As reported on 3.14, a technically upgraded version of Francis Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now — remastered in 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos from a 4K scan of the original negative — will screen at the Tribeca Film Festival (actually the Beacon theatre) on 4.28.
If you go to the Tribeca Film Festival website and search under the A to Z rundown of films, the Apocalypse copy announces that Coppola’s Vietnam War-meets-Joseph Conrad-meets-LSD classic “will celebrate its 40th Anniversary at the festival with a screening of a new, never-before-seen restored version of the film, entitled Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.”
Because, as I accurately reported, the new version contains “no new footage, and has nothing to do with re-editing or extra bells and whistles — it’s strictly a technical upgrade thing. Hollywood Elsewhere urges Coppola to remove the words ‘final cut’ and replace them with ‘spit-shined.’ Because that’s what this is.”
The impression created by the term “final cut” has lingered. An industry friend recently speculated that the Tribeca version might be a new cut that is somewhere between the 147-minute original version (the 153-minute running time was a result of closing credits that appeared on the 35mm wide release prints) and Apocalypse Now Redux, which ran 202 minutes.
It also confirms that the version Tribeca is showing (147 minutes or 2 hour, 27 minutes) is the original 70mm version sans credits.
Just to recap, the 70mm Ziegfeld theatre version (no closing credits except for the words “Omni Zoetrope” at the very end) that premiered on 8.15.79 ran 147 minutes. The wide-release 35mm version with closing credits ran 153 minutes. Apocalypse Now Redux (’01) ran 202 minutes, or 49 minutes longer than the 35mm version w/ credits.
And according to Variety‘s Dale Pollock, the May 1979 “work in progress” version that premiered in Cannes ** ran 139 minutes.
Come to think of it, Pollock’s running time seems off.
He reported before-the-fact that the original May ’79 Cannes version was eight minutes shorter than the August ’79 premiere version. By my recollection, the only real difference between the Cannes and Ziegfeld versions was that the Cannes version ended with Martin Sheen‘s Willard looking out from the steps of the Angkor Wat temple after killing Brando’s Colonel Kurtz, and the villagers all bowing down in respect to their new lord and king. The Ziegfeld version went on a bit longer with Sheen collecting Lance (Sam Bottoms) and getting back into the boat and beginning the journey back to civilization, with overlays of the temple sculptures and Brando’s voice saying “the horror, the horror.” This doesn’t amount to much more than a couple of extra minutes, if that.
I’ve asked a colleague who attended the May ’79 Cannes premiere if Pollock’s reported running time is correct. If so, there must have been other portions of the film that weren’t shown in Cannes that were inserted into the Ziegfeld version.
** Pollock actually reviewed the 139 minute “work in progress” version at Westwood’s Bruin — presumably screened concurrent with the Cannes premiere.