Very nice to know that Disney is re-releasing this on DVD. (Hopefully with the commentary track? Who knows--it made no sense to leave it off the current DVD, because it had previously been recorded--the audio was just sitting in some vault somewhere, and they didn't bother to inlude it.) It would be great if they added a lot of extras as well--I would love to see some of the footage from the original cut, but I don't know if it even exists anymore....
Oh, another sequence that was deleted was the initial setting up of the carnival. Originally the film was going to depict the carnival as an organic force that "grew" from nature. The boys were to follow the train, and from their hiding place they would see the ferris wheel form from a circular spider web, etc... But this sequence was never completed, it never got past some animated tests. Computer graphics were not advanced enough at that time to allow the whole sequence to work properly...
At any rate, if anyone wants the commentary before we see what is included on the new DVD later in the year, just drop me a line. Heck, I'll even throw in a couple of Bradbury episodes of the Twilight Zone from the 1980's. (Though be warned, those are really only for the die-hard fan!)
Check out another passage from "Anne of the Island," by L. M. Montgomery, I happened across on Friday:
"I feel as if something mysterious were going to happen right away -- 'by the pricking of my thumbs,' " said Anne, as they went up the slope. "It's a nice story-bookish feeling."
Bradbury: ya can't get away from him...even in an Anne of Green Gables story! (All right, Ray wasn't born yet and Anne was quoting Shakespeare, not Bradbury--but you follow my meaning!)
oh god i love that book. and by coincidence i rented the movie a few days ago on DVD, and, sadly, no commentary. there was an original trailer for the movie, which i believe was done very well. it definately would have gotten me to see the movie. anyway, i didnt like the spiders either, and i wish there was a balloon. the parade was well done, but i wished there was more of an emphasis on the freaks. that was so much of the book. like Mr. Electrico, The Skeleton, and The Dwarf. none of them were in the movie, but there were a few midgets. all in all, it was a pretty good film, nice musical score, and im glad Bradbury himsled wrote the screenplay. i dont like super-imposed special effects though, thats why im dying they could do the movie again with computer. i have decided by reading your guys's replies im gonna make a ritual of reading this book at halloween, too.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES is my all-time favorite Ray Bradbury novel. I re-read it every October, and I usually watch the film version on Ray's birthday. I love the film as well, even though it's not ideal. As Ray himself says, "It's ALMOST perfect." I have seen Ray's preferred cut of the film, which includes the scene where Will catches his father's hand as he's about to fall off the lattice-frame ladder (the scene was meant to foreshadow Halloway's "breakthrough" scene at the end, where he breaks through the glass and pulls Will out of the water in the mirror maze).
The other substantial difference is the end-credits sequence, which shows (one by one) each of the previously entrapped Green Town residents (the teacher, the barber, the druggist) happily restored to their former selves the following morning. That optimistic montage closes with a rather grim final shot, showing a newly posted flyer announcing that Mr. Dark's carnival will soon return ... In other words, stay on your toes, Green Town! Hopefully this footage (as well as other cut scenes, including a shot seen in the trailer) will make its way onto a future DVD.
I'd also love to hear the original narration that Ray himself recorded (similar to the voiceovers he did for THE HALLOWEEN TREE animated film a decade later) before Disney opted to use Arthur Hill's voice instead.
Man, you have me dying of envy here... How on earth did you happen to see the original cut of the film???? Is there any possible way it can be seen, if it doesn't appear on the upcoming DVD release? Does this footage still exist?
Also, I assume you saw the film with the original musical score? If you remember a thing about it, what did you think? As I've so often said, I think that Horner's main theme (in the opening scenes, which I guess didn't even appear in the cut you mentioned), is simply perfect. But still, after hearing some of the Delerue music, I would have to say that his music for the "dancing girls" scene worked better than Horner's. So mysterious and beautiful....
But now I'm confused... On the commentary track, Ray said that some things in the original simply didn't work at all. It implied that he was happy to go back to the film and re-work several key sequences...
Ray has said that it was primarily the climactic scenes of the film...the rescue of the boys and the destruction of Mr. Dark...that did not work in the original cut, and that caused preview audiences to laugh. Ray's script had been changed by director Jack Clayton and a friend of Clayton's without Ray's consent. Ray warned everyone that the changes were all wrong, and the disastrous preview proved him right. Ray has said that after the preview, Disney called him for help. The cast was re-asembled and several key scenes for the ending were re-shot, using Ray's original concepts.
The cut I have seen of the film, which Ray screened for me, is the cut that was released, plus the two additional scenes I mentioned: The elongated scene where Will and Mr. Halloway climb up the lattice-work and the father slips and almost falls, and the closing-credits sequence where the residents are restored to their former selves. Each of those scenes is accompanied by music that fits in with the score used in the theatrical release.
I don't think the studio was involved in this cut at all. Ray had this version of the film put together exclusively for him by his filmmaker friend, Paul Clemens. I've mentioned to him before that he should talk to Disney about including that footage on the DVD, but now that Roy Disney is out of the company, I don't know how much input he would have -- or if he would even be asked.
Such a shame ... but let's hope!
I was invited several times to visit the set where the shooting of 'Something Wicked'... was being done, by a friend who was working as a carpenter on the sets. Once it was the week where Mr. Dark was being filmed leading a parade of animals and circus people thru the streets. It is one of those things you just somehow let go...and you just can't get over it years later ...that you were so darn dumb....!!
But I managed to hold on to a Disney movie promo publication that shows the original poster for the movie. It's quite different than the one later released after they re-shot scenes and re-did the musical score...
Nard would approve of this uncovering of things old and hair-raising...
As the pumpkins are brought to the knife, enjoy a few moments of the artistry of Ray Bradbury. This is truly a great introduction to a timeless tale: Royal Dano sets the tone marvelously!
(We decorated our Halloween Tree this evening. Thank you Mr. B!!)
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