The Guardian: Cassavetes Was the Father of Modern Day Director's Cuts

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The Guardian’s David Parkinson gives a short history of the director’s cut, beginning with D.W. Griffith’s revisiting of The Birth of a Nation, 15 odd years after the initial release. Editing of content and length has been a contentious issue between production companies and filmmakers since the early 1900s, though some directors, like Griffith and Abel Gance, were still able to retouch and add sound to their earlier films. Over time, the studios gained progressively more control over the reels, and as Parkinson notes, a couple decades passed before a director had the means to revisit or preserve old works on his own terms – because as an indie pioneer, he raised the production funds himself:

Perhaps surprisingly, the modern trend for director’s cuts begins with John Cassavetes. In 1959, he salvaged scenes from a discarded 1957 version of his directorial debut, Shadows, while in 1978, he cut 26 minutes from the 134-minute 1976 print of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. But rather than simply removing or truncating footage, Cassavetes reshaped the material and added new scenes to alter both the film’s thematic and stylistic emphasis.

Related video: 100 Faces of John Cassavetes

Posted by Ted Zee on September 25th 2008 | Home Page | 1 Comment Subscribe to this site's feed

One Response

  1. William Says:

    Very cool. I like the 100 Faces video too.

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