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The Director's Cut

In the comments of yesterday's post, I was asked about the director's cut of Aliens. I don't really think it gives all that much more to the original, but it got me thinking about director's cuts, in general.

Once, there was a time when I was young and thought director's cuts were cool and fantastic and new, but now I'm mostly cured of that. Sure, a director's cut can be that, but how many DVDs promise it just for a marketing tool on a shit film to begin with? I mean, there's a director's cut of the Chronicles of Riddick. For a film like that, there has to be a moment where you step back and say, "I apologise for making the film, I'm sorry, here's twenty bucks back for the original movie ticket." And it seems to me that there's a lot of director's cuts out there now, a lot of them lurking under the 'uncut' and 'unrated' tag to try and convince you to buy a version of a film that ought not have been made to begin with.

But, that said, there are still a lot of films that suffered from studio involvement that I'd like to watch a director's cut of. There's a lot of Orson Welles films that were sadly butchered, though the chances of seeing them returned are pretty slim. Tony Kaye, the director of American History X, was infamous in his insistence to get his name taken off the film after his original version was cut and put out--and you know, I liked that version, but I'd really like to see Kaye's original cut of the film. There are a number of other examples, as well, with studio interference being a long and terrible influence on film over the years.

And then there are the versions that didn't need a director's cut, but got one anyhow--I liked, for example, Apocalypse Now Redux, which I believe adds a nice new layer to a film that, to be honest, I was always happy with before.

But mostly, it's true, a director's cut doesn't do much for me anymore.


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May. 24th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC)
The 'Director's Cut' of Alexander was actually the studio-mandated (less-gay) version, which is indeed just marketing gone mad. It was followed eventually by the 'Final Cut' which is apparently Stone's preferred version. (I know a lot of people don't like the movie in any form, but I do.)

I suppose one guide is that if the director's cut is on the first DVD then it's just for sales, but something that is restored or re-honed years/decades later is more likely done for a better reason.

I am also less interested in alternate endings and whatnot these days. Watching a movie and then immediately watching a different ending just seems to reduce the whole exercise to academic interest rather than being fair to the story.
May. 24th, 2012 04:38 am (UTC)
yeah, alternate endings don't do it for me, either. but, to be fair, i've never really liked them...
May. 24th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC)
And then there was the time the Director's Cut was an almost entirely different movie: 'Exorcist: The Beginning' and 'Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist'. Haven't seen either, but must track down the second one some time.

I still hold some hope for the director's cut of Nightbreed, 22 years on.

Not sure I ever liked alternate endings for themselves, but when I was writing a lot of articles about movies, I liked seeing more or the process.
May. 24th, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
I can think of three I do appreciate:

The final cut of Blade Runner is definitely the best iteration of that film.

The director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven is *extraordinary*, taking a fairly underwhelming medieval action flick and turning it into an actual intelligent and thoughtful epic.

The assembly edit of Alien 3 is a must-see too. The best version of Alien 3 would actually be a blend of the theatrical and assembly edits, but the addition of material cut from the original version does allow the film room to breathe and clear up most of the plot oddities.
May. 24th, 2012 04:37 am (UTC)
i haven't seen the cut of kingdom of heaven, or alien three--but i've heard of the first. the last is new, but considering how generally underwhelmed i am on alien three, i doubt i'll go and pick it up.

while i can agree that the director's cut of blade runner is better than the original, man, i still hate both...
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