This series explores films that have been released in two distinct forms. Perhaps they were shot in two different languages, or two different aspect ratios. Perhaps they were later recut to make them longer, or shorter. For whatever reasons, there are multiple ways of watching these films, and for the sake of film history, it’s best that all options remain available. You might think my goal in examining two versions of the same movie would be to suss out which version is “definitive,” but I’m more interested in the tension between competing visions (and sometimes the director is competing with him-/herself). These movies prove that no film is ever complete or perfect.
The selection of movies below certainly doesn’t exhaust the subject. I limited myself to movies that received theatrical releases in both versions under discussion, eliminating countless director’s cuts and “special editions” that only show up on home video. Even so, I narrowed it down to a group of movies that excite me, a decent cross-section of (mostly Hollywood) film history.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977/1980)
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