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