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Author Topic: Kelly's Heroes - cut scenes?  (Read 2976 times)
osmium
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« on: December 20, 2004, 03:37:31 PM »

The post-movie commentary on TCM and stuff I've read elsewhere suggests that some scenes were cut, some of which lent more anti-war sentiment to it. Apparently Eastwood was quite upset with these cuts. I can't find much info on this, outside of some search results on this message board that suggest that there had been a scene at the end which suggested that they had been caught (ever since I first saw the movie I DID wonder just how they smuggled it away).

Anyone know anything about this?
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Matt
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2004, 06:43:30 PM »

Hi osmium, welcome to the board. :)

The commentary on TCM was correct--the script for Kelly's Heroes did have more of an antiwar slant. The finished film barely resembles the script that Clint read and enjoyed.

Clint told interviewer Michael Henry for the French magazine Positif:
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It was a very fine anti-militaristic script, one that said some important things about the war, about this propensity that man has to destroy himself. In the editing, the scenes that put the debate in philosophical terms were cut and they kept adding action scenes. When it was finished, the picture had lost its soul. If action and reflection had been better balanced, it would have reached a much broader audience. I don't know if the studio exercised pressure on the director or if it was the director who lost his vision along the way, but I know that the picture would have been far superior if there hadn't been this attempt to satisfy action fans at any cost. And it would have been just as spectacular and attractive. It's not an accident that some action movies work and others don't. What makes the difference is the quality of the writing.
(Positif, no. 287 (January 1985): 48-57; republished in Clint Eastwood: Interviews, p. 109-110; translated from the French by KC.)

Richard Schickel discusses the problems with filming Kelly's Heroes and Clint's displeasure with the finished film in great detail in his book Clint Eastwood, a Biography (p. 232-237). Here are some excerpts:

Quote
Financed by MGM, and featuring an all-star cast, it was a self-contradictory enterprise. A military adventure, to be made on something close to an epic scale, it was also supposed to be an antiwar satire, somewhat along the lines of such contemporary films as Castle Keep, M*A*S*H, Catch-22 and Too Late the Hero, all of which, one way or another, spoke to public disgust with the war in Vietnam.

It was this aspect of the project that stirred Clint. Around this time he confessed that he had voted for Nixon in 1968 because he regarded Johnson's bombing halt as a cynical electoral ploy of Hubert Humphrey. But he still had no enthusiasm for the Vietnam adventure or for militarism in general, and Troy Kennedy Martin's original script expressed these feelings--in Clint's opinion, movingly and adroitly. ...

Running more than two hours, Kelly's Heroes is a messily contradictory and never fully resolved movie. Besides being, occasionally, an antiwar satire, it is also from time to time a caper (or bunch of guys-rob-a-vault) comedy, an old-fashioned service (or bunch-of-goldbricks-goof-off) comedy and, yes, a straight bunch-of-guys-on-a-mission piece. To put the point simply, it tried to be all things to all audiences and so, naturally, ended up a muddle-although, right up to the end, Clint thought it could be straightened out.

At Clint's behest, Don Siegel was offered the picture, but he was tied up on the postproduction with Sister Sara, and so, with Clint's approval, the assignment went to the pyrotechnically inclined Brian Hutton. He, not unnaturally, wanted to stress the kind of action that had worked for him in Where Eagles Dare which went into its successful release just before this film went on location.

Postproduction of Kelly's Heroes was a bigger mess than the filming, which had dragged on for nine months on location in Mexico and Yugoslavia. MGM had just installed a new head of production, James Aubrey, who hadn't originally approved the film and wasn't interested in epic-sized pictures, prefering small budget films that could still yield profits for the studio. After viewing Hutton's cut, Aubrey insisted the film should be a "Clint Eastwood action-adventure" and ordered substantial revisions that wound up changing the whole tone of the film. He even changed the title from The Warriors to Kelly's Heroes.

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Hutton, who did not have final cut, had no choice but to oblige Aubrey, and when Clint saw what had been done to the film, he told the director, "Brian, you can't release this." To which the director, who had been fighting the good fight, replied wearily, "Well, that's the way they want to do it," adding that the studio had a release date "creeping up on them." The implication was that even if the studio liked Clint's ideas there wouldn't be time to execute them.

In general Clint felt that the film's comedy now played too broadly, and specifically he was dismayed at the excision of a transition scene between the picture's second and third acts in which, as he recalls, he and the character played by Telly Savalas "just sort of summed up the philosophy of those loose ends, and what the war had done to them." He goes so far as to say that "its soul was taken out, a little bit of its soul was robbed"

Schickel goes on to describe how Clint tried in vain to convince Aubrey that he could fix the film himself if given just one day in the editing room, but Aubrey wasn't interested.

Clint's displeasure with Kelly's Heroes was so great, especially coming on the heels of his disappointment with Paint Your Wagon, that from this point on Clint would take much more control of his projects, producing most of the remainder of his films, and within a few years he would be directing almost all of them as well.
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osmium
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2004, 10:15:16 AM »

Wow, more info than I could have hoped for. Thanks!

It's a real shame - as it is, Kelly's Heroes is one of my favorite action movies, and I would have loved to see the proper version. I'd hope for a directors cut DVD...but then I might as well hope for world peace overnight. And a pony.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 06:24:15 PM »

I was over at another forum where I came across a thread where they said Clint Eastwood made a cut of Kelly Heroes but the studio refused to release it.

I did a search here and came across this thread.

Does this Eastwood version actually exist and if it does, I think it would be cool if they released it on DVD like we can now get an alternate version of Superman II from Richard Donner.
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philo
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 02:26:22 PM »


I would say that there would be a nil chance of any other footage existing on Kelly's Heroes as MGM and other studios were not seeing any life in their films post theatrical release. You could possibly have had a roadshow print but how that may have differed is only a guess.

Anything that wasn't considered a classic would not have had alternative takes or any other footage retained.
However until someone takes a look .... We don't know for sure.  :)

The only thing I have in my collection is a large colour campaign book for MGM 70 where the film is still called The Warriors.

Philo .
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Doggers
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 11:13:09 AM »

Hi, I'm new here...I'm obsessed with the movie edit and wish to know more.

Well, I can't find the original script for THE Warriors, but I did find this: http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/k/kellys-heroes-script-transcript-clint.html

Also, there is a book, published in 1970 that sort of continues on Kelly's Heroes.. I have not read it, just read some reviews.    Average 4 out of 5 stars.

Anyways..what a great fan site!
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KC
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 08:19:14 PM »

Welcome to the Eastwood Web Board, Doggers! :)
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