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The Sea Wolf:Running Time? and TCM


allthumbs
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i see the very well done The Sea Wolf is on Sat morning at 8 AM, edt, but they've allotted only 1.5 hours for the showing. The Sea Wolf was originally released at 1 hr 40 min and TCM lists their copy at 1 hr 27 min.

 

since TCM boasts that it shows films "uncut", there's something going on here that i'm missing. why is TCM airing the short version?

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The original 100 minute version was only released for a very short time. The studio pulled that version. So the 90 minute version is the official version the owners of the copyright are leasing.

 

When TCM says they show uncut films they mean that they do NOT cut them.

 

This has been explained at least 1,000 times.

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What is really crappy about this whole running time situation is that someone had the nerve to post on IMDB the original running time, the official running time from the video, and "87 min TCM print-edited." Unless the person who posted that has proof that TCM edited the film, it has no business being part of the official record.

 

That does it. I'm off to write a sternly worded email.

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The 100 min. version is in England. It was released at 100 min. then shortened for double bills. TCM must negotiate with England to get it.

Which means money will need to change hands. And since TCM are perfectly happy with the 87 min. version, and they don't have to pay money - they won't be showing the 100 min. version. England unlike Hollywood, took good care of movies that came into their hands. I'm referring to Mourning Becomes Electra which Hollywood "lost" and a complete release print was in England.

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I will say that the film that TCM aired on Saturday was kind of rough in spots, again if that's all that's available to show what else can be done?. If this film needs restoration and there are additional scenes that can be reinserted I'm all for it. I'll write the check myself :D , that's how highly I value this film.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Sep 15, 2013 10:57 AM

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The scenes that were cut were cut by the studio because of their overt political message. Since I haven't seen both versions I can't say which I prefer. But only a fool would say that additional scenes always make for a better film.

 

Often scenes designed to make a statement only distract from the plot and make for a less taunt picture. In cases like that ?more? is often less.

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*jamesjazzguitar wrote: The scenes that were cut were cut by the studio because of their overt political message.*

 

James, may I ask how you came by this information? It's my understanding that The Sea Wolf had some scenes cut when it was re-released in 1947 to theatres, in a double bill with The Sea Hawk.

 

And that's the version of the film that has always, I believe, been available to television. A complete 16mm version of the film was discovered among John Garfield's possessions, and Warners has that version but, so far, has chosen not to makes the lesser image of those edited scenes available in North America.

 

I saw the earlier postings that a complete version of the film is available in England. That came as news to me. I wonder what the source was for that statement.

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This idea of the editing out of 10 minutes or so because of "political" content is new news to me. Is this just one whole scene that was removed or bits and pieces that total out to about 10 minutes? What was "unacceptable" in the 40's may not be judged the same today. I believe a proper restoration should include the removed scenes or with the modern technology available on DVDs today we could have both versions available (like The Big Sleep).

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There was no "political content" editing. The film was edited for the late 40's double bill reissue. It also gave Jack Warner the opportunity to remove Hal Wallis' name from the credits (as he did on the reissue of THE SEA HAWK).

 

I saw a 16mm print of the uncut version several years ago. It belonged to Bill Everson and now resides at NYU.

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I misspoke. You're correct that there was no political context that was removed. Any politics involved were internally within the studio (as you note). It is my understanding much of the removed dialoge was between Garfield and Lupino (a character that doesn't exist in the book but was added for a romance factor).

 

When people say 'England' has the longer version does that mean that people in England are showing an illegal version, or did the owner of the longer version (Everson) grant people outside of the USA to show that version? Of course why wouldn't Everson grant TCM or anyone in the USA the legal right to show that version IF he provided such rights to people in England.

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Ray, that's very interesting. By any chance, can you tell us anything about the scenes that were cut?

 

I have read that Warners Home Video has a copy of John Garfield's own 16mm version of the film and, therefore, they have the rights, I assume. However, they were searching for a better quality version of those cut scenes. That was a few years ago, though. Who knows what, if any, plans they have to release The Sea Wolf now.

 

Enough of the searching, I say, let's see the stuff, imperfect as it may be.

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As you know England is a country. A country doesn't own a film.

 

So can you ask your friend to check on what company or individual is selling the longer version? (of course since it was 1988 that might not be possible).

 

But I still have the same question; Is this longer version (one I also would really like to see) available legally, anywhere? TCM doesn?t wish to show illegal versions of movies.

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Most of the footage takes place on the San Francisco docks before the shanghai. There are a couple of scenes aboard ship but I just don't remember many details. I do remember that the opening and one of the later ship scenes accounted for much of the Korngold music I had not been able to "spot" in the picture.

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You're a fellow who when not being able to add anything to a discussion is willing to correct others grammar and spelling. Cooda used u wen ah wuzza kid.

Country's do own films. British Film Institute is a govt operation. They own films. Library of Congress here owns films. yer rong agin dood

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You're someone that corrects people for not understanding what you call are facts, but the Library of Congress doesn't own the copyrights to the films in the Library. The films are still owned by those with the copyright or they are in the public domain.

 

But I did like your tip about the ignore function!

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Now that we have all of this cleared up (I think :) ) its appears that its only a question of motivation (and money) to get this thing done. A proper restoration of the film, and in some fashion, reinserting the additional footage into the film. This film is truly a great film and it deserves the effort.

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There are some people out there (the fortunate few) who have and can spend stupid amounts of money on trivial items, like a few million on a comic book or one of Elvis' used Kleenex boxes, etc. So why not spend it on something of real cultural, historical value like a classic film, and let the rest of us share in the benefit of it.

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A few years ago, George Feltenstein said that he was scouring the archives of the world to locate the negative for the missing prologue and footage.

 

I don't know if he was successful. Maybe someone has updated info?

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