EDITORIALS

Harvey Weinstein Wants to Cut 40 Minutes from Inglourious Basterds?!

by
June 9, 2009
Source: The Wrap, Time Out

Quentin Tarantino

If you haven't been following industry news recently, The Weinstein Company is in a lot of financial trouble. Similar to New Line a few years ago, their survival is somewhat dependent on the performance of three big movies this fall: Inglourious Basterds, H2: Halloween 2, and Rob Marshall's Nine. This wouldn't matter much, except that Harvey Weinstein is attempting to get his hands on Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and cut out 40 minutes of it, according to The Wrap. There have been numerous industry pieces on the TWC situation, but Sharon Waxman's article is the only one that mentions this rumor specifically.

Here's the excerpt from Waxman's piece at The Wrap where it specifically mentions the 40 minute cut.

But here's what we know: the company needs a big hit, and soon. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds premiered to mixed reviews at the Cannes Festival. Weinstein and co-producer Universal are both trying to convince Tarantino to cut it by 40 minutes. (It's now 2'40", and considered too long a sit, especially for American audiences.)

Waxman actually got the running time wrong, as the version I saw in Cannes ran 2 hours, 28 minutes. This isn't the first time we've heard that Tarantino would be making some changes from the version he showed in France. At the end of the fest, Tarantino started telling press that he would be going back into the editing room for Basterds, potentially adding a new scene before the infamous bar scene in the middle of the movie. All of this is happening because the reaction in Cannes wasn't as positive as they (meaning Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein) had hoped it would be. But they better not cut out 40 minutes of it!

Inglourious Basterds is a very long film for good reason; no one should be expecting to see Tarantino's take on Saving Private Ryan. Thankfully I'm not the only one who is opposed to this. Ben Kenigsberg at Time Out Chicago wrote a piece titled "Don't cut Inglourious Basterds, you basterds!" Here's an excerpt:

All I can say—as someone who thought Basterds was the unquestionable highlight of this year's Cannes competition—is that cutting won't remove what's strange about the film; it'll just ruin its pacing and structure—and probably outrage QT's sizable fanbase. The charge against the movie is that it's "talky" and that too much of it is subtitled to appeal to a mass audience. But if any contemporary filmmaker has proven that large swaths of dialogue can be compelling, even profitable, it's Tarantino.

I couldn't agree more with what Kenigsberg says above. Screw what Harvey Weinstein thinks, I say stick with your gut, Tarantino! Even if Basterds doesn't turn out to be a huge hit in the end because it's so long (and becomes the first nail in TWC's coffin), who cares, in the end everyone will be much more appreciative that Tarantino stuck with his cut and kept true to his vision. I fear that cutting out 40 minutes would ruin the movie, not improve it or bring in a bigger audience. And if that's all that TWC cares about in regards to Basterds, then Tarantino definitely shouldn't be listening to anything they say. Fight back, Quentin!

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  • duffc
    NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't let them do it Q.T.
  • KenDoll
    It's easier wishing it your way Alex. Some people need to make a living, and if cutting out a certain amount of time because they feel it will return more profits is their best bet, then I'd understand why. I'm just as big of a QT fan as the next guy. But I wouldn't want Tarantino to fail with this one. I'm sure they can add a director's cut later on when the DVD is released. I say they should go with cutting it in order to return more profits. I'd like to see more films like this being released in theaters.
  • cardigans
    Usually I really like QT and I'm not a fan of cutting any movie by 40 minutes but I had the chance to see the Cannes version too, and the one thing it earned its bad reviews for was the terrible pacing and structure, not for being too "talky". That Cannes version needs serious re-editing, otherwise it'll bomb at the box office after the first weekend.
  • Greedo the Rodian
    QT films haven't really been that successful at the box office. If the Weinsteins are expecting a hit, they are screwed. Reservoir Dogs was a cult hit, under the radar. Pulp had a great run. Then, people wanted Pulp Fiction 2 with Jackie Brown. Kill Bills didn't do that well. And we all know about Grindhouse. I think QT thinks we like the length, and I have noticed he's gotten a little too talky and indistinct with each film. I honestly think he had too much fun with his buddy Eli Roth and it's some horrible vacation video he wants us to be subjected to.
  • http://entertainmenttodayandbeyond.com entertainmenttodayandbeyond.com
    I haven't seen the film, but I think its safe to say if it doesn't deliver on action it will NOT be a big hit. A mass audience isn't going to accept a talky film when there paying to see what the trailers have advertised. You can't sell it as one thing and deliver another. Tarantino has a following but its hard to classify it as sizable. Grindhouse was proof of that. If Weinstein banked on this film to be huge he's nuts. It might do alright, but no way is it going to light the box-office on fire. chuck
  • Pffft
    Cut the 40 mins. Kill Bill 2 was poorly paced. Grindhouse was too long for most audiences. Cut it. Might get a great film instead of an OK one.
  • http://www.orden51.com mnk
    PLEASE DON'T! I wanna see the longest version of Basterds, i wasn't angry cause of Jackie Brown's duration!
  • Marcus
    Grindhouse would have done better over seas if THEY HADNT FUCKING SPLIT THE TWO FILMS!
  • Al
    so my "Sergio Leone; Once Upon a Time In America" theory was correct?
  • Conrad
    Quentin is a good filmmaker. If he knows what's good for him. He will not let Weinstein affect the integrity of his movie. Cutting it by 40 minutes??! that's a massacre on its own!
  • Ajax
    While 2:28 is a long time and not appeal to some, 40 mins is an insane length to cut out (10, maybe 20 mins tops). Plus, if the movie is good in itself, the time will not matter (i.e. Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight, Titanic). While I haven't seen the film, QT is a good director and if you take that much of the film out of it, the results would not be good. This only confirms by belief that Harvey Weinstein is the Hollywood Antichrist.
  • RandyG
    "...if any contemporary filmmaker has proven that large swaths of dialogue can be compelling, even profitable, it's Tarantino." Bullshit. QT flat out proved with Death Car or whatever it was called (it didn't merit committing its title to memory) that he has lost his ear for what is interesting and what isn't. Death Car? was what, 100 minutes long, and even that was 2 or three times longer than necessary. To paraphrase Cpl. Hicks, "Delete an hour, it's the only way to make sure".
  • Bryan
    If anything I think the Weinsteins need to change their marketing approach to Bastards. Everyone I have talked to have no idea what the film is, a comedy or an action film and the first teaser trailer only really marketed it based solely on Tarantino's name. I think they need to tone down the whole "insane Tarantino violence" angel that the trailer had and perhaps play to his strengths as a writer. A much more dramatic marketing approach can actually do the film a whole lot of good and maybe do without the need to cut anything or at least have the cuts be minimal...
  • Jack Novelli
    Alex: You're really wrong on this one. Tarantino has demonstrated poor taste and judgment with his last few projects. He really seems to have lost it. Quentin paling around with Eli Roth is the worst thing he could have done for his career. Roth is a sadomasochistic retard and Quentin appears to nurture Roth's twisted fantasies. These guys come off as a couple of play ground weirdos. They both enjoy torture porn, have over-inflated egos and insist on having supporting roles in their own films when neither of them can act and are in any way appealing. The Quentin Tarantino that we knew has seriously checked out. Tarantino's segment in Grindhouse was terrible. Out of all of the exploitation film sub-genres he could have selected from, why did he choose to make "Death Proof?" It was a real bore fest and the dialog was torturous to listen to. The car wreck was a bit too realistic for my tastes and I felt like I was watching "Red Asphalt" in a Driver's Ed class. It was a really disturbing scene and Quentin and his demented little Protégé Eli must have climaxed together when finally seeing all of the on screen carnage they had created. Inglourious Basterds is nothing more than a Crimson Nazi Orgy of murder and mayhem with way too much talking and not enough WWII action. It's Quentin's way of using German Characters in a film to vent about his hatred for Hollywood Jews. This is Quentin just getting his real feelings off his chest. He's not as direct as Mel Gibson and instead uses his reputation for writing excellent dialogue to get away with some good old fashion anti-semitic Jew bashing. Then he has Eli Roth come in from off screen and give the Germans a blood bath. Just what they deserve, especially after goofing on the Jews. Maybe Tarantino should have cast himself as an SS Officer in the film; slaughtering Jews in the dead cold of winter. Eli Roth and his death squad could have over run the Nazi occupied camp, taking Quentin prisoner. Later, Roth could disembowel Quentin's frozen corpse with an ice cream scooper, saw off the top of his Neanderthal looking skull and use it as a bed pan.
  • d1rEct
    40 minutes is a huge.... #14 - What are you talking about???
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    In response to #14: First off, Inglourious Basterds is nothing like Death Proof at all. Nor is Eli Roth used more than just an actor in this, he didn't collaborate with Tarantino at all. I'm sorry you don't like Roth, but he was cast because he fit the role, not because QT likes him or anything like that. Secondly, I don't know how you can be telling me I'm wrong when I've SEEN the Cannes cut of the film, can tell you it feels a lot like his older work (I'm not the only one who believes that either) and thinks that it would be ruined if 40 minutes were cut. I'm not just saying this because I love QT or Roth or anything, I'm saying this because I've seen the film and know how it plays and how it feels and what might improve it. Obviously you don't know anything about Inglourious Basterds, because the "Basterds", of which Eli Roth is one of, are only a major part of 1 of 5 chapters. The rest of the film is NOT a blood bath, the rest is a story dedicated to Shosanna Dreyfus. If you would've seen it, or even read the script, you would know this. That is why I am trying to defend Tarantino on this one, especially because Harvey Weinstein should not just be making cuts in order to make more money, but Tarantino should be staying true to his own artistic vision.
  • Ostilad
    Leave it as is. Those studio execs make millions. It's not like they will go without a meal for a day if that 40 remains. Tarantino's work should be left as is. I applaud the new scene he wants to put in. as for "talky"... Tarantino does captivating "talky". TWC should remember that this is QT they are dealing with, not a 2-bit director that was given too much cheese to make an unoriginal movie.
  • wm
    i'm so glad every american can't sit through long movies. I fuckin hate how these 'people' are looking out for our best interests. I don't know, QT's got the money. Start an independent label and put these movies out yourself.
  • Shige
    #14 you really got no clue
  • frenchbob
    they should cut it, there is always too much talk in tarantino's movies, sometime it works (pulp fiction) sometimes it's just boring (death proof, european cut).
  • Trae
    First Fanboys, now this. The Weinstein Company needs to leave the filmmaking to the filmmakers. As for Quentin, I wasn't a huge fan of Death Proof, but then again I still enjoyed it. I guess I can understand how some people wouldn't enjoy it because of "too much" talking. But I could watch and listen to actresses like Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Vanessa Ferlito, Rosario Dawson and Rose McGowan all day long. Anyway, after multiple masterpieces, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
  • http://alexmasterson.wordpress.com/ Digital Metaphor
    'The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.' - Alfred Hitchcock
  • Shockwave's Ghost
    Tarantino hasn't made a decent movie since Jackie Brown. Basterds sounds like just another boring talk-fest from the overrated QT - despite Alex's glowing reports.
  • Greedo
    Yeah, so even though Roth is just cast, he's the one in QT's trailer everyday, cutting lines of coke. The only "acting" I saw of Roth was in Death Proof, and I wasn't impressed. If the Basterds part is such a small part of the movie, people will be disappointed, at least the way they are promoting it. I kinda read a script review and I know about the chapters, and those didn't really make me stand up in my seat. Kill Bill had about 5 chapters, too. It seems there are a lot of minutes in each QT film that could have been cut, with the exception of Reservoir Dogs. With Pulp, you can cut out the watch speech, the gimp sequence, the entire date between Travolta and Thurman. Jackie Brown had a bunch of extraneous shit with DeNiro, just because QT was excited to be working with DeNiro. Kill Bill could have easily been one fucking movie. Death Proof was a 45-minute movie expanded into 90 minutes by dialogue. Don't get me wrong, all of this shit is great and all, but again, from a strictly commercial standpoint, I have a hard time believing Basterds, a close-to-three-hour nihilistic bloody/talky WW2 film, will perform well in a summer season. It's a guaranteed R-rating, which wipes out a whole bunch of people. But I don't really care how it performs, it's not a Tarantino death knell. He'll work again, just not with the Weinstein Company. I'd like to see QT try something different for once. His films all have that sense that he cooped himself up in his L.A. home with a bunch of coke and a bunch of weed, watched a bunch of movies, and then wrote his own. That's fine, he doesn't make terrible movies and I'd rather him keep making his brand of homages instead of Hotel For Dogs 2, but I don't think he'll ever be a commercial success. Was Godard? Was Kubrick? But at least these guys tried something new. I'd like to see QT's version of a romantic comedy. Change gears a little. You're a capable director, why not use someone else's script for once? There's no excuse for coming out with a movie every 3 years. And about the homages, they keep failing commercially because they are retro, so retro that modern audiences have passed them by. QT is a cinephile, and so are some of us, but since Pulp Fiction, he's just been trying to turn us onto antiquated genres, and with each one, he paints himself into a smaller niche: Jackie Brown (exploitation), Kill Bill (Shaw Bros. kung fu), Death Proof (grindhouse car movies), Basterds ('70s anti-establishment compilation WW2 movies). The man's certainly got some fresh ideas, but they are too far and few between. I got nothing against a long movie, but I'll likely just wait for DVD on Basterds, whatever length it happens to be.
  • bozoconnors
    As long as the original is on the BD - eh... whatever. If Weinstein financed it, let them fuck up.
  • C
    (crying and sobbing) LEAVE QT ALONE!!!! lol no seriously don't cut the movie you BASTARDS!!!!
  • Darunia
    Too bad for them, Quentin Tarantino has final cut in his contract.
  • McKenzie
    He won't cut it, he knows more about making good movies then they do, know way he cuts 4 minutes out, no freakin way, hopefully.
  • Efrain
    #14 If you think all of those scenes from Pulp Fiction could've been cut then you aren't a true Tarantino fan. Those scenes all were part of his vision, part of his story. If you don't appreciate them for what they are then don't even bother to comment on any of his movie since you can't tell the difference from a regular scene from art.
  • scm1000
    Most of the reviews were positive according to RottenTomatoes, but nearly every one I looked at remarked on the length and talkiness of it. Clearly, they were expecting more action, and many thought the pacing was off and needed a few cuts. Since QT has already talked about re-editing, I think he should do it and make the best movie he can. However, 40 minutes sounds like way too much, and I hope it'll end being more like 10-20 minutes. QT can do great dialogue, but he can really overdo it too, like in Kill Bill 2 and Death Proof (the latter's director's cut was excruciating). Really looking forward to this.
  • George
    I actually really, REALLY loved Death Proof. Oh well.
  • Jack Novelli
    Numbers 22, 23, and 24 thank you for vindicating my comments. As for #29, what are you talking about? I didn't say anything about Pulp Fiction! That was Number 24. Get your numbers straight for crying out loud. I love Pulp Fiction just the way it is. As for Alex Billington,....chill out! Why so defensive. Just like #24, I'd like to see QT try something different for once. How do you know that Eli Roth didn't collaborate with Tarantino? Is this just speculation on your part or are you part of the QT inner circle? Another assumption you made is that I don't know anything about Inglourious Basterds. Not entirely true because I really did try to read through the entire script but it just didn't hold my interest sort of like Death Proof. Tarantino himself is looking to re-edit his own film because it wasn't well received at the festival. Are you sure you were at Cannes because I don't recall seeing you there. Harvey Weinstein is working with Quentin to produce the best film possible even if it means cutting it down. Not to worry you'll get to see the Director's Cut when the film gets released to DVD. Tarantino may be an artist but he also understands that box office success is just as important as staying true to his own artistic vision.
  • DoomCanoe
    i say let the man make HIS movie the way he sees it. Personally i don't think the company should cut 40 min but completely understand why it would happen. As said in Previous comments, if the boss wants it shorter... well then it has to be shorter. Because its Harvey Weinstein job to think of the company's best interests Not the directors.
  • dqniel
    It's their money and the initial reviews have been less than stellar. The common gripes with it are the length and unfocused pacing. Cutting 40 minutes would certainly help with the former and most likely with the latter. This movie won't make money beyond the first few days the way it's currently sitting. Poor reviews + QT box office failures + long, talky movie with a deceptively action packed trailer would lead to a box office disaster.
  • poptart60
    basterds could never make the amount of $$$ that harvey needs to pull his a** out of the tank . . . there was a time when harvey could sell snow to eskimos; that day has passed . . . the marketing for basterds needs to be unique and compelling and i don't think we have seen that . . . yet!!
  • Brad Pitt ruined the film
    Brad Pitt ruined the film. Why did Tarantino not get a better actor. Brad Pitts lines are laughable and I don't thikn that is the effect that QT was going for with the movie trailers. Add to the fact that he (pitt) has become some sort of tabloid fodder. Cut or no cut, the Pitt factor will definitely push down the number of tickets. Most people don't seem to be interested in him as an actor anymore and he hasn't had a hit in a long time.
  • http://www.goldenrule.com/health/high_deductible.shtml Catastrophic health insurance
    I don't think that is the case. I think that overall the film was pretty good. It had the blood, gore, and realness of a usual Tarantino film plus the acting of Brad Pitt was better than I had expected.

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