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From Hell: Engraved In Stone

TM2YC

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To date there have been 4 adaptations of Alan Moore's comics (Not including 2005's 'Constantine')...

From Hell (2001)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Watchmen (2009)

...of these the long cut of 'Watchmen' is probably the best and most faithful, with 'V for Vendetta' also being a fine film (Although far from faithful to the source). All four have done decent business at the boxoffice but despite that the first two movies were pretty dire, deviating wildly from the source material and pandering to a mainstream Hollywood audience.

Although I'm considering an edit of LOEG, I'll first be tackling 2001's 'From Hell' (I just need to upgrade by DVD to the Blu-Ray). 'From Hell' is without doubt Moore's finest work so it stings that it begat the worst adaptation. It suffered from many problems including; Johnny Depp and Heather Graham's inflated roles; terrible "Apples and pears guv'nor" accents; A laughable plot device about Depp using psychic powers to solve crimes; some pop-video editing tchniques; cartoonish cinematography; and I also suspect that it was cut down heavily at the last minute on the insistance of the studio. Since the 15-20 minutes of deleted scenes appear fully finished and are presented cut into the film on the DVD. Almost all of these scenes depict more violence, horror and sexual imagery. So the fact that the film recieved an R/18 rating anyway makes their removal seem like carelessness.

With this edit I shall be fixing as many (But not all) of these problems. I want to bring the film closer in tone to the source but I won't be trying to make it match the source in terms of narrative. That would be next to impossible as you'd need to reshoot 90% of the film and extend it to about 8hrs to even come close! I'll be reincorporating almost all of the deleted material. The ending and indeed the whole film will be darker, nastier, colder, scarier, generally more unpleasant and with less likeable characters to hopefully evoke the dark and claustrophobic streets of 1888 Whitechapel. I'll calling this edit...

From Hell: Engraved In Stone

...part of a quote from the comic. I will also be making the film Black & White (Like the comic), aiming for the gritty and foreboding look that David Lynch gave London of the same period in 'The Elephant Man' ('Aiming' being the key word in that sentence). Here are a few "screenshots" of how I intend this edit to look (Click to enlarge)...









No doubt a teaser poster will soon be posted here as I'm quite excited about getting stuck into this edit.:)


**UPDATE**

'From Hell: Engraved In Stone' is now done and out there. The film is now less of an exploitation whodunnit and more a disturbing portrait of moral and political corruption at all levels of 1888 London society.

alan-moore-001.jpg


It should be noted that ALAN MOORE has disassociated himself from this and all other film adaptations of his work. This edit is a fan tribute to his 'FROM HELL' comic, so I'm not claiming this is "Alan Moore's From Hell".

I will submit later this week. This edit is available as a DVD5 with chapter menus and a bonus 20 minute alternate ending - featuring different footage, different placement of scenes, alternate transitions, the alternate finale restored and a very different outcome for some of the characters. Here is what I wrote for the back of the DVD cover explaining the thoughts behind this edit...

"Writer ALAN MOORE and artist EDDIE CAMPBELL's 1996 comic 'FROM HELL' is, at 572 pages, one of the longest, most detailed, richest and most complex books in the medium. 40 pages alone are dedicated to detailing the extensive research and listing Moore's many literary and historical influences.

So it didn't come as a surprise to many that the two hour 2001 FILM ADAPTATION failed to live up to the source.

To be fair to the film's directors, THE HUGHES BROTHERS, they were faced with the formidable task of adapting something that would be practically unfilmable at a conventional length. To their credit they stuffed the film with as many visual refrences to the source as they could, reconstructed the crime scenes in meticulous detail and constructed a vast set in Prague to portray the WHITECHAPEL district.

The chief problem was that it was too conventional. The comic was a dark and disturbing look into the mind of JACK THE RIPPER, who we knew from the start. But the film was a straight whodunnit with a proxy Holmes and Watson and a romantic subplot tacked on. Some of the casting choices were very poor and HEATHER GRAHAM's accent was at times laughable. However some of the casting was outstanding including the film's lead
JOHNNY DEPP. But his efforts were for nought, as his character Abberline had been given magic powers to see into the future, rendering him a joke.

So I present my attempt to edit the film into something closer in tone, content and emphasis to the comic. Obviously in narrative and structural terms the film cannot be altered enough to make it fit the source, the gulf is just too wide. I have however removed the magic powers, removed the happy ending, toned down the romantic subplot and radically reordered the scenes. This film is now darker, bleaker and riddled with human corruption. I give you...
'FROM HELL: ENGRAVED IN STONE'."


Sadly I've decided not to do my usual "complete" cutlist, as the amount of changes are too numerous and the recutting and reordering of scenes is too extensive to contemplate the time it would take. However, here is a brief list of the major changes...

- 20 of the 22 deleted scenes cut back in (Almost all being of a darker tone)
- Order of many scenes radically re-arranged
- Film converted to high contrast B&W* to render the film more sombre and timeless
- Pop-video-style editing techniques have been removed where possible
- Abberline's magic powers are gone
- Abberline's backstory removed. His depression and addiction is just who he is now and not as a direct result of a personnal tradegy
- Godley's unlikely attack on special branch removed
- Poor performances removed or minimised
- Heather Graham is no longer a primary focus of the film**
- Gull, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria play a more significant part earlier on
- Many of the "Happy" moments have gone to keep the mood dark
- Dodgy dialogue such as Depp saying "Knob" have been trimmed
- Netley is now a more ominpresent spectre of death
- Without spoiling it, the film's ending is now less "picture-postcard-happy"
- The final scene now plays out without dialogue to heighten the unspoken emotion
- Credits music changed to something more appropriate in tone and lyrical content (It no longer features a drum 'n' bass remix of Marilyn Manson...ffs!)

* Due to the soft/low-contrast/high-saturation of the original DVD image, this has caused some visual noise in the blurrirer backgrounds in some shots as I had to be very aggressive with the contrast to get the look I was after.

** She now becomes more important as the film goes on in a natural way, due to the deaths of the other characters and other factors. Kind of like the emergence of Ripley in 'Alien'.


FANEDIT LENGTH: 109 MINUTES
ORIGINAL LENGTH: 117 MINUTES
20 DELETED SCENES RESTORED
TIME ADDED: 22 MINUTES / TIME REMOVED: 30 MINUTES


Here is the final cover...

 

Vultural

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I haven't watched From Hell in awhile, but recall liking a lot of it.
It had a nice look and feel for that period London. Much of this can be seen in the BBC series, Ripper Street.
Black and white would definitely change the experience.
Would you consider tinting scenes, such as was done in the silent era?
 

TM2YC

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Funny you should say that but I was just playing around with tinting, red for the murder kinda like Hitchcock used in 'Vertigo'. An option that I will be exploring though not neccasarily using.

1st crack at a poster...



^ Click to enlarge
 

nOmArch

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I've already done the extended version by putting all the relevant scenes back into the movie with the alternate ending which IMO makes it MUCH better although I really enjoyed the theatrical cut.

AvP also made an edit where he changed it to black and white.
 

Zagadka

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Any details about the score? Does the center channel have score in it or is it possible to change the music (if you plan to do it).
 

Vultural

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Jan Saudek, a Czech photographer, mixes decolored backgrounds with saturated foregrounds.

jan-saudek-4.jpg


Don't know difficult this might prove to execute, but it would certainly give the film an old fashioned wash.

Code:
http://leconfident.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/vintage-spirit/
 

TM2YC

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nOmArch said:
I've already done the extended version by putting all the relevant scenes back into the movie with the alternate ending which IMO makes it MUCH better although I really enjoyed the theatrical cut.

AvP also made an edit where he changed it to black and white.

Awwwwww dangit, still gonna do it anyway.

I did a search of the forum and didn't see anything. Should have checked IFDB too. I see your extended 'The Knife Cuts, a Little Deeper...' cut on there but can't see AvP's listed. I thought it would have been strange if somebody hadn't tackled it. I'm not gonna extend it though, I'm probably gonna slash it down to 90/100 minutes.

btw Has anybody done an edit of LOEG yet?

336fee534ef2d4af0ad79dfb19d1c555.jpg
 

TM2YC

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Zagadka said:
Any details about the score? Does the center channel have score in it or is it possible to change the music (if you plan to do it).

Got no plans to change the score no.

Vultural said:
Jan Saudek, a Czech photographer, mixes decolored backgrounds with saturated foregrounds.

^ Kinda Pre-Raphaelite in style, nice. Not having 'After Effects' I won't be manipulating the image no. Would ne nice to just have the blood red though.
 

TM2YC

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As baileym43 was wondering about it,

I thought I'd add a few thoughts about LOEG to this thread, rather than start a new one.

I haven't watched LOEG in a while so haven't got a clear plan on what needs fixing. Maybe make it a short film lol? Biggest problem is it turned into a Sean Connery vehicle, I heard he and the director nearly came to blows. Connery made it such a nightmare that the director said we never wanted to direct again. So far he hasn't ;-( Plus sidelining Mina Murray was a disaster and the studio enforced adition of Tom Sawyer was the final nail in the coffin. Still it was kind of a fun romp.

Stylistically I'm thinking of a mahogany antiqued feel to give the film a feeling of Victoriana, as I thought the production design lost sight of the period details somewhere...





^ (Click to enlarge)

If you've got any ideas for LOEG feel free to add them to the this thread while I'm working on 'From Hell'.
 

Vultural

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Aha! That was the look I meant when I tossed the Saudek reference.
Especially if you could juice hallucinatory sequences.
Could one desaturate backgrounds and heighten focal points with the tools at your disposal?
Or am I beyond confused?
 

TM2YC

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Vultural said:
Aha! That was the look I meant when I tossed the Saudek reference.
Especially if you could juice hallucinatory sequences.
Could one desaturate backgrounds and heighten focal points with the tools at your disposal?
Or am I beyond confused?

I can apply a filter accross the whole frame but not individual portions no.
 

TM2YC

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I've made a start on this now. I was putting it off because I wasn't sure if I wanted to invest in the Blu-Ray of this because I don't really want it. So I'm just going ahead with this edit in SD from by Definitive Edition DVD. The results look quite nice anyway.

All Depp's magic powers are going but I'm still undecided about Heather Graham. If possible I'm going to remove her as a main character. More of a dark mood piece than a conventional soap opera. But it may not be possible. I like the idea that she is just one of the groups of Whitechapel Prostitutes and not this super glam Hollywood hooker with a cock-er-nee accent.

Could somebody move this to in-the-works, thanks.
 

TM2YC

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Made a new title card:

9448719170_62ed6273c1_o.png
 

Gatos

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Awesome job on the poster and title card! It seems our talent pool keeps growing with each new member that joins FE.org
 

TM2YC

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Thanks guys!
 

TM2YC

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Okay here's the first 30 mins. This is only a test as it seems the more I cut the better it gets so I keep going back in and trimming more out so it may or may not reflect the finished edit. I've tried to bring it closer in tone and content to the source comic if not in terms of it's narrative structure. So far...

- Film re-coloured in high contrast black & white
- Opening tiles completely redone including a quote from the comic
- Heather Graham's role is greatly reduced to bring her character onto a par with the other Prostitutes
- Joanna Page's staggeringly bad performance has been reduced to a minimum
- All of Johnny Depp's magic powers have been removed
- Three deleted sequences have been re-instated
- A few scenes from the original cut have been removed and many more trimmed
- A couple of scenes have also been moved around in the narrative
- Prince Albert, Queen Victoria, Netley and Sir William Gull are more prominent in the early parts of the film


I hope this a moodier, more mysterious and darker take on the film with the grand political machinations taking on a greater focus much earlier. Let me know what you think below.

from-hell-gull.jpg
 

Vultural

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Would you try out some different fonts for the Yeats' quote?
Definitely not a san serif font, but something more Victorian.

This is really good looking, sharp contrast, too.
Could not hear any issues with the audio, but I was viewing on my lap and not zeroing in on sound like I would on TV.
What is the mix going to be? 2.0 or 5.1.
Great edit so far.
 

TM2YC

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Vultural said:
Would you try out some different fonts for the Yeats' quote?
Definitely not a san serif font, but something more Victorian.

This is really good looking, sharp contrast, too.
Could not hear any issues with the audio, but I was viewing on my lap and not zeroing in on sound like I would on TV.
What is the mix going to be? 2.0 or 5.1.
Great edit so far.

Thanks for the feedback.

Maybe you're right about the quote font. I experiment with something else.

The extreme high contrast really gives the film a touch of class I feel. However due to the original very soft and over saturated cinematography plus the SD DVD source. It does cause some colour banding in some the more out-of-focus backgrounds. But I think it's worth it and if this edit really comes off maybe I'll invest in the Blu-Ray for an HD cut.

It will be in Stereo, as I'm cutting in stereo deleted material into 5.1 film material.
 

TM2YC

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Here is the second test of this edit. This 30 minutes takes off at exactly at the point the last clip ended...


Once again scenes have been radically re-arranged, all of the darker and more unpleasant deleted material has been put back in and many of the lighter moments have gone.

I'm 75 minutes in on this one and so far (Touch wood) it's working beautifully. You get the feeling that Addeline has no idea the danger he's treading in, as we the audience can see the whole British Establishment from his direct superior to the Queen of England all drawing their sinister plans against him and the lower classes of the Eastend. I've even managed to cast a little doubt over whether he should even trust Heather Graham's character. She's alot tougher in this edit like a Whitechapel girl would have had to of been.

But pulling off a dark and satisfying finale is still to be attempted.
 
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