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Old 05-17-2020, 09:02 AM
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Movies that were released incomplete


The obvious joke is to list a bunch of terrible movies, but that isn't my point. What movies were released that were apparently not totally finished? Some examples:

London Has Fallen - I don't know if you have seen this movie, but it's pretty bad. However, it is also unfinished. There are digital effect shots of helicopters that are not only bad, but clearly not finished. While the budget was not gigantic on a movie like this, it was large enough to finish the effects. My wife and I both noticed and my first thought was that the studio just decided they weren't continuing to fund this movie and it needed to just come out.

Exorcist 2 - I think the director changed this movie after the first week and has spoken how it never really got completed. I've not seen it, but know it is notorious for being not only terrible, but incomprehensible.

Cats - First, making a movie of the Cats musical is a terrible idea and would always have produced a terrible movie. I believe, though, that the movie was updated after the first weekend with improved effects since it was released with "not final" effects in it.

George Lucas would persuade you all movies are "released" and never finished, but if you watch his Star Wars movies, it is clear they were finished. I've never watched the first Star Wars movie or the prequel movies and thought, "he couldn't finish these". He just loves messing with his movies.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:59 AM
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For Star Wars Ep. 4 Lucas went to UK to do filming with actors while the US group was supposed to do the CGI/model stuff. When he got back he expected them to be done but the story goes US group only finished 1 scene.
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:15 PM
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Per IMDB, in the 1960s version of Casino Royale,

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Peter Sellers was unavailable for the filming of an ending and of linking footage to explain the details, leaving the filmmakers to devise a way to make the existing footage work without him. The framing device of a beginning and ending with David Niven was invented to salvage the footage. Val Guest indicated that he was given the task of creating a narrative thread which would link all segments of the film. He chose to use the original Bond and Vesper as linking characters to tie the story together. Guest states that in the originally released versions of the film, a cardboard cutout of Sellers in the background was used for the final scenes. In later versions, this cardboard cutout image was replaced by a sequence showing Sellers in highland dress, inserted by "trick photography".
And so — uh, spoilers? — if you look for it, “missing footage from the Sellers segments are evident at various points. Evelyn Tremble is not captured on camera; an outtake of Sellers entering a racing car was substituted. In this outtake, he calls for the car, à la The Pink Panther, to chase down Vesper and her kidnappers; the next thing that is shown is Tremble being tortured ... Tremble's death is also very abruptly inserted; it consists of pre-existing footage of Tremble being rescued by Vesper, followed by a later-filmed shot of her abruptly deciding to shoot him, followed by a freeze-frame over some of the previous footage of her surrounded by bodies (noticeably a zoom-in on the previous shot) ... an entire sequence involving Tremble going to the front for the underground James Bond training school (which turns out to be under Harrods, of which the training area was the lowest level) was never shot, thus creating an abrupt cut from Vesper announcing that Tremble will be James Bond to Tremble exiting the lift into the training school.”
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:32 PM
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Roger Ebert suggested in his review of the Pootie Tang movie that it was never finished... Louis C.K. later pretty much confirmed that the final cut was just slapped together.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:21 PM
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1985's Explorers with River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke was released before it was finished. According to IMDb

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The film was never finished, and was released as a work in progress when the studio decided to move up the release date and release the film as it was, telling director Joe Dante that he was finished and they were going to go ahead and release what he had at that point.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:29 PM
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When Worlds Collide uses a color sketch instead of the finished matte painting for its final scene on the new world.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocketeer View Post
When Worlds Collide uses a color sketch instead of the finished matte painting for its final scene on the new world.
You ain't kiddin'! Wow, all the other effects are dated, but clearly meant to be taken seriously (and no doubt were, given 1951's technology). Then, the big moment comes, the spaceship crash lands on a snow-covered world, and...

Cut to cartoony landscape right out of Adventure Time. Oh, and it's summer (forget about all that snow the spaceship landed in).

I kept thinking, "Why didn't they throw that Lisa Frank atrocity waaaay out of focus behind the leads kissing, and immediately fade out?"

Or get one of the studio artists to paint something quick? Even a semi-realistic matte painting would've been 100 times better.

Watch, and weep... (cued up for the landing at 5:35, the we-cheaped-out background is revealed at 7:07).
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:13 AM
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Not *precisely* what the OP asked about, but the movie "Brainstorm" was not done with filming when Natalie Wood died unexpectedly. The studio attempted to cash in on their insurance coverage so they could scuttle the film, as they were worried about profitability, but the insurer (Lloyds of London) wouldn't agree to that.

Ultimately they managed to make it look reasonably finished (using Wood's sister as a standin in a handful of scenes, which I had not realized).

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers ended with the main character screaming as he saw trucks of pods going out into the wider world - but the studio tacked on the framing story after initial test screenings.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:17 PM
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The Mummy Returns had decent special effects for a 2001 film. Then comes the final scene where The Rock appears as the CGI Scorpion King, and man, is it bad. Rumor is the SFX company wanted another year to get it right, but the studio wanted it released.

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Old 05-21-2020, 01:22 PM
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Not quite the same, but Mulholland Drive was originally filmed as a pilot for a TV series. ABC watched the pilot, hated it, and pulled the plug. So David Lynch filmed a few more scenes to give it an ending and released it as a standalone movie.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:36 PM
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...Or get one of the studio artists to paint something quick? Even a semi-realistic matte painting would've been 100 times better.
Word is that what you see in the movie is actually a study for the eventual matte painting (which was never done). The producer saw it and said, "That's good enough; this movie has already cost a lot of money," and used the study.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:09 PM
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The Devil Inside - A fairly interesting "found footage" demonic possession thriller that ends with a car crash and a message to visit a website (now gone) for the rest of the story. They just ended the movie without finishing it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:37 PM
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The Epic That Never Was incorporated contained large parts of the footage from the abandoned attempt to film Robert Graves's I, Claudius which was aborted in 1937 due to creative differences and Merle Oberon's facial injuries in a car crash. Does that count?
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:36 PM
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Bruce Lee died while filming Game of Death. The studio used Lee's footage, and shot a bunch of new scenes with stand-ins.
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At one point in the movie, real footage of Lee's corpse in his open-topped casket is used to show the character Billy Lo faking his death. There is even a scene, taken place in Billy's dressing room, where a cut-out of Lee's face was taped to a mirror, covering the stand-in's own face.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:16 PM
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Bela Lugosi died while making Plan 9 from Outer Space. To finish it, Ed Wood famously used his wife's chiropractor as a stand-in even though he was taller and bore no physical resemblance to Lugosi.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digs View Post
You ain't kiddin'! Wow, all the other effects are dated, but clearly meant to be taken seriously (and no doubt were, given 1951's technology). Then, the big moment comes, the spaceship crash lands on a snow-covered world, and...

Cut to cartoony landscape right out of Adventure Time. Oh, and it's summer (forget about all that snow the spaceship landed in).

I kept thinking, "Why didn't they throw that Lisa Frank atrocity waaaay out of focus behind the leads kissing, and immediately fade out?"

Or get one of the studio artists to paint something quick? Even a semi-realistic matte painting would've been 100 times better.

Watch, and weep... (cued up for the landing at 5:35, the we-cheaped-out background is revealed at 7:07).
I honestly think, were I the colonists, I'd be more concerned with the pyramids in the distance.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:05 PM
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Bruce Lee died while filming Game of Death. The studio used Lee's footage, and shot a bunch of new scenes with stand-ins.
Clarification: Lee had started filming "Game of Death" when the offer to make "Enter the Dragon" came along. He went off to do "Enter", and died before he could resume making "Game".

Fortunately Lee had filmed the big, climactic fight scenes first. That footage sat idle for years until the studio decided to finally cash in. So they rewrote a totally new story, hired 3 different stand-ins ("actors" would be too generous) as well as some fading american actors.
Only one of the stand-ins looked vaguely similar to Bruce Lee (if Bruce had had dysentery and lost 80lbs), so the producers pulled out every trick available, including the aforementioned "PGI" (paper generated image ;-) technology to squeeze in as much of the real Bruce as they could. There are really short clips from other movies - sometimes even just close-up eye shots, interspersed freely. Nevermind that the haircut changes, and the backgrounds don't match (no one would notice those things). And even went so far as to use dialogue clips...dubbed to make sense with the revamped storyline (kind of).
Needless to say, the resulting hodgepodge is terrible. And it is torture to sit through until you get to the end when the original "Game" footage is shown (only like 20 some minutes, though). They really should have ended the movie at that point - in this case "incomplete" with no conclusion to the revamped story, would have been a blessing.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:16 PM
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Bakshi's Lord of the Rings was very far from complete when he was forced to release it. Among many other things, Saruman was alternately called Aruman because half-way through filming Bakshi though "Saruman" was too close to Sauron. He changed it but never got back to the earlier scenes.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:51 PM
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Bakshi's Lord of the Rings was very far from complete when he was forced to release it. Among many other things, Saruman was alternately called Aruman because half-way through filming Bakshi though "Saruman" was too close to Sauron. He changed it but never got back to the earlier scenes.
I remember that a friend was excited to see that film. He had read the Lord of the Rings trilogy a couple of times, and was really looking forward to the movie.

After he had seen it, I asked him how he liked it. He said they they missed out on so much that he wasn't sure what he was watching.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
Bela Lugosi died while making Plan 9 from Outer Space. To finish it, Ed Wood famously used his wife's chiropractor as a stand-in even though he was taller and bore no physical resemblance to Lugosi.
Lugosi died before filming. Wood had done some test footage but shelved it when Lugosi died. He eventually incorporated it into Plan 9.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:22 AM
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Suicide Squad was released in a state I am sure no one wanted.

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Old 05-22-2020, 09:28 AM
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The fil of Star Trek -- The Motion Picture was finished when it was released to theaters, but there were several scenes that were incomplete they wanted to include, but didn't. They showed an "enhanced" version on TV with some of these scenes, but without the full effects added. Later on, a "Director's Cut" was released, with effects added.

From the Wikipedia article:

Quote:
Paramount Home Entertainment released the film on VHS, Betamax, Laserdisc, and CED videodisc in 1981 in its original theatrical version.[163]

In 1983, an extended cut premiered on the ABC television network.[164] It added roughly 12 minutes to the film.[135] The added footage was largely unfinished, and cobbled together for the network premiere; Wise hadn't wanted some of the footage to be included in the final cut of the film.[165] This version was released on VHS and LaserDisc by Paramount in 1983.[166][167]

Two members of Wise's production company, David C. Fein and Michael Matessino, approached Wise and Paramount and persuaded them to release a revised version of the film on video; Paramount released the updated Director's Edition of the film on VHS and DVD on November 6, 2001.[168] Wise, who had considered the theatrical presentation of the film a "rough cut", was given the opportunity to re-edit the film to be more consistent with his original vision. The production team used the original script, surviving sequence storyboards, memos, and the director's recollections. In addition to cuts in some sequences, 90 new and redesigned computer-generated images were created.[169] Care was taken that the effects meshed seamlessly with the old footage.[135] The edition runs 136 minutes, about four minutes longer than the original release.[170] Included among the special features are the deleted scenes which had been part of the television cut.[165]

Aside from the effects, the soundtrack was remixed. Ambient noise such as the buzz of bridge controls were added to enhance certain scenes.[169] Goldsmith had always suspected that some overly long cues could be shortened, so he made the cues repetitive.[171] Although no new scenes were added, the MPAA rated the revised edition PG in contrast to the G rating of the original release. Fein attributed the rating change to the more "intense" sound mix that made scenes such as the central part of V'Ger "more menacing".[172]

The Director's Edition was better received by critics than the original theatrical release. The DVD Journal's Mark Bourne said it showcased "a brisker, more attractive version of the movie" that was "as good as it might have been in 1979. Even better maybe."[173] Complaints included the edition's 2.17:1 aspect ratio, as opposed to the original 2.40:1 Panavision.[135][174] Jeremy Conrad of IGN felt that despite the changes, the pacing might still be too slow for some viewers.[175]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_T...Motion_Picture
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:40 AM
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Bakshi's Lord of the Rings was very far from complete when he was forced to release it. Among many other things, Saruman was alternately called Aruman because half-way through filming Bakshi though "Saruman" was too close to Sauron. He changed it but never got back to the earlier scenes.
I heard that it was studio, not Bakshi, that insisted on changing "Saruman" to "Aruman" because they were convinced the audience would confuse him with "Sauron".
Here's what Wikipedia has to say:
Quote:
Fans threatened Bakshi that "he'd better get it right"[17] and according to artists Mike Ploog, Bakshi would constantly revise the story to include certain beats at the behest of such fans.[28] While writing, Zaentz found the similarity of the names Saruman and Sauron confusing, and it was decided to rename him "Ruman" or "Aruman" but when Beagle was rewriting the shooting script, he began reinstating Saruman while the scenes were being recorded, which resulted in inconsistency in the wizard's name.[23]




I have to observe that I first saw this film in new York City, shortly after it was released.

I went back and saw it at a different theater, in a different city, several weeks later. (What can I say, I knew it was a disappointment, but I'm a masochist.)

The version I saw the second time was very different. Scenes had been re-arranged, and the film ended on a different scene than the one I'd seen the first time. Neither Wikipedia nor IMDB notes this change in the cutting of the scenes. This is NOT simply the changed voice-over at the end between the TV version, movie version, and the DVD, but an actual difference in the film during its initial release.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:58 AM
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The Neverending Story was under 2 hours long.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:03 AM
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1985's Explorers with River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke was released before it was finished. According to IMDb
Huh. Well, he did a nice job with it. I liked it as a kid and just watched it again a few months ago with my young ones and it holds up.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:15 AM
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Suicide Squad was released in a state I am sure no one wanted.
This movie was my first thought when reading the thread title but I didn't know if it counted since it wasn't "We never finished the effects and put everyone in front of posterboard" level unfinished. But they did do a bunch of splicing in jokes after audiences all liked the preview (that had every instance of humor in it) and someone said "Oh shit, we're going to need more of this". The result was a horrible edited film where it was glaringly obvious each time they opened a slot and shoved a joke in there that was obviously filmed and pushed in after the original scene was complete.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:19 AM
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According to Bill Warren's book about 1950s SF movies, Keep Watching the Skies, the released version of Forbidden Planet is essentially a rough cut. It was given a sneak preview, largely to gauge audience reaction to the electronic score. Audience response to the film was so enthusiastic that MGM decided to go ahead and release it exactly as it was, despite the fact that they hadn't yet done the final edit. To quote Warren, "this explains many awkward scenes and some draggy pacing."
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:37 AM
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According to Bill Warren's book about 1950s SF movies, Keep Watching the Skies, the released version of Forbidden Planet is essentially a rough cut. It was given a sneak preview, largely to gauge audience reaction to the electronic score. Audience response to the film was so enthusiastic that MGM decided to go ahead and release it exactly as it was, despite the fact that they hadn't yet done the final edit. To quote Warren, "this explains many awkward scenes and some draggy pacing."
I find this hard to believe -- I expect that Warren's exaggerating a bit. The effects work on FP, which must have taken the most time, and I would expect to be the gating feature, is definitely completely done. There are some scenes that were cut (like the trip on Robby's "speedster"), but I think that was because they were thought not to work well. Certainly they cut out (or maybe never filmed) a couple of scenes (there was supposed to be one where Morbius asks Altaira to "make a choice" -- it's referred to in the existing film, but no such scene exists), but I can't say that I find any of it "draggy". And I don't find them awkward.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:51 AM
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I find this hard to believe -- I expect that Warren's exaggerating a bit. The effects work on FP, which must have taken the most time, and I would expect to be the gating feature, is definitely completely done. There are some scenes that were cut (like the trip on Robby's "speedster"), but I think that was because they were thought not to work well. Certainly they cut out (or maybe never filmed) a couple of scenes (there was supposed to be one where Morbius asks Altaira to "make a choice" -- it's referred to in the existing film, but no such scene exists), but I can't say that I find any of it "draggy". And I don't find them awkward.
The same story is told in Louis and Bebe Barron's Forbidden Planet: A Film Score Guide by James Wierzbicki--although admittedly, Wierzbicki cites Warren as one of his sources. Most of the people involved are no longer living (including Bill Warren), so it would be hard to figure out the truth at this late date.

I admit that Warren's book is the first place I read this, and apart from Wierzbicki (who, as I said, relies on Warren), I've never seen this story anywhere else. I offer it for what it's worth.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:35 AM
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Speaking of Bakshi, he was called in to finish the second Cannonball Run movie.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:47 PM
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Heath Ledger died during the filming of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I suppose the film wasn’t technically left “incomplete,” but it was certainly finished differently than originally planned. I saw it only once, 11 years ago, so details are fuzzy. But I recall finding the ending – in which Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law each take a turn playing Ledger’s character – to be confusing and rather unsatisfying.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:27 PM
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I presume Blade Runner counts? I suppose it depends on what you mean by "incomplete" - but the film had the "wrong" ending* (for example) at the time of its original release (1982). I think I'm right in saying that the correct ending was only reinstated for the Director's Cut in 1992 (though there had been earlier unauthorised screenings of the 1982 workprint, which did have the right ending). The tinkering only stopped with The Final Cut in 2007, 25 years after the original release.

Source.

j

* - The studio changed the final scenes of the movie to give it a happy ending; the correct (ambiguous) ending was later reinstated.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:16 PM
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The original theater release of Clue could be considered unfinished. Each showing only showed one of the three endings. The idea to do this existed from the beginning of production as a way to simulate playing the game, but was terrible in practice. Thinking it would cause repeat viewings, audiences were upset they didn't see the entire thing.

The home video release finally put all three together with title cards after the first two saying those were hypothetical. It allowed all the gags from each ending, plus made some uninteresting lines to become running jokes.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:05 PM
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You ain't kiddin'! Wow, all the other effects are dated, but clearly meant to be taken seriously (and no doubt were, given 1951's technology). Then, the big moment comes, the spaceship crash lands on a snow-covered world, and...

Cut to cartoony landscape right out of Adventure Time. Oh, and it's summer (forget about all that snow the spaceship landed in).

I kept thinking, "Why didn't they throw that Lisa Frank atrocity waaaay out of focus behind the leads kissing, and immediately fade out?"

Or get one of the studio artists to paint something quick? Even a semi-realistic matte painting would've been 100 times better.

Watch, and weep... (cued up for the landing at 5:35, the we-cheaped-out background is revealed at 7:07).
That's even worse than the effect where the spaceship actually crashlands, it goes past the same rocks several times, before finally sliding to a halt in a completely different setting.

Obviously the film-makers learnt their craft from watching Wil-e-Coyote chase the Roadrunner past the same f***ing cactus and rockpile for hours.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:05 PM
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While the silent film Sadie Thompson was released it its entirety, the film was lost for many years and when rediscovered, the final reel was badly damaged. When released for DVD, they completed the final years with stills from the original production and the 1932 remake.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:39 PM
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The original theater release of Clue could be considered unfinished. Each showing only showed one of the three endings. The idea to do this existed from the beginning of production as a way to simulate playing the game, but was terrible in practice. Thinking it would cause repeat viewings, audiences were upset they didn't see the entire thing.

.
Bad idea? Maybe? Incomplete film? No.

Clue was a finished product when released. I agree the home release version is the best since you can see the entire story, but the movie released to theaters was finished.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:25 PM
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Orson Welles is basically the master of unfinished projects. He delivered The Magnificent Ambersons as a rough cut which the studio rejected, renegotiated his contract to essentially remove him from the production, and then cut nearly an hour of the film and reshot a different ending, then destroyed the cut footage. The resulting film is complete in the sense that it comes to a conclusion but Welles regarded it as butchered and incomplete. His rendition of Othello was shot over three years with several stoppages and had to cut several planned scenes due to budget and loss of actors or sets, as well as an incomplete audio track. His version of Don Quixote was under constant revision for almost three decades and only released after his death by schlock horror director Jesús Franco in a hacked together form, and The Other Side of the Wind was caught up in ownership rights and financial problems after the fall of the Shah regime and the Iranian investors who backed it, and was only released in 2018 after being reconstructed from legacy and found footage. I don't even know how to describe F for Fake; it isn't coherent enough to even call it complete. Welles was brilliant and unforgettable, but between his inability to work with studios and his constant toying with projects with no apparent aim to complete them, it is amazing he ever produced anything that made it to the screen.

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Old 05-22-2020, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbh View Post
Bruce Lee died while filming Game of Death. The studio used Lee's footage, and shot a bunch of new scenes with stand-ins.
Here is the scene in question with the cardboard cutout. It is pretty obvious:

https://youtu.be/1bAdMrMxMm0?t=64
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:30 PM
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I remember when Clue was in theaters and the movie listings listed if it was the A, B or C ending. I didn't get to see it until it came out in video, so I could see all the endings.
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Old 05-25-2020, 08:59 PM
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Foodfight! was an animated movie featuring Charlie Sheen, Eva Longoria, Hillary Duff, Chris Kattan, Christopher Lloyd, Wayne Brady and others. Originally slated for a 2003 release, the hard drives containing the digital assets for the film were stolen and they started changing animation style while recreating the film, missing release dates and defaulting on a loan. Finally, the film was auctioned off and slapped together into an absolutely horrible unfinished state just so it could get pushed out the door and squeeze some money out of it... in 2012, only nine years late. It had a very limited theatrical release then quickly went to video.

It is absolutely terrible, looking like a bargain-bin Playstation 1 game and the rest of the movie's aspects aren't any better. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube if you hate yourself or just skip around for a minute to see what a trainwreck it is.
  #41  
Old 05-25-2020, 09:33 PM
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I was amazed to find recently, while looking up something completely different on IMDB, Dark Blood, River Phoenix's last film, released incomplete in 2012, nearly 20 years after his death.

Despite its incomplete state, a lot of IMDB review writers are quite enthusiastic about its quality ... or at least, the quality it could have had, in an alternate world.
  #42  
Old 05-25-2020, 10:24 PM
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I have heard Apocalypse Now! cited as a film shot without an ending, but would personally dispute that. The Thief and the Cobbler has had a couple different cuts, one of them pretty embarrassing; I guess they saw that Aladdin was going to be released and they had little choice but to fish or cut bait.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:43 PM
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The Twilight Zone: The Movie fits the bill as to the first segment. It had to be edited and the ending changed because of the filming deaths of Vic Morrow and two young children.
  #44  
Old 05-27-2020, 08:43 PM
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Another kind of incomplete I guess - when I saw Straight Outta Compton, I remember a scene late in the movie where Paul Giamatti says something to Eazy E, then says the exact same thing again a few seconds later. Like they left a second take in and forgot to edit one of them out.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:07 PM
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For you Mystery Science Theater fans, one of their feature films 1965's Monster a Go-Go literally has no ending. Basically the film was shot in 1961 but ran out of money half-way through and abandoned, leading to another director to buy up the rights to the unfinished film to fill in space for a double feature with one of his own movies. The result was they filmed about 15% more scenes with entirely different actors leading to massive continuity problems and major characters literally just leaving the movie without ever being mentioned again, as well as crucial plot points happening off-screen because they never bothered to film those segments.

The ending is the biggest mess, the film just kind of ends in the middle of an action sequence. The titular Monster is chased down to a subway then just suddenly disappears while the film suddenly ends and the narrator muses that maybe the monster wasn't real at all and it was all the figment of someones imagination. So basically this was all a complete waste of the viewers time.
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