall to his left.

I confess that I used that frame-grab from 1973's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid in the latest Class of 1984 giveaway to facilitate a segue into this post. I've wanted to vent a little since getting Warner's new box set of Sam Peckinpah's "Legendary Westerns" (Ride the High Country, The Wild Bunch, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid) for my birthday.

Like Back to the Future or Miller's Crossing or Blue Velvet or Se7en, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid is one of those movies that caused an ineffable tremor in my makeup, leaving a fissure distinguishing who I was before I saw it from who I was thereafter. Yet I never went out of my way to recommend it to anyone: it's too flawed, too idiosyncratic--it's frankly boring at times. In the end, though, I don't know if I was protecting it from people or people from it.

In a dry-run of what Warner did to Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America a decade later, the long-out-of-circulation 106-minute theatrical cut of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid strips the film of its non-linearity and drops portions of Bob Dylan's song score, including the soundtrack hit "Knocking on Heaven's Door." The version I grew up with, dubbed the "1988 Turner Preview," runs 122 minutes and restores, most crucially, a framing device in which Garrett (James Coburn) is ambushed and killed over a land dispute (land implicitly purchased with the money Garrett received for killing the Kid (Kris Kristofferson)), putting an ironic--or literal, but fatalistic/nihilistic all the same--spin on his suicidal gesture of firing at a mirror immediately after gunning Billy down. "Knocking on Heaven's Door" also makes a return (albeit in instrumental form), backing the similarly-reinstated riverside bloodletting of Sheriff Baker (Slim Pickens) as his soon-to-be widow (genre staple Katy Jurado) looks on. (It is impossible to imagine the film without this scene.) Editor-turned-director Roger Spottiswoode oversaw this laconic cut, going by his memory of Bloody Sam's original assembly, and the sum of its parts reaches Days of Heaven levels of transcendence. Indeed, Billy the Kid had become a kind of countercultural icon, and many presumed that Peckinpah saw himself as Billy and Pat Garrett as an avatar for Hollywood producers--the liberal free-spirit trying to squirm out of the two-faced Man's grip and, pointedly, failing. But there's no joy in Billy's borrowed time; unlike Terrence Malick (but rather like Chow Yun-Fat in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), meditation leads Peckinpah not to the bliss of enlightenment, but to endless sorrow. This is a movie about reckonings.

The Two-Disc Special Edition DVD of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid features both the 1988 Turner Preview and a new 115-minute Frankenstein cobbled together by Peckinpah acolytes, apparently reconstructing the director's vision as conveyed through copious editing-room notes. I'm skeptical--not of the existence of these notes, but that Peckinpah would've ultimately preferred this cut to the Spottiswoode alternative. Shots have been reordered to hamfisted effect in the past/"present" prologue and the opening credits now fall at the end of this virtuoso sequence where they once checkered it, effectively imposing an intermission on the film ten minutes in. Dylan's vocals resurface in "Knocking on Heaven's Door," stealing a little thunder from Pickens and Jurado. Maybe you always prefer the one you see first, but considering Peckinpah's gradual metamorphosis (devolution?) into a member of the avant-garde, a lot of these changes strike me as imperialistic, especially the egregious "tightening" of a few notoriously languid set-pieces.

What are your favourite/least favourite Director's Cuts, Extended Editions, etc.?

Hot Off the Presses (2/3)
Walter chimes in with a zero-star review of the latest superfluous remake, When a Stranger Calls; actually, I thought there was nowhere to go but up with that one, but apparently not. Travis, meanwhile, comes to terms with the Ghost of Movies Past in his review of 1977's Thunder and Lightning.


Jefferson said...

Enticing query, Bill.

If I never again see the cut-for-TV "Godfather Epic" or whatever it's called -- the one Coppola stitched into chronological order for television, erasing the gorgeous flashback parallelism of Part II -- I will be most content.

(I grant you, seeing Hyman Roth pop up as a wet-behind-the-ears gofer for Don Vito is kind of amusing, but I'd rather he emerge whole out of the Miami underbelly -- sort of a sunlit flip side to Vito's familiar tarnished coin.)

Anonymous said...

“Blade Runner” is still my best example of a good film that became great once the lethargic voice-over and ‘happy ending’ were yanked out. Not really an example of a ‘director’s cut’ as we define it nowadays but, Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America was one of the most glaring examples of a truly great film that was butchered beyond recognition for the more ‘palatable’ version available on home video in the mid eighties. (One is a masterpiece, the other is almost unwatchable). The “Terminator 2” director’s cut (with Michael Biehn) is for me, the definitive version of the film, the scenes with Biehn and Linda Hamilton in the psychiatric hospital evoke the epic, elegiac sadness of Cameron’s best film. (I also prefer the longer cut of “Aliens”). “Apocalypse Now Redux” was interesting as curio piece, but I think the theatrical version is still the better film—the French Plantation sequences are unnecessary (interesting—but unnecessary). Never been fond of the “TV Cut” of “Halloween” which drops in the “Empire Strikes Back” revelation in the interest of…getting in enough ads, I think. (Though I was glad to discover I hadn’t dreamt this version after insisting on its existence to skeptical friends in those pre-DVD days). Not a director’s cut…but, the John Russo supervised “Extended” Anniversary Edition of “Night of the Living Dead” is a travesty.

Alex Jackson said...

I really hated the extended edition of T2. There isn't a single scene in the director's cut that needed to be there. As a matter of fact I actually particularly hated the Michael Biehn scene. One because I think his presense was more out of a desire to cement the film's connection with the previous Terminator film than because Sarah Connor really needed to see him there. It strikes me as grossly inorganic. Two, because of the line "On your feet soldier", which has to be some of the worst dialogue that James Cameron has ever wrote. And that's saying something obviously.

Cameron rather eloquently established the domesticity of the Tyson clan through a short bit where the boy is driving his remote control car while his mom is yelling at him to get to bed. In the director's cut we get a painfully pointless scene showing Tyson and his wife flirting. It's enough to get you to throw your shoe through the screen.

Definitely one of the worst director cuts I've ever seen. Thank the maker that they give us the choice of the theatrical version.

While we're at it, Tony Scott's new ending to True Romance where Alabama shoots Chris Penn is shite too. Connects her too much to the shootout where the beauty is that they just walk out with the money in the middle of the maelstrom. The unrated violence is great though, that didn't take my sympathy away from them it just gave the film an extra grimy texture.

Raphael said...

Portuguese television frequently broadcasts a blade runner cut wich leaves the voice off and the happy ending intact but includes the unicorn dream.I wonder if anyone else has seen this cut.The article on Wikipedia lists 4 more cuts of the movie besides the 1982 theatrical version and the 1992 director´s cut but i am at loss at figuring out wich one of the four is actualy the cut that i have taped on vhs.
I still favour the theatrical version of Weir´s Picnic at hanging rock over his director´s cut.
I loathe the E.T. 20th anniversary re-release version but at least Spielberg is no Lucas...

Raphael said...

I forgot to add the Nuovo Cinema Paradiso director´s cut wich gives even more poignancy to the teenage romance of Elena and Salvatore.Cinema Paradiso is another shining example of Miramax ruthless handling of foreign cinema.
Tornatore has no luck with american distributors.I hope someday to get to see the 40 minutes that are missing from the only (bare bones )edition that´s currently on the market

Raphael said...

I made a typo on the last paragraph of the last post;i was talking about the 120 minutes cut of "The Legend of 1900", "courtesy" of the folks at Fine Line Features.

Bill C said...

There's soon to be a fifth cut of Blade Runner (if we go by Wikipedia's count), as Ridley Scott is preparing a Director's Cut of his Director's Cut--which wasn't really definitive, after all, but a version that fell mostly in line with Scott's original intent and was hastily rushed into theatres to commemorate the movie's tenth anniversary. From reading "Future Noir", I imagine what's holding up this latest incarnation is the ongoing search for the audio that goes with a heretofore-unseen scene of Deckard visiting the wounded Holden in hospital. I just hope the deluxe DVD, if and when it arrives, includes the teaser trailer that marries a montage of some of the most astonishing shots in the movie to Jack Lawrence's "If I Didn't Care" (a.k.a. the song that opens The Shawshank Redemption).

I slightly prefer all of Cameron's Director's Cuts to the theatrical alternates, but in most cases (especially Aliens) feel that a compromise between the two versions would be ideal.

Nate said...

My favorite extended cut is, obviously, the 3-hour version of The Magnificent Ambersons, which makes the studio cut job look positively pathetic by comparison.

Oh, that was a terrible joke.

I prefer the theatrical cut of Aliens, because the extra footage ruins the mystery of what happened on the planet before the marines arrived. I do love the scenes with the sentry guns, though - I'd like an extended version with just those scenes.

I do prefer the extended cuts of Alien (obviously) and Alien 3. The extended Alien Resurrection is very stupid, but kind of fun as a novelty.

Scott said...

I know a lot of people that hated it, but I love the Director's Cut of JFK. The betrayal by the memebers of his staff gets more scope and depth; John Laroquette gets to play Johnny Carson (or a reasonable facsimile of) for a few minutes; Costner gets to compare himself to Hemingway's 'old man'. What's not to love (don't answer that...)

Oh, although I haven't seen that new doc WHY WE FIGHT, all the promotional material highlights the fact that it makes apt use of Eisenhower's 'beware the military-industrial complex' mantra from his farewell address to the nation. Stone chose to open JFK with that very clip almost fifteen years ago. JFK can be seen not so much as a 'conspiracy flick' but as a frighteningly ahead-of-its-time examination of the government/business/military connections that overshadow everything good about the American government. Love him or hate him, Stone is always, always ahead of his time. (And yes, I even loved ALEXANDER, the orginal cut -- I think it's 'advanced', to steal ESQUIRE writer Chuck Klosterman's notion of a work of art monstrously ahead of its time...)

Oh, and I think the seven-or-so minutes of footage added to the video release of STARK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is sorta kinda neat, too.

The Captain said...

I'm with Alex and nate - much prefer the theatrical cuts of T2 and Aliens.

An odder pick is The Butterfly Effect; big fan of the theatrical cut, the director's cut features a terrible ending involving cg-infant-suicide that shoots for profound and ends up being really ridiculous. Maybe a decent idea (cleans up all the plot holes from the theatrical cut nicely) but executed horribly.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Not that the theatrical cut of David Lynch's Dune is a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but the three-hour Extended Cut only serves to extend the agony, adding in seemingly random bits and pieces of footage that doesn't so much enhance the narrative or characters as repeat the overabundance already on display. It's included on the flipside of Universal's new DVD release of Dune, which is only worth getting for the much-improved video quality.
And speaking of Star Trek: I felt the subtle re-editing done by Nicholas Meyer for the DVD of The Wrath of Khan made it just a tad better (though the changes are hardly noticeable).

Alex Jackson said...

My favorite extended cut is, obviously, the 3-hour version of The Magnificent Ambersons, which makes the studio cut job look positively pathetic by comparison.

Speaking of which is it even possible to see the original theatrical version of Once upon a Time in America? Or Blade Runner for that matter?

Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and JFK all just feel longer to me. Not really improving or detracting really, just giving us more of the same. Not at all a problem for me.

Still haven't seen the five and half hour cut of Apocalypse Now. Been putting it off and putting it off. New Blade Runner does sound promising.

Bill C said...

A&E sometimes still airs the theatrical cut of ...America. I caught it one afternoon about a year ago.

Chad Evan said...

Oh come on, that three hours Ambersons is nothing compared to the uncut Greed! What was Stroheim's original length--something like twelve hours? That, my friends, is hubris, and Coppolla only wishes he could be that insane.

Hopefully we'll get to see the original cuts in heaven after we die.

Nate said...

You know, Greed isn't even on DVD? How is this possible?

Rich said...

Anyone seen the new 'uncut and extended' version of Sin City?

Rich said...

Wait, I think it's 'recut' and not 'uncut'.

Anonymous said...

Well, we can't possibly forget the "EXTENDED AND UNRATED!" or "TOO OUTRAGEOUS!" or "SUPER [movie-related adjective] CUT!" editions that appear on DVD for just about every R-rated teen comedy these days, and you'd have to really squint and get your pause button ready to see what's so outrageous about these cuts. Oh, marketing.

(On a related note, you've got to love when the "special features not rated" disclaimer appears on a DVD case, even when such special features are non-existent; example being Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, which featured "French subtitles" and "animated menus." The horror!)

Nate said...

My favorite DVD disclaimer is the one assuring us that the opinions of the filmmakers do not always coincide with the opinions of the studios releasing the film. As if we didn't know that already.

Jefferson said...

Does it say anything about Mel Gibson's Passion that when he released his Passion Recut edition a year or so later, with a PG-13 rating, it did no box office whatsoever?

Lee said...

I recently watched the director's cut of "The Frighteners," and liked what was added a lot.

The extened version of "The Abyss" is better. Same with Ridley Scott's "Legend," which is like a whole different movie.

I am tired of this lame unrated additions, though. I love "The 40 Year Old Virgin," but this DVD cut with 17 extra minutes is just too fucking long. It just goes on and on and on...

Unrated editions are a jip for the most part anyway. All that's usually added are some extra talky scenes, and yet they still must sell. Pretty sad was to market a movie.

Jonathan said...

Since the fake The Shining as romantic-comedy trailer was a hit a few months back, I figure it's safe to link to Brokeback To the Future.

jer fairall said...

Brokeback To The Future was funny, but Shining was inspired. I lost when I heard "Solsbury Hill" queue up. How did that become the most over-soundtracked song since The Cranberries' "Dreams" (which was at least a hit around the time that it was being used ad nauseum)?

Watched the extended 40 Year Old Virgin recently and I must say that it actually brought the film down a notch or so in my affections. Love Apatow, love Carrell, love Keener, but the film was already too long as is.

Haven't watched my "recut" Sin City DVD yet.

Anonymous said...

On the "recut" Sin City - the DVD splits the film into each of the individual four stories, rather than having them together like the theatrical cut. The twenty-something minutes of actual footage are great, particularly for die hard fans of the graphic novels like myself (love the scene in which Marv retrieves Gladys, his gun, and talks to his mom), but a fair portion of those extra minutes are spent on credits sequences for each of the four stories, and having The Customer Is Always Right including the Becky scene without having The Big Fat Kill in between doesn't make any sense.

Thus my personal preference is for the theatrical cut, which is thankfully also included on the DVD. The stories recut are a nice extra, really - the DVD set on the whole is one of the best I've ever purchased, including some spectacular special features such as a sped-up version of the film all in front of the green screen, various featurettes on making the whole thing and the infamous stories of how RR got it make and got Miller's interest, plus a nice miniature copy of the original Sin City graphic novel. Plus, the picture quality is fantastic - really, a must buy for anyone who liked the movie.

Bill, any chance you'll review the DVD on the site so you can have an Amazon link, possibly generate a few extra dollars for FFC for us kids who want to buy this?

Walter_Chaw said...

I like knowing about the extra material in Aliens and T2 (and Alien) as lore more than I like seeing them integrated into the films (I read the novelizations of T2 and Aliens the night before their releases as rampant fanboyism - by the director or otherwise - but as far as Ridley Scott's Director's cuts, have to agree that his Legend redux is far, far superior to the original, restoring to the Mia Sara character that element of subversive evil that really sells the rest of the picture for me. There's a little Darkness in everyone, no?

It makes me particularly jazzed for the long-talked-about official director's cut of Blade Runner (wasn't he working on 1492 or something when it was time, last time, to do a director's cut?) - by the way, Raphael, the version you're describing sounds like that anniversary Dir. Cut - if you have the Future Noir book that Bill's talking about (and if you like the film, you need to have it, it's just amazingly thorough) there's a production still or two of the Holden scene. I'm dying to see it. I wonder if, Eastwood/Leone-like, Ford would be willing to re-record his lines. . . probably wishful thinking. Ford hated Blade Runner. I've never thought of him the same way since I learned that. Anyone catch him on Lipton's "Actor's Studio" show? The one film they don't talk about is arguably his best one. Sad.

Wanted to echo the bullshit of "Unrated" versions on DVD. Latest guilty party Emily Rose which grafts on like three minutes of courtroom histrionics that the MPAA would never even register. The disc is worth a rental for the curious, though, just for Derrickson's comments in the featurettes. He claims to have read two-thousand books researching this pedestrian knock-off. Sad, again.

Chujo said...

Apologies if someone has already mentioned this but Scott's new cut of Blade runner isn't going to happen. Jerry Perenchio (producer and co-owner of Tandem) won't release the footage needed to complete it. He's always had a bee in his bonnet about that film and Scott apparently.

A 25th anniversary release is planned for 2007, but it'll probably going to just be the director's cut but cleaned up a bit. Scott did want to offer an edition with the theatrical version included (as well as the '92 director's cut and a new version, maybe the 70mm workprint too) but Perenchio apparently owns that too, maybe that's why you don't see that version very often these days?

If you wade through the imdb boards for the film, you should be able to get the skinny.

As for director's cuts:

The added footage for Aliens is a mixed bag. The alien bomber seems inconsistent with the version in the prequel. The door mouth is littered with recognisable wirey technolgy, which betrays the mollusc shell design of the originals. You could say it's in keeping with Cameron's aesthetic decision for Aliens though -Cameron's film is more 80s techno-fetish, he remodels the actual creature to make its head more explicitly mechanical with the pipes design.

Other than that the Ripley daughter scenes area's a bit on the nose and the drone gun sections are in desperate need of more than one reaction shot. I suppose it's a tension sequence of fighting an unseen 'other' but it's not exciting enough to maintain the inflated length / the later reprise.

The workprint extended version of Alien 3 completely manhandles the birth/death funeral cross cutting by replacing the dog with a Ox's corpse - the theatrical version has a kind of flower opening ruthless nature vibe, the static blob of meat that births the extended alien is just daft.

The extended version also mutes Ripley's final gesture - it deletes one or two of Goldenthal's melodramatic swelling peaks as Ripley falls. Golic's arc is interesting though. In the end all the workprint adds is length.

The Sin City extended segments where quite the disappointment, the pre-release shilling had me believing they'd slowed the break-neck pace to better match Miller's splash page anti-movement.

As it is Willis' limping swagger at the end of Yellow Batsard is pretty much the only concession (Big Fat kill has the tar swim I suppose) to what I'd conisder Miller's major stylistic flouish.

The segments version is pretty much exactly the saem though - it even betrays the 'exactly as the comics are!' manifesto by jamming in an illogical Miho shaped payoff to Big Fat Kill. Exactly why wouldn't Dwight shoot Manute first?

It's not so much that I'm a total whining fanboy that wants the comic reproduced verbatim - Big Fat Kill and Yellow Bastard are fine - it's that Miller and Rodriguez missed out Marv's best bits: his calm, knowing, animal cunning and most of his introspection - The vomit scene or why he hates daytime would have not only punctuated the endless (deadening) 90mph pace, but also allowed his animalistic 'woods' speeches to take a stand and really amp up his loopy heroism pre-Kevin fight.

Marv in the comic is a three dimensional psychopath, he does awful things but there's enough concession to his private thoughts and actions to illicit sympathy and triumph in what he does. The film version's too one-note 80s invincible "Ahnoldt!" man tank for me. But like the man said, you love what you saw first.

James Allen said...

Speaking of various cuts, the edits of the Superman movies can get confusing. I remember the extra long version of the first film, shown in a two part 4-hour TV format (I can only guess that without commercials it was around the 3-hour mark.) As far as I know, that version has never been released commercially, but other longer versions have. (Is yet another version of Superman coming out this year to coincide with Superman Returns?)

As far as other films go, I suppose it's universally accepted that The Abyss is better in its longer cut.

I like both versions of Blade Runner, actually. I've watched both from time to time, which version depends on my mood.

Extended versions of comedies generally are inferior (the excised footage commonly removed for a good reason, i.e. it ain't funny and/or it slows down the pace) so I'm not surprised the extended 40 Year-Old Virgin is weak. Hell, pretty much the same crew had so much extra footage from Anchorman, they cobbled together a whole other film out of it. I haven't seen it, but I can only assume it's pretty lame.

The Brokeback to the Future trailer was hilarious. It's amazing how easy it is to completely recontextualize a casual glance between Marty and Doc. It's also a great parody of the no-narrator, fade-in/out with captions style of trailer. I especially liked the one caption "but the one variable they forgot was love," followed by all the words fading out except "love." The clip of Doc showing Marty the jumper cable (nipple?) clips was also hysterical.

Chujo said...

More Blade Runner:

You can view a portion of the Holden scene here:


the sequence ran in full in the UK Channel 4 documentary On The Edge of Blade Runner, rumoured to be supplementary material on the forthcoming DVD.

If you have a poke round it shouldn't be too hard to find a copy.

About the two main versions, the soaring, weightless, Shining outtakes on loan from Mr. Kubrick make up a strange almost allegorical ending for the theatrical version - it's so completely at odds with everything that came before it's tempting to view it as a hazy dream sequence - Rachel hasn't a termination date and the countryside isn't a scorched pit as the rest of the film seems to infer.

I didn't find the issue of Deckard being a replicant as broad as people'd have you believe in that version, there's still plenty of allusions to Deckard being specifically defined (and trapped cyclically) by his job, that would seem to suggest he's a machine of sorts.

Raphael said...

For a guy who has only had one box office sucess in almost a decade (and even that´s arguable since What lies beneath was a one woman show...) and Indiana Jones 4 being compromised by Lucas meddling, it´s really pathetic not to even aknowledge what has come to be seen as the greatest performance of his carreer.What the hell is wrong with these contemporary Hollywood legends?In the old days they used to age gracefully, but 70s idols like DeNiro, Pacino,Hoffman are either starring in crappy horror movies, destroying their credibilty and persona on unfunny vulgar comedies or chewing the scenery on indie garbage.
Still about Blade runner, i really love Deckard´s voice over, it´s just not the fact that it fits perfectly into the film noir, but also the fact that Ford is seemingly not taking it seriously, and his tongue in cheek, sarcastic tone works to turn him into a simpathetic, sensitive though rough on the edges anti-hero.I never get as much affectionate to this guy watching the director´s cut as i do listening to him in the theatrical version.
And that "future noir" book seems really promising.I´m gonna order it since it´s even not that expensive and Blade Runner is both my sci fi and 80´s favorite movie.You only get something as transcendent as this flick a couple times every decade.

By the way, didnt Tarantino at one point announce that he would reedit the kill bill movies into a single one?

Bill C said...

Man, that's a shame about Jerry Perenchio; he and Bud Yorkin are portrayed as villains in "Future Noir" and it's a shame that Perenchio wants to continue to be thought of in this way. Yorkin, for what it's worth, demanded and directed Ford's listless voiceover narration (as much as Ford hated the experience, to his credit he knew the narration was a mistake and tried his damnedest to sabotage the conceit by delivering it poorly) and was the Shining ending's biggest champion. Would it surprise you to learn he went on to direct Arthur 2: On the Rocks?

Tarantino has, I believe, already premiered the five-hour Kill Bill Saga on the festival circuit. It was supposed to come out on DVD last summer but Miramax's divorce from Disney threw a wrench in that plan.

As for Superman, the version on DVD is neither the theatrical nor the TV version, but a new Director's Cut that restores 8 minutes of deleted footage to the theatrical release. It's doubtful we'll ever see the other incarnations on DVD unless they release some sort of Alien Quadrilogy-style box set.

No chance we'll be reviewing either DVD of Sin City, by the way, at least this go-round. The Canadian rights are held by Alliance, and Alliance refuses to provide screeners to online press.

cory m said...


I had almost forgotten the Anniversary Edition of Night of the Living Dead. It was so bad that I felt the need to do violence to the DVD and case when I was finished. I couldn't return it. I couldn't sell it. I had to destroy it.

Finally got to see The New World a couple days ago, and it was absolutely amazing. Other than myself, there were ten people in the theater. I counted six walk-outs by the time it was over. Unbelievable.

Bill C said...

I did the same thing with the Ann. Ed. of NotLD, Cory: threw the disc right out. (Though not before doing the Mexican hat-dance on it.) I felt like I had a strain of some deadly virus and this was my chance to destroy it before the bad guys got to it. I even scrapped my zero-star, profanity-laced review of it for fear that the any-publicity-is-good-publicity principle would work in its favour.

Chujo said...

news on new Superman DVD set:


James Allen said...

Bill C wrote:
(as much as Ford hated the experience [Blade Runner], to his credit he knew the narration was a mistake and tried his damnedest to sabotage the conceit by delivering it poorly)

I love ya Bill, but I have two problems with this, the first is subjective, i.e. I think the narration sounds fine delivered in a matter of fact way that serves its intention (whether you think the narration is a mistake is a seperate issue, and one I understand despite liking both versions.)

Secondly, as a person who has worked in the theater most of his life, I find an actor who deliberately sabotages something because he doesn't like it (either the writing or direction) is an actor I have no respect for and would never want to work with again. And to laud someone for doing something so unprofessional is rather bizarre. Although with Ford, its sometimes hard to tell if his listlessness (especially in his more recent work) is intentional or not.

James Allen said...

OK, enough of this stuff about special editions and whatnot. Let's get serious: who's gonna win, FFC people? I like the Seahawks to pull the upset.

cory m said...

Pittsburgh is unstoppable.

cory m said...

In other news, did anyone else read that Werner Herzog was shot during an interview with the BBC? Apparently, he continued with the interview saying, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

I think I'm in love with that crazy bastard.

Anonymous said...


I'm pretty convinced that based on sheer brilliance and insanity, Herzog is incapable of dying. (Perhaps the only person with the ability to kill him was Klaus Kinski.)


Would love to read the NotLD: 30th Anniversary Edition review if you've still got it; I think time, as relatively brief as it has been (eight years, yes?) -- not to mention the fact that people seem to have the not-so-inexplicable urge to destroy it -- have buried it for good. Also, be sure to watch this year's remake Night of the Living Dead 3D crash and burn.

Bill C said...

What's a Seahawk?

I know where you're coming from, James, but a crisis of conscience is a crisis of conscience and, in this scenario, I'm forced to applaud Ford for setting aside his differences with Ridley Scott and understanding the integrity of his original vision. Perhaps if anyone but Bud Yorkin had mandated it I'd be singing a different tune, but that guy is a blight on the movie industry.

Personally, I loathe the narration, ill-delivered or not. "My ex-wife calls me sushi...cold fish." Like, barf. It places the film too literally in the landscape of film noir and penny dreadfuls, if you ask me--the difference between the theatrical cut and the so-called Director's Cut is the difference between The Two Jakes and Chinatown. Roy Batty's death scene is especially spoiled by the narration, which thinks for us in the most condescending of ways.

Ian: Unfortunately, I lost that review in the Great Comp Crash of '02. I actually wouldn't mind reading it again myself, it was of pure rage.

Alex Jackson said...

I so want to see the theatrical cut now. The theatrical version made up my very first viewing, but I can't really remember much of it except I think that Ford compared the word "skinjob" to the word "nigger".

Really want to check out that ending too.

Hollow Man Stuffed Man said...

If getting shot wasn't enough, Herzog went on to pull Joaquin Phoenix out of a totaled car next day.

Raphael said...

And here´s another one.This time it´s Brokeback Top gun starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.


Kirk said...

Future Noir was definitely an amazing read. I was fortunate enough to catch the theatrical version on a 35 mm print in college a few years ago--I prefer the DC and recently heard word of the deluxe edition on the digitalbits.com. Harrison Ford has been pissing me off to no end these days--Firewall seems useless in a Bruce Willis-in-Hostage sort of way. I don't need another Indy movie unless he's a-smashin' those dirty Nazis, and I don't think that can work chronologically with him being so long in the tooth.
I've been slacking, because I spent a few years whining about the deluxe Frighteners and now that I have it, I'm taking it for granted. I'm almost done with the documentary, though.

Just received the 2005 cut of Pat Garrett, it's amazing so far and I can't wait to see the Turner Preview.

Walter_Chaw said...

Firewall seems useless in a Bruce Willis-in-Hostage sort of way

By george, you've hit that fucker right square on the head. That's exactly what it is inasumuch as the insularity of the Hostage scenario was already an extrapolation of Air Force One.

Kirk said...

*Forehead slap*

I totally forgot about Air Force One in discussing the new one. Now, I can see it as a total downgrade in every way:

Job Status: President of the U.S. to...Computer programmer? Are there a lot of ruggedly aging 60 year old security computer programmers out there? I'm way out of the loop.

Villain: Paul Bettany replaces Gary Oldman. Russian Gary Oldman, at that!

Vehicle. Air Force One...to the new 2006 Chrysler 300. Seen the ads?

The only way i'd rent this is if halfway thru the movie it pulls a Seagal and somebody pulls the recon file on him and says he's "Ex-Company. "

Rich said...


Was thinking about buying that new DVD of The Frighteners. How is it? There's a Peter Jackson commentary track, isn't there?

Kirk said...


There sho'nuff is. It's the entire port of the laserdisc Signature Series that Universal put out (also, van damme's Street Fighter received the exact same treatment with special features--yeesh). It's got a commentary track and storyboards on one side, and it's the Director's cut. Side B has the super-long in depth documentary, produced by Jackson. You should definitely check it out, for all of the above, and the restored theatrical poster as the cover (in a slipcase to boot). Should have been 2 discs though. Oh well, movie geek beggars can't be choosers.