Video Article

Their Left Footage

Butchered films -- The movies, like ''The Chapman Report,'' ''Major Dundee,'' and ''Swing Shift,'' with director's cuts that are truly worthwhile

All that hype for 42 seconds — sheesh! Meanwhile, hours and hours of important footage have been cut from films that, unlike Basic Instinct, are truly worthy of restoration. Here are some director's cuts that deserve to be:

THE CHAPMAN REPORT (1962) George Cukor's daring peek at American sexuality was undermined by Darryl F. Zanuck's slice-and-dice job. *Damage done: Approximately 20 minutes excised, including part of a rape scene; continuity disrupted. *Prognosis for restoration: Possible but unlikely since film lacks enough prestige value to merit studio investment.

TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN (1962) Vincente Minnelli's delirious ode to filmmaking was tinkered with by MGM and producer John Houseman. *Damage done: Some of an orgy scene with Cyd Charisse and Kirk Douglas cut, as was a Charisse monologue. *Prognosis for restoration: Possible but unlikely since the theatrical version has already been released in a wide-screen laserdisc edition.

MAJOR DUNDEE (1965) One of Hollywood's great lost epics, Sam Peckinpah's post-Civil War saga was recut by Columbia Pictures. *Damage done: Approximately 30 minutes trimmed from Peckinpah's edit, including scenes that show Dundee (Charlton Heston) adrift in Mexico; continuity disrupted. *Prognosis for restoration: Possible, though Columbia has no current plans for director's cut.

SWING SHIFT (1984) Over Jonathan Demme's objections, producer and star Goldie Hawn rewrote and reshot (with another director) parts of this erratically delightful World War II comedy-drama. *Damage done: Most of Demme's quirky touches and period details were cut; Hawn's character is now presented in a more positive light. *Prognosis for restoration: Warner, which owns the rights to the movie, currently has no plans to release Demme's complete version.

Originally posted Apr 09, 1993 Published in issue #165 Apr 09, 1993 Order article reprints
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