Superman: The Movie 3 hour TV version coming to Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by jupiter8, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    I was under the impression that the light throwing scene was included in the theatrical version. I guess not. I watched the scene as a child and as an adult, and I never once thought of the plume of dirt that results from the impact of the light thrown by Non as a bomb-like explosion, nor do I find that particular scene offensive. They are villains after all. Villains should be expected to be villainous from time to time.
  2. Several users over at the Blu-ray Forum are complaining about various sound glitches supposedly caused by the title music being newly edited, not to mention there's at least one scene that appears to have been spliced in from an alternate take (likely found on a different source than the original reels prepared for broadcast, which are presumably damaged), going against the original artistic intent of the filmmakers. Worst of all, it seems as if WB are dismissing such issues with no chance of a replacement version being produced any time soon, though I didn't expect much from what is ultimately a low-key archival release announced just weeks before it went on sale. Maybe they'll address these problems when a future boxed set is inevitably compiled, hopefully featuring this newly-discovered variation along with the sequels in their similarly expanded forms? I'm suddenly feeling a lot better about choosing to wait until next week before ordering my copy, as I might now reconsider...

    P.S. Here's a detailed breakdown of the changes:
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  3. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    When you say "against original intent of the filmmakers", what does that mean exactly?

    Before the movie starts, there is a disclaimer that states that this is a version created for TV and does not reflect the director's vision (or something to that effect).
  4. Ken K

    Ken K Forum Resident

    Sayreville, NJ USA
    I know they did this with some of the "Police Academy" films. Extra scenes which probably were outtakes or deleted theatrical scenes to begin with to pad out the playing time on TV showings.
    Simon A likes this.
  5. While it's known that director Richard Donner had no say in the creation of the extended TV cut, it was still approved by original producer Ilya Salkind, so the disclaimer really should point out that it's not reflective of any version as shown back in the day, as there have been multiple contemporary alterations made.

    I've just checked this scene (on my copy of the so-called Restored International Cut), and the sound effects leading up to that bomb-like explosion definitely give the impression of a large ballistic missile landing rather than a comparatively harmless light. Even though its victim's demise was not seen, the dialogue that follows is similarly designed to imply that Non killed a child, and I know of few movies with far higher age ratings prepared to cross this kind of line. When combined with some of the other deleted sequences I described before, the extended broadcast version of Superman II - and the longer TV presentation of Superman III, for that matter - gets a little too dark for my taste in places, and that's coming from someone who dreamed of getting more Christopher Reeve era footage before I actually sampled these once mythical variations. The ideal solution would be a compromise featuring the best of the theatrical and extended cuts, only without an editor who is loyal to either Donner or Lester, and for all the incredible footage it gave us, the restoration of Superman II produced by Michael Thau under the limited supervision of its original director and Tom Mankiewicz needs to be revisited with a more talented intermediary... Thau's excessive use of cross dissolves along with poorly integrated contemporary-looking CGI saw his "professional" work deservedly mocked in fan circles online, and it speaks volumes that he's done very little since!
    Encuentro likes this.
  6. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    I watched the TV version last night, and I didn't notice any audio issues during the credits, but I also didn't know that there were any.

    During the movie, there was a scene where Superman's mouth moved, but I didn't hear anything. However, I wasn't listening at my normal level because I didn't want to wake up my 2 year old.
  7. In a quick update to my earlier posts, it seems as if the "alternate take" being discussed elsewhere is actually a shot during one of the scenes where Lex is driving an ambulance, and rather than being a different take, it's the same performance as viewed from a previously unseen camera angle, meaning any definitive version would depend on what you consider the preferred variation. Much like the use of genuinely different readings between the theatrical cut of Superman II and Richard Donner's later version in several places (usually featuring Gene Hackman's character), it's impossible to include everything without repetition. On this subject, why did they originally film two very different ways for Lex to escape from prison? In addition to the most commonly-known hot air balloon method, there's a deleted scene where he breaks out by car, though I've no idea whether this was ever meant to be shown - what was the point in going to such lengths and shooting this elaborate second idea at all?

    P.S. There are claims that the 188-minute cut was Richard Donner's original version of Superman The Movie, as previewed to WB executives (but never a proper test audience), which KCOP sourced for the initial extended broadcast, followed by ABC, who trimmed out the aforementioned ambulance scene. If this is true, it would help identify the source of this new copy and when exactly that was produced. However, others argue the ambulance segment was inserted into the KCOP cut, meaning it's the ABC edit that is actually Donner's approved longer edit. Confused? Welcome to the land of hardcore comic fans!
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  8. This cut pre-dates the extended version seen on television. It's almost certainly the first assembly cut made by Donner himself and was completely scored by John Williams. It's exact lineage is unknown at the present moment but think of it as the first version of Superman with most of the assembled footage Donner felt had a chance at making the final theatrical cut. He almost definitely intended to cut some of this footage out from the beginning but it was a working draft of the final film. It ended up in a slightly altered form when the rights were sold to television.

    There's no real reason to skip this release if you are a fan of the movie and Christopher Reeve's portrayal of Superman. It's a great disc with a couple of annoying, but very slight, music edits in the opening credits. The average person may not even recognize the edits.
    ShardEnder, jupiter8, The Hud and 3 others like this.
  9. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Whoever the guy is in Superman in smallville, i'd like to hear his original voice vs Christopher Reeve dubbed over. Is that online anywhere?
    Keith V likes this.
  10. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Jersey City, NJ

    His real voice comes in when the deleted scene starts.
    Jeff East by the way. He’s in an episode of M*A*S*H I believe.
    jojopuppyfish and IronWaffle like this.
  11. mark renard

    mark renard Forum Resident

    I always wondered why they didn't have Chris Reeve play Clark in the Smallville scenes. If they changed his hair a little he probably could have passed as a high school kid.
    Keith V likes this.
  12. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    My guess is that they didn't want the character to have all of his muscles yet.

    Whatever the reason was, it comes off a little awkward in the movie.
    Keith V and mark renard like this.
  13. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    I didn't see it that way. In my opinion, having a younger actor play the part adds more weight to the Fortess of Solitude transformation. He goes in as a scrawny kid, spends years learning what it takes to be the hero he will become. When we first see Reeve as Superman, it's a pretty dramatic. He's transformed. It's not just the outfit. He has physically transformed. He's grown.
    Keith V, IronWaffle, BNell and 2 others like this.
  14. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    That is a good way of looking at it.
    Keith V and Encuentro like this.
  15. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    I've only ever seen the first two movies in the theater when they came out. Which versions should I watch now? If I watch this new cut that's being released and then the Donner cut of II, will the films make sense and will I see many of the same scenes used in the two films? Am I making sense? :)
    Keith V likes this.
  16. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    The only scene that is repeated between the TV version of I and the Donner Cut of II is the ending of both movies. The reversal of time sequence was originally supposed to be the ending for II, but when they ran over budget, they had to stop filming both movies together and II's ending was moved to the ending of I.
    Keith V, Encuentro and Simon A like this.
  17. Does anyone else find the reversing of time a poor device, regardless of where it's placed? As the conclusion of the first movie, it ruins a lot of the continuity established in the original plot, and for all my complaints about Lester's version of II, he needed to establish some way of releasing the three Kryptonian villains since a stray missile breaking The Phantom Zone couldn't be used anymore. Also, even though it goes against the suggestion of Tom Mankiewicz, who once insisted that only Superman should kiss Lois, the "magic kiss" does at least mean II in its theatrical form didn't have to recycle the same idea twice. On top of this, it means that Rocky would remember beating up Clark the first time around (which I consider a major plot hole in The Richard Donner Cut!), and even if we consider events of the extended television version as canonical, the Fortress of Solitude would stay destroyed, while Lex and the Kryptonians would remain in custody - I always disliked the initial cinematic edit for its suggestion that General Zod, Ursa and Non all fell to their deaths.
    The Hermit and Keith V like this.
  18. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Jersey City, NJ
    Yeah. Superman does not kill. Technically he only killed Zod. Non died of stupidity and Lois killed Ursa. Kal-El should have kept Ursa around since he wasn’t supposed to “be”with human women :)

    I agree about the plot hole with the diner scene in the Donner Cut although I tell myself Rocky needed to learn a lesson no matter what he remembers.
  19. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    Not only did Superman kill Zod, he essentially killed a "human" without his powers. He lured Zod to the Fortress of Solitude and stripped him of his powers. At that point, the three villains could have been taken into custody by the same police who showed up moments later to arrest Luthor. But what does Superman do? He proceeds to approach this now relatively harmless being, crush his hand, essentially torturing him, lifts him up, and as Zod is in agony, Superman looks him in the eye and smirks before sending him plummeting to his death.
    Texastoyz and Keith V like this.
  20. I hadn't really thought about this until just now, but what happened to Miss Teschmacher after she left the Fortress of Solitude with Lex earlier in the story - did he finally get to feed her to his "babies" off-camera, as suggested in the longest cut of the first movie when she failed him? On a far darker note, we only see Lex and the three villains walk into the custody of the waiting Arctic Patrol in the international broadcast version of II, since every other edition (including Donner's treatment) has them either left for dead or presumably killed when Superman destroys his polar retreat. What always confused me in Lester's version was that you get to still hear Lex talking as Superman is seen flying away while carrying someone, only that turned out to be Lois. While the conclusion to its countdown exchange is cringeworthy, the arrest scene absolutely needs to be restored in some form to close up any potential holes regarding the fate of Lex, Zod, Ursa and Non. For the record, I've never believed Christopher Reeve's Superman as being capable of killing* anyone, and it's a shame Donner and Mankiewicz pushed Michael Thau to come up with something from the material only they were involved with. Under a less biased editor, I'm sure we'd have a more satisfactory climax to enjoy. Also, if we're meant to believe that Lois technically killed Ursa then watched Superman at the very least not save Lex before potentially going on to murder him, can you blame Lester for wanting her memory wiping in his vision for the second film? Furthermore, wouldn't Superman have been able to see when Lois was pointing a gun with blanks at him, giving another point to Lester for his alternate way of Clark's secret being revealed? What I'd give to be involved with helping shape a definitive fan edit...

    *I'll let him off dropping Nuclear Man into a reactor, as the whole of Superman IV was a crime against the quality established by earlier installments in the series! I would once have defended this project as the victim of a slashed budget, though I'm eternally grateful the first Nuclear Man was ultimately doomed to remain on the cutting room floor, because no amount of money would have made that concept work. Even without the horrible temp track, his fight looked downright awful. Was it honestly going to end with Superman calling for time out before slinging the proto-Bizarro into a power transformer?!
  21. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    on the way! I'm excited to see this!
    Encuentro likes this.
  22. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    I just watched it the other day. It was fun to see this version for the first time since it aired on television when I was a kid. The opening shot of the comic book is pretty cool. I haven't seen any version of this film for quite some time and don't recall if this shot is in any other version of the film, though I suspect that isn't.
  23. The Hud

    The Hud Seventh Hud of a Seventh Hud

    It is on the special edition as well.
    Encuentro likes this.
  24. Encuentro

    Encuentro Forum Resident

    Thank you.
  25. One detail I only recently learned about the opening sequence of Superman The Movie is that the soundtrack changed from mono to stereo during the transition into the space titles after the short comic book sequence, which is also framed to look as if it's being viewed on a cinema screen, complete with curtains at each side. By changing elements of the audio mix, I'm guessing this overall effect is lost in the new extended cut (plus I've read that the end credits are possibly spliced in from a different version, losing the original announcement message hinting at the sequel)...

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