David Poland on “The New World”

In a post about how to decide whether or not a movie is too long, David Poland brings up — surprise, surprise — The New World:

There are very few directors who still get “final cut” from studios. And even fewer who deserve it. I love Terrence Malick’s work and I quite liked both versions of The New World that I saw and even look forward to someday seeing the 3 hour version that Malick told some people he would be delivering. But he killed New Line’s ability to market the film by changing it so dramatically after delivering it so late after such a long editing period with absolute final cut. New Line took it on the chin for a true artist’s freedom. And in the two versions that did get released, it was a dramatic example of how length is never the primary issue and how content is everything. Both versions had too much nature for some people, but the first version was mostly image with a dusting of story that spoke to big issues while the second version was much more about Pocahontas’ journey and the connection she chased in her romantic choices. They weren’t two different films, since at least 70% of the footage was the same, but man, were these two different movies!

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  • Annie Dillard is one of my heroes. My hands tremble as I hold one of her books. HOLY THE FIRM is one of the most spiritual tomes in any language. So what’s the new one like? Does she still give the impression that every word she writes is inspired by something infinite and eternal, an ageless voice whispering wisdom in her ear? Do tell…

  • Sheila West

    I have always been a huge fan of the tiny, shoe-string budget, made-for-TV-movie from the early 1970’s by a total nobody kid-director named Stephen Spielberg. It was a tightly paced suspense thriller that had me on the edge of my seat for all 72 minutes of its screen-time.

    Then, an expanded version was released on DVD with about twenty minutes of additional footage that never made the final cut. That additional footage included some side-story about the main character’s family back home, and how he woud call them on the phone from time to time and check up on them. While he phone-talked to his wife, his adolescent boys were seen in the background behind the wife, watching Buggs Bunny cartoons on TV.

    This longer version was NOT as tight, NOT as rivetting, kinda dragged a bit, and didn’t lend well to our main focus of this man’s peril at the hands of the evil truck driver.

    The moral of the story:

    Less is more.

  • RC

    interesting clip from poland…thanks for sharing it.