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Original Film Running Times

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Original Film Running Times

Postby polar7 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:42 pm

Hi, for many years I have been frustrated in the knowledge that Steve's film have been cut and have rarely been shown complete. There appear to be three different versions of many films, the original completed film shown to test audiences, the cut theatrical release for USA cinemas, and the cut theatrical release for UK/Europe. I first became aware of this in the 80's when books on Steve listed running times that differed from the films I was watching. I also had several films recorded on Betamax in the 80's from UK TV that were definately longer than the official VHS releases later in the 80's. I unfortunately no longer have the Betamax tapes so can't check through the films to see how they differ. The recent restoration of The Sand Pebbles has had me thinking again about the cuts and if the full films will ever be released or if they actually still exist. Just wondered if it would be possible to compile a list of the correct running times and the versions people have or have come across.
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby DannyB » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:03 am

It's a very interesting thread...back in the 60's and 70's I guess they were less concerned with recording or making such information known...unlike the 90's when DVD was released and we saw a swathe of "special editions" "directors cuts"...actually this was most likely kicked off from the Laserdisc era in the early 80's DVD just caught on more as it was cheaper and neater....I digress....

I'd be interested in helping compile this...as I'm sure Darren may well appreciate information like this on his main site?

Polar....where abouts are you located? ie are you easily able to obtain UK / European / Far East / American running times...we have people/fans on this forum from all over the world so I'm sure we could compile a good list...unfortunately I only have DVD and a couple of HD films....but i'll do some digging and hopefully we can get a definitive list.

I'd recommend that if we all post up times one of us logs this in a spreadsheet and we can publish it on here every so often until it's complete...

what do you think, any other members got opinions?
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby polar7 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:01 pm

Hi, I'm in the UK. I actually had at one time a list of running times and alternate times written down, will do a search for it but this was way back and I can't recall seeing it for ages. Not sure where the list originated but I do recall once having the small film pamphlet by Joanna Campbell in the 70's/80's which could've been the source (can anyone check if they have that booklet?). Will go through my various books, etc and see what I can come up with.
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby Andrew A » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:56 pm

The running time between UK and USA on hoem video and dvd are always different by a few minutes.

This is not becaus eteh films are cut in most cases - it is susually due to teh different frame rates. UK has Pal which runs slightly faster than the US. Therefore, we have slightly shorter runnin times, but the film is essentially the same (unless deliberate cuts have been made)

Exceptions are the versions broadcast oin the televison, sometimes they get cut for TV audiences for one reason or another
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby polar7 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:34 pm

Hi, yes, if you check R1 with R2 dvds and videos there is often a couple minutes difference which I was once told could be acounted for by the formatting. But it has always puzzled and confused me, what about something like Papillon, original running time is 150 minutes yet the UK video release and dvd release is only 144 minutes - six minutes difference, yet The Great Escape USA and UK releases are both identical at 172 with no difference, as is Thomas Crown both being 102. Also Nevada Smith had an original running time of 131 minutes which was cut to 128, which is what you get on the dvd release (125 UK), Junior Bonner was originally 103 (or 105?) but was cut to 100 , Blob was 86 and was cut to 82, Enemy of the People was 106 cut to 103 USA and 90 for UK (I believe the Video release was 102) The BBFC site has some interesting information regarding the running times and cuts. Is there a USA equivalent site? Most cuts/censorships were made for 'certificate' reasons, it still occurs today with films shown in USA sometimes being different to the UK shown film (wasn't there a bit of fuss about Harry Potter recently?). R1 and R2 dvds often differ and rental copies are sometimes different too! Also sometimes the old VHS videos differ from the newer DVD releases (the UK film Quadrophenia has a scene on the video that is missing from all dvd releases!)
Have written a lot of info down and will try to collate it all properly. By the way Sand Pebbles was originally longer than the recent road show version release, which was a cut version.
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby Darren » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:48 am

Hi Polar7,

Regarding the "test audience prints", this happens with every movie, and it is a part of the "editing process". These are not the "completed" films.

As for different versions, of the top of my head...

1) The Sand Pebbles - Roadshow version and Regular version.
2) The Cincinatti Kid - US version and European version.

PAL vs NTSC will cause a 4 percent speed up. So a 100 min film in NTSC becomes a 96 minute film in PAL. However sometimes you do not see this speedup in PAL countries because you get a NTSC encode for a PAL countries DVD. So you have that confusing variation there.
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby Sweeps » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:34 pm

The 2005 DVD release of The Cinncinatti Kid which I own is cut. The original film running time (according to IMDB) is 102 minutes yet my copy runs up to 97-98 minutes. I read that approx. one minute of the cockfighting was cut, but if that's so then what happened to the other 3-4 minutes? :?
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Re: Original Film Running Times

Postby Boon Hoggenbeck » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:53 am

Andrew A wrote:The running time between UK and USA on hoem video and dvd are always different by a few minutes.

This is not becaus eteh films are cut in most cases - it is susually due to teh different frame rates. UK has Pal which runs slightly faster than the US. Therefore, we have slightly shorter runnin times, but the film is essentially the same (unless deliberate cuts have been made)

Exceptions are the versions broadcast oin the televison, sometimes they get cut for TV audiences for one reason or another


This is a good thread. My dad always told me to knock off 5-6mins from running times as given in film guides as the frame rate was different for UK / USA (we're in UK), so i've always gone with that. However, the running time given for the Hunter in Halliwell's guide (and others i've seen) is 117min. Knocking off the minutes for UK leaves 111-112mins, but every version i've seen on TV and official VHS / DVD release come in at 95mins, so there seems to be a significant difference between US / Europe versions.

I got excited when a satellite channel scheduled it in a 130min timeslot several years back thinking I was finally going to see a longer version, but turned out to be 35mins of ads. :cry:
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