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SUPERMAN THE MOVIE: THE "DONNER" & WRAITH CUTS - SHOOTING SCRIPTS BASED - 3 edits

Wraith

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The 1979 SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was plagued with issues during production leading to many changes which resulted in two films being release (Superman and Superman II) which significantly differed from what was originally intended.

The best account of this can be found in this LONG out of print paperback in which the author shadowed the production for a number of years leading to an astonishingly eye opening account of what went wrong...and lot went wrong. It is a miracle these films exist in the form they do frankly.

This is a MUST read for any fan of these movies.. It is engaging, very detailed and had LOADS of things in it I knew nothing about and have not been documented anywhere else. ...Did you know about the Polar bear scene? The bear is still in one shot of the movie, but it was abandoned.
This is a treasure trove !

Back to my edits.

I have made 3 edits.

Superman: The “Donner” Cut (on screen retain SUPERMAN THE MOVIE)
This basically makes many changes to get the first movie to end on the intended cliffhanger which producers ditched at the last minute coz they were worried if the film failed. It is edited to be a perfect lead into the commercially available Superman II, the Donner Cut. Many select additions and corrections were made throughout.

Superman: The WRAITH CUT.
This is basically the closest you can get to what the original intention was. A single epic movie with an intermission which goes through Superman 1 and 2 with a truncated first act for running time purposes. Producers chopped this in half as money ran out, and with 80% of Superman 2 shot, they changed the ending of the first movie, IMHO disastrously.

Superman: The MOVIE EPIC
This is the full 4 hour experience of the single movie epic shooting script. Lester material is avoided at all costs.

The common thread is that LOIS does NOT get squished.

Much as I recently did with The Godfather Magnum Opus, I spent a lot of time correcting errors, such as the change in pitch on the opening music when the titles roll. There are selective score enhancements which where needed (such as the hotel scene fro Superman 2 Donner Cut) and repruposing of material to adhere as closely as possible to the shooting script (which is widely available online).

All the edits benefit from improved transitions, correcting continuity error (such as Young Clark racing the train), the addition of HD scenes which enhance and are again true to the shooting script but avoiding any of the campier moments. For instance, there is an extended scene (edited for pace and content) of Lex and Otis controlling the remote car, and the argument at the ambulance BEFORE they drive off for their second attempt to reprogramed the missiles. This has been tightened up, music and foley added and now flows well with the material either side of the scene.

The edits were completed about 3 years ago, and much like my other WRAITH vault edits, its time these saw the light of day.

You will already (of you who followed my Godfather thread) have seen some of the work that was done. Here it is again exploiting the McGurk effect to get the dialogue we need in the scene.


There is also some very select use of material from the new versions of the destruction of Krypton (very select so as not to distract), and a carefully but sympathetically shortened "can you read my mind" sequence, coz it just goes on for too long. "feed the babies" has NOT been added back, but a few additional moments have been. For

I will later list the major changes made and these will be submitted IMMINENTLY.

Happy to answer any Qs.
 
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Jrzag42

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I just want to make sure I understand the differences between the edits. So, the Behemouth cut covers the full shooting script, is the Wraith cut essentially the same thing but trimmed down to a theatrical runtime? Or are there other differences? Is the only difference the truncated first act that you mentioned?
 

Wraith

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I had to refresh my memory on this, and will post full details later today, but broadly yes. Full details and a clip or two to follow.

I should also add that I did not seek out to extend Superman II the way Bobson Dugnut is doing and it looks marvelous. I myself am really looking forward to that one. What I had already done is somewhat different as you will see on my next post later.
 
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tylerdurden389

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Ugh, I never liked the DC version of this scene. Well, certain elements of it anyway. I think the takes Lester ended up using (voice-double and all) were better line readings from Hackman. Thau also forgot to add the echo to their voices as the theatrical version has. I never cared for Eve's additional bathroom comments (the first mention of it was enough), and quite frankly I have a hard time believing that Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our time would think that a see-through projection was actually there.

If you ask me, had the Salkinds let Donner finish the film, even if he didn't feel like reshooting this scene, I'd imagine some of this stuff would've been cut for time and pacing.

I do like what you did with pasting Brando's head onto the body, but personally I prefer Brando being inserted into that crystal that comes outta the ground like in the theatrical version, as Booshman edited it. Gives us a better idea of "recorded" Jor-el and "spirit" Jor-el. But again, good effort.
 

Wraith

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The Edits are as follows

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE: THE "DONNER" CUT
RT 2hrs 24 min
This is meant to be what Superman The Movie WOULD have looked like had the producers not panicked and gone for the cliffhanger ending. The intention is that THIS is the film to watch BEFORE SUPERMAN II: THE DONNER CUT (S2DC). It has the least changes, additions and trims and stays true to the intent and feel of the Theatrical Cut but with the "Donner" intended structure per the book above.

The main edit is:
SUPERMAN: THE WRAITH CUT rt 3 hrs 19min (my preferred)
This is the truncated shooting script of Superman 1 & 2. Zod is banished and Kal-el sent to earth, then titles roll and we hit the Daily Planet in 9 mins. This has the most changes, but a decent run time.

SUPERMAN: THE WRIATH EPIC (BEHMOUTH): Rt 3hr 59min 59 sec. NO truncation to the krypton open, cliffhanger removed and as close to the shooting script when they were thinking it would be a Lawrence of Arabia type film, with an intermission. I elected to NOT have an intermission with a cliffhanger.

Now I'll drill into the changes which apply to all versions unless stated.

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE: THE "DONNER" CUT 2h24m (This will be a Special Feature)

The base of this edit is the Theatrical Cut of Superman The Movie: Theatrical Cut (STM-TC), NOT the extended versions, though a few shots/scenes are included. The run time is IDENTICAL to the Theatrical version DESPITE a lot of new scenes and changes being included. I wanted to prove that they could have hit the run time they had WITH the material and cliffhanger. Where did the space come from to include these extras? see below. The idea is that is should feel the same as the TC but and flow seamlessly to S2DC, thus preserving Donners vision across BOTH films.

- New opening dedication so the Reeve and Unsworth are honored
- MUSIC opening removes the awful key change in the TC that occurs when the "S" flies in (source CD)
- Bespoke WRAITH credit with Stuart Baird
- Villains sentencing uses some S2DC
- A few TINY trims to Jor-El discussion with council to improve flow. Some shots re-purposed
- A new shot of Jor-El lowering Kal-El from the S2DC
- A few TINY trims to the Kryptonians in the earthquake
- Villains in zone shot added from Superman Extended TV version (TV)
- Additional shot of crater from TV
- Clarke chasing train completely re-edited to remove multiple continuity errors (including a shot where Lois is seen to speak, and we hear nothing) - See below for clip.
- Young Clarke approach to barn to get crystal uses some additional TV shots
- TINY trim in Daily Planet at end of Clarkes first day. Scene fely like it naturally ends when he sits.
- Cat rescue removed
- "Can you read my mind" trimmed by 1 minute. VERY hard to pull off. Scene went on for too long. Full audio and scoring rebuild needed. A shorter unused cue was use as the base
- A re-edit of the Extended approach to Luthor's lair is used with an unused cue meant for the scene. Everything is tightened up but it is new to the TC
- First missile flies towards zone as Superman flies back to earth
- We see Jimmy run from rocks from Extended version
- TINY trims to a few bad FX shots
- Lois is NOT crushed
- As Superman flies away from the prison, the phantom zone is destroyed.
- NEXT YEAR SUPERMAN II relocated

SUPERMAN THE WRAITH CUT (This is my preferred edit for submission) (also know as EPIC above, apols) 3h19m
The greatest number of changes and additions to get to the shooting script version WITHOUT an intermission. NO Lester material was added

- All of the above with the following additional changes
- Krypton is now PRE TITLES based on S2 DC opening with some fleshing out.
- Krypton approach uses a shots from SUPERMAN RETURNS
- Only Kal-els departure and the trial of the villains used. No conflict with council.
- Krypton destruction used material from SUPERMAN RETURNS to create a hybrid destruction.
- Bespoke credits added and re-Ordering of Brando Hackman and Reeve changed to Reeve, Brando, Hackman
- Superman is not seen growing up. He is revealed in the Alleyway and we find out his backstory with Lois and Lex
- Additional TINY trims in Daily Planet
- TV Version of Alleyway and Otis to Lex's Lair
- Otis trip to lair is a hybrid of TV and TC versions
- Additional dialogue (trimmed) of Lex at piano making him more ominous
- Helicopter approach to Daily Planet shorter
- Additional Superman flying shots post Helicopter scene from TV
- Superman now here to fight for "truth and justice" only
- Added Lex and Otis with remote from TV re-edited and unused cue used
- Added Lex, Otis and Miss T scene arguing after ambulance scene with unused cue. Edited for pacing and comedic impact
- Added Lex and Otis in truck cab with un-used cue
- Added further extension to Superman's approach to Lex's lair with unused cue
- Added scene in missile control room with scoring added
- Added Superman TV missile dodge shot, color timed to better match
- Added Phantom zone destruction from S2DC when first missile thrown away
- Added Superman at PowerStation with scoring
- Added material of Jimmy and Lois post Superman fly off, but trimmed so it's not flabby. End of scene Lois speaks ON camera, no as a voiceover when Superman flies off
- Jail cuts to Headline "Superman Saves Day"
- S2DC cut from here with changes as follows
- Lois fall out of window removes AWFULL added dialogue of Clark out of the window
- Artemis sequence intro trimmed to allow for shot to be repurposed later
- Change to Villains on moon intro
- Journey to Pole Lex and Miss T extended with repurposed dialogue to create HD hybrid version
- Jor-el dialogue altered (see clip on earlier post) to give the backstory for the truncated krypton sequence
- New sequence of Lex and Miss T heading SOUTH created from HD shots, repurposed dialogue and scoring
- Exterior at Niagara re-edited
- Villains arrival re-edited and sequenced and scoring added
- Hotel room reveal re-edited for pace and scored
- Extended carnage by villains in town
- Lois and Superman dinner re-edited to remove CRINGE factor. Scoring enhanced to facilitate
- Superman and Jor-el chat re-edited for clarity and pacing; also re-scored
- Clarke walk to pole extended and re-scored
- Superman returning is a hybrid and re-scored for better dramatic impact
- Added Extended villain fly to fortress but re-edited and re-scored for better flow and continuity
- Showdown at fortress score enhancements
- Additional Superman flying shots on return to Metropolis
- Superman turning back time re-edited to remove Glenn Ford since he is NOT in this version.
- Many additional tweaks and scoring enhancements, but too tiny to mention.

SUPERMAN: THE EPIC (formerly BEHMOUTH) rt 3h59m59s (This will be a Special Feature)
- This is the The Superman The Movie edit ( so FULL Krypton and growing up) PLUS the second half of the WRAITH CUT from "SUPERMAN SAVE THE DAY" Headline but without the cliffhanger. so you get it ALL but with the enhanced Krypton opening and destruction.

Below is the comparison of the CLARKE and TRAIN sequence.
First the Theatrical version, then the extended (both with their errors) and then the fix I have made which is in Superman The "Donner" cut and The Behemoth.

Enjoy!

 
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Wraith

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Ugh, I never liked the DC version of this scene. Well, certain elements of it anyway. I think the takes Lester ended up using (voice-double and all) were better line readings from Hackman. Thau also forgot to add the echo to their voices as the theatrical version has. I never cared for Eve's additional bathroom comments (the first mention of it was enough), and quite frankly I have a hard time believing that Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our time would think that a see-through projection was actually there.

If you ask me, had the Salkinds let Donner finish the film, even if he didn't feel like reshooting this scene, I'd imagine some of this stuff would've been cut for time and pacing.

I do like what you did with pasting Brando's head onto the body, but personally I prefer Brando being inserted into that crystal that comes outta the ground like in the theatrical version, as Booshman edited it. Gives us a better idea of "recorded" Jor-el and "spirit" Jor-el. But again, good effort.
I did not paste his head in. I replaced the dialogue and scoring.

I should add, I thought the KARA in the crystal looked awful at the time. Plus, remember these were made in the 70s (1974 -79 for initial movies production), released in 80/82. Holograms had only just started to be a reality in still form, and very very much new tech, so I'm not phased by Luthor's line when Jor-el appears though Booshman's fix is neat but I don't feel I should or could use it, so happy as is.
 
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Wraith

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Some fleshing out.

It is a few years sine these were completed so I went back and checked the naming convention I used ON-SCREEN and have corrected accordingly.
 

asterixsmeagol

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I should also add that I did not seek out to extend Superman II the way Bobson Dugnut is doing and it looks marvelous. I myself am really looking forward to that one. What I had already done is somewhat different as you will see on my next post later.
Very nice. I just finished a DCEU re-watch and I was going to do a Superman re-watch next, but then when Bobson announced his edit I decided to wait for it. I'll probably watch your Superman I "Donner" cut, then Bobson's edit of II, then the theatrical III, IV, and Supergirl.
 

Wraith

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Very nice. I just finished a DCEU re-watch and I was going to do a Superman re-watch next, but then when Bobson announced his edit I decided to wait for it. I'll probably watch your Superman I "Donner" cut, then Bobson's edit of II, then the theatrical III, IV, and Supergirl.
That sounds like a perfect plan. Can't wait for that extended SII...you would think I would be work out by Superman, but not the case. Also Like the Man of Steel remastered with Williams score...the issue being I'm not in love with the source material. Another missed DC opportunity. When will they lear. Stop re telling what everyone knows, and just GET BRAINIAC in on the act!!!

RE-IMAGINING=NO IMAGINATION
 

alshim72

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Very nice. I just finished a DCEU re-watch and I was going to do a Superman re-watch next, but then when Bobson announced his edit I decided to wait for it. I'll probably watch your Superman I "Donner" cut, then Bobson's edit of II, then the theatrical III, IV, and Supergirl.
This is an oldie, so I don't know if you can find it, but it's still my go to Superman III edit:
 

Wraith

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There will be a slight delay, week or two, in these being available since I noticed on re-watching a few scenes early on common to all 3 edits that suffers from some pixelation due to the original rip the being oddly poorer than everything else. Luckily it is just a short 10 min segment and affects only a handful of shots. I have test ripped that section (which was a standalone ripped section originally), and it now rips ok. As such, as long as I re-rep it and give it the same file names (which I have done before), when I load the edit, as long as I then place the new files in the ASSESTS DIRECTORY, the material SHOULD just drop in. This will permit a full re-render using the most current codec and higher bit rates, which everyone prefers (myself included). The remaining assets were pass thru rips, no conversion...so no re-rip is needed. I'm not sure why I ripped that piece differently? I probably forgot to change the settings.....SIGH!
- - - - - - - - - - - -
As I go thru these I'm now recalling in greater detail many more changes than those listed above so far. I will continue to catalogue those and preview them on this thread in the coming days. For instance, there are a handful of REALLY crappy lines or repetious/patronising the audience lines when Jor-el is arguing with the council (STM-DC & S=TWE/Behemoth) which are just SOOOO grating, that they had to go...just a few.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
PS
The book above which even in "fair to poor" condition goes for $50 plus, is available at ABE BOOKS in "fair to good" condition. They have a few. I just grabbed myself a better copy. THEY SHIP ANYWHERE. HURRY....it is a must read (and I am not related to the author or anyone involved).
 
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Wraith

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The clips needing re-rips are from the Extended TV version.

There is an extra shot I dropped in of Jor-ell placing the red, blue and yellow in the star ship. Although the source IS HD it is a grainy master and when re-rendering some pixelation crept in at the original bit rate. I have applied a slight denoise filter which clears up that error when upping the bit rate for the re-render. There a re a few more shots I used from that source, and all will be cleaned up. This will, as I said earlier, delay things a tad, but not much.

WATCH THE SKIES
 

Wraith

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ADDITIONAL CHANGES INFO (to the above)

Befor I dive in, the additional work noted above has been completed and I am now re-rendering all 3 versions with better codec and MAX bit rates.

SUPERMAN: THE WRAITH CUT
- Added a completely new opening using a reversed shot of Krypton from Superman Returns with isolated Brando VO and bespoke shots to establish Jor-el sending Kal-el to Earth
- This is followed y a re-edit of the trial of the villains using shots from multiple versions
- The hybrid krypton destruction uses material from SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN RETURNS with a hybrid audio to keep is feeling classic, but more dramtic
- Added custom trip to Earth with shots from multiple versions
- Added frozen frames when Jimmy takes picture at Daily Planet, which is also re-edited
- Added shots of Jimmy at the dam
- All changes from Below and above included PLUS the following not already noted

SUPERMAN THE EPIC ( formerly Behemoth)
- 2 shots from the S2 Donner Cut are used when Jor-el condemns Zod, and Zod's reaction
- Added An establishing shot of Jor-els window from the TV version and following shot of placing the blankets in the star ship
- Added dialogue from TV version to trip to Earth
- In order to used the shorter unused cue of "can you read my mind" flying sequence, a full audio rebuild was needed.
- The added Otis/Lex remote argument, post-ambulance argument and Otis/Lex in the truck all have been significantly re-edited and scored appropriately
- Lois drive with the villager is re-edited, removes some the explosions since there is obvious multi-camera repetition
- Minor trims to the San Francisco destruction
- Added some TV versions shots to the San Francisco destruction
- Added scoring on some of the moon segments
- Added Lois in the "S" shirt to the fortress sequence rom S2 DC
- Removed Superman whining to Jor-el
- Added additional shots, but trimmed, of villains arrival at fortress
- Added scoring when Superman emerges from the chamber
- Added Lois and Superman outside of Fortress but NOT Lex
- and many more too small to note (these will be in the CHANGES LIST once submitted)

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE: THE "DONNER" CUT (keeping it true to the vision)
- Revised the end credits "coming next year Superman II" to Superman II THE DONNER CUT" in the correct font using the same technique as in Godfather Magnum Opus
Finally, Changes NOT made to this version include....
- NO material from Superman Returns
- NO Feeding the babies
- NO score enhancements
- NO modern DC intro
- NO modern WB logo
- NO revisionist credits in CGI
- NO net addition to the original theatrical run time, yet added 12 mins of material for no discernable loss.

and many many more...

Submission this weekend

UP, UP and AWAYYYYYYYYYYY.......................
 
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Wraith

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All threee edits re-rendered. Now rendering MP4s HI BIT RATE.
 
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Wraith

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Artwork has been revised and updated since there was never an intention to submit these, but here they come, overdosed on Superman or not, these were the edits I longed dreamed for and never quite got.

Ever since I saw SUPERMAN THE MOVIE in theatres, I long wondered why the Souvenir Large Format DC Special for the film contained stills which were NOT in the movie. So began a 40 year plus journey seeking out what the hell these images were, what did they mean, how did they fit in and would we ever see them in the movie.

Well, here we go...and there is so much more that I found out along the way. Like Close Encounters and The Godfather, this was another obsession which finally has a resolution. I of course dove back into my source edits for these three and tweaked a few minor things,, but nothing that merits any real detail here.

I will include a fuller cut and additions list on submission but it will not be exhaustive like say my Hobbit edit cut list. Needles to say most will be there and the rest you can work out for yourselves.

Finally, as has become a new habbit of mine, in the lower right of the screen (in the black bars area) there will be tiny markers to indicate if the material is from the TV, Extended, Donner Cut, 2000 Special Ed or Theatrical version (or ever SR=Superman Returns), with additional markers for new CUES etc. I do not even notice them, and no one has complained who watch CE3K, and they are there. WHY? Because in years to come I will forget what I did to these films since I won't be watching the theatricals ever again and I ain't no spring chicken....

YOU'LL BELIEVE AN EDITOR CAN FLY!

TRAILER COMING
 
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Wraith

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coming Prince Mishkin....v v soon.
 

Wraith

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ALL 3 EDITS SUBMITTED in their own right.
Superman overdose coming

UPDATED:

TRAILER ON THE WAY
 
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Wraith

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HERE IS THE TRAILER for all 3 edits, and it's short!!!
 
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