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"The Big Red One" Director's Cut to be released!

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Trebor, May 27, 2004.

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  1. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    This is great news for all us fans of "The Big Red One." The original long version of the movie will finally be released!

    Bigger 'Red One' restores director Sam Fuller's vision
    By Kenneth Turan , Los Angeles Times

    CANNES, France
    IN Sodankyla, Finland, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, a street is named
    after him. He's the director Martin Scorsese says influenced him the most.

    He so inspired the filmmakers of the French New Wave that Jean-Luc Godard cast him as an iconic American director in "Pierrot le Fou," the man who famously says, "Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. In one word, emotion."

    "Believe me," Sam Fuller later grumbled, "I'd be rich if I had a nickel for
    every film magazine and festival program around the world who printed that ... line."

    Brash, colorful, strong-minded, the kind of guy who could look you in the eye and seriously insist, "I worked for giants in this ... town, giants," Fuller (who died in 1997 at age 85) was a legend both before and after his death.

    Intensely cinematic low-budget films such as "Pickup on South Street,"
    "Shock Corridor," "Merrill's Marauders" and "Forty Guns" led the Midnight
    Sun Film Festival to name that arctic street in Finland after him and caused
    critic Andrew Sarris to call him "an authentic American primitive whose
    works have to be seen to be understood." "Sam was a marvelous character; I never met anyone who didn't adore him," says critic and filmmaker Richard Schickel, who made a documentary about Fuller a few years back. "He was undaunted and feisty; nothing was going to
    stop him from whatever he was going to do."

    The project that was closest to Fuller's heart, because it was based on his own World War II years, was "The Big Red One." The film filtered his own
    experience of combat through the lives of four soldiers and their sergeant
    (Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Bobby Di Cicco, Kelly Ward and Lee
    Marvin) serving in the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division as it invaded North
    Africa, Sicily and finally France.

    It's a film Fuller talked about for decades before he shot it, a film that only now, 24 years after it was made, will have its world premiere Friday at the Cannes Film Festival in a version close to the one he envisioned.

    This is technically "The Big Red One's" second time at Cannes. The original
    Lorimar release version of 1 hour, 53 minutes was in competition here in
    1980, and although Fuller was publicly supportive ("a hell of a job, I love it,
    I love it"), his real feelings, as revealed in "A Third Face," an autobiography
    released after his death, were quite different.

    Here he talked longingly of the "four and a half-hour version of the movie"
    he'd turned in and how he was "obviously burnt up by the way they'd cut it

    "The studio took it away from him at some point, and he accepted that,"
    Schickel says, explaining the difference in reaction. "It wasn't the version he
    wanted, but it was a version. Still, it was a huge disappointment, and he kept talking about his hopes that someone would recover the cut footage. And at least for the last decade, people have been trying."

    The missing version of "The Big Red One" has been one of cinema's elusive
    holy grails, like Orson Welles' cut of "The Magnificent Ambersons." Now
    Schickel and Warner Bros. (which acquired Lorimar) have assembled what
    is being billed as "a reconstruction" just in time to debut in France for the
    60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

    The new "Big Red One" has added 15 entirely new sequences and enhanced 23, adding nearly 50 minutes to the film. While this does not add up to the legendary 41/2-hour version Fuller rhapsodized about, Schickel now believes for several reasons that that cut was more a myth than an actual piece of cinema.

    "We have Sam's shooting script, he carried it with him every day -- that was
    our guide," Schickel says. "I can account for everything in the script, and with only two exceptions, we have representations, at least a little bit, of every scene in the script. When you add that Sam shot very lean -- he was no Willie Wyler, there were no 40 takes of everything -- I think Sam's cut was closer to three hours and change.

    "I really believe every significant thing he shot is here. This is the feasible
    cut, as full and fair a representation of this film as it's possible to make."

    Even at a shorter running time than everyone fantasized about, this new "Big Red One" has gotten major movie world players excited. The New York Film Festival has expressed serious interest, a cover story in Film Comment is in the works, and numerous festivals worldwide are already eager to show it in advance of a DVD scheduled for release around the anniversary of V-E Day in 2005
  2. PATH

    PATH Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Rockland, New York
    In the words of my brother who served at Quon Loi(I hope I spelled that correctly), "if you're gonna be one then be a Big Red One!";)
  3. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 29, 2002
    I rented 'The Big Red 1' back in college. Really a fantastic movie. Some parts haven't aged well, at least when compared to modern WWII movies like 'Saving Private Ryan.' But then again, this movie was made in the days before CG effects.

    Sam Fuller really was a fanstastic film maker, and one that very few people seem to remember. I definately look forward to seeing this longer cut of his movie.
  4. dischord

    dischord Member

    Dec 16, 2003
    The one flaw with The Big Red One was that it was choppy, jumping from scene to scene too abruptly. It almost seemed like a whole movie of just highlights.

    Hopefully, the directors cut will fix that.

    The orignial is a great movie anyway, even with he choppiness.
  5. BigG

    BigG Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Even the abbreviated current DVD release is a dang fine movie. Also love Merrill's Marauders, true story of China Burma India theater behind the lines operations under Vinegar Joe Stillwell.

    Big Red One
    Merrill's Marauders
  6. 41mag

    41mag Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    western mi
    "Thats why god gave you two."That line had my teenage self squirming years ago.Still does today.I'd like to see a longer version.Those scenes at the cross were just spooky.
  7. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I dunno. I remembered The Big Red One from years ago, and recently picked up a copy on a bargain DVD table (Sam's Club? Wal Mart? ... don't remember). Although there were some powerful scenes in the film (Marvin and the kid at the concentration camp), overall I thought it was disappointing ... not much of a "story" compounded by poor acting (Mark Hamill should have retired after Star Wars: Episode V).

    I watched it with my 17-year-old son. He squirmed at the mine scene as well, but when it was all over, he asked "Was this a good movie?" Of course he came of age with Blackhawk Down and We Were Soldiers. Nevertheless, he found The Big Red One less than engaging.

    All that said, I'd happily review a copy of the Director's Cut version.

    Favorite line: "I'm sane!"
  8. Checkman

    Checkman member

    Sep 23, 2003
    Fuller came from a different time. There were no music videos to effect his editing style and like many film directors of his time he got rather melodramatic performances out of his actors. But he served as an infantryman with the 1st Inf Div and I figure the tactics you see employed by the actors are the type used by WW2 soldiers. I also think that the attitudes the characters display were probably close to what the real soldiers were like. It could be argued that the soldiers in Saving Private Ryan are more a reflection of the late 20th century rather then the middle 20th.

    I remember watching the movie starring Audie Murphy about his experiences in the war(Th Hell and Back). The thing that was impressed upon me was that thir tactics consisted of throwing grenades and then rushing into the Germans guns blazing. Basically the same thing you see done in The Big Red One.

    I for one will watch the directors cut when it's released.
  9. BigG

    BigG Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    TBR1 is autobiographical in that Robert Carradine plays the Fuller character.
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