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Friday, January 27, 2006

It's (Basically) Official: Donner Re-cuts Superman II
There are a few "holy grails" in the whole "DVD Director's Cut" culture. The original Orson Welles cut of "The Magnificent Ambersons" is one. David Lynch's epic three-hour version of "Dune" is another. The third (and most tantilizing for movie geeks due to its possibility) is Richard Donner re-cutting "Superman II".

There's a lot of back-story for the uninformed here, but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: Richard Donner was hired by Alexander and Ilya Salkind to direct "Superman" in 1975. Like on their previous project, The Three Musketeers, the Salkinds planned to shoot two movies back-to-back and release them over a couple of years. Mario Puzo wrote a mammoth screenplay, which pretty much set the story up for this classic comic book adaptation. Christopher Reeve was cast in the leading role (along with Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder in supporting roles) and Donner started shooting in 1976. By the next year, Donner had run afoul of his producers, who accused him of working too slowly (shades of the Weinsteins, here...) and communications broke down. Veteran director Richard Lester was brought in as a go-between. By 1977, when the first "Superman" was released to great acclaim and huge box-office, Donner had been fired. Lester proceeded to re-shoot about 40% of the sequel (which Donner had shot at the same time as the original), with a much campier tone (and a different cinematographer). That film was released in 1980 as "Superman II" and proceeded to duplicate its predecessor's success.

But... Superman fans such as I always felt something was lacking in the Lester "Superman", and finally, after many long years, Ilya Salkind has agreed. For the upcoming DVD release of the Superman series in honour (to put it charitably) of Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns", Donner will be allowed to have his say and have his cut.

Needless to say, we're all salivating at the prospect of seeing the original "Superman II".

Yes. I am a geek. And here's the story with more details for my fellow nerds. (Harry Knowles, eat your heart out.)

-Ian

PS Oh, and by the way, David Lynch's "Dune" is also coming out. Maybe Orson's up next...
:: posted by Ian Dawe, 1/27/2006 Comments (6)
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6 Comments:

At 12:38 PM, Blogger ADAM said...

oohh...Dune..i honestly didnt think that was gonna ever happen....finally. I wonder if Lynch had anything to do with it this time around. Probably not.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Donald Melanson said...

It appears that David Lynch didn't have anything to do with the new Dune DVD. The extended edition is credited to the incredibly prolific Alan Smithee.

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger Ian Dawe said...

Yes, Lynch swore off the "director's cut" - it was supervised by Rafealla DeLaurentis instead.

 
At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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