The saga of George Hickenlooper‘s Factory Girl will be reshuffled once again with a third version set for release on July 17th. The cliche would be to call the film’s arduous shape-shifting “a long strange trip,” but it really has been that.

I was lucky enough to see the first version — ’60s Andy Warhol-ish, instinctual and somewhat raw, downtownish — last summer, and I raved about it soon after, and particularly about Sienna Miller‘s tragically fluttery performance as Edie Sedgwick.

Then I saw the second version — Harvey-ized, newly shot footage, Santa Barbara psychiatric flashbacks, beefed up Guy Pearce‘ dialogue — last December. I wrote that the second version “is a much better film — far more precise and filled in and rounded out — but I liked Factory Girl a bit more when it was funkier, rawer and less ‘complete’. Strange but strangely true.

I realize, of course, that the choppier, more instinctual, not-quite-as-layered version that I liked or believed in a bit more wouldn’t play as well with general audiences. I’m just saying that the old Factory Girl felt less self-conscious — it seemed hipper and more fuck-all Warholian.”

The third Factory Girl is apparently closer to the first version. Hickenlooper reports that Factory Girl producer Harvey Weinstein “was so happy with it he is only releasing my version on DVD…he isn’t going to release the theatrical cut at all.”

Hickenlooper further reports that the New York Times got wind of this and wanted to get to the bottom of all the mythology, and so critic Charles Taylor is writing a piece about the whole back-and-forth mishegoss. The piece will run be in the 7.15 Sunday edition, or two days before the release of the Factory Girl DVD.

Of course, you’d never know any of this from the DVD packaging, which is only selling it as sexier (i.e., a presumed reference to Sienna Miller‘s nude scenes). But that’s DVD marketing for you.

2019 Update: An HD version is now streaming on Amazon.