Superman: The Movie - The "Donner" Cut

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As close to a "DONNER CUT" intended for Superman The Movie as you can get
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Brief Synopsis:
The 1979 SUPERRMAN: THE MOVIE was plagued with issues during production leading to many changes which resulted in two films being released (Superman and Superman II) which significantly differed from what was originally intended; a single epic movie. As money ran out the producers changed the end of SUPERMAN to the film we now know. This now is as close to the original structure, no turning back time, no Lois gets squised, as you can get. The cliffhanger lead in to SUPERMAN II: The Donner cut or the forthcoming SUPERMAN II Extended .
in 1978 when I bought the DC SUPERMAN SOUVENIER mag, I did not understand why there were stills in it that were not in the movie. And so began a 40 year search and desire to see what was intended.

The best account of this can be found in this LONG out of print paperback in which the author shadowed the production for a number of years leading to an astonishingly eye opening account of what went wrong...and lot went wrong. It is a miracle these films exist in the form they do frankly.
The Making of Superman the Movie: david-michael-petrou: 9780446825658: Books
Additional Notes:
This is meant to be what Superman The Movie WOULD have looked like had the producers not panicked and gone for the cliffhanger ending. The intention is that THIS is the film to watch BEFORE SUPERMAN II: THE DONNER CUT (S2DC). It has the least changes, additions and trims and stays true to the intent and feel of the Theatrical Cut but with the "Donner" intended structure per the book above. It is edited to be a perfect lead into the commercially available Superman II, the Donner Cut. Many select additions and corrections were made throughout. This is basically the closest you can get to what the original intention was.
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Editing Details:
The base of this edit is the Theatrical Cut of Superman The Movie: Theatrical Cut (STM-TC), NOT the extended versions, though a few shots/scenes are included. The run time is IDENTICAL to the Theatrical version DESPITE a lot of new scenes and changes being included. I wanted to prove that they could have hit the run time they had WITH the material and cliffhanger. Where did the space come from to include these extras? see below. The idea is that is should feel the same as the TC but and flow seamlessly to S2DC, thus preserving Donners vision across BOTH films.
Cuts and Additions:
- New opening dedication so the Reeve and Unsworth are honored
- MUSIC opening removes the awful key change in the TC that occurs when the "S" flies in (source CD)
- Bespoke WRAITH credit with Stuart Baird
- Villains sentencing uses some S2DC
- A few TINY trims to Jor-El discussion with council to improve flow. Some shots re-purposed
- A new shot of Jor-El lowering Kal-El from the S2DC
- A few TINY trims to the Kryptonians in the earthquake
- Villains in zone shot added from Superman Extended TV version (TV)
- Additional shot of crater from TV
- Clarke chasing train completely re-edited to remove multiple continuity errors (including a shot where Lois is seen to speak, and we hear nothing) - See below for clip.
- Young Clarke approach to barn to get crystal uses some additional TV shots
- TINY trim in Daily Planet at end of Clarkes first day. Scene fely like it naturally ends when he sits.
- Cat rescue removed
- "Can you read my mind" trimmed by 1 minute. VERY hard to pull off. Scene went on for too long. Full audio and scoring rebuild needed. A shorter unused cue was use as the base
- A re-edit of the Extended approach to Luthor's lair is used with an unused cue meant for the scene. Everything is tightened up but it is new to the TC
- First missile flies towards zone as Superman flies back to earth
- We see Jimmy run from rocks from Extended version
- TINY trims to a few bad FX shots
- Lois is NOT crushed
- As Superman flies away from the prison, the phantom zone is destroyed.
and many many more...
- Revised the end credits "coming next year Superman II" to Superman II THE DONNER CUT" in the correct font using the same technique as in Godfather Magnum Opus
Finally, Changes NOT made to this version include....
- NO material from Superman Returns
- NO Feeding the babies
- NO score enhancements
- NO modern DC intro
- NO modern WB logo
- NO revisionist credits in CGI
- NO net addition to the original theatrical run time, yet added 12 mins of material for no discernable loss.
Cover art by Wraith (DOWNLOAD HERE)

demo fan mashup s c

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It's miraculous that the first Reeve Superman movies are hailed as some of the best superhero movies ever made given the circumstances surrounding the push of the 'panic button' by executives. With a few simplistic edits and a couple of touch ups, Wraith demonstrates just how unnecessary some of those decisions were. The picture would have stood up to scrutiny with it's original intention left intact.

This theatrical cut touches all the principle beats you need, a straight uncomplicated narrative without too much padding or overbloated sensationalistic stunts like shock value 'deaths' and time traversing twists. Everything has stricter verisimilitude and as a result, you believe all the more in what you're seeing.

Not much else I can say about this, it's not a radical reinvention of the wheel, it simply puts some toys back in the box, and leaves you wanting more to play with. An all time great simply made into the great it could have well been. Panic averted.
Owner's reply May 18, 2021

Thank you for taking the time to review.

All feedback is welcome. You told it how it was and validation for an editor (as you know) is just as important as constructive or technical comments since they re-enforces the intent and drive behind the work. Thus, more such pieces of work may follow in time from me and others. So thanks !

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