A Classic Column Revisited
From Jan. 19, 2000
Gerald Nachman Babylon
The Director's Cut
"C'mon, people, let's rush down to the Bijou! It's playing DeMille's '10 Commandments' with the 11th and 12th commandments restored!"
Oh, Boy! At Last, We're Getting
A Chance to See Uncut Stuff!
By GEERALD NACHMAN
Important Entertainment News Flashes:
ANAHEIM, Calif.--Disney Studios yesterday announced that this summer it will re-release a five-an-one-half hour director's cut of "Doctor Dolittle," the 1967 musical flop based on the Hugh Lofting stories with Rex Harrison as the singing veterinarian.
"We think this more closely represents director Richard Fleischer's original intent," said Brad Zinker, vice president of Disney, which now owns the rights to the Fox film. "Moviegoers are ready for a more incisive look at Dolittle's motives. Also, the original cut failed to probe the animals' psyches as deeply as this version does. I feel today's audiences can handle a much edgier Pushme-Pullyou."
BURBANK, Calif.--Warner Bros. is reissuing a virtually all new "Saps at Sea," the Laurel & Hardy classic, with four minutes of restored out-takes that the film's new producer says are essential to a fuller understanding of the plot. Those who recall the original will find that many of the confusing moments are now cleared up, said producer Fenton W. Clough. The additional four minutes of footage were found in a tennis bag owned by the late producer Hal Wallis, which turned up at a yard sale in Chilicothe, Ohio, in 1994. Says Clough: "The boys would have wanted their fans to see the film they made, not some hacked-up studio version. It's even worse than what happened to 'Greed.'"
PARIS, France--"Shoah," the nine-hour French documentary about the Holocaust, soon will be reissued in a new 90-minute format for CBS-TV, which director Claude Lanzmann maintains is closer to its "natural length." Lanzmann remarks: "I padded the heck out of it before to create an almost unendurable moviegoing experience just so viewers never would forget the film--and I guess I made my point."
BEL AIR, Calif.--A laser disc version of "The Geisha Boy" will be available to French cineastes within a few months--with comments by director and star Jerry Lewis, who until now has been reluctant to explain the film he considers his most mature work.
Lewis now feels that European film scholars will want to know more details about his auteur vision of the 1958 classic, which interpolates several fascinating off-camera anecdotes about Sessue Hayakawa's contributions to a work that Lewis feels many American critics failed to fully embrace or comprehend before.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.--"Gidget Goes Hawaiian," the long-forgotten Deborah Walley classic, has been re-released in a pristine 35mm. color print with a digitally-remastered Dolby soundtrack, plus a completely re-cut epilogue that should satisfy Gidget aficionados who believe the 1961 movie was not properly edited or marketed originally.
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Producer Verna McNiff and director Mort Blontz are discussing a remake of "Gold Diggers of 1933," to take advantage of several unused scenes from the pre-code original.
"We want to put back some of the racier tap numbers," explained Blontz, "re-shoot others and recreate the musical in the original Busby Berkeley style to take advantage of today's post-modern sensibility."
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif.--Independent director Elmo Lunney has purchased the rights to "Miracle on 34th Street," which he hopes to remake into a "much darker version" than the revered 1947 classic and its two previous remakes.
"Some purists no doubt will scream at us for tampering with the original, but that was then and this is now," said Lunney. "We'd like to give the tale a much more cynical spin. I don't want to give away anything else right now except to say St. Nick is a bit more than the jolly old elf we were led to believe he was."
Daily Variety reports that Joe Pesci is a leading contender for the coveted Santa Claus role.
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--An animated musical version of "Gone with the Wind" will be available on home video late this year in time for Christmas, according to movie industry insiders. Ted Turner's film-retooling division would not comment on the rumor, verified by animators working on the project and by the composer himself.
"This version amplifies the story to make it more meaningful to children," said Joel Palfrey, who wrote the songs that accompany the 80-minute cartoon feature. "We think grownups who love the story will appreciate how its been revitalized and updated and kids now will be able to really identify with the characters."
The voices of Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Prissy will be supplied, respectively, by Fran Drescher, Joe Piscopo, Mandy Patinkin and Whoopi Goldberg.
© 2000 by Gerald Nachman. The illustration is from IMSI's Master/Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA.
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