The Wicker Man still

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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The Driller Killer (1979)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (96 min.)
  • Pre-release version (101 min.)

The notorious filmmaker Abel Ferrara made his directing debut with The Driller Killer in 1979. In 2016 Arrow Video released the film on Blu-ray where it included the theatrical cut of the film and never-before-seen pre-release version of the film. Arrow Video included an booklet with the Blu-ray/DVD release where the longer cut is addressed:

“While restoring The Driller Killer for Arrow’s release, it became apparent that the film’s negative represented an earlier cut, running 100m 52s, which included five minutes of material excised from the prints (95m 51s) shown theatrically and used for all previous video and DVD transfers. Abel Ferrara confirmed that it had been his decision to remove the footage in question, but gave us permission to provide the option of watching this “pre-release version” on the disc.”

Source: The pre-release version by Brad Stevens The Driller Killer Blu-ray release booklet by Arrow Video

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical Cut

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King Arthur (2004)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (126 min.)
  • Director’s Cut / Extended Unrated Version (141 min.)

During mid-production of the intended R-rated King Arthur the producers had a change heart and decided that the movie should aim at the considerably less bloody PG-13 rating. Director Antoine Fuqua is known for his R-rated movies had to change his style and abandon the footage that was already in the can. King Arthur was released When the director’s cut was originally released on DVD Faqua had the following to say about the newly minted cut in an interview with DVDTalk.com in 2004:

DVDTalk: What lead to the decision to release King Arthur as a Director’s Cut?
Antoine Fuqua: Jerry [Bruckheimer] and those guys are trying to stay true to what I signed on for, and they had promised me that early on. When I first signed on to the movie it was to shoot an R movie, and then half way through it – that changed, for all sorts of reasons. Obviously it’s always money…That was very difficult for me and I had a tough time adjusting to that. I had to change a lot of my shooting style that I had set up because it just wouldn’t have been possible to do certain things and get a PG-13 rating, just because it would have been more graphic. Like I said, tonally, I had a whole different mindset. So once that happened, while I was filming, it made it difficult. Jerry Bruckheimer promised me that he’d get a version out on DVD that would be closer to what I wanted.

Source: Antoine Fuqua – King Arthur, DVDTalk

Three years later, in 2007, Capone of Aint It Cool News interviewed Faqua where they talked about the director’s cut where he suddenly changed his mind about the cut:

Capone: One of the most famous instances of conflicts you’ve had with a studio centered on your work on KING ARTHUR, in which the folks at Disney insisted that your pare it back to get a PG-13 rating after you’d prepped for an R-rated blood bath. I guess the promise was that you’d get to put out an unrated “director’s cut” on DVD. Are you satisfied with the “director’s cut” that’s out there?
Antoine Fuqua: No, no, not at all. Because you never really get that chance. Once you’re out of that editing bay, you’re out of there. Everything else is out of your hands. It becomes marketing, selling product. It has nothing to do with you anymore. They’ll sell you and use your name to say “director’s cut.” But not really, hell no.
Capone: Did you have any input into that cut?
Antoine Fuqua: No, barely. And my input was almost impossible because during the finishing of your movie, you’re still supposed to have a director’s cut. How are you going to do that when you’re still finished the movie that you have to put out. If it’s a PG-13 and that’s what you have to cut, when do you find the time–you barely sleep anyway–to do a director’s cut? A director’s cut would have to be something you could do when you step away from the movie for a minute, and get all the material together, and go back and have a full cutting session with your editor. That’s a director’s cut. And being allowed to shoot the damn footage for a director’s cut. When you’re told you can’t even shoot that kind of footage to start with, then what’s the point anyway?

Source: Capone With Antoine Fuqua About SHOOTER, The KING ARTHUR Non Director’s Cut, Casting TRAINING DAY, & Much More!!, Aint It Cool News

The director’s preferred edition: In a way, neither

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Nightbreed (1990)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (102 min.)
  • The Cabal Cut (144/145 min.)
  • Extended VHS Cut (159 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (120 min.)

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed was drastically cut by 20th Century Fox when it was released theatrically in 1990. For many years fans asked and pleaded to writer-director Clive Barker to release his director’s cut of the film. And it finally happened in 2014 when Shout Factory released it on Blu-ray and DVD with wealthy extras. Originally Shout Factory promised to include an 144/145 minute long cut of the film called The Cabal Cut but it didn’t come to fruition. A 159 minute long cut of the film on VHS has also surfaced but has not been released on any form. The theatrical cut of the film was released on the original Blu-ray release from Shout Factory in an limited edition set. The theatrical cut is available on DVD from Warner Bros Archives.

The director’s cut of Nightbreed on Blu-ray from Shout Factory includes intro with Barker and Mark Miller, the restoration producer of the director’s cut where they state the following:

Mark Miller: We’re here to bring you for the very first time the director’s cut of Nightbreed.
Clive Barker: I made a movie some twenty years ago called Nightbreed which was based upon a novel, a short novel I wrote called Cabal. And unfortunately it got a lousy handling with the studios who didn’t like really the fact that I was making a movie about a monsters that were heroes. And that was the whole point of the movie but unfortunately when it was gutted and taken out to an audience in a really messed up form nobody was able to really understand the whole passion, the driven, the making of the movie was. So few years ago, I said to this man, “you know it would be really nice if we could find the missing pieces and put it back together again.”

Later in the intro Barker talks about the difference between the cuts:

Clive Barker: … we have 40 minutes of footage that was not in the original picture, the movie is only 20 minutes longer but that’s because there has been replacement of some footage and the addition of another 20 minutes of footage. So total of 40 minutes. Isn’t that right?
Mark Miller: That right.
Clive Barker: That’s a lot of footage.
Mark Miller: It’s an entirely new film
Clive Barker: It’s an entirely new film.

Source: Introduction by writer/director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller on the Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut Blu-ray

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

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The Act of Killing (2012)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (122 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (166 min.)

The critically acclaimed documentary The Act of Killing was released in a director’s cut on DVD and Blu-ray in a 44 minute longer cut. The director of the Academy Award nominated film Joshua Opphenheimer confirmed with This or That Edition his preferred cut:

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

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1776 (1972)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (141 min.)
  • Special Edition Laserdisc (178 min.)
  • Restored Director’s Cut (166 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (165 min.)
  • Extended Cut (168 min.)

The musical cult classic 1776 has seen its fair share of different editions and cuts in theaters and home video formats. In 2015 1776 was released on Blu-ray where it included two cuts of the film: director’s cut and extended cut. The excellent Home Theater Forum interviewed director Peter H. Hunt in a lengthy and detailed interview where he talked about working with Jack Warner as a producer, and his preferred cut of the film, which may come to a surprise to some:

“What was easier in a way, was working with Jack Warner, I thought he would be a pain in the neck. I was very concern that he would eat me for breakfast every day, but he didn’t do that. But he didn’t do that. I though he was very co-operative… until it got to editing. When I left town thinking the film was locked down, he went in and did considerable damage to it.”

“Now it’s completely, complete,  if I can even say that, redundant phrase. And a couple if things that I’ve taken out, mainly for screenings and theaters because I think it’s just too long [just] sitting there waiting for the story to being. Those are going to be on a branched version on the Blu-ray, so you can see everything if you wish or you can see theoretically what is my cut and and that’s only my cut in so far as doing something that I think is right for an audience sitting in a theater. If I was sitting at home, my cut is the longer one. So this is really the theatrical cut and then there is the home video cut, if you will.”

Source: Home Video Forum interviews Peter H. Hunt, Home Video Forum

The director’s preferred edition: Extended Cut for home viewings, Director’s Cut for theater viewings

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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (118 min.)
  • PG-rated Version (112 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (122 min.)

The ’70s disco classic Saturday Night Fever has a huge fanbase from all the corners of the world. The dance classic was released in an edited PG-rated version two years after the premiere where the language and sexual innuendos was removed completely. In 2017 an director’s cut was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Director John Badham was interviewed by Yahoo where he was asked about the director’s cut:

How does the director’s cut differ from the theatrical release?
We were able to restore several scenes that had been eliminated from the original version. As will always happen right before a film is released, everybody gets really nervous, and we cut three or four relatively small scenes. We wanted to get the movie going and didn’t want it to run over two hours. So a few things went by the wayside that told us more about these characters. We have one new scene toward the end where Tony’s dad gets his job back, and he and his mom are really excited, jumping around in the kitchen and carrying on. Meanwhile, Travolta is just kind of standing in the corner sneering at this whole thing. It’s kind of wonderful because here is this happy moment in their lives, and he’s just really kind of cynical about the whole thing. That was part of the genius of Norman Wexler‘s script; he was able to show that our lives aren’t all happiness and light, and it also isn’t all dark. There are many ways life goes.

Is there a new Tony-specific scene that you’re particularly eager for people to see?
Early on in the film, after the first disco sequence, there’s a scene where he goes riding with his friends in the daytime, and he’s listening to them arguing about how you’ll never get anywhere in this life, and you’re just kind of stuck at the level that you’re at. He gets disgusted with them, and that’s all you hear in the original version of the movie. But in the scene that we put back in, he makes them stop the car; he gets out, they drive off without him, and he’s left standing overlooking the Verrazano Bridge. You can tell there’s a real connection just from the way he’s looking at it, and his fingers start drawing the lines of the extension bridge in the air. It’s a sweet moment that gives you a softer side of him after we’ve seen some of the tougher sides.

Source: ‘Saturday Night Fever’ Director John Badham Talks 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut with Restored Scenes, Yahoo

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

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The Thing Called Love (1993)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (116 min.)
  • Director’s Cut (120 min.)

Peter Bogdanovich’s The Thing Called Love was released in an director’s cut on DVD in 2006, and is currently out-of-print. The theatrical cut has not been released on DVD. Although Bogdanovich never simply states “the director’s cut is my preferred cut,” he talks about the reinstated scenes with regret and emphases on how that scene would give the character a deeper meaning. Here are some of his comments on three new scenes in the director’s cut:

“This is a rather beautiful song that River [Phoenix] wrote. And one of the additions we made for this director’s cut, we added about 40 seconds to the end of this, and let him finish the song. Originally, this faded out. Right here it begins, the part we put back. I thought, he does it so well, it was important to let him finish the song. ”

“… And this shot of him waking up with her being gone was also added to this director’s cut. And I think the poem and this moment of insecurity both revea a great deal about their characters. And I always felt that the poem was a very important moment that I hope one day we could restore. So happy that it’s back.”

“That’s another piece that wasn’t in the original release. Again, all these little bits add up to deepening the characters, getting to know them better, finding out aspects of them that we didn’t know. And it just deepens the rest of the sequences. It makes it more… which makes everything clearer.”

Source: Peter Bogdanovich’s commentary track on The Thing Called Love director’s cut DVD

The director’s preferred edition: Director’s Cut

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The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (98 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (103 min.)

Clive Barker’s The Midnight Meat Train received a limited theatrical release in 2008 and was released the next year on DVD and Blu-ray in an unrated director’s cut. Early on in the commentary track on Blu-ray the director Ryûhei Kitamura talks about how the unrated director’s cut contains gore that he was forced to cut from the theatrical cut:

Clive Barker: “…And this is not a soft horror movie. And just on that note by the way, how much more is in this version than in the theatrical release?”
Ryûhei Kitamura: “It has much more bloody gore stuff.”
Clive Barker: “Was that chiefly take out by the MPAA or was that..?”
Ryûhei Kitamura: “It was the MPAA and the producers, we had a lot of struggle, because you know, we were supposed to release this movie big. So kinda they forced me to..”
Clive Barker: “Do you want to go to that now or…?”
Ryûhei Kitamura: “No, no, no…”

Source: Commentary track with Clive Barker and Ryûhei Kitamura on The Midnight Meat Train Blu-ray

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

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Hatchet (2006)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (84 min.)
  • Unrated Director’s Cut (84 min.)

The 2006 80’s slasher throwback Hatchet was released in an unrated director’s cut on DVD and Blu-ray. The unrated director’s cut is a little more than half a minute longer than the theatrical cut and includes gorier scenes from the horror film. Director Adam Green confirmed with This or That Edition which edition he prefers:

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

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