Thursday, October 05, 2006

 

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Okay, so to my way of thinking, Richard Donner's Superman the Movie isn't just the best superhero film to date, it's one of my favorite films of all time. Donner was originally set to direct Superman II, filmed concurrently with the first film (a trick the Salkinds also pulled with one of my other favorite films of all time, Richard Lester's Three Musketeers and Four Musketeers), but ended up leaving the project midway through production. And as much as I love Richard Lester's work with the Beatles and the aforementioned Musketeer films, he just wasn't as suited to directed superhero adventure films.

When Donner left the project, a lot of the footage already in the can was reshot, to bring it in line with Lester's take on the character. More jokes, basically. As I understand it, Gene Hackman didn't return to the set after Donner left, so any scenes with Luthor in them are Donner's version. Everything else, though, is likely to be Lester.

A while back, I heard rumors that someone associated with Warner was reassembling a "Donner Cut" of the film, recovering all of the excised bits of the original Donner version and slotting them together. This past summer at San Diego Comic Con I mentioned this in passing to a couple of old friends of mine, who it happened had just come from the panel where the scenes from this restored cut had been shown. (So much for my ability to keep on top of rumors.) One of those friends, John Tahaney, just sent me a collection of bitchin' clips, which are just too cool not to share.

(Be warned, that all of the links point directly to the media clips, some of which are embedded in goofy proprietary players.)

First up, a long sequence from the film's opening that was screened in San Diego, wherein Lois Lane begins to suspect that Clark Kent is secretly Superman, and takes steps to prove it.

Then, a brief clip of the fight scene over Metropolis with the three escaped Phantom Zone prisoners.

Finally, here's a long trailer for the new "deluxe editions" of the Superman flicks. Stick around (or fast forward) to the 1:25 mark, though, for the bit about Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, which includes scenes I'd never seen before, some of it apparently reconstructed from test footage (including a scene of Clark with Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude).

So how cool is that? In some other Earth out there in the multiverse, Donner stayed on the project to completion, and audiences got to see his take on the film back in 1980. In this continuum, it just took a few decades longer to deliver, that's all.

Comments:
As a fellow Superman fan, I'm totally looking forward to this, too.

--Mahesh
 
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