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 Hangover (2009)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (100 min.)
  • Unrated (108 min.)

The Hangover was one of the biggest surprises of 2009 and since then it has spawned two sequels. The Hangover is the only one of the trilogy that was released in an longer cut on home video. That’s due to the fact that the director Todd Phillip was quite unhappy with Warner Bros releasing the unrated cut, and he even involved the Director’s Guild of America. Phillips talked about it at South by Southwest in 2011:

“Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”

Source: SXSW: Todd Phillips Lambastes Warner Bros. Over Hangover Uncut Edits: ‘That Won’t Happen Again’, Movieline

The director’s preferred edition: Theatrical

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Lust, Caution (2007)

What editions are available?

  • NC-17 Theatrical Cut (159 min.)
  • R-Rated DVD Cut (159 min.)
  • Chinese Cut (141 min.)

The WWII drama-thriller Lust, Caution is only a one of a handful NC-17 rated films that have been released in theaters in the United States. The Ang Lee directed film was produced by Focus Features, a subdivision of Universal and was subsequently released on DVD by Universal where it was released in two different editions: “Original NC-17 Theatrical Film” and “R-Rated Film Not Seen In Theaters”. The reason for the two cuts can be explained by the simple fact that Blockbuster Video, then the biggest rental stores in the US, didn’t carry films rated NC-17. The difference between the cuts are approximately 40 seconds.

When the MPAA issued Lust, Caution the NC-17 rating, Focus Features issued a statement addressing the rating:

“As with so many of his previous films, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has crafted a masterpiece about and for grown-ups. Focus Features accepts the MPAA’s NC-17 rating without protest and ‘Lust, Caution’ will be released this fall as previously announced.”

Source: Schamus: “Lee has crafted a masterpiece about and for grown-ups”, IndieWire

In 2007 Time interviewed Lee:

Did you ever consider altering your film to avoid the NC-17 rating?

When I was making it, I didn’t really care. After the film was done, [Focus Features CEO] James Schamus explained to me what NC-17 means, the distribution, the advertisement, what you’re gonna lose. He explained it and that was that. He never said anything else. Everybody at Focus got kind of excited about taking on the battle. They kept saying this year we have other films that will make money.

Source: Q&A with Ang Lee, Time

The director’s preferred edition: NC-17 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

List of different editions with courtesy of DVDCompare.net: Blu-ray

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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 Mutilator (1985)

What editions are available?

  • Theatrical Cut (86 min.)
  • Unrated (86 min.)

The long lost ’80s slasher flick The Mutilator was finally restored to it’s former glory on Blu-ray and DVD by Arrow Video. Previously The Mutilator was only available on bootleg DVDs. Directors Buddy Cooper and John Douglass had to cut out a scene so the MPAA wouldn’t slap the notorious X-rating on the film:

Edmund Ferrell: “We think, having combed through all the released prints and the cuts we made to make a MPAA approved release, that we finally restored this the way that Buddy Cooper intended it and the way you want to see it.”
Buddy Cooper: “We hope you like it.”

Source: Introduction with writer/director Buddy Cooper and assistant special make-up effects artist/assistant editor Edmund Ferrell on the Arrow Video’s Blu-ray release

The director’s preferred edition: Unrated

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