Alternate Endings of Movies that aren't Big

The only genuine advance screening – where the makers were in attendance and took critiques from the audience was Harry’s War, a comedy where Geraldine Page owned a bunch of war surplus stuff and was harassed to death by the IRS. Her nephew, Edward Herrmann, inherits the stock and when the IRS’ local director appears on TV to deny everything, he snaps, climbs into an M3 halftrack to bust into the studio and “declare war” on the IRS.

On his way back home the sheriff gives chase through chicken coops and the like, then gets ahead and stops crosswise on a bridge to block him. In the cut we saw, from the side, the halftrack bunts the cop car aside then veers off of the bridge to fall about fifteen feet into the channel below.

I mentioned to the producer it was awfully jarring, after a comic chase scene the guy falls into a river?? He said Herrmann was driving and lost control – luckily, nobody got hurt. The release edition cut right after the halftrack hit the car, then had a telephoto shot of it proceeding unimpeded down a straight road.

Sea Of Love had quite a lot of footage reinstated for the TV cut: a lengthy scene where Pacino tries to arrest a suspicious person who turns out to be a bodyguard, and then a meeting with his wife. Always liked that movie, and it was very different on broadcast than it was on video.

Amazon Women On The Moon had a long skit revolving around an uncensored naked woman. When the film was shown on broadcast television, those scenes were cut. To fill the time a skit involving ventriliquists was shown. The DVD has both skits.

Interestingly, the trading cards also included scenes from that longer version, which always confused me as a kid. I did see that TV airing but most of the times I saw Superman was on tape, which was the theatrical cut. I couldn’t figure out where the scene with Miss Tessmacher and the tigers went, or Superman running a gauntlet of ice and fire booby traps when entering Lex’s lair, when there was photographic evidence of them. I figured out as an adult that the cards had probably been printed before the theatrical cut was ready.

Novelizations (there’s a lost art, no?) also worked off of earlier versions of the script or the print. E.T. really messed with my head as a kid. I saw that movie three times in the theatre, and was convinced I was falling asleep at the same time every time, because I kept missing the bit where Elliot draws a circuit board all over his classroom’s blackboard and walls, gets sent to the principal’s office (said principal played by Harrison Ford) and his chair levitates up the wall. All that stuff was in the novelization by William Kotzwinkle, the abridged picture book, and the trading cards.

The video tape cover for Hellraiser II- Hellbound has a shot of Pinhead dressed in surgical scrubs. That scene wasn’t in the film. The Hellraiser trading card set has a card with that image and a back that explains ‘The scene with the Cenobites disguised as doctors was shot. But was cut early on. A still from the scene even made it into the video box art’

The back of the video box for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie has a shot featuring Seth Green as a vamp, even though his scene was cut from the movie, and he’d later be in the TV series. Ninety-odd minutes of the movie and they couldn’t find a still that was actually from the flick? Weird.

I remember the TV cut of Star Trek II contained deleted footage of Kirk interacting with Midshipman Peter Preston during Kirk first inspection. It revealed that Preston was Scotty’s nephew which explained why Scotty was so shook up over Prestons death. In sickbay, the theatrical cut ends Scotty’s line right after, “He stayed at his post, when the other trainees ran…” You don’t find out that Preston saved the ship by staying at his station unless you see the TV cut.

I was aware of this, but I’ve always kind of preferred the theatrical cut. I’m not sure it’s necessary to “explain” why Scotty is so upset. I think Scotty would cry for someone who gave his life to keep the ship going, even if he wasn’t related to him.

But it still never explains why Scotty took the injured Peter Preston to the bridge instead of sickbay. A bit out of your way, eh Engineer?

I am surprised and annoyed slightly that those scenes weren’t even a “deleted scene” on the DVD.

Great movie, pretty cool song too. Never saw the TV version, I would have assumed it was chopped up beyond recognition. Is it worth watching also?

I last saw it in 1991 or so, and remember thinking it was pretty good. If memory serves, the movie didn’t rely too heavily on nudity and the gore wasn’t excessive, so I imagine most of the cuts were for language. Buddha knows I had a major crush on Ellen Barkin after seeing it (something about that twisty mouth). The film has faded enough from consciousness that I doubt there’s a bells-and-whistles BluRay of it, so I doubt revisiting the TV cut is even an option, sadly.

In the Heat of the Night had a scene early on where a Sparta PD officer kills the lights on his patrol car and eases past a house where a girl is sitting in her living room topless because it’s so hot. This being 1967 the view is pretty well interrupted by venetian blind slats but in the broadcast version, they’d apparently reshot the scene with her wearing a bra.

Plenty of movies have scenes with more clothing or changed dialogue for broadcast television. Amazon Women On The Moon is notable for having a completely different scene, one not found at all in the theatrical cut. This scene has nothing in common with the scene that was cut.

I wonder if Paul Rudd is aware of that.

The original Invasion of the Body Snatchers supposedly ended with the alien pods succeeding in taking over everything; test viewings found this to be too much of a downer, so they tacked on a bit about finding a truckload of the pods, giving some hope that the invasion could be stopped.

Not a movie, but the Heinlein book Podkayne of Mars originally had a real downer ending, which was not in the first version I read.

Not quite. The girl was in her kitchen, not her living room; she was standing, not sitting; her breasts were obscured by the bottom rail of the window, not venetian blinds; and she was nude because she was an exhibitionist specifically catering for the cop, not because she was too hot. Now I can’t help but wonder whether you’re also misremembering this supposed reshooting of the scene for TV. :slight_smile:

Possibly. I haven’t seen the movie either theatrically or televised in decades but it made a big impression on my teen mind.

And I meant “too hot” in both senses of the word. As somebody told Tibbs, “She’s proud of what nature gave her,” and that he, if not the whole town, knew about it. It was an important clue because the officer was oogling her when the murder happened then lied about where he was to hide it.

The way director Don Siegel wanted to end the film was with Kevin McCarthy running on the interstate, shouting to the drivers about the situation. The drivers, of course, would think he was simply crazy. He really wanted some scenes from inside the cars, looking out at McCarthy, but for some reason they either didn’t film them, or they got cut.

The studio, as you say, thought this was too much of a downer, and shot a coda where the authorities start to believe McCarthy.

When Philip Kaufman made the first remake in 1978, he brought back McCarthy just so that they could film that scene with him shouting about the pods, and this time as seen from inside the car.

It seemed as if McCarthy got to return every twenty years or so to re-play that role. When Joe Dante made the movie Looney Tunes – Back in Action in 2003 they had Kevin McCarthy in “Area 50”, still yelling about the pods taking over*. Unfortunately, McCarthy died in 2010, so we won’t be able to see him do it again, unless they do it with CGI. Or maybe they could persuade the Senator from California to shout about alien pods taking over.

*Call me iconoclastic, but I really do prefer LTBiA to the Space Jam movies.

Does “iconoclastic” now mean “was not between the ages of 4 and 12 in 1996”?

My kids were born in 1999 and 2002, and they greatly preferred Back in Action to Space Jam. Part of it was they were too young to know who Michael Jordan was, but mainly because BiA is actually a good movie and not a cynical piece of brand extension pretending to be a movie. It seems that Space Jam’s fandom is purely nostalgia driven by people who were in the target audience when it first came out.

At least us Gen-Xers can admit the Hanna-Barbera and Filmation dreck of our 70s childhoods actually sucked, no matter how much we liked them at the time.

Re: Kevin McCarthy and his cameo in the 1970s version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” About 25 years ago we attended a movie memorabilia show at which he was a special guest. Near the end of the day, the crowd was sparse, and we were privileged to chat with him for about 10 minutes about his career and a one-man show he was planning in which he would play Harry Truman. We told him how much we enjoyed his cameo - it was a great moment in the film - and he graciously autographed a one-sheet poster we had with us from the 1978 movie. Incredibly, he’s not listed on the poster as being in the cast. He signed our poster “Also starring Kevin McCarthy.” It was great meeting him. He was a versatile, prolific actor who was still doing small roles in motion pictures well into his 90s.