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Old 08-08-2007, 02:45 PM   #1
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Default Movies never made/canceled/butchered in editing

Seeing how the other movie threads are quite popular I thought this might be an interesting topic not addressed there.

If you had a magic wand and could magically resurrect films that were planned but never finished, which ones would you choose? What canceled movies would you like to be able to see? Which films that were cut down by studio interference and the ravages of time would you like to see restored to their original length? Conversely, which unmade films are you glad ultimately got the axe?

I'll start off with an example of the latter category.

John Boorman (who made Deliverance, Excalibur, and, oh yes, Zardoz) and his version of The Lord of the Rings.

I've never seen any of Boorman's films, unfortunately. My judgment here is based on various descriptions of his LOTR script alone.

But from all I've heard Boorman's Lord of the Rings would have had almost nothing to do with the story in Tolkien's work. It would have been one film, as opposed to Peter Jackson's three, and would have featured some major alterations.

Take, for example, the idea of Frodo having sex with Galadriel.

Or Aragorn marrying Eowyn.

Or the scene where, to get through the gates of Moria, Gandalf digs a hole, throws Gimli into it, tosses a blanket on top of him, and beats him up until the Dwarf's "ancestral memory" of the password surfaces.

Or the thirteen-year-old Arwen lying on top of a naked Frodo as she removes the Morgul-blade from his shoulder.

Or the point shortly after the hobbits leave the Shire when they find some mushrooms in a field, eat them, and go on an acid trip.

Or Gandalf using his magic to entomb the Fellowship in a glacier and float them down a river to avoid a party of Saruman's Wargs.

Follow the links for more insanity.



Anyways, Boorman wanted to make this film at United Artists, but he never got the say-so and went on to Excalibur instead. Which is good, as now we have Peter Jackson's films to watch. For anyone who challenges Jackson's fidelity to the source material, I submit the links above for their edification.
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:27 PM   #2
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:18 AM   #3
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Wow, too many to count.

Orson Welles' Mr Arkadin (or Confidential Report) is, I think, one of the better examples of a movie gone horribly wrong in the editing room. The producers took it out of Welles' hands and cut it themselves. Criterion tried to make a final cut of it using footage from all the available cuts of the movie and Orson's notes, but even then I believe it's not exactly right. Also, Kingdom of Heaven is a good example of a director's cut that was actually seriously worth a double dip. Eyes Wide Shut also had that dumb digital censorship of naked bodies to make an R-rating...honestly, who the fuck has the right to tell Kubrick what to do?

As for movies that didn't happen that should have, the ultimate example has to be Kubrick's Napoleon. You can find the screenplay online if you're lucky (I don't remember where I found it), and it's hard to say but judging by the screenplay alone I feel pretty sure it would have been a classic. Sepaking of which, A.I. isn't a bad example, either. Sure, it was always meant to be Spielberg's project, but I don't think he would have completely fucked the ending like he did if Kubrick was alive to produce (or better yet, direct). Don't know much about Aryan Papers.
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:27 AM   #4
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Blade Runner, the rubbish ending.

Brazil got butchered.

Alien: Resurrection, another changed ending, but Joss Whedon said the problem was in execution.
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:11 AM   #5
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Anyways, Boorman wanted to make this film at United Artists, but he never got the say-so and went on to Excalibur instead. Which is good, as now we have Peter Jackson's films to watch. For anyone who challenges Jackson's fidelity to the source material, I submit the links above for their edification.
I would have loved to have seen this version TLOTR, especially if it would have meant we wouldn't have to be subjected to Jackson's snooze-fests.

Along similar lines, I would have liked to see Alejandro Jodorowsky's version of Dune.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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Blade Runner, the rubbish ending.

Brazil got butchered.
True, true.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:51 AM   #7
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Off the top of my head, the original screenplay idea for I, Robot that Harlan Ellison wrote many moon ago. I have the illustrated copy of it that they made, and it sounds (and looks intriguing).

I have no idea how good/bad the movie they actually made is, but the fact that, from what I've heard, it's not actually based on any of Asimov's excellent stories is disappointing. So much good stuff they could have used (like Donovan and Powell ).

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Old 08-09-2007, 11:59 AM   #8
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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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Old 08-09-2007, 12:20 PM   #9
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A studio did that to George Cukor with the Judy Garland version of A Star is Born. It was a 181 minutes, which the studio deemed too long and cut 30 minutes out. The 'full' version (minus 5 minutes, which are apparently production stills) was restored. I'm a bad girl, as I know this story, but haven't seen the film.
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Old 08-09-2007, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by After a brisk nap View Post
I would have loved to have seen this version TLOTR, especially if it would have meant we wouldn't have to be subjected to Jackson's snooze-fests.

Along similar lines, I would have liked to see Alejandro Jodorowsky's version of Dune.
Interesting. I would like to see Jackson do Dune. That said:

Wow, Giger and Mobious on art, Pink Floyd on music? Savador Dali as a scatological Emporer, Charlotte Rampling as Jessica?

The story boards influenced Star Wars? Giger and Mobious went to Alien with their visions? The screenplay writer later went to write Alien?

Does anyone know what hear Métal Hurlant 107 (the issue this was in) was published?

At any rate, as much as I would be interested to see Jodorowsky's version, I don't agree with his contention that he could make so many changes.

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Old 08-09-2007, 09:49 PM   #11
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I kept following this movie but due to funding issues it seems to have just... stopped, but nothing saying it's been cancelled:

Worst Case Scenario Trailer 1

And then to make things worse, I was teased with this:

Worst Case Scenario CGI-Promo

Then... no new news.

Another movie that was cancelled I had high hopes for was Circling the Drain. Sure, it was an indie film but it seemed head and shoulders above others and then it was just... cancelled. Read that nobody got along, money ran out, so on and so fourth but the trailers made the movie look damn good.
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:59 AM   #12
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Lawrence of Arabia yet. About 30 minutes were cut out of it over the years in various theatrical re-releases.

In the 1980s Steven Spielberg worked with David Lean to restore the film. Unfortunately, when the lost footage was found, its audio was deteriorated beyond use!

Lean brought the surviving actors back to re-record their lines, and managed to salvage a great deal of the footage this way. Sadly, all the scenes in which some of the actors had died (such as the material with Claude Rains) couldn't be reused.

As a result, about five minutes from the original cut of the film is still missing, and will likely never be reinserted.
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:07 AM   #13
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I've split the adaptation posts into a separate thread here since there is a definite desire to carry on that discussion and I don't want to derail this thread any further.
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Old 08-18-2007, 03:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Off the top of my head, the original screenplay idea for I, Robot that Harlan Ellison wrote many moon ago. I have the illustrated copy of it that they made, and it sounds (and looks intriguing).

I have no idea how good/bad the movie they actually made is, but the fact that, from what I've heard, it's not actually based on any of Asimov's excellent stories is disappointing. So much good stuff they could have used (like Donovan and Powell ).
I'll go along with that one. The movie I, Robot is OK as far as it goes, if you're in the mood for a light action thriller with a futuristic setting. But it's got nothing to do with Asimov.

Probably they reckoned Asimov's actual robot stories don't have enough action or human interest. He is (was) on the very hard side of "hard" science fiction. Which, before anyone squawks, is not a complaint. I like hard science fiction.

I never knew Harlan Ellison wrote a screenplay based on the robot stories. Now, that would be something worth seeing!

As far as movies that ought to be made, I think a film of the comic/graphic novel The New Statesmen would be outstanding. Especially now that computerised special effects are up to the task.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:29 AM   #15
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Probably they reckoned Asimov's actual robot stories don't have enough action or human interest. He is (was) on the very hard side of "hard" science fiction. Which, before anyone squawks, is not a complaint. I like hard science fiction.
Hmm. I would disagree with that. One of the things I like about Asimov's whole Robot/Foundation series is that it blends hard and soft SF quite well; it shows the effect of hard speculative science on future society. (Nightfall does this as well.) He's also quite good at crafting enjoyable characters.

I will agree that anyone who doesn't actually *read* the books (like, say, the average Hollywood exec) might get the wrong impression, though.

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I never knew Harlan Ellison wrote a screenplay based on the robot stories. Now, that would be something worth seeing!
Why not pick up your own copy, then? Look for "I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay" by Harlan Ellison.

(I did have an Amazon link, but for some reason the forum keeps changing and screwing up the link. Why is this? )

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As far as movies that ought to be made, I think a film of the comic/graphic novel The New Statesmen would be outstanding. Especially now that computerised special effects are up to the task.
If we're going to go into that territory, then I vote for Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

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Last edited by Jeysie; 08-18-2007 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Took out screwed up book link. Grr.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:37 PM   #16
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Hmm. I would disagree with that. One of the things I like about Asimov's whole Robot/Foundation series is that it blends hard and soft SF quite well; it shows the effect of hard speculative science on future society. (Nightfall does this as well.) He's also quite good at crafting enjoyable characters.

I will agree that anyone who doesn't actually *read* the books (like, say, the average Hollywood exec) might get the wrong impression, though.
I agree with Liz that on all points re: his books. But as a screen-play? Naw, it's got'a change quite a bit to be a decent film.

That said, I totally hate the recent hollow-wood attempt. They could have done better than take the name and apply it to a screen play that bears little resemblance (if any) to the written work. Imeancomeonnow!

But then, we all saw this coming since Starship Troopers.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:57 PM   #17
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Starship Troopers was a brilliant film, and an excellent example of an adaptation that completely subverts the message of the book it's based on. (Oops, I guess that debate is in a different thread now.)
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:35 AM   #18
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Hah, I do like Starship Troopers. Never read the book, but it's probably the best deliberately campy sci-fi movie of recent years.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:11 PM   #19
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Starship Troopers was a prime example of an adaptation that completely subverts the message of the book it's based on.
Fixed it for ya!
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:09 PM   #20
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The Island Of Doctor Moreau:

The original black&white version was good, but severely dated in many ways.

The '70s version with Michael York and Burt Lancaster was an improvement,
but special effects technology simply wasn't up to the task of what is necessarily a very effects-heavy story.

I so hoped that a modern version would be made that would be true to the original story's complex depiction of the doctor's personality and motivation and show the "manimals" the way I had imagined them. Then rumors began swirling that finally a definitive version was to be made starring Rob Morrow, Val Kilmer, Ron Perlman, and Marlon Brando as the doctor! I was overjoyed! What a cast! How could it fail?

Well, here's how it could fail: the original director got fired and was replaced by someone who had not the first idea how to get great performances out of notoriously moody and temperamental actors like Kilmer and Brando which resulted in them appearing to be acting in completely separate and unrelated films, then Morrow quit the production and was replaced by David Thewliss, whose whiny and utterly unsympathetic performance made me at first not care in the least whether his character lived or died and as the film progressed made me actively hope his character died a quick but grisly death just so he would stop his bloody whimpering!

The special effects were excellent, though, which only served to highlight the film's other shortcomings.

Furthermore, in the second version there is what I consider to be one of the great double-entendres in all of filmdom:
Early in the movie Michael York sees the doctor's "daughter" dancing gracefully on the porch and watches her, entranced. Burt Lancaster sees this and shocks York by saying "Would it surprise you to know that when I first saw her in the marketplace that she could have belonged to anyone for a few pesos?"; York (and the audience) assume that she was a child prostitute, but later it is revealed that she was at that time a jungle cat in a cage.
This exchange is entirely absent from the third version.
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