Kino Lorber’s Bluray of Richard Brooks‘ Elmer Gantry pops on 9.23. I don’t know what the aspect ratio will be but I’m guessing 1.66:1, in keeping with the United Artists standard for non-Scope films of that period. (1.85 fascists need to acknowledge the 1.66 masking in the clip below.) If you’re a real movie star like Burt Lancaster was at the time, you can sell this scene. But you need a certain largeness of spirit and stand-up confidence. Who could do this scene today if Gantry were to be remade? Who could generate at least a semblance of this planted, here-I-am energy? Chris Evans? Chris Hemsworth? Give me a name. Update: See? No submissions.
In 2006 Fox Home Video released a Bluray of the director’s cut of Ridley Scott‘s Kingdom of Heaven, which ran about 190 minutes or a bit more than 45 minutes longer than the theatrical version. On 10.7 Fox is issuing a four-disc roadshow director’s cut Bluray that pays tribute to the film’s ten-year anniversary. The only difference is that it runs about 194 minutes due to the inclusion of an overture, intermission and entr-acte music.
Marquee of Laemmle’s Fairfax, taken in early January 2006, where the 190-minute director’s cut of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven played for a two-week period. This is where I first saw this far superior version.
Here’s the piece I wrote about the longer cut: “It’s not a rumor and there’s absolutely no question about it: Ridley Scott’s 190-minute version of Kingdom of Heaven is a considerably better film than the 145-minute theatrical version that opened in May 2005.
“I saw it yesterday afternoon at the seedy-but-functioning Laemmle Fairfax in West Hollywood. The projection and sound were fine, but why is a must-see, calling-all-cars revival like this playing in a theatrical equivalent of a doghouse?
It turns out I allowed my gushing enthusiasm for Bill Pohlad‘s Love & Mercy, a critical hit at the Toronto Film Festival over the last few days, to muddle my understanding of the likely distribution scenario. There’s no question that Paul Dano‘s performance as Brian Wilson in Pohlad’s film is a staggering, world-class channelling, but that doesn’t mean shit in the larger commercial scheme. Roadside Attractions apparently intends to open Love & Mercy in 2015, and not even give it a one-week qualifying run later this year to attract year-end accolades. Pohlad reiterated this morning that discussions about the release strategy “are ongoing” but I’ve heard elsewhere that Roadside considers it a 2015 release…period, end of story.
A friend says “if they’re smart they’ll release it in the summer…it ‘s the Beach Boys, man!” I said to him, “You can’t be serious. You’re joking, right? Love & Mercy is not about escapism or sunblock or surfboards or Mike Love‘s bullshit view of the world. It’s about the creative highs and personal lows of a fragile, melancholy man (i.e., Wilson) with dreams in his head….there’s nothing ‘Fun Fun Fun’ about it in the least except for one no-big-deal beach scene and one minor sailing scene.” “Yes,” the guy said, “but it can be marketed to the Beach Boys crowd. There are plenty of fun scenes in it.” What Beach Boys crowd?, I asked. Retirees wearing sensible shoes and thinking about moving to assisted-living facilities? “Yes, the crowd that knows about and cares who Brian Wilson is. I went to his concert at the Greek. It was all paunchy stomachs and thinning hair, my friend.”
I missed Tom Hayes‘ Smiling Through The Apocalypse, a doc about Harold Hayes‘ legendary tenure as editor of Esquire from the early ’60s through early ’70s, when it played at the 2013 Palm Springs Film Festival. And I didn’t hear zip about yesterday’s New York theatrical release in advance. Ben Kenigsberg‘s N.Y. Times review complains that the film is too short (98 minutes) and too obsequious. “Cramming more than 40 interviews into an unreasonably brief running time, [pic] overflows with dishiness [while] the son chimes in with fawning praise, offering barely any personal insight. It’s both a credit to, and a shortcoming of, the movie that it suggests an illustrated bibliography. It makes you want to stop watching and, instead, read or reread all of the pieces mentioned.”