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Old July 10 2013, 10:10 PM   #31
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Location: Ireland
Re: Superman II (The Donner Cut)

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
It seems a bit harsh to blame this one on Donner, if that's right.
I just don't understand this.

It's the Donner Cut.

He was involved. How much hands-on involvement did he have? Maybe not much. But then again, I don't believe that directors are as hands-on as they used to be or even could be, particularity with post production and editing. Remember, Lucas biked from the stage to the editing room to ILM every day during Star Wars and had to wear himself out to get the film done.. I don't hear any stories like that in the 2000's.

But Donner had his name on it. He left commentary on the movie about all the ways he obliged to use bits of Lester's footage because he had to, and coming across like an arrogant snot in the process, and then WB slapped in a DVD case with a cool cover (which is the best part of of the Donner Cut) and managed to convince a small group of vocal Superman fans that this is what they were waiting for.
Well, I'm only posting what I understand the position to be, which is that the ('so-called'?) Donner cut wasn't actually made by him. Perhaps there's a Trades Description/ Advertising Standards complaint to be made there. The question is perhaps best directed at WB, Thau and Donner!

FWIW, I agree with you 100% about the removal of the 'care to step outside?' scene. In fact, I remember watching TDC and actually double-taking or going 'What?' when this scene was omitted (I can't tell what replaced it, which is probably telling in itself). I was always very keen to see Donner's version of Superman II, but while I was glad to see some of Lester's slapstick tendencies excised, I definitely prefer Lester's version. I'm not privy to the ins and outs of the makings of this or any film and who cut what, but really the Donner version does seem to be 'the Thau ideal of what the Donner cut would've been.'

As to Donner's arrogance, I must admit that I didn't pick up on that myself. By all accounts he's a decent guy who does charity work and so forth and whose actors tend to love him (e.g. Hackman refusing to be involved with the Salkinds after his sacking, the way that the likes of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover worked with him so often etc.).

Bear in mind though that he was sacked from this series, into which he had put so much work. Prior to his and Mankiewicz becoming involved, the project was shaping up to be something like the Adam West Batman; in his screenplay Mario Puzo had 'side-splitting' scenes like Superman swooping down into a city to arrest a bald man who he thought to be Luthor - then Telly Savalas turning round to say 'Who loves ya baby?' Donner and Mankiewicz introduced the respectful tone to the movie. So it's perhaps understandable that he's somewhat bitter towards Lester and less than totally-objective to Lester's version of a project which he had so much affection for. He's not, er, superhuman after all!
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