Friday, February 1, 2008

Lost in the vault - movie outtakes

Sometimes, when I sit down to drink my coffee at the kitchen table, I like to leaf through old Elvis magazines. The other day I did just that, and stumbled across an interesting article in Elvis Monthly from September 1994.

Under the heading "Lost in the vault" a certain Ernst Mikael Jorgensen writes about the possibility of movie outtakes. For example, he believes that 20th Century Fox has the original ending of Love Me Tender and also "Summer Kisses Winter Tears" from Flaming Star.

Also, he questions the official explanation from Paramount that they have no film outtakes and no tapes because they returned everything to Hal Wallis’s production company. How then, wonders Jorgensen, could Paramount deliver "Plantation Rock" and "Danny" to Joan Deary? (According to Jorgensen these recordings sound like they have been lifted from magnetic film reel.)

The most interesting part, however, concerns MGM/Turner, and the research Ernst Jorgensen did while working on the documentary Elvis In Hollywood. At first he was told by the Turner people that they had no film outtakes, either.

But studying borrowed computer print-outs from Turners vault, the one in the saltmine in Kansas, he came to the conclusion that there did exist outtakes from Jailhouse Rock in the vault. Turner checked the reels in question and, sure enough, the footage featured outtakes from the movie.

Jorgensen then writes that there were more outtakes than the ones that went into Elvis In Hollywood, and asks himself the obvious question - what do they have on all the other movies? The question is as valid today, 14 years since the article was published.

Of course, after reading it, I just had to watch Elvis In Hollywood and realised there were a lot more outtakes from Jailhouse Rock in it then I remembered. I counted to at least seven of them, such as the first take of the famous title song dance sequence, Elvis getting a haircut ("a fresh fish special") and a scene from the fight in the prison. There's also footage of Elvis being whipped (for a split second you see a stand-in for Elvis).

And then it hit me where I had seen even more footage from Jailhouse Rock that didn't make it to the final version of the film. But that will have to wait until my next posting.


nortoncoll said...

My name is Norton McColl and I ran an Elvis fanclub in Brazil for many years. One thing I learnt is that most of Elvis movies presented in Brazilian movie theatres had alternative scenes. Here it goes. KING CREOLE ´has shown the alternative hotel scene where Elvis and Susan Hart actually got inside the room. GI BLUES had the alternative TONIGHT IS ALL RIGHT FOR LOVE (Vienna Woods) scene which is completely different than the one released later.SPEEDWAY had the FIVE SLEEPY HEADS scene where he actually sings to 5 babies. HARUM SCARUM had two extra scenes included which are ANIMAL INSTINCT with a black panther circulating and WISDOM OF THE AGES where Elvis bows to the King at the end of this latter song.
I do not know for sure whatelse we could see in the movie theatres in the 50´s and 60`s.I wish we had VHS sets at that time. But it looks like they always use South America to show alternative scenes. The same happened with Hammer horror movies productions whose bloody scenes in full colour were later cut from released VHS´s and DVDs. I am available to hear from you.

Don't like dogs said...

I saw Speedway as a double feature with Clambake in a drive-in theatre in Smyrna Georgia in 1968. And it INCLUDED the full Five Sleepy Heads scene. I am not sure if the drive-in must have gotten an unauthorized cut of the movie or not, but I saw this. I have not seen it since.