HE correspondent Mark Smith has forwarded impressions of the Tribeca Film Festival’s screening of Francis Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, which was shown this evening at Manhattan’s 3000-seat Beacon Theatre:
“From what I could tell, there is NO NEW FOOTAGE of anything.
“The French Plantation scene is IN — since I’ve only seen Redux once, I’m not sure if it was trimmed down, but it felt like 23 minutes (23 months, if you ask me) so I’m assuming it’s the same now as it was in Redux.
“Let’s Stop and Fuck Some Playmates is OUT…gone. Kurtz Reads Time Magazine is OUT. The extra bits with Duvall’s Kilgore are all IN, including the scene where he’s flying over Willard and the crew, them asking for his surfboard back. So as far as I can tell, Apocalypse Now: Final Cut = Redux minus Let’s Stop and Fuck Some Playmates minus Kurtz Reads Time Magazine.
“Picture quality-wise it looks terrific. The screen was huge, and the colors and contrast levels looked great. Whatever was done to the visuals to prepare it for this premiere (4K hyper-digital blah blah) didn’t strike me as a monumental change, but it looked FANTASTIC — make no mistake.
“Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s visionary Vietnam War epic when the newly restored Apocalypse Now: Final Cut arrives on 4K Ultra H Combo Pack (4K disc, plus three Blu-ray discs and Digital copy) and on Digital 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever on August 27 from Lionsgate. A special NAGRA myCinema theatrical release of Apocalypse Now: Final Cut can be experienced on the giant screen in select theaters nationwide on August 15.”
“What REALLY leaps off the screen is how otherworldly and exquisite Vittorio Storaro’s photography is. For me this is one of the ten best-photographed movies ever, and seeing a pristine version on a massive screen was an absolute joy.
“As for the sound, I was hoping that the Wagner helicopter attack would blow my kidneys out my ass, and I was not disappointed. Whatever system they set up there was fucking galactic. It was the loudest viewing experience I’ve ever had that wasn’t a rock concert. The bass SHOOK the joint. The sound was the big star of the night for me. Triple A-Plus.
“Coppola brought Duvall out before the screening began, and before they exited the spotlight Duvall bellowed “Charlie don’t surf!” into the mike and grinned like a loon.
“Soderbergh gave props to Walter Murch, who was in the crowd. (Also saw Michael Moore walking around in his Michael Moore costume.)
“The Coppola-Soderbergh q&a will most likely be on the Tribeca Film Festival site, so I won’t try to recap it, but Coppola was lucid and gregarious. When he said he was 80, my eyebrows shot up. What I did notice was that Soderbergh, obviously in awe of the herculean effort it took to make the movie, kept bringing the conversation back to The Set. His overall fascination seemed to be, ‘How the fuck did you manage to make a work of genius under all that pressure?’
“All in all it was a grand moviegoing experience, but I still feel the French Plantation scene should go.
Sent earlier this afternoon: According to Wikipedia Redux runs 3 hours, 22 minutes. Other sources have listed Redux as 193 minutes and 197 minutes. Final Cut (as you know) is listed at 3 hours, 3 minutes.
“I pray that a good portion of French Plantation scene is cut down, but since the difference in running time between Redux and Final Cut is only 19 minutes, and French Plantation runs over 23 minutes (!), I think it’s safe to say French Plantation will be there in some form, but hopefully shorter.
“I’m blind-guessing, but I have the feeling that the Let’s Stop and Bang Some Playmates sequence will be cut back a lot. I’ve seen the original 1979 cut at least 20 times, but only watched Redux once in the theater — almost 20 years ago — so I doubt I’ll be able to pick out the differences between Redux and Final Cut, large or small, without some boning up…
According to this incredibly detailed comparison, the three biggest time additions that came with Redux are (a) the Playmate sequence (9 minutes, 7 seconds), (b) French Plantation (23 minutes, 42 seconds) and (c) Kurtz reads Time magazine (5 minutes, 17 seconds)
That’s close to 40 minutes right there. There are a bunch of small extended bits in Redux, most notably 3 minutes and 46 seconds devoted to Kilgore and his antics after the Wagner attack. There’s also that small bit where Kilgore is looking for them trying to get his surfboard back (2 minutes, 21 seconds), and then a scene on the boat with Chef talking about his Playboy collection (1 minute, 52 seconds). Those three scenes add up to an additional 8 minutes.
“Anyway, I can’t wait to see it. I truly hope to be blown through the back of the theater during the Wagner helicopter attack, which, for my money, is the best film sequence that I’ve ever watched. Not exactly a bold pick, but…the best one is the best one, even if it’s an obvious choice.”