Sunday, 13 September 2020

Superman 3 - The Extended Cut

Download the full Superman III Extended TV Version / Cut here.

Dang! The amount of times that I've seen comments on line about the recent version of Superman 3 that someone has watched on TV / DVD / Blu Ray being either "shorter than the version they saw at the cinema" or "shorter than the version they used to own on VHS video".

For a while I had the same opinion but after some digging about, I found that it was the TV version that I had watched as a kid back in the 80s that was the extended version.

IMDB lists the run time of Superman III as 2 Hours and 5 minutes. This is the run time of the theatrical release, Commercial VHS video release, Commercial DVD release and Commercial Blu Ray release.

The TV extended version has a run time of around 2 Hours and 25 minutes and features a whole load of extras including the addition of a traditional Superman opening credits in space accompanied by orchestral fanfare, something that was in the previous two movies but was lacking from the Superman III theatrical release.

The TV version was longer because at the time, the Salkinds (Executive producers of Superman III) charged TV channels per minute when broadcasting their movies. In order to maximise the income, The Salkinds created a longer TV edit made from the original movie plus alot of stuff from the cutting room floor. The longer the movie, the more they could charge.

Just to confuse things, before TV stations started broadcasting the DVD versions, there were several TV versions all being based on the extended version, but with different audio overdubbing to make the film more family friendly. Example: Take the scene where Lorelei is trying to attract the dark Superman's attention by pretending to be a suicidal jumper on the crown of the Statue of liberty. The first TV version I watched had someone trying to talk her down saying "Don't Jump. You have everything to live for. I know, I've just seen you." whereas a later TV version I watched had the person shouting "Please don't jump" repeatedly.

Unfortunately, the Salkind TV edit was done specifically for TV in 4:3 screen ratio and probably only existed on video master tape, and this is probably why it has never been released as a DVD or Blu Ray, although it would have made a neat special feature.

Superman III - A list of differences (additions and removals) between the Theatrical release and the extended TV cut.

Here is a list of differences between the theatrical release and the extended TV cut. Any timings mentioned refer to the run time of the original theatrical release.

General 1 The extended TV cut had an all new opening credits scene. This was in the style of the openings from the previous two movies with the camera travelling through space and the credits appearing on screen with an arrangement of the original Superman theme.

General 2 In the theatrical version, the opening credits appeared over the bottom half of the screen as the second scene in the movie (a slapstick montage leading to Superman saving a man from drowning in a car) plays out. As the TV extended version has new opening credits before the movie starts, the credits in the slapstick scene have been renmoved meaning that the whole picture can now be seen throughout this scene, something that was criticised in the original theatrical release.

00:00:32 Gus queueing in the Employment Benefit Office. Some additional exposition footage showing a woman eating fast food under a "No Food or Eating" sign. A man reading the daily planet which has the front cover boasting of a big prize raffle. A man with a dog looking at a "Dog Walkers Wanted" sign.

00:05:18 The bank robber is hiding behind a car, and his bag of stolen money gets caught on a ladder then drops onto a cherry picker and is hoisted in the air. The bank robber is somewhat exasperated and shouts "Hey Stop Thief" before the police catch up to him and chase him down the road. Also additional shot of car filling with water.

00:06:30 A Woman is putting her small son on one end of a see-saw. The stolen bag of money falls off of the cherry picker and lands on the other end of the see-saw catapulting the boy into a tree. The mothers wails attract supermans attention and he flies over and rescues the boy from the tree.

00:09:01 The editor of The Daily Planet is reviewing Jimmy's photos from the Humanitarian of the Year awards. Most of them are of Loreli. One of the photos showing only her cleavage has been removed from the extended TV cut.

00:12:10 Some additional footage of people working in a data processing area before we see Gus working there. Lots of people scooting between terminals on wheeled office chairs. Two of them back into each other.

00:14:50 A few seconds of additional footage of Clarke and Jimmy in the coach before we cut to the burning chemical plant.

00:16:30 Additional footage of people stuck on the roof of the burning chemical plant.

00:16:42 Some additional discussion between Superman and the fire chief.

00:16:50 Some more footage of people stranded on the chemical plant roof, including someone jumping off of the roof into flames.

00:16:54 Distance scene of Superman heading to rescue the people on the roof cut from extended version.

00:17:30 Extra footage of rescued people at bottom of Chimney slide.

00:30:03 Ross Webster makes Loreli and Vera shake hands and make up.

00:33:45 Before Gus meets Ross Webster, he has a conversation with Ross's personal assistant.

This is a work in progress. 37 minutes so far...

Superman III Random fact.

Sir Alec Guiness did not play a small role as a dignified gent who can't decide if its raining or not and ends up with a paint bucket on his head in the opening slapstick scene, as a lot of people believe. The actor is actually called Bob Todd and he just happens to look a bit like Sir Alec.

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