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  1. #81
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    I would certainly be willing to wait a year for the uncut version to be found, but I could understand if they can't locate it and couldn't afford to spend a ton of money searching for it. We will just have to hope for the best. I appreciate all you're doing to help them find it.

  2. #82
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    I spoke to Jonathan Balcon last week Darrenburnfan...he is now negotiating with the owners for his percentage but doesn't know what master materials they have. Good luck with Buck Labs...the negative is probably gathering dust in their loft!



    When you lot get hunting you certainly don't give up! Well done.

    Film Man.

  3. #83
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Thanks, Film Man. Maybe we ought to change our names to Sherlock Holmes. I feel sure that this thread has contributed in some way to persuading Optimum to release the complete film on DVD...if they can find a complete version.



    I've been having a look back in my old film despatch book for 1963 at the Plaza and it states that the copy number of the complete version of Sammy Going South I ran then was copy number 27. Probably as many as 100 copies were made and the big question is...what became of all those 35mm copies?



    After the last showing, I sent our copy back to BLC in Birmingham. That was a distribution depot, or "dump" for all film copies rented out to cinemas all over the midlands. There were other film "dumps" in London (covering the south); Manchester (covering the north-west) and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (covering the north-east.) Scotland; Wales and Northern Ireland also had their own film distribution depots. The copy I ran at the Plaza arrived in immaculate condition and was returned to BLC in that same condition. So what happened to all these copies? Unless someone gave orders for them to be destroyed after the film's initial release in 1963, they must still exist somewhere. As far as I can recall, BLC stood for either British Lion Columbia or British Lion Corporation and they were the film's distributors in the UK.

  4. #84
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    100 copies of a 35mm film take up a great deal of space Darrenburnfan...if every copy of every film was kept we would have about 500 aircraft hangers jammed tight! In the old days, once a release had finished 3 prints were kept (plus the negative of course) and the rest went to Denham and burnt! Luckily a few went to private collectors who kept very quiet about them.



    Companies like Columbia and British Lion always struck new copies when a film was re-released...unlike Disney and Paramount who seemed to make their copies last forever!



    Most impressed that you kept copy numbers of films...my 'Film Condition' book was lost years ago...I do remember we had copy number 600 of Zulu from Technicolor...stunning Technirama print.



    I'm sure Optimum will find a fantastic full length original...otherwise they will get the wrath of you lot!

    Film Man.

  5. #85
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Yes, Film Man, I also had a book wherein we documented the condition of each copy...but usually only if it had been received in a poor condition, so that we couldn't get blamed for anything that was wrong with it. But I lost that book years ago and only the film despatch books remain. Those covered date of screening for each film; presentation system; title of film; distributor; where received from (sometimes it was a crossover from another cinema); where it was despatched to after the last screening; copy number and number of times it had been run.



    Some copies were kept by the distributors for years after their initial release and even as late as 1969, we were running "U" certificate 20th Century-Fox CinemaScope features such as The Deerslayer (1957) and A Dog of Flanders (1960) for the children's Saturday matinees, alternating them with the usual CFF films on a fortnightly basis. Whether those then twelve and nine years old Fox copies still exist another forty years on is unlikely. But they were still available back then, as was the 1943 Laurel and Hardy feature, The Dancing Masters, which, when we ran it in 1970 as the support to the latest version of David Copperfield, was already twenty-seven years old.



    However, I remember seeing an item on BBC Television about thirty years ago showing hundreds of old 35mm cinema film copies being incinerated because it was thought they would never be shown in cinemas ever again.

  6. #86
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    Movietone also did a 'special' on burning old film...available on 8mm from Derann. It's amazing what collectors still have on 35mm Darrenburnfan..but will they admit to having it?

    Film Man.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Amazon uk have just announced that the release date of the DVD has now been put back to June 28th, 2010. Maybe Optimum are still having difficulty finding the complete version.

  8. #88
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Missing from the shortened version shown on Channel 4, but seen in one of the stills in the Front-of-House set, is the scene below where Sammy is suffering from heat exhaustion in the desert and the Syrian wraps a white turban around Sammy's head to prevent him getting sun stroke.




  9. #89
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Kine Weekly, March 18th, 1963.



    A Very Curious Boy.







    “Some had youth, some had beauty, I had menace”…That is how Edward G. Robinson explained his entry into films. He went to Hollywood as a star when he was thirty and has stayed a star ever since. Now 69 years young, Edward G. has forgotten how many films he has made, but he reckons it is around eighty. Contrary to popular belief, he has played the “tough guy” character for which he is famous in only about ten of them.



    Of Cocky Wainwright in Sammy Going South, he says: “I couldn’t resist the old boy. He’s a rebel, a non-conformist living in a world of his own, master of all he surveys in the middle of nowhere – and yet a boy at heart.” He could not resist Africa, either, one of the few places in the world his globe-trotting hobby had missed. “I’m a very curious boy”, he announced, as he set foot on African soil for the first time. “I want to go everywhere, see everything and ask a lot of questions” – and he did, non-stop. Typically, when asked to visit some famous beaches near Mombasa, he replied: “We’ve got beaches back home – let’s go see some tribes.” His interest is genuine and goes far beyond his simple explanation – “I’m an actor, so I must be interested in people.”



    Quick to adapt himself to his surroundings, on location in Africa with the British crew, Edward G.’s conversation was soon heavily laced with phrases like: “Jolly good, old chap!” and “Jolly good show!” “If this had been an American company”, he reflected, “I’d be playing this in Cockney. But they say: “You’re too nasal, Eddie, you’re too nasal…sounds more like Ostraylian!” “So”, he adds, philosophically, “I ’ave abandoned that hidea!” Edward G. Robinson speaks five languages and is an authority on the French Impressionists, of whose work he has a large collection – a man with an all-consuming interest in the well-being of his fellows. Ask him what he has learned from life, or what is his philosophy and he will reply, quite simply, “I’m for people!”

  10. #90
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    BELOW: Two more stills from the Sammy Going South Front-of-House set. TOP: On his long journey to Durban, Sammy Hartland (Fergus McClelland), meets illegal diamond smuggler Cocky Wainwright (Edward G. Robinson), who is amazed at just how far the youngster has travelled from Port Said. BOTTOM: Sammy in the ruins of Cocky's camp in the Aftican bush, after it has been raided and destroyed by the police.






  11. #91
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Latest News from Candy Vincent-Smith at Optimum Releasing



    I have once again been in contact with Candy about the forthcoming Sammy Going South DVD release and she has supplied the following information:



    "Hi David,



    We had, in fact, already been in contact with Fergus and had had a meeting with him last year long before you got in touch! He is doing a filmed interview for us for the DVD rather than a commentary.



    In terms of the long version, Bucks don�t have it, they just had ours. Fergus has a 16mm version of the film which we are investigating but it seems unlikely he has the full version as this was made for him quite a long time after the fact, most probably from our materials. However, we are currently looking at his version now and should have an answer on this in the coming month.



    I�ve done some research on this and it seems as though the cuts were made very close to the original release and that no-one has seen or heard of the original version for quite some time so I�m afraid it�s looking very likely as though we will be releasing the shorter version. Fergus� footage is our last hope.



    Thanks.

    Candy."



    I explained to her that the version we ran at the Plaza in August, 1963, was the full version and that it seems that, for some unknown reason, the film was edited down to its present length sometime between late 1963 and Christmas, 1970, when the BBC first ran it. Just why this was done is a complete mystery.



    All I can say, nearly forty-seven years after I ran it at the Plaza, is that I remember the Sammy and the Syrian scenes being a lot longer in the complete version and most of the cuts seemed to have been made in the early part of the film.

  12. #92
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update darren.







    Optimum do seem to be trying to get the best package available so full marks to them.



    Reading Michael Winner's autobiography he mentions sitting down to watch Hannibal Brooks a few years ago and was shocked to see that had been cut as well.





    Freddy

  13. #93
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Candy seems to be of the opinion that after the film's initial release in 1963, it was cut and re-edited into the version we are now familiar with and all the 35mm copies of the original full length version were destroyed. She doesn't think that the original exists anymore. However, Fergus once told me that he has the American version and that there are scenes in that version that are not in the British version that's available now. So perhaps they can put together some kind of more complete version from the footage he has.

  14. #94
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Below, I am pasting in an American movie critic's review of the film, which he has high regard for, even though he isn't pleased that the American distributors, Paramount I believe, changed the title and cut 45 minutes out of the picture, so that it would more easily fit on a double-bill. The film was not released in the USA until 1965.



    LIFE Movie Review, March 12th, 1965.



    Surprise Package Ten Feet Small



    A Boy Ten Feet Tall

    starring Edward G. Robinson.

    Directed by Alexander Mackendrick.



    A Boy Ten Feet Tall is a simple, charming, totally unpretentious little movie � the kind of thing you used to come upon, all unsuspecting, at the neighborhood movie house one bored Saturday night and emerge from delighted to rediscover the pleasures of easy, unselfconscious professionalism in movie-making. This kind of production, once the industry�s shield and buckler, is now almost as rare as a truly edifying spectacular or a genuine work of art, so it is worth calling attention to � especially since its distributors appear to be completely puzzled over what to do with a picture that lacks easily promotable bigness or artiness.



    Its story is ridiculously artless. Sammy is a rather over-protected 10 years old English boy living in Egypt, whose parents are killed in the bombing of Port Said during the Suez crisis of 1956. His only remaining relative is an aunt living five thousand miles away in Durban, South Africa. Since children are delightfully vague about distances, he decides to trek the length of the continent to find her. The long walk is compounded equally of terrors and idyls, both unsettling to the modern child. By the time Sammy reaches his goal, he has learned to deal with both. In the process, he becomes a confident and mature little boy; the dreaminess is gone, but, if anything, his sensitivity has increased.



    Sammy is played by a wonderfully winning kid named Fergus McClelland. Edward G. Robinson plays a grizzled old diamond poacher who picks him up halfway through the journey and becomes a father substitute with a perfect blend of toughness and manly sentiment. Director Alexander Mackendrick (he made Tight Little Island and Sweet Smell Of Success) maintains a similarly attractive blend throughout the entire picture. He uses the harshly beautiful African landscape as a protagonist against which Sammy must test himself. But he never allows scenery to dominate story. Nor does Mackendrick soften the impact of the various corrupt and stupid people who try to deflect Sammy from his path: they do not undergo instant regeneration upon exposure to his childish innocence. Sammy must use all his guile to outwit them on their own terms, not his, a process that has always been one of the best remembered delights in the hero-villain conflicts of classic children�s literature.



    Indeed, the film may be summed up as an adult children�s picture, the way Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn are adult children�s literature. It doesn�t talk down to anyone and it doesn�t gum things up with corn syrup. It has the kind of innocent realism that kids strive to create for themselves when they play war games in the park.



    These are honest and by no means common merits. It is infuriating that the distributors refuse to accept and promote them. Instead � because it is not stamped �Art-Handle With Care� � they have oafishly decided to cut considerable footage out of the movie, destroying the continuity of some sections and giving it a cheap, jumpy quality you instinctively know was not there when it left the director�s hands. The only possible reason for this is to make it fit more conveniently on the bottom of a double bill � the dumping ground these days for quite a few good pictures that don�t immediately fit the conventional commercial wisdom, which may be summerized as �make it a block-buster or forget it.�



    Meanwhile, they are doing their lumpish best to make us think this is a big one. Press releases concentrate on the miles traveled, the money spent, the hardships encountered by the producing unit and carefully avoid mentioning that the plot is about a little boy looking for his aunt. They�d like you to think Sammy is Lawrence of Arabia. That�s undoubtedly the reason for the vaguely portentous, totally undescriptive title they have tacked on to replace the apt, descriptive title on which the movie was based: Sammy Going South by W. H. Canaway. Out, out damned diminutive.



    But the picture is diminutive. That is its virtue and its charm. So don�t be misled by false claims. If you�re not in the mood for the ambiguities of art, or for a Panavision 70 headache, if you feel like seeing an honestly entertaining movie � the kind they used to make � then go see A Boy Ten Feet Tall. Sometimes, it�s fun to think small.



    by Richard Schickel.

  15. #95
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    BELOW: Three more stills from the original 1963 Front-Of-House set. TOP: On his long journey, a bedraggled Sammy (Fergus McClelland) reaches the banks of the Nile. CENTRE: Cocky (Edward G. Robinson) teaches Sammy to fire a rifle. BOTTOM: Lem (Harry H. Corbett) and Sammy in the ruins of Cocky's camp.








  16. #96
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Latest news from Candy Vincent-Smith at Optimum about the Sammy Going South DVD:



    "Yes, it will be in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1

    And I’m afraid we definitely don’t have the long version."




    So it seems that after a long and extensive search, the original ful length version from 1963 can't be located and probably no longer exists. What a terrible shame.

  17. #97
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Here below is a link to the Harvard Film Archive in the USA. They state that they recently ran a full version of Sammy Going South that was supplied to them by the BFI. When the page loads, scroll down until you get to the film. If this isn't a mistake, why haven't the BFI released the film on DVD and would they let Optimum release it? I have contacted Candy about this and suggested she enquire about this at the BFI before she commits herself to releasing the shortened version on DVD.



    Alexander Mackendrick and the Anarchy of Innocence - Harvard Film Archive

  18. #98
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Here below is a link to the Harvard Film Archive in the USA. They state that they recently ran a full version of Sammy Going South that was supplied to them by the BFI. When the page loads, scroll down until you get to the film. If this isn't a mistake, why haven't the BFI released the film on DVD and would they let Optimum release it?
    Presumably because they own a copy, not the rights (which are held by Studio Canal). It seems a bit odd though that Optimum didn't bother to check them for the longer print - the Screenonline article mentions the missing scenes.

  19. #99
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    Presumably because they own a copy, not the rights (which are held by Studio Canal). It seems a bit odd though that Optimum didn't bother to check them for the longer print - the Screenonline article mentions the missing scenes.
    I find his "peddle simplistic racial stereotypes" remark kind of vague. I wonder what he's talking about. He should at least give an example if he's throwing down the race card. I thought all the blacks in the film were portrayed favorably, but I guess it wasn't politically correct enough for him.

  20. #100
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    I wondered what he meant by that, too. Perhaps he was referring to scenes where the black Africans were hauling the truck across the river on the ferry and singing as they did it. If so, well, that's what black Africans do, isn't it? Or did do in the period the film was set in.

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