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Director's cut

Parent categories: film

Related: auteur theory - cut - director - film editing - version


A Director's cut is a specially edited version of a movie that is supposed to represent the director's own approved edit of the movie. It is often released some time after the original release of the film, where the original release was released in a version different from the director's approved edit. 'Cut' is synonymous with 'edit' in this context.

With most studio films the director does not have final cut, rather the studio can insist on changes to make the film more likely to succeed at the box office. This sometimes means happier endings or less ambiguity. Most common, however, is that studios ask that the film be shortened. The most common form of director's cut is thus to have extra scenes added making films often considerably longer.

The director's cut was first introduced in the early 1980s alongside the rise of the video tape industry. They were originally created for the small but dedicated cinephiles market. One of the first films to have a director's cut was Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. The director's cut removed the happy ending and the narration, and many feel that the "director's cut" version is the better film.

When it was discovered that the market for alternate versions of films was substantial, director's cuts for a wide array of films were introduced, even some where the director had final cut. These mostly contained deleted scenes, often adding a full half-hour to the length of the film. Rarely are these director's cuts considered superior to the original film. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director's_cut [Jul 2005]

see also: director - cut - auteur - film - montage - film edit - version

Film director's degree of control

The degree of control that a director exerts over a film varies greatly. Many directors are essentially subordinate to the studio. This was especially true during the "Golden Era" of Hollywood from the 1930s through the 1950s, when studios had stables of directors, actors and writers under contract.

Some directors bring a particular artistic vision to the pictures they make (see auteur theory). Their methods range from some who like to outline a general plot line and let the actors improvise dialogue (such as Robert Altman and Christopher Guest), to those who control every aspect, and demand that the actors and crew follow instructions precisely (such as Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick). Some directors also write their own scripts (such as Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino), while others collaborate on screenplays with long-standing writing partners (such as Billy Wilder and his writing partner I.A.L. Diamond.) Finally, certain directors star, often in leading roles, in their films, from Orson Welles to Woody Allen to Mel Brooks. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_director [Oct 2004]

Final cut privilege

Final cut privilege is a film industry term usually used when a director has contractual authority over how a film is ultimately released for public viewing. On nearly all occasions, only established and bankable directors are given such a privilege (such as Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott).

Before a film is released, studios will usually make changes for commercial purposes, or to remove any controversial content. Sometimes such practices can cause conflict between the director and studio releasing the film (see American History X and Brazil).

Other contractual agreements will still apply, though: A director commissioned for a film with a rating no higher than "R" (in the US) will still have to make sure to meet this agreement. This happened with Eyes Wide Shut, which included an orgy scene that was shown in Europe, but would have given the film a higher "NC-17" rating in the US. For its US release, director Stanley Kubrick, which had final cut privilege, therefore agreed to digitally add background actors to obscure some sex acts to reach the contractually obliged R rating. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_cut_privilege [Oct 2006]

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