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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-05-2006 03:44 AM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen it...and for the most part thought it was cool. Mike Schindler won't like it, though, since it contains a spinning-the-earth-back-in-time scene. [Smile]

The premiere was held Nov. 2 at the Directors Guild in Hollywood. The DVD (and HD DVD and Blu-ray) is due on Nov. 28. There *might* be a handful of theatrical screenings.

To briefly summarize for those who may not be up on the film's history, director Richard Donner was fired during production and replaced by Richard Lester, who, in turn, re-shot much of Donner's footage as well as shooting all-new footage. Flash forward two and a half decades and Donner and producer/editor Michael Thau have tracked down the original footage and have reassembled the film as originally written and intended to be seen.

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Monte L Fullmer
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 - posted 11-05-2006 10:37 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why was Donner canned in the middle of the 2nd movie? He did such a great job with the original. I just vaguely remember something about this back when the 2nd one came out in '80.

Did Salkind and Donner had disagreements or something, or just was it completely unrelated?

Granted, Lester was a heck of a director with the "Musketeers" movies released by FOX and "HELP" and "A Hard Day's Night" of the Beatles...

-Monte

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-08-2006 06:26 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From the DVD press release:

quote:

"Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut" will delight fans who, for years, have been imploring Warner Home Video via voluminous numbers of petitions, letters, phone calls and e-mails to release the Donner cut. In fact, Donner had already shot most of the "Superman II" footage during [the production of] "Superman: The Movie." But as production on the sequel continued, creative differences between the director and the film's producers became irreconcilable and Donner left the project.

Although Richard Lester ["A Hard Day's Night," "The Three Musketeers"] was hired to finish production, he chose to make major changes to the film, leaving only vestiges of Donner's original vision and concepts in the version of "Superman II" that was ultimately released to theaters.

Now, nearly thirty years later, Warner Home Video is honored to grant the wishes of countless Superman fans. With this DVD release, Richard Donner has become the first director in history to be able to complete a film he left during production with nearly all his footage "in the can." Adding back a substantial amount of that unused footage, the director has seen his original vision restored and brought to fruition.

Most notably, the "Donner cut" restores the Marlon Brando role, filmed for, but not included in the final theatrical release version of "Superman II." The legendary Brando's performance as Jor-El has finally been restored in key scenes that amplify Superman lore and deepen the profound relationship between father and son.

With so many changes, large and small, including a variety of Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) schemes to unmask Clark Kent as Superman, this "Superman II" will prove to be an eye-opening experience and an important addition to film history.


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Mike Schindler
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 - posted 11-08-2006 06:42 PM      Profile for Mike Schindler   Email Mike Schindler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Michael Coate
Mike Schindler won't like it, though, since it contains a spinning-the-earth-back-in-time scene.
Is that actually in there? Where's the pinch-the-bridge-of-your-nose-with-your-thumb- and-index-finger-and-shake-your-head-disapprovingly smiley?

Oh, Donner... His co-writer has gone on record saying that they're not gonna do that in the comic. [thumbsup]

I'm intrigued by this cut. Does it actually work as a cohesive movie, or does it feel chopped together?

[ 11-26-2006, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: Adam Martin ]

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-08-2006 07:05 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, the spinning the earth thing is in the new cut. During the Q&A that followed the premiere screening, it was explained that as originally scripted the spinning the earth thing appeared only once and was used near the climax of what would become the second film.

SPOILER ALERT
Superman does the turning back time thing to wipe out Lois Lane's knowledge of Clark Kent being Superman. In the version we've all seen up to this point, you'll recall Superman takes care of this plot point with a kiss.

Does the new cut work? I think so. But to be certain I'll need to watch it again and then re-watch the theatrical cut and compare. I think it's definitely worth checking out just for curiosity. It was fascinating to see all "new' scenes as well as familiar scenes that featured alternate takes and/or different editing or music. Some of the visual effects, however, were downright horrible! What was very apparent was that films I and II were conceived as one big story. I'm not sure they could've gotten away with originally releasing a 4 to 4 1/2 hour movie, but the "Donner Cut" plays like a second half, whereas my recollection of the theatrical version of "II" is that it played like another movie entirely.

To follow up on Monte's questions, here's an excerpt from an old Los Angeles Times article. The article, published Dec. 7, 1980 and written by Roderick Mann, was primarily about Donner's then about-to-be-released film "Inside Moves" but included a great deal of material related to his Superman experience.

quote:

“I went through a bad period after I finished directing ‘Superman,’” said Dick Donner. “I had terrible ill feelings about the business and the people in it. I felt I didn’t want to work again. Normally, I’m a fairly happy-go-lucky person, but my fights with the Salkinds had depressed me utterly.”

Donner, who was dismissed as director of “Superman 2” after his battles with the producers, Alex and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler, learned recently that although much of Part 2 was shot in tandem with Part 1, his name would not be on the credits of the new film. Sole directing credit goes to Richard Lester, who took over the reigns after Donner was taken off the project.

Donner has now had a pivate screening of “Superman 2.” According to him much of the footage he shot for the second film has now been junked. Contractually, he says, he was entitled to director credit on Part 2, so this forms part of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit he has brought against the producers.

“I suppose I’d shot almost 80% of Part 2 while we were filming Part 1,” said Donner, drinking coffee in his office the other morning. “And frankly I felt Part 2 was even better than Part 1. For one thing, we were no longer burdened with the task of explaining the fable.

“But now they’ve cut out so much of what I shot, obviously to keep it below the amount which would have necessitated giving me screen credit. And Marlon (Brando) is out of the film altogether. That’s such an injustice to the man. After all it was his name which gave the project credibility to the investment community in the first place.”

According to Donner, it was six months before he was able to surface after the “Superman” experience.

“At least that. I became something of a hermit. I did a lot of drinking, winding up with hangovers. Remember, I’d put 2 ½ years of my life into ‘Superman,’ and that’s a long time when you get to be my age (50).

“So I felt hostile and angry. I had very little love left for anybody, and what I had I didn’t want to share. Coupled with that was the feeling of having been cheated. I’d hoped ‘Superman’ would prove to be my nest egg. Now these legal hassles with the Salkinds mean it will be years before I get my money.


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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 11-14-2006 08:28 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm looking forward to seeing this. I've always liked the second Supe movie a little better than the first one, so I'm thinking now I'll like it even more.

On the same day, (11/28) Warner is releasing a whole shitload of Superman DVDs: Special editions of the first four films, including a 4-disk version of "Superman The Movie." And, the recent "Superman Returns" is coming out the same day as well.

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-15-2006 12:47 AM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
On the same day, (11/28) Warner is releasing a whole shitload of Superman DVDs
Here's the shitload:

Superman (Four-Disc Special Edition)
Superman (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)
Superman II (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Superman II (The Richard Donner Cut)
Superman III (Deluxe Edition)
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (Deluxe Edition)
Superman Returns
Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Superman "I," "II" and "Returns" will also be released on HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

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Joe Redifer
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 - posted 11-15-2006 01:51 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow! The regular, gimpy version of Superman that is going to be released has 4 discs! How many discs the the Ultimate edition have? 92?

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-15-2006 05:45 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
14

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Chad Souder
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 - posted 11-26-2006 10:25 AM      Profile for Chad Souder   Email Chad Souder   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Although spinning the earth backwards to reverse time is nonsense, I still think it is better than ripping a growing piece of Saran Wrap off your chest that dissipates after you knock the bad guys down, or the villians lifting people in the air by pointing fingers at them and having some super-beam shoot out. Have these bastardizations been removed? Better yet, is the scene gone where he goes back to the diner to seek revenge? What a bunch of crap. I don't care about spoilers!

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Dustin Mitchell
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 - posted 11-27-2006 05:10 AM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I still have to wonder-did Superman really turn the earth backwards or was he just flying faster than the speed of light, thus time traveling? Having everything look likes its going backwards seems a reasonable way to depict someone time traveling by moving faster than the speed of light.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 11-27-2006 11:56 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Superman "Ultimate" 14-disk edition is not just the first movie, but ALL of the movies inluding "Returns" and also "Supergirl" and a bunch of cartoons.

quote: Chad Souder
the villians lifting people in the air by pointing fingers at them and having some super-beam shoot out.
I always hated that too. They just made that up for the movie....I don't think it was ever part of the Superman mythology.

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Chad Souder
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 - posted 11-27-2006 04:26 PM      Profile for Chad Souder   Email Chad Souder   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Blakesley
I don't think it was ever part of the Superman mythology.
No it wasn't. In fact, there were several things the new director threw into the second movie because I think legally he had to have shot 51% of the footage. Thus the Saran Wrap family crest and the revenge scene at the end and most of the other silly crap. Bryan Singer needs to avoid these mistakes by actually having Superman throw a punch in the next movie and do a lobotomy with his heat vision like in the comics.

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Michael Coate
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 - posted 11-27-2006 08:20 PM      Profile for Michael Coate   Email Michael Coate   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Chad Souder
is the scene gone where he goes back to the diner to seek revenge? What a bunch of crap.
Nope, it's still there!

I kinda liked that scene. Sure, it's silly. But so is the whole movie. I think the scene works effectively since it "pays off" its earlier "set up" scene. I remember that scene getting a big, favorable reaction from the audience when I first saw the movie back in '81 and again a couple of weeks ago at the DGA screening.

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Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 11-27-2006 08:45 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, that scene I liked.

My least favorite moment in the original II was the "super-kiss making Lois forget" scene.

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