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Ivan Reitman on the Stripes: Extended Cut DVDTwenty-year-old cult fave has six originally cut scenes restored
Back in 1982, Ivan Reitman directed a low budget film called Stripes with a host of rising young actors, including Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and John Candy, along with veteran character actors such as Warren Oates. Stripes was Reitman's second film, and he's gone on to make more than 20 others, including such successes as Ghostbusters, Twins, Beethoven, Dave and Father's Day. But Stripes "seems to hold on," Reitman says. A big hit for Columbia upon its release, in the intervening years it has developed a strong cult following.
The fan base has long speculated online about the whereabouts of some hilarious scenes that were cut from the movie for continuity, particularly a seven-minute scene in which Bill Murray and Harold Ramis go AWOL and end up in South America. Well, those scenes did exist, and on June 7, Columbia and Sony Pictures are releasing Stripes: Extended Cut featuring not only the South American scene but five other scenes that were cut from the theatrical version. All told, there are 18 minutes of restored footage, along with interviews with cast members and other special features.
Reitman and co-writer Dan Goldberg, who served as co-producers, taped a running commentary for the video (which can be turned on or off), in which they discuss why each of the restored scenes was deleted in order to keep the story moving. The DVD allows viewers to watch the movie in its theatrically released version, or with the restored scenes included. Each of the restored parts has a yellow alert at the bottom of the screen at the beginning and end of the scene.
Stripes started out as vehicle for Cheech and Chong, which didn't work out. But Reitman and his team perservered and ended up getting Bill Murray a year into his Saturday Night Live gig. This was Murray's second movie role, following Meatballs. Stripes also introduced Judge Rheinhold, Sean Young, P.J. Soles, John Diehl and John Larroquette in their first movie roles, and it was John Candy's first American picture.
Recently, we spoke with Ivan Reitman about Stripes: Extended Version to get his perspective on the movie and its newly restored scenes. Here's what he had to say.
This is an extended cut, as opposed to a directors cut version, right?
Yes. The directors cut was in the movie. It was in the theaters. Its not like I didnt get exactly what I wanted the first time out. But what I remembered was that we had these extremely funny scenes that -- especially given the way that all of my actors careers have sort of evolved -- have become more and more important actors in the world. I just thought it would be fun to see these scenes again. I looked them up again, and it took awhile to find them.
What started it in fact was a relatively infamous seven- or eight-minute sequence that takes place in South America, where the Bill Murray and Hal Ramis characters go to on a sort of R&R thing. It was always the studios favorite sequence, and its very, very funny. But I could never find a way for it to fit into the movie comfortably. I thought it was just a different thing. It wasnt that in and of itself it wasnt great, it was that in the body of the entire movie it seemed to stick out and slow things down. So DVDs are actually perfect for this kind of thing. Theres lots of capacity and people who are fans of the movie I know will love this.
So we found all the footage, and I actually recut it a little and made it a bit smoother. We found that scene and about six other scenes, really good scenes. There was one sex scene between Bill Murray and P.J. Soles thats sweet and funny and sexy, and I think movie lovers are going to get a real kick out of it.
So, it's not the movie you wish you could have put out in 1982.
No, I put out the movie I wanted. Im being very fair. You know, I do a commentary on the film along with the writers and a bunch of other guys and what we do is kind of a thumbs up and thumbs down of each one of these additional scenes, not in terms of whether theyre good or not, because I think all of the additional scenes that are here are really funny. Thats the only reason theyve been added. But whether the movie benefits or not from having put them in ? its kind of a fun thing. And we go 6-2. Two should have been in the movie, and six probably should never have been in the movie, even though theyre great scenes.
That will stir up opinions among the movie's cult fans.
Yeah, so I think film fans will get a big kick out of that commentary, but mostly from the scenes themselves. One of the cool things we did was, I put the scenes in the movie where I think they should have gone. Where they normally would have gone, or were meant to be, or where I could work it out right now where they should go. The South American scene, for example, never really had a home. You can choose to see the movie as it was originally, or you can choose to see it with the scenes in it. And it identifies where the new scene begins and ends, so you get a sense of that process.
When youre watching the DVD, do you just skip over a new scene if you dont want to see it?
No, you make the choice before you begin, whether youre going to watch it with all the new scenes in it. But theres a little icon that comes on in the beginning of any new scene and goes off at the end of the scene to let you know that its an additional scene. Or, you can just watch the new scenes. Theres lots of ways to access the material.