About six weeks ago, Screen Rant reported on the rumors that Quentin Tarantino was going to be re-editing his WWII film Inglourious Basterds, even adding some scenes and thus adding a lot more minutes to the almost two-and-a-half hour Cannes version runtime. The majority of movie goers who weren't lucky enough to be at Cannes to see the Basterds premiere could cling onto the fact that when we see the film we will get more of those Basterds to enjoy.
Well, today we get word from Tarantino himself that the final runtime of Inglourious Basterds is a full ONE MINUTE longer than the Cannes cut. Ah, and there was us fans looking forward to another Gone With The Wind length marathon...
After the news came out that Tarantino would be re-editing Basterds post-Cannes, a rumor surfaced that the Weinsteins (namely Harvey) were pressuring him to cut a shocking 40 minutes from the reported, "contractually obligated," 2 hour 48 minute length. However, just over two weeks later, Harvey Weinstein came out and called the 40 minute cut report a load of rubbish (that's the family-friendly version of the swearing version he delivered). He also said that Tarantino was just re-organizing some scenes, and even said he was begging Tarantino to include a lot of the stuff (instead of the other way around).
Well, it appears that after all, one half of the Weinsteins was speaking the truth, as in an interview with Variety's BFDealMemo, Tarantino spoke about the whole runtime business, separating fact from fiction, as well as what he's added to/changed about the film. Here's some of what he had to say [Warning: moderate SPOILER warning]:
"I've heard these rumors that the studios told me to cut out 40 minutes. These are complete lies. The movie is actually a minute longer, in running time, than it was in Cannes. It was 2:28, without end credits, and now it's 2:29, or 2:32 with end credits."
"I added a sequence between where Mike Myers and Michael Fassbender discuss Operation Kino [the plot to blow up a theater as Joseph Goebbels and other Nazi brass watch a film], and the shootout scene in the basement tavern La Louisiane. In Cannes, we went from one to the other. I'd shot another scene, right before that, where Fassbender meets The Basterds, before they go to La Louisiane. That's back."
"It might sound weird that I added a minute, but you can add little things and actually quicken the pace, and we were very aware of keeping the pace up. To add the one scene, I reduced a couple scenes by a line here, a line there."
Tarantino also mentioned there was a, "cool sequence," involving Eli Roth's Sgt. Donny Donowitz which explained his background but as the writer/director he felt it, "got in the way," of the reveal of his character (which is presumably the one in the trailer where he comes out of the tunnel holding a baseball bat). He also went on to talk about the much speculated Basterds prequel, saying that he's got it half written and the cast is game for it, but admits he's made project promises before that he hasn't gotten around to:
"All through the movie, Brad Pitt and Eli Roth just kept saying, "Prequel. Prequel." Brad would say, "Let's talk him into doing a prequel." The guys love the idea. I've got the storyline. Then again, I was going to do all these animated prequels to Kill Bill. I didn't end up doing any of those."
[End of SPOILERS]
For the full Q&A with Tarantino you can head over to Variety.
So there you have it: We have the final Inglourious Basterds runtime as 2 hours 29 minutes (or 2:32 if you include the scrolling of the last word of the end credits), not the 2 hours 48 minutes that was reported as the original original runtime, or the 2 hours 8 minutes that would've been the case if the rumors of the 40 minutes being cut were true. And when you consider two of Tarantino's most enduring movies, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown (which both clock in at 150 minutes), the Basterds' runtime may be pretty damn perfect.
Of course, I haven't seen the Basterds in action yet (beyond all the promo material, that is), so I can't say for definite that just under two and half hours is fitting. But something tells me that Tarantino wouldn't just cut his Palme d'Or nominated "baby" at that length if it weren't what he thought was right.
Anything that Tarantino cut out of the Basterds (such as the Roth backstory sequence) I'm sure will make their way onto the eventual DVD/Blu-ray release later on down the road. Die hard Tarantino fans out there (of which I'm one) would have taken them all within the theatrically released one, but I understand there has to be a cut-off point as far as what you include and what you don't in a movie (at least for it's theatrical run).
So after all that, those who already have Inglourious Basterds marked on their calendar's can breathe a collective sigh of relief as it finally looks like the whole runtime mess has been mopped up for good.
Let's just hope no one missed a spot...
What do you think of what is the final runtime for Inglourious Basterds? Do you think it should be longer, shorter, or is it just right in your eyes?
Inglourious Basterds will open in theatres on August 21st, 2009.
Sources: Variety (special thanks: ThePlaylist)