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The Film Vs Television Conundrum

While the 1981 theatrical release of Das Boot was approximately 150 minutes, in 2004 a 293 minute version was released that transformed the award winning film.

While the 1981 theatrical release of Das Boot was approximately 150 minutes, in 2004 a 293 minute version was released that transformed the award winning film.

Watched Lucy the other night. Good film. Luc Besson’s a little hit and miss, but when he hits it’s pretty outstanding. His early work is genius. Subway, The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, The Professional, Nil By Mouth, The Fifth Element - all of them are near masterpieces in my opinion. Then you get intoThe Transporter things go terribly wrong - though I thought District 13 was a return to form. 

What’s to become of film I don’t rightly know. These days trying to do something in a two hour window seems impossible next to what can be accomplished by a high quality television programme. Deadwood, Rome (the most expensive show ever made), Band Of Brothers, The Pacific, Game Of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire (just to name a handful that have built on previous series that didn't enjoy the same budget qualities) - high end production series allow viewers more time to empathize with and understand characters and provide creators the ability to focus far more on details than trying to cram it all into two hours. If you look at The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, you’d be hard pressed to find a fan that doesn’t think the extended cuts of each film, which come in at around three-and-a-half to four hours each, are vastly better than the theatrical releases.

Wolfgang Petersen’s original version of Das Boot, for example, was transformed from the 1981 award winning film, which clocked in at approximately 150 minutes, into various longer cuts over the years, the longest being the 2004 version that runs for 293 minutes. Petersen shot six additional hours of footage during filming, meaning that the four-plus hour version alters the film in such a drastic way with regards to character development that it’s almost entirely different in many respects.

Ugh - cold coffee. Gulp.