Betty Blue still

Betty Blue (1986)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (121 min.)
  • Extended Director’s Cut (185 min.)

The Academy Award nominated French drama Betty Blue, or 37°2 le matin as it’s known in France, was released in a extended director’s cut in 2005. Both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut are available on DVD and Blu-ray. Alex Simon with The Hollywood Interview interviewed director Jean-Jacquest Beineix in 2009 where he talked about the longer cut of Betty Blue:

“My rough cut of Betty Blue was four hours long. I had been so traumatized by the experience of doing Moon in the Gutter, which I’d recut, and recut, I just decided to play it safe and cut it down to a “reasonable” length, which would serve the action, that would make the distributors happy and allow them to have one or two extra showings per day. It’s interesting, after I did the director’s cut of Betty Blue, I approached Gaumont and said that I’d like to do the same thing with Moon in the Gutter, because I thought I could improve the movie. They said no, because they’d destroyed everything: all the doubles, the negatives, all the footage that was excised from the final cut, is now gone. That was the worst thing in my career that has happened. It enrages me sometimes when I think about it, then it goes away, then it comes back. But I’m very happy with the three-hour cut of Betty Blue that you’ll see on DVD. I think it’s much better.”

Source: Jean-Jacquest Beineix: Divas and Lions and Moons, Oh My! By Alex Simon, The Hollywood Interview

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Director’s Cut

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Con Air (1997)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (115 min.)
  • Unrated Extended Edition (122 min.)

The action-packed Jerry Bruckheimer produced Con Air starring Nicolas Cage was released in an unrated extended edition on DVD in 2006 that included 7 minutes of new footage. The Blu-ray release has the theatrical cut while the unrated extended edition is available on DVD. Director Simon West confirmed with This or That Edition his preferred cut:

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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The Handmaiden (2016)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (146 min.)
  • Extended Cut (168 min.)

The South Korean thriller The Handmaiden (or Ah-ha-ssi) directed by Park Chan-wook from 2016 was praised by critics and audiences alike. In an enlightened interview with Collider, Chan-wook revealed that he had just finished working on an extended cut of The Handmaiden that was actually made at the behest of the fans. The British distributor Curzon Artificial Eye released a special edition of The Handmaiden on Blu-ray which includes both cuts of the film.

In the interview with Collider, Chan-wook stated with the help of an translator, his preferred cut of The Handmaiden:

“…So before The Handmaiden the only other alternative version of his film was Thirst where he can’t remember exactly what he called it, it may have been director’s cut or may have been the extended version edition, but either way Thirst was the only case where he had extended version, alternative version that’s in the Blu-ray as well. In the case of Thirst he definitely prefers the longer version. In the case of The Handmaiden he’s not sure they both have their pros and cons and very clear ones at that. Maybe the fans, these enthusiastic fans he mentioned, they probably prefer and love the extended edition over the released version. If you would ask him what you would recommend the first time audience seeing his film, he would actually recommend the released version.”

Source: Interview: Director Park Chan-wook on How Fans in Korea Demanded an Extended Edition of ‘The Handmaiden’

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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Léon The Professional

Léon (1994)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (110 min.)
  • International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale (133 min.)

Luc Besson’s Léon or The Professional (as it was known in the States) is widely considered a classic. Although the movie has a large following not everyone knows that a thematically different cut, often billed as the international version or extended cut, of the film is available. And when we say thematically we’re saying the longer cut changes drastically the dynamic of the relationship of its leads, Léon and Mathilda, in the second act of the movie.

The longer cut has been called many names since its premiere in 1996: international version, extended cut, version intégrale and even director’s cut but Besson has often talked about the theatrical cut as his director’s cut of the film. The theatrical cut is the cut that he delivered and wanted to be seen in 1994. Most Blu-ray releases of Léon includes both the theatrical cut and the extended/international cut.

Besson confirmed his preference with This or That Edition during an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit:

Luc Besson Reddit Preference

Source: Interview: Hey, Reddit. I’m Luc Besson, director, screenwriter, and fan of all things scifi. Here’s your chance… AMA!

The director’s preferred edition: International version / Extended Cut / Version intégrale

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Mr. Nobody (2009)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (137 min.)
  • Extended Director’s Cut (156 min.)

Jaco Van Dormael’s Sci-Fi drama Mr. Nobody starring Jaret Leto was released in an extended director’s cut on DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. The Blu-ray release includes both the theatrical cut and the extended director’s cut. CraveOnline interviewed Van Dormael in 2013 where the interview started with the question of there were any longer cuts of the film:

CraveOnline: Have there been any cuts or alternate versions for the U.S. release?
Jaco Van Dormael: The original version which is something like 20 minutes more will be on VOD and on DVD too. It’s a little shorter for the theaters because of the length. Some people prefer the short version, some people prefer the long version. I prefer, of course, the director’s cut because I am the director.

Source: Exclusive Interview: Jaco Van Dormael on Mr. Nobody, CraveOnline

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Director’s Cut

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The Great Raid (2005)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (133 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (131 min.)

The 2005 WWII film The Great Raid was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the US as an exclusive unrated director’s cut. The Canadian newspaper Pilipino Express interviewed director John Dahl in 2006 where he states the following:

Pilipino Express: Some of the scenes with Margaret Utinsky and the Filipino underground resistance movement were in the theatrical release but they weren’t included in your Director’s Cut on DVD. (They can still be viewed in the DVD’s supplementary material). Why was that?

John Dahl: I always liked those scenes, but felt like they slowed down the story. The studio liked those scenes because they felt the audience would relate to Margaret. There is nothing really wrong with the theatrical version, I just prefer the Director’s Cut. It feels a little less contrived to me. The shootout in Manila and the Rizal Bridge were kind of “Hollywood Action Movie Scenes,” which I didn’t feel the movie needed. I never really saw it as an action film, more a straight-out drama with some action at the end of the film.

Source: An interview with Great Raid director, John Dahl, Pilipino Express

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Director’s Cut

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Live Free or Die Hard / Die Hard 4.0 (2007)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (128 min.)
  • Unrated (128 min.)

Live Free or Die Hard or Die Hard 4.0 or simply Die Hard 4 is as the titles vaguely indicate is the fourth Die Hard movie. The relentlessly bloody and profanity filled adventures of John McClane have been the popular franchise trademarks. But in 2007 the franchise strayed from its trademarks and even managed to skip the ever classic line “yippee ki-yay, motherfucker” due to the simple fact that Die Hard 4 was rated PG-13. There are two cuts of Die Hard 4 available: the PG-13 rated theatrical cut and an unrated cut. The difference in length is minimal (unrated is only 8 seconds longer than the theatrical cut) but the unrated cut adds computer generated blood and a different dialog that has strong language.

Film Ireland interviewed director Len Wiseman where he talked about the PG-13 rating and how he lost the ratings fight with the studio:

“The director also admitted his disappointment at how the studio censored that film. ‘I shot a rated R movie,’ he insisted, and referenced the ‘Harder’ cut available on DVD. ‘I had no idea it was going to be PG-13; that came in halfway through the process. And I gotta tell you as a fan I felt like ‘I’m gonna walk.’ If they it PG-13! You know Bruce was really up in arms about it and everything. But in the end it was the most expensive Die Hard. It was also my first studio film, so I lost that battle over the rating. I’m not big on doing the cartoon gore. But McClane is McClane, so that’s really why I was glad to get that (the extended cut) out.’”

Source: Interview: Len Wiseman, director of ‘Total Recall’, Film Ireland

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Cut

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Elektra (2005)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (97 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (100 min.)

Two years after 20th Century Fox botched the popular superhero Daredevil with its 2003 outing they made a spin-off starring Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Not unlike the Ben Affleck starrier DaredevilElektra was slayed by critics (10% on Rotten Tomatoes). The same year that Elektra was premiered an director’s cut of the film was released on DVD. The director’s cut is widely available on Blu-ray and DVD. IGN interviewed director Rob Bowman about the director’s cut and his approach:

IGN: After readying the theatrical version, it seems like, comparatively, making the Director’s Cut was a low-pressure situation. Was that the case?
Rob Bowman: With the Director’s Cut, there was absolutely no pressure. There was nothing. I didn’t have to consult with anybody. This was sort of a gift from the studio to me, just saying ‘Go make it.’ I was the one who decided to re-do it, and re-create sound-effects and all the music in various parts. I never ever spoke to the studio about anything.

Source: Interview: Rob Bowman, IGN

Earlier in the interview Bowman states:

“And this time we took the time to really get it right. I can say, is the best version we can deliver.”

Source: Interview: Rob Bowman, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

Comparison of the editions with courtesy of Movie-Censorship.com

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The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (119 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (134 min.)

The Vin Diesel sci-fi action flick The Chronicles of Riddick was released in an unrated director’s cut on DVD in 2004. Riddick, played by Diesel, has a large fan base and since then all three Riddick films (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick) have been released in alternative cuts on home video. The Blu-ray release of The Chronicles of Riddick includes both the theatrical cut and the unrated director’s cut. IGN interviewed director David Twohy when the unrated director’s cut was released on DVD:

IGN DVD: Ok I’ll ask the silly question: why didn’t you make this the theatrical cut?
David Twohy:  It’s not a silly question, it’s a good question. I think there was a philosophy at the time that if you’re coming out in the summer marketplace that you have to be nimble-
IGN: You had to be PG-13, in other words?
David Twohy: Well no, we had to be PG-13 but that doesn’t necessarily dictate length. We had to be PG-13 from the beginning for the theatrical release. We knew that, I agreed to that, Vin agreed to that. That’s the current post-Columbine climate of the studios. We understood that. But in terms of being under two hours, there was a feeling you had to be nimble in the summer marketplace. There was a feeling that only the quick would survive in a summer marketplace, where attention spans are thought to be short. So right or wrong, that was the philosophy that prevailed. But now we can take our time with things and we can present a fuller, richer experience, and here it is in the unrated version, and I think it’s the stronger version of the movie.

Source: An interview with David Twohy, IGN

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated Director’s Cut

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The Wicker Man (1973)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (88 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (100 min.)
  • The Final Cut (93 min.)

The British horror classic The Wicker Man (no, not the one with Nicolas Cage) has been released in many different cuts but only three of them have arrived on DVD and Blu-ray. Director Robin Hardy was reportedly forced to cut his original cut of the film which didn’t sit well with the director nor the film most recognizable star Christopher Lee. Hardy then restored those missing scenes and presented them in the director’s cut. But in 2013 Hardy introduced The Wicker Man: The Final Cut which may or may not be the last time we see this cult classic released. Hardy said the following about 2013 cut during an interview with HeyUGuys:

“I could spend the next five minutes telling your all about the versions without being able to name them probably accurately. Well, this version, is the version that I like. It contains all the really important scenes, sequences to make the story work, I think. It contains some afterthoughts which I think most directors have about films they make… it’s the film as we originally intended it.”

Source: Robin Hardy Interview – The Wicker Man, HeyUGuys

The director’s preferred edition: The Final Cut

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