Well I saw this yesterday. An interesting experience. I had never seen the original cut.
It was the roughest print I had ever seen, red as hell, so scratched and dirty it makes 4K77 grindhouse look pristine.
Came with the Buck Rogers trailer at the top and a rather modern looking warner logo rather than a WB shield.
Got a good laugh when the officer fell of his bike and the number of active officers changed by one.
Very confusing movie, the directors cut makes a lot more sense, although I hate the CGI changes in it.
Off the top of my head, look for the extra few seconds of SEN interacting with the kids towards the end of the movie.
Scene ended at the point where he references the huge bottle of economics he had to take. Don’t think there were any extra seconds, will have to review the LD.
On my spleen they have this version which IMO is the best version that exists. From what I understand multiple sources were used to restore the laserdisc release. Here is the write up:
As you may know, thxita, a member on the board, recently obtained a 35mm IB print of THX 1138. This print is from Italy so all the titles, and computer screens are translated into Italian and the sound contains the Italian dub. The print has been scanned and is currently being cleaned up by Poita and Harmy has expressed interest in creating a ‘despecialized’ version.
While their efforts will help create the best version of this film whose original version has little chance of seeing the light of day, I thought it would be nice to take what we have so far and whip up a quick and dirty English version for people to enjoy now. Poita recently released a file containing the whole scan as-is, and I took this and made an English version.
I used the laserdisc as a point of reference for this sync because it’s the only official release of the original version of the film. In a sense, I felt this to be the closest thing to a ‘GOUT’ that THX has. This is the 1st director’s cut of the film that was released after the success of Star Wars; the 35mm print, however, is the 1971 theatrical cut. The only changes between the two are re-arranged scenes in the middle and a shortened scene towards the end between SEN and a couple of young children (and by short, it’s only about 5 seconds shorter). I decided to maintain the edit of the laserdisc version because it was easier to simply edit the footage to the laserdisc than trying to edit both the 35 and the laserdisc and moving both around. I’ve viewed both versions of the film and to be honest, it doesn’t change much. The scenes in question are independent of each other and don’t enhance or take away from the overall narrative. At worst, these edits change our views about how quickly this futuristic society expedites criminals or tortures them prior to trial depending on which version you watch. I just say: meh.
Here are some additional notes:
The first 3 minutes of the film were taken from the bluray version. This includes Buck Rodgers, the Warner Bros logo, the Zeotrope logo, the intro titles and a close up of a clock. At first, I was going to just leave the laserdisc footage, but Buck Rodgers looks particularly bad on the LD and three minutes is a long time to look at badly upscaled LD captures.
Any additional missing footage though is filled in with the laserdisc. This is much easier to do since the laserdisc footage was already laying under the 35 footage in my timeline and any gaps in the 35 timeline is replaced by the laserdisc footage. These last from a mere few frames to a few seconds at a reel change. I really didn’t feel like pulling out my hair to splice in frames from other sources and I prefer this to black frames. Plus, this helps show the difference between this and the LD and what footage is missing from the print and what any future restorer will need from alternate sources. I also might have missed a few frame splices here and there and the sync may slightly go out here and there.
I replaced all of the Italian info screens with the laserdisc. The Bluray uses new computer screens so that was worthless anyway. A future restoration might be able to use the 16mm print that Poita scanned.