Post by Paul Sylvain on Feb 1, 2012 18:10:17 GMT -5
I might be the only member of this board to never have heard of this, but was cruising the 'Net and stumbled on several references to seeing the "uncut" version of Alamo: Price of Freedom (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094628/reviews). This was news to me because, for some reason, I thought the iMax film at Rivercenter Mall in SA was the ONLY version of this film out there.
Can someone shed some light on this? And, if there is a longer, uncut version of this film out there, where can someone possible see it, Especially since the iMax folks seem to hold the reigns on it and have yet to make it available for sale on DVD?
Regardless, I haven't seen this film for many, many years (maybe 1995 was the last time), and I plan on catching it in about a month when I'm in town for the HHD.
Post by Kevin Young on Feb 1, 2012 18:33:12 GMT -5
I think I can help. First, the so-called directors cut, only exists as a poor grade VHS...while it does have some additional scenes that were shot, it is not a finished film-the soundtrack on it is from other films/music sources to give Jenson an "feel" for what Merrill wanted in the way of music. It was never produced in the IMAX format or ever shown. It was a work tool.
Second, after APF was showing, an effort to get it out to other IMAX theatres was done. Remember, this was back in the day when IMAX films were 30 minutes. APF pushed it at 40 and many theatres wanted a shorter version for turn around time. Add to this a concern about to much violence...(I know-I really think that folks believe they all died of heart attacks on 3/6/1836). Many of the IMAX Theatres were then located with science and natural history museums, so they had a clearner look at history I guess.
So, for those folks, an edited version went on the road. Problem is, that when those prints came back to SA, and sat upstairs, it was decieced to use them...so you had showings of the full and edited film and eventually, the edited film was getting more showing time. Part of this had also to do with the cost of making a new print. When I was back last year, they had a great new print and were showing only the original 40 minute film.
Post by Paul Sylvain on Feb 1, 2012 20:34:13 GMT -5
Thanks, Kevin. Your reply makes a lot of sense. I've always thought APF was pretty well done considering when it was made and the fact they compressed the basic story into an easy to digest 40-minute film. Of course when I last saw it, 17 years ago, I knew much less about the Alamo than I do now, so I'm anxious to see it again. I do remember that APF was the first time I saw or heard about the cat's eye ring. I went through the Alamo right after seeing the film, and dang if I didn't see that ring. Because of that, I've always recommended that visitors see the film, then walk the Plaza and Alamo, to make the connections and appreciate what WAS the entire compound.
But to get back to my question and your reply, it does make sense. I figured had there been a good quality, full-length, uncut version of APF, I'm certain I would have heard about it's availability long before now. Again, thanks.
Post by Rich Curilla on Feb 2, 2012 2:03:08 GMT -5
And too, Paul, what Kevin described is actually a process that all films go through. "A work tool" was a perfect description for the stage. Normally, a film will be fine-cut (to the length they want) and then music slugged into a temp track so the director can show the composer what he's got in mind. Some composers want this; some do not. In any event, you can see why it is ONLY a work tool, since it is actually a copyright violation. I'm remembering a lot of Bruce Broughton's score from Silverado being used. Was that what it was, Kevin?
Post by Kevin Young on Feb 15, 2012 22:27:12 GMT -5
Once again-there is no uncut Price of Freedom. That VHS, which has to be a copy of a copy, is again, the work print from which they made the finished film. There are bootleged copies floating around from 1988. There is no IMAX 75 minute print. The workprint was done in 35mm, and a few copies made so the producer, some of the investors, and the person doing the score could see what was filmed, and the suggestion for the film score.
I know it has been a while since anyone posted here, and maybe no one will notice this new one, but I might have some insight in regard to the “director’s cut” of "Alamo: Price of Freedom".
In the spring of 1987 I was visited by director Kieth Merrill in my office in Gettysburg, PA. At the time, I was not far removed from managing the first REALLY BIG Civil War re-enactment at Manassas, VA to commemorate the battle’s quasquicentennial (125th anniversary), and was working on the next one at Antietam, MD. Merrill was about to film POF and was in pre-pre-production on an anticipated IMAX Gettysburg film. He had heard I was already working on a big re-enactment of Gettysburg for the summer of 1988, and he approached me about the possibility of piggy-backing some filming at my event, since we would have some 12,000 “extras” in one place. He invited me to Brackettville to observe how the IMAX filming had peculiar requirements (versus other films I had worked on), and, knowing I was a re-enactor as well, to participate in the week of filming the big POF battle scenes.
[As an aside, so I don’t start other rumors, the Kieth Merrill IMAX Gettysburg project died 6 months later once the accountants ran the tourism demographics – too few unique visitors to support IMAX. However, the idea still had legs, as portions of "Glory" were filmed at my event, which also drew director Ron Maxwell to my door – a partnership which eventually led to the film "Gettysburg" (originally titled The Killer Angels).]
With this connection to Merrill, for the battle sequences I was placed with the specially recruited and trained “Hispanic” company of Mexican soldiers that were in the foreground of almost every shot. This was about 30 or so men from the Los Angeles area who drilled every weekend for several months using only Spanish. I was the only Anglo (in brown-face) and had 3 hours to learn all the commands in Spanish. I was also designated an uncredited “featured extra”, which meant I had three scripted lines. That week of filming – especially the four “graveyard” shifts for the night battle – remain one of my fondest “re-enacting” memories. Anyway, I relate all of this just to indicate I have a unique perspective on POF.
First, I had (and probably still have in some box) the same 75-minute, extremely poor quality “working” VHS alluded to above. I think nearly everyone on the crew got one, and I’m pretty sure I got my copy from producer Ray Herbeck (but maybe from production designer Roger Ragland – I worked with both again on other films). I tried years later to see if there was a better copy (or perhaps a pirated copy of the finished film), but had no luck.
However, there WAS what might now be called a “director’s cut”, and I saw it at the San Antonio IMAX theatre. It was at the film’s premiere to which I was invited by Merrill (even though the Gettysburg project was by then dead). My ticket was not for THE premiere, the first show, as that was limited to the Hollywood and political muckitymucks. However, I did see the second show (along with most of the crew and lesser celebrities), and all shows that day were approximately 100 minutes in length and the showings were spaced 2 hours apart (I saw it a second time later that evening). I was told by Merrill that this longer version would show “for a while” before the shorter “IMAX friendly” cut replaced it. I cannot say whether this happened or for how long, because I was on a plane for the Philadelphia the next morning.
Many years later I returned to San Antonio and was, understandably, very disappointed in the shorter version. It was still a good film – but gone was most of the character development and many good scenes (obviously, with another hour). On a personal note, while all three of my lines were in the premiere version, two of them hit the cutting-room floor. The only remaining one was the first “Viva, Santa Anna” (repeated by everyone else) just before the attack.
So, maybe THIS version has seeped into the directors’ cut mythology. I am curious if anyone else saw this longer version at or soon after the premiere? I would suspect (and hope) that Mr. Merrill has a copy, and maybe someday the POF investors will see fit to release it to the public.
Post by Rich Curilla on Oct 14, 2015 16:12:14 GMT -5
Absolutely amazing, Pat. I was on set only once (I lived in Dallas at the time), and that was for the two days that the night fandango, the bell tower scene and the Mexican soldiers coming over the west wall next to the burning Castaneda house. I'm pretty sure I went to San Antonio within the first week or two of its opening -- I had waited so long, I can't imagine not hurrying down -- but I have seen no long long version in the theater, just the rough-cut VHS dub that everybody else has seen. Character development is definitely lacking in the theatrical release that I have always seen, but I quickly relegated that to the fact that it was a docudrama and not a narrative feature film, and loved it for what it was. The acting (or more accurately, the scripted dialog) in a few scenes -- particularly the opening arrival of Travis -- was just awful. Perhaps, if the character development had more of this dialog and staging problem, this was why the film got trimmed so drastically. However, I am more inclined to believe that it had to do with moving audiences in and out of the theater within an hour to increase the number of showings a day. Don't really know.
I keep promising myself I will go to see how effectively the new 4-K digital image stands up against the original 70mm horizontal Imax process. I will be surprised if it still rocks. Hope so. Thanks for the wonderful enlightenment.
P.S. -- I'm from Pennsylvania and attended the Centennial reenactment of Pickett's Charge (more like Pickett's Walk) as a kid in 1963. Love Gettysburg (the place and the movie).
Post by billchemerka on Oct 15, 2015 8:18:10 GMT -5
As a member of the stunt team in the premiere audience on March 6, 1988, I saw no long version/"director's cut" shown on that day or any other day since then. There were four debut showings of the film: noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The times allowed the film to be shown with enough time to empty the theater and allow the next group to be seated. An IMAX film lasting approximately 100 minutes would not have fit into the scheduled times nor would it have been financially feasible.
When informed about the aforementioned post, director Kieth Merrill noted last evening that such a lengthy version "was NEVER shown in the theater in San Antonio simply due to the enormous costs of putting any IMAX reel together."
How can I get a VHS copy of this film--prefer uncut, but beggars can't be choosers--and I understand there is no DVD version of it and that the VHS copy is not the best quality. Like I said, beggars can't be choosers.