I used to own a Criterion Bluray of Terrence Malick‘s The Thin Red Line, but I could never make myself watch it a third time. My first exposure was at an early press screening, and a second time on Bluray when it popped in September 2010. But that was it.

I’m always excited when I watch scenes from Malick’s 1998 film on YouTube, but I found it labored and ponderous during my two full-boat viewings. I was exhausted at the end of both.

Last night David Poland tweeted about what a masterpiece it is, and I responded as follows: “Too many leaves, alligators, interior monologues & meditations. Script I read before filming was tight & lean — Malick didn’t shoot it.” It was The Thin Red Line that (a) fixed Malick’s reputation as a nature-revering, tossed-salad filmmaker, and (b) resulted in that famous quip about Malick never having “met a leaf he didn’t like.”

The question is, who if anyone has seen the black-and-white 1964 Allied Artists version with Keir Dullea and Jack Warden?