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L. A. Story - The Extended Zell Edition (Released)

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 (Edited)

(Updated 1-8-06)

L. A. Story Extended Edition
(Zell Edition? Zell A Story? Los Angeles Story? 16th Anniversary Edition? Still working on a subtitle.)

This has been a dream edit of mine for awhile. Ok, I will admit that’s weird.
I’ve been preserving a EP VHS copy of the Harry Zell scene from the Showtime premiere for over 10 years.
I’ve never been able to make it look good enough to match even the poor quality of the original DVD’s footage.

Finally there is now an official DVD (15th Anniversary) with that scene and more.
(The new DVD is also anamorphic with DD 5.1 audio.) I don’t know how I missed the release of this earlier this year, but I got a sweet deal at Costco.)

Expect:
*More Wacky Weather
*Moral Fiber Health Food Store
*A Walk In L.A. (from the trailer)
*Kazoo Church
*Cemetery Talk
*More Freeway Sign (Parts I & II)
*When Harris Met Harry (this scene is the whole reason for this edit)
*(2 pieces of) The alternate ending
*Harris Skipping to the Bank (another scene in the trailer only)
*Zell Skipping

This accounts for 13 additional minutes.

Scenes not added:
*Scott Bakula as the Boxer (4 parts) - These scenes are not good, which is a shame.
*Harris Skating Argument (out of character for everyone.)
*Harris goes Commercial (sort of funny… sort of, also annoying.)
*Zell Drops In (Abrupt, and without coherent dialog)

}Bonus Features{
*John Lithgow Presents: “Harry Zell Lives Again”. Showtime premiere introduction clip. It includes the reading of Steve Martin’s letter of apology for cutting him from the film.

If you haven’t been reading the thread this is going to be more work print-ish. All of the deleted video is letterboxed and has scratches, hairs, deinterlace artifacts, jitter, warping and is just plain ugly. All of the deleted audio is mono.

Video has had some mild noise reduction and converted to anamorphic. Audio sound fields are expanded whenever possible (and appropriate) to either all 3 front speakers or the full surround experience. This includes some newly added 5.1 sound effects and music.
For the few scenes, this has become a major undertaking.

Currently being seeded on Demonoid.com. This will also be available on RapidShare.com.

Dr. M

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way cool project, M.
Although I must admit that I don't know any of the scenes.

Nothing about fanediting is easy.

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this edit sounds great!

LA Story is one of my fav steve martin films
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I took my first look at this today.

I was going to (as an extra feature) add the original release's audio commentary track that's missing from the anniversary edition.

But... although my original disc's box says Audio Commentary, there isn't one.
Did I get an odd printing of this that was missing the track or did they just lie on the box?
Can anyone confirm/deny/share this track?

Dr. M

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How did I miss this?!

Finally, something I want for Christmas! Let me double check the DVD I have at home; I beleive it does infact have a commentary on it.
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I cannot believe how much better the Zell scene looks than my old vhs. Even slightly grainy and letterboxed it's better.
The rest of the scenes are so-so to poor. I'll do what I can.

Dr. M

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So as easy as ADM makes it look, there is more to making an extended edition than throwing every snipped of film back in.

First and most unfortunately the clips on the whole look pretty bad. Real bad. Someone had them on video tape in their attach or something type bad. I mean there are deinterlacing artifacts on 23.976 film. Sigh.

Second, a good deal of the 20(!) delete scenes aren't very good. Scott Bakula as a boxer who lives next door to Harris... crap. 4 scenes of annoying crap including one bit where Steve actually talks to the camera, brrr.
There's also a series of icky TV commercials Harris is filming while out of work. Somewhat amusing but a bit out of character for the film. Though they might still be in, I haven't decided 100% on this.

I was going to add a butt load of the Zell scenes, but frankly only the main big one has a point, is funny, and makes sense. But man, I can finally retire that crusty VHS I had.

There are some really funny deleted moments though if you haven't seen them, including a Kazoo Church and John Lithgow singing "I F*#$ for a living".
I'm also trying to pull a couple deleted scenes that are in the trailers but not in the extras (including 'A walk in L.A.')

So in the end there will be 4-6-ish extra scenes. Not nearly the mountain I expected, and some are still on the fence. I always question when editors say they left out this or that deleted scene because I want it all. But now I know, sometimes, they're cut originally because they really aren't that good, or don't belong in the context of the film.

If you just read all that I'll drop what my next extended edit will be: Eurotrip (embarrassingly I find this film very funny.)

Dr. M

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I can't wait to see it. I love that movie.
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Originally posted by: Doctor M


There are some really funny deleted moments though if you haven't seen them, including a Kazoo Church and John Lithgow singing "I F*#$ for a living".
I'm also trying to pull a couple deleted scenes that are in the trailers but not in the extras (including 'A walk in L.A.')

So in the end there will be 4-6-ish extra scenes. Not nearly the mountain I expected, and some are still on the fence. I always question when editors say they left out this or that deleted scene because I want it all. But now I know, sometimes, they're cut originally because they really aren't that good, or don't belong in the context of the film.


Doc, do you have the script for LA Story? It's published with the script for Roxanne, and my recollection is that it has the Zell scenes, the walk in LA scene, and maybe one or two others, but I believe that it does NOT have the boxer scenes. That might give you a guide in the re-editing process.

I brought my DVD to work to check the director's commentary, but left it in my office and am doing this during a meeting. Will have to check later, but I am pretty sure there is in fact a director's commentary on it.

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I'm having trouble finding info on the script.
There is one posted online but there's no Zell scenes, and "A walk in L.A." is only that line.
Hmm, it would be nice. On the upside, the deleted scenes are listed by scene number on the DVD so it's easier to get a good idea where they fit.

Dr. M

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Okay, I have the DVD and am not finding a Director Commentary. There's the Easter Egg on the main menu (highlight the exhaust pipes of the car and hit enter) that gets you a minute long summary of the film by Jackson, but that seems to be it. Several reviews mention the lack of said commentary, so I am guessing it's not you. I must have been thinking of the making-of-featurette.

PS: Do you intend to put the Easter Egg clips into the fan edit?
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There's actually like 4-6 easter eggs like that scattered throughout the menus.
I've already ripped them and will probably assemble them into a mini-doc as an extra.
Dunno, I'm already over a single layer with the movie, the extra scenes and the intro.

Btw, I'm re-thinking the Zell title. I had expected just one Zell scene and a bit more of the others. Now there's almost as much other stuff as Zell and the recurring Zell scenes after the main one are lightweight and don't really make sense (I think more was cut).

Dr. M

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It's not an edit without a meltdown post.... argggghhh bwahahahahah eeeeeyowwwwieeeee.

All deleted audio is mono! Everything can be center channel or... irk this edit is going to suuuuck

Whew. Ok I'm back. I spent the entire afternoon on just plotting out a plan for the audio. The Kazoo Church originally mono is now mixed in glorious 5.1.
The rest of the clips won't be this good but they won't be pure center channel mono either since that sounds crappy and closed up.

Dr. M

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.:EDITED:.

The big deal about "A walk in L.A." is that it's in the movie trailer, not in the film or the deleted scenes on the DVD. I've always wanted to add it back.

I spent about an hour tweaking back and forth on this scene. I'm very pleased. It's only about 90% perfect, most people will never notice the flaws. Most of the audio is now from the trailer and not the film itself.

Check out the good work:
http://rapidshare.com/files/6833725/LAS_test.avi.html 2.11mb

Don't believe the difficulty leve|?
http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/7293/walkgi0.jpg
You're looking at 14 seconds of film.

First post updated.

Dr. M

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More troubles. Spent an entire day editing in 1 scene. There was only provisional sound. Missing effects, etc.
Cloned some sounds, added some new sound fx, expanded soundfields and made it all a 5.1 mix. It's quite watchable now. I can't believe how difficult a project this has become. I figured it'd be my easiest, I feel like I'm editing the Matrix again.
At this rate it's going to be a couple weeks. That said:

According to DVDTalk Forum's list of defective DVDs:

L.A. Story - Special Edition
[Artisan]
Problem: Director's commentary is advertised on the back of the packaging, but is not on the disc. Please leave a post if anyone can verify this.
Solution: None.


So there's no commentary to find. Scratch one extra. Anyway the first post was updated.

Dr. M

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Dr. M:

The clip looks good, so the work, although difficult, is not in vain. I think the audio fade works perfectly, sort of Harris going on and on.

I checked the script and I believe most of the Zell scenes are in there, so i can try to fit them in for you. The boxer scenes are all out.

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There are 3 main Zell scenes.

The first is the big intro of the character and it's 5+ minutes. I know it goes in right after Harris is fired for pre-taping the weather. (I just cut that in this evening.)

The other 2 are a bit harder to figure. One is just Zell and a bunch of others skipping (like 7 seconds). The other has Zell rocketing in while Harris is getting the morning paper, he talks some jibberish and rockets off.

If you can tell me: where the last two go (I couple of lines of dialog either before or after is all I need since I have a 'movie cut' script I can reference) and what Zell is supposed to say when he rockets in since it seems likely they intended to loop new dialog in post production, that would be VERY helpful. My assumption is that last scene goes in just before Harris goes to his mother's dinner party and Harry says something like: 'KYOY wants you back as a serious weatherman. Ciao.'

Dr. M

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The first is the big intro of the character and it's 5+ minutes. I know it goes in right after Harris is fired for pre-taping the weather. (I just cut that in this evening.)
Right, after he smashes Morris's head into the wall.

The other 2 are a bit harder to figure. One is just Zell and a bunch of others skipping (like 7 seconds).

This is part of a longer montage during Sara's commentary on LA, where she says "Some say LA's a place for the brain dead. . ." It's supposed to come after Ariel and June subathing, SanDeE* in class, and Frank waiting for Trudi.

The other has Zell rocketing in while Harris is getting the morning paper, he talks some jibberish and rockets off.

This comes toward the end, right after the line that ends "a kiss may not be the truth, but it's what we wish were true." The dialogue is as inane as you think:

HARRY ZELL: Goddamn it! I'm working on a deal, this guy wants fifty percent of the overseas. I tell him I can't give him fifty percent of the overseas, I'll look like an idiot.
SIGN: Uh huh. [Zell's car phone rings. He answers it and listens for a moment.]
ZELL: Hello? Dammit! [to sign] I'll come back tomorrow night at five, or else it'll be after eight [he flies off as Harris and Sara pull up to the sign]

I hope the extended freeway sign scene has one of my favorite cut exchanges:

Harris: It's all over. It's all over. YOU got me into this!
Sign: It was the least I could do.
Harris: What do you mean by that?
Sign: At least you are not indifferent.
Harris: It's true, it's true. I am feeling something.

But I'm guessing it will be the sign asking Harris to check out another sign.

Anyway, if you want more script-related specifics, let me know. I am really looking forward to this! Thanks for all the hard work (and then some, since it will be more than expected!).
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This is part of a longer montage during Sara's commentary on LA, where she says "Some say LA's a place for the brain dead. . ." It's supposed to come after Ariel and June subathing, SanDeE* in class, and Frank waiting for Trudi.


I sort of suspected that. It was the only place a short clip like that could really fit.

As far as the other questionable scene, it has Harris walking outside in the morning in his robe picking up the morning paper. Harry Zell noisily rockets in and says something and abruptly leaves. It says scene 151 (if that helps). Sc. 131 is Zell skipping.

The scene you quote (#239) is part of the alternate ending with Harry Zell talking to the signpost at night and leaving just before the couple shows up to thank the sign. There are only provisional fx cut in that are unusable. The dialog you posted is very cute, but not available. The scene I have has Harris and Sara gushing that the whole storm thing was terrific and the sign says "It Worked?". Then Harris says something that comes off lame "You know I thought it was my fault I could never get close to anyone. Now I realize I'd never been with the right girl." The original ending works much better.

So any idea about #151?

To everyone: I need a humor check. I restored Harry skipping to the Fourth Reich Bank of Hamburg appointment. Unfortunately it required using the trailers' music, which is bouncy. I feel it sort of kills the impact of the joke, but it does give us more. After listening to the scene so much I can't judge objectively.
So here's another voting opportunity:
http://rapidshare.com/files/7124779/LAS2.avi.html 3.7mb

Dr. M

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I would say no, it falls flat right with the reich coming up (scene & music) so strong quickly afterwards.
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Is it the pacing or the music?
Since there is no dialog, just skipping, I could possibly find other sound effects to put in and cut the music altogether up until the orchestra crash of the Bank theme.
It sounds like you disapprove of both.

Dr. M

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As far as the other questionable scene, it has Harris walking outside in the morning in his robe picking up the morning paper. Harry Zell noisily rockets in and says something and abruptly leaves. It says scene 151 (if that helps). Sc. 131 is Zell skipping.


Not in there at all. Which would justify leaving it out, I guess. I would tend to put it about the same place as you suggested. I'd put it between Sara saying "Good night, Mum" and Harris driving up to her house. As for dialogue . . . Maybe something about how he caught Harris skipping the other day and recognized in him a closeted seriousness? (That might or might not require leaving in the skipping to the Fourth bank.) Or you could loop some of the tuba music over it, leaving it in so it makes sense when Harris mentions it later, but without having to overdub dialogue.

I like the shot of Harris skipping--could you, instead of the music, loop in the dialogue from Zell: "It looks too desperate if you run to a meeting," which may explain why he is skipping?

What is the "skating argument"? (I'm not sure I have that in the screenplay and have to wait for Christmas to get the new DVD, thanks wifey!)
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Zell Rocekting in: He is already almost unintelligible from the rocket pack noise but you can tell he is mumbling gibberish. I was going to just overdub completely with more rocket noise and hard sub something. But you're right maybe we don't have to know what he says since that evening Harris mentions he has a new job. I'll see how that looks. Either way it can't be much since it's about 10 syllables.

I like the shot of Harris skipping--could you, instead of the music, loop in the dialogue from Zell: "It looks too desperate if you run to a meeting," which may explain why he is skipping?


That line is already in the film when Harris and Harry have their lunch meeting a few scenes earlier. I'd have to just put in some traffic and skipping noises from... somewhere if I'm going to keep it.

The skating argument: I think it goes in right after the bad weekend at el Pollo del Mar. Currently there are several scenes with Harris wooing Sara. (Oh point birds oh pointy pointy...). This scene is similar in style but instead of trying to win her, he is being kind of mean saying he's glad he found out now that she's a week, uncommitted person and not the type he is looking for at all.

Dr. M

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I like the shot of Harris skipping--could you, instead of the music, loop in the dialogue from Zell: "It looks too desperate if you run to a meeting," which may explain why he is skipping?


Right, that's from the earlier scene, but could you include it as an off-screen voice, sort of reminding Harris not to look too desperate as he goes into the bank? That's what I meant to say, link it back to Zell more clearly and make it less out of nowhere.

Skating argument seems to go right where you think it does, following the scene where Harris gives his big speech about "whatever it is that you scretly know would make you stay . . .," and before the scene where Sara is inside her house packing and Harris starts reciting poetry and singing.
EDITED: Incidentally, I agree with cutting it.