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Old 08-09-2007, 11:59 AM   #8
Once A Villain
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Two of the biggest (and most maddening) examples:

THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS - This 1942 Orson Welles film could have challenged Kane had it not been taken from him and recut (40 minutes were lost, ending changed, etc.). If you want the most thorough, superb account of the entire story of the production and exactly what was lost, I recommend the book The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction by Robert L. Carringer. The book also uses surviving photos from lost scenes and plenty of Orson Welles' old notes to recreate the film as it should have been, if only through the complete screenplay and still images.

What remains at your local video store is a great film, make no mistake. But it could have been an absolute masterpiece, possibly the best film by Orson Welles. He thought that it should have been. He also said in an interview, "They destroyed Ambersons, and it destroyed me."

GREED - Erich von Stroheim's silent, 1924 epic was originally 9 hours. When the studio insisted on cuts, he worked on the editing himself and trimmed the picture to around four hours. The four hour cut was acceptable to him. However, that's when the studio took the film out of his hands and chopped away, creating the 2 hour 20 minute version that was released and which Stroheim vehemently despised. TCM restored the film in 1999, but only somewhat. It runs 4 hours now, but the new scenes are created with still photos that have survived. So, this is still a "lost" film in many ways.
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