Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Director's Cut

Do you like Director's Cuts?

They used to be so rare as to be non-existent. Only after a movie had become part of the culture was the Director allowed to reissue it in his preferred (always longer) form, invariably including all those clever arty shots and scenes he was sure would win him an Oscar. Luckily for all of us there was an editor around to rein him in and insist those bits came out to get the movie down to a manageable and slick shape for release. A lot of art is sacrifice - you must murder those darlings without a shadow of remorse or you'll never produce anything of any note. So why this fashion for putting it all back in the Director's Cut?

Well, I guess it's a clever rebadging exercise to generate more income from a product that's had its moment of glory and now sits at the back of everyone's DVD collection gathering dust. It's also a chance for the Director to prove he hasn't sold out by showing he kept all those arty bits for just such an occasion. It's also an chance to restore something that might have been hacked to pieces by the studio on its original release, eg The Wicker Man. (Definitely worth a view, although the restored footage is very rough and not all of it could be found).

I can understand that. What I can't understand is releasing a Director's Cut DVD immediately following the cinema release, as has happened recently with Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Putting in more footage so soon smacks of a lack of confidence in the product.

But it got me thinking. What if there were Writer's Cuts versions of novels? Would we at last see the bit in Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff cross-dresses and Cathy chases him up the moor in her best dress? Or the bit in Harry Potter where the vampires lure Harry into their secret lair with strawberry jam sandwiches? It's a thought...

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