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Author Topic: james woods comment  (Read 8169 times)
grandpa_chum
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« on: October 05, 2004, 10:31:25 PM »

I always laugh when i watch the Once upon a time: sergio leone documentary and i hear woods comment on how great a movie it was until the american producers brought in the editor from police academy to cut the movie in half and butcher it to pieces... although in a much funnier way... i just assumed it was a joke, but while reading something i IMDB trying to figure out this whole gio/brega thing i realized there was an uncredited editor and upon further investigation confirmed that he was the guy who butchered the film and much to my surprise was actually the guy who edited police academy just months earlier... I find this incredibly funny... i thought woods was exagerating as a joke to how pathetic the editing really was, but he wasn't... they really did hire the editor for police academy to dismantle a classic masterpiece of leone's... THE DISGRACE!

« Last Edit: October 05, 2004, 10:32:14 PM by grandpa_chum » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2004, 03:38:50 AM »

its the greatest insult, isnt it.

What i also found great was the way Woods said it was 'easily the artistic highpoint of his life', the 'everest of his career'.

A critic voted it worst film of the year, then best film of the decade, that was another good comment.

It just demonstrates how much disrespect Leone was shown by Hollywood, perhaps because he was an Italian, i dont know.  Angry

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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2004, 07:27:52 AM »

The Police Academy editor was hired by the head of the Ladd Co (thru Warner Bros) Alan ladd Jnr (Shanes Son) to cut the film.  The Ladd Co were the main financial backers of OUATIA and had a contract with Leone that the film would run no longer than 165mins in the US/Canada.  Leone's cut ran at over 220 minutes, therefore forfeiting final cut in the US for his film. The Right Stuff another Ladd Company epic which had opened a year earlier at a running time of over three hours had been a  box office disaster for Ladd.  After a disastrous test screening in Boston of OUATIA in early 84 (the audience were confused by the flashbacks)! The Ladd Co got nervous-sensing another box office flop plus they were also begining to feel resistance by Cinema exhibitors in the US to a film of such a length. In the end the film was edited down to 147mins (minus flashbacks). It opened in the US in June 1984 to terrible reviews and poor box office takings.  The Irony is that the full uncut version of OUATIA made a profit for most of its distributors around the world. Leone took OUATIA producer Arnon Milchan and the Ladd Co to court in France (where the contracts were signed) for breach of contract. He lost.  The Ladd Co folded in 1984. Alan Ladd jnr went on to run MGM/UA before going on to win the Best Picture Oscar as producer for Braveheart. He is regarded as one of the most respected executives in Hollywood and is credited for geenlighting Star Wars back in the 70's while at Fox!
Looking back producer Arnon Milchan reflected "I wish that I had been older and more experienced. Today I would know how to defend a long movie. I would have gone to war. But at the time, everybody got nervous and butchered it". A year after OUATIA Milchan did have to go to war with a studio for another De Niro epic-Brazil. Universal studios were blockiing the US release of the film. Milchan won and the film was released.

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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 10:04:28 AM »

and what a wonderful movie! brazil is one of my favorite non-leone movie!

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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2004, 04:57:33 PM »

Another funny anecdotes, they didn't only reduced the length or changed the order. The US producers found the phone ringings at the beginning of the film very irritating and too long. They thought people couldn't bear it, so they reduced them to 20 ringings to five, something like that... How ridiculous.
 At the begining Leone did sign for 165 minutes, but with the intention to make 220. He was trying to win time, to avoid debate. But he loose at his on game, unfortunately. He underestimated the strong heads of the producers.

And the final one: Grin they inserted a "bang" when Noodle left the old senator  Max at the end , in order to let no ambiguity that he commited suicide. HA! HA! HA!. And what about the subttle metaphore of the garbagetruck with its red lights? Too complicated to understand? Leone wanted to left ambiguity. Thrown out the window!
Not to mention that the garbage truck symbolized that Senator Bailey was a garbage...

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Il Buono
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2004, 06:52:58 AM »

 <in disbelief>  They really did all that??! Shocked

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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2004, 01:39:22 PM »

The short version of ...America is a disaster.   The long version is a masterpiece (though both versions could have done without McGovern)

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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2004, 07:11:37 PM »

The Police Academy thing is so ridiculous it's funny.  Woods is such a smartass that I always thought he meant it as, "they let some hack butcher this masterpiece down".   Can't believe it's true, no wonder Leone died not long after - what an insult, and very sad.

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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2005, 12:40:52 PM »

I''ve never known about this Police Academy editor thing.It seems so unbelievable,so absurd.Hah hah hah!  Cheesy

Words are not enough... Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2005, 08:51:16 PM »

The Police Academy editor was hired by the head of the Ladd Co (thru Warner Bros) Alan ladd Jnr (Shanes Son) to cut the film.  The Ladd Co were the main financial backers of OUATIA and had a contract with Leone that the film would run no longer than 165mins in the US/Canada.  Leone's cut ran at over 220 minutes, therefore forfeiting final cut in the US for his film. The Right Stuff another Ladd Company epic which had opened a year earlier at a running time of over three hours had been a  box office disaster for Ladd.  After a disastrous test screening in Boston of OUATIA in early 84 (the audience were confused by the flashbacks)! The Ladd Co got nervous-sensing another box office flop plus they were also begining to feel resistance by Cinema exhibitors in the US to a film of such a length. In the end the film was edited down to 147mins (minus flashbacks). It opened in the US in June 1984 to terrible reviews and poor box office takings.  The Irony is that the full uncut version of OUATIA made a profit for most of its distributors around the world. Leone took OUATIA producer Arnon Milchan and the Ladd Co to court in France (where the contracts were signed) for breach of contract. He lost.  The Ladd Co folded in 1984. Alan Ladd jnr went on to run MGM/UA before going on to win the Best Picture Oscar as producer for Braveheart. He is regarded as one of the most respected executives in Hollywood and is credited for geenlighting Star Wars back in the 70's while at Fox!
Looking back producer Arnon Milchan reflected "I wish that I had been older and more experienced. Today I would know how to defend a long movie. I would have gone to war. But at the time, everybody got nervous and butchered it". A year after OUATIA Milchan did have to go to war with a studio for another De Niro epic-Brazil. Universal studios were blockiing the US release of the film. Milchan won and the film was released.

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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2005, 09:08:46 PM »



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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2005, 03:54:46 AM »

Yes, the Police Academy thing is true. As I understand it, the editor in question was Zach Staenberg who went on to edit The Matrix (I think he even won the Oscar that year).

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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2005, 02:24:01 PM »

and what a wonderful movie! brazil is one of my favorite non-leone movie!

I can't recommend the criterion edition of Brazil enuff. Just for a piece of historical documentation on the classic situation of 'Director VS Studio'.

It has a wonderful 50 min long documentry about how Terry Gilliam and Arnon Milchan went  'untentionally' to war through the media with Sidney Sheinberg at Universal. Over the recutting of Brazil.. actually its more like major re-editing, plus different ending of the film in the states. Same treatment as OUATITA
DeNiro Actually went on a New York talk show with Gilliam to help the campain.
After half a year and a 'film of the year' from  a smuggled print copy to ULA critics, Universal backed down.

But hollywood being the old boys school it is.
People remember... Terry Gilliam is blacklisted. He can't make movies there anymore. Actually i think hes given up completely now.

Arnon Milchan is not trusted in Hollywood because he's a movie mogul, like the great Dino DeLaurentis. These people are chance takers. And are almost extinct these days.

But the best thing about the criterion DVD is it includes the Studio re-edit just to embarress the Universal, with a audio commentry ripping into it.  Grin

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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2005, 04:30:53 PM »

and what a wonderful movie! brazil is one of my favorite non-leone movie!
Absolutely! It's also one of my favourite movies!

The Smoker, the Criterion edition of Brazil is still on my wish list, if it weren't so expensive I'd already bought it.

If you're into the movie I can't but recommend Jack Matthews' book The Battle of "Brazil": Terry Gilliam v. Universal Pictures - The Fight to the Final Cut of a Film Classic :
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1557833478/
It's a detailed account of Terry Gilliam's battle and a fantastic read!

But hollywood being the old boys school it is.
People remember... Terry Gilliam is blacklisted. He can't make movies there anymore. Actually i think hes given up completely now.
Far from it! Terry Gilliam is working on two movies right now, both to be relased this year:

Brothers Grimm and Tideland. You'll find more details here: http://www.smart.co.uk/dreams/

« Last Edit: January 24, 2005, 04:40:36 PM by Sentenza » Logged

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grandpa_chum
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2005, 04:57:37 PM »

god how i wish gilliam was blacklisted... me five minutes into every gilliam movie i've ever seen- "if i see one more diagonal shot i'm gonna puke"

just to note i haven't seen brazil... and the fischer king is pretty good... but 12 monkeys and fear and loathing are incredibly overrated movies.

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