Marc Weingarten‘s N.Y. Times article about Lamont Johnson‘s The Last American Hero being revived as a DVD release 33 years after being dumped, re-cut and then re-released by 20th Century Fox in 1973 is an okay recap, but it leaves out a significant detail. He reports that while Johnson was out of the country following the film’s initial release, “Fox made a number of edits [and] renamed the movie Hard Driver and released it in a few theaters in the South in spring 1973.” Then Pauline Kael wrote “a glowing review for The New Yorker,” saying that The Last American Hero “isn’t about stock-car racing, any more than The Hustler was only about shooting pool” and pleaded with “someone in the head office at Fox” to restore the cuts. Fox ignored her request and “viewers still won’t get to see Mr. Johnson’s cut” on the DVD, Weingarten reports. Fox Home Video spokesperson Steven Feldstein tells Weingarten, “We made an effort to stay true to the theatrical release.” Spoken like a typical corporate stooge. (When I called Feldstein out of the blue last summer and asked about the chances of Hero being released on DVD, he said, “This is ours? It’s a Fox movie?”) The question Weingarten doesn’t even ask, much less attempt to answer, is whether Johnson’s original cut still exists in some form. If a print of this version exists, wouldn’t it be worth the effort to try and restore it before it’s too late? As Johnson tells Weingarten, The Last American Hero experience “remains one of the best times I ever had making a film, and one of the worst experiences I had working with a studio.”