Being There: The Roger Ebert Cut

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8.7 (1)
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being thereebert_front
Faneditor Name:
Original Movie/Show Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1979
Original Running Time:
130 minutes
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
116 minutes
Subtitles Available:
Available in HD:
Synopsis:
Hal Ashby's classic satire with a few of the more distracting elements removed. Several scenes were removed and two were shortened, one sequence was slightly reordered (to accommodate the removals) and the end credits were reformatted.
Intention:
Roger Ebert gave the 1979 original a full four star rating, but pointed out two subplots that he thought could be completely removed. On rewatching the film I can completely understand why, so (following the examples of stomachworm and recordwrangler95 with their edits of Psycho) I went ahead and implemented his recommendations. It will be interesting to see what other people think of the result, given that one of the more "notorious" elements of the original is gone.
Additional Notes:
Although not mentioned by Ebert, the famous blooper reel that played behind the original end credits was hated by Peter Sellers, who felt that it broke the spell of the ending. It seems that many others (including myself) agree with him, so the text was extracted and now rolls over a black background while the piano piece that accompanied the outtakes originally now plays alone.
Other Sources:
“Goodbye Louise” from “Piano Music from the Movies”, played by Stephen Edwards
Special Thanks:
Many thanks to Dwight Fry, for editing advice and reminding me to follow Ebert's words in spirit rather than to the letter.
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
Exported 1920x1038 H265 with mono audio, total runtime of 116 minutes with 11.2 Gb file size.
Cuts and Additions:
• 0:03:56 – Added co-screenwriting credit for Robert C. Jones
• 1:26:07 - Removed scene with the US president (and his performance issues) after Ben praises Chance on his cut instead to following scene (in original), removed beginning (where Eve says that Chance can wear one of Ben's tuxedos for the upcoming reception for the Soviet ambassador), the cut to dialogue almost immediately works in the original but felt too rapid here for me.
• 1:30:50 - Cut remainder of scene of Eve visiting Chance in bed after Mr Rogers' song finishes and he says "Hello neighbour".
• Rearranged scenes at the reception to facilitate removal of president's performance issues and Chance being lusted over, to maintain a similar structure it now plays as so:
o 1:36:14 - Franklin and Allenby "...major financial level..." now followed by scene with Ambassador Gaufridi
o 1:36:33 - Brought forward Franklin and Allenby discussion "...extremely confidential matters..." plus following talk with the senator, but cut away before the senator's wife declares Chance very attractive
o 1:37:18 - Scene with Chance and the publisher, pulled back from earlier in the original so the dinner still ends on a scene with Chance
o 1:38:07 - Cut to the president hearing the phone buzz and picking it up, cutting the earlier part of the scene
• 1:42:52 - Cut from Ben in bed after selling his assets to Allenby hurrying to him the next morning
• 1:43:48 - Cut scene where Chance is fetched to see Ben,
• 1:53:02 - Screenshotted credits and extracted text blocks to a couple of still images. Keyframed their positions so they move at the same speed as before but over a black background instead of the infamous blooper reel, using Stephen Edwards' recording of Goodbye Louise to replace the audio (speeded up to better match the original's tempo).
• 1:55:49 - Added a few additional credits, Roger Ebert for the idea, myself for fan-editing and special thanks to Dwight Fry.
Faneditor Name:
Original Movie/Show Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
1979
Original Running Time:
130 minutes
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
116 minutes
Subtitles Available:
Available in HD:
Synopsis:
Hal Ashby's classic satire with a few of the more distracting elements removed. Several scenes were removed and two were shortened, one sequence was slightly reordered (to accommodate the removals) and the end credits were reformatted.
Intention:
Roger Ebert gave the 1979 original a full four star rating, but pointed out two subplots that he thought could be completely removed. On rewatching the film I can completely understand why, so (following the examples of stomachworm and recordwrangler95 with their edits of Psycho) I went ahead and implemented his recommendations. It will be interesting to see what other people think of the result, given that one of the more "notorious" elements of the original is gone.
Additional Notes:
Although not mentioned by Ebert, the famous blooper reel that played behind the original end credits was hated by Peter Sellers, who felt that it broke the spell of the ending. It seems that many others (including myself) agree with him, so the text was extracted and now rolls over a black background while the piano piece that accompanied the outtakes originally now plays alone.
Other Sources:
“Goodbye Louise” from “Piano Music from the Movies”, played by Stephen Edwards
Special Thanks:
Many thanks to Dwight Fry, for editing advice and reminding me to follow Ebert's words in spirit rather than to the letter.
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
Exported 1920x1038 H265 with mono audio, total runtime of 116 minutes with 11.2 Gb file size.
Cuts and Additions:
• 0:03:56 – Added co-screenwriting credit for Robert C. Jones
• 1:26:07 - Removed scene with the US president (and his performance issues) after Ben praises Chance on his cut instead to following scene (in original), removed beginning (where Eve says that Chance can wear one of Ben's tuxedos for the upcoming reception for the Soviet ambassador), the cut to dialogue almost immediately works in the original but felt too rapid here for me.
• 1:30:50 - Cut remainder of scene of Eve visiting Chance in bed after Mr Rogers' song finishes and he says "Hello neighbour".
• Rearranged scenes at the reception to facilitate removal of president's performance issues and Chance being lusted over, to maintain a similar structure it now plays as so:
o 1:36:14 - Franklin and Allenby "...major financial level..." now followed by scene with Ambassador Gaufridi
o 1:36:33 - Brought forward Franklin and Allenby discussion "...extremely confidential matters..." plus following talk with the senator, but cut away before the senator's wife declares Chance very attractive
o 1:37:18 - Scene with Chance and the publisher, pulled back from earlier in the original so the dinner still ends on a scene with Chance
o 1:38:07 - Cut to the president hearing the phone buzz and picking it up, cutting the earlier part of the scene
• 1:42:52 - Cut from Ben in bed after selling his assets to Allenby hurrying to him the next morning
• 1:43:48 - Cut scene where Chance is fetched to see Ben,
• 1:53:02 - Screenshotted credits and extracted text blocks to a couple of still images. Keyframed their positions so they move at the same speed as before but over a black background instead of the infamous blooper reel, using Stephen Edwards' recording of Goodbye Louise to replace the audio (speeded up to better match the original's tempo).
• 1:55:49 - Added a few additional credits, Roger Ebert for the idea, myself for fan-editing and special thanks to Dwight Fry.

Trusted Reviewer review

1 review
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
This edit made me realize why I always thought the original cut of Being There fell apart in the third act: for the first two acts the satire is ellegant, smart and on point; and then we get stuff that would belong in any lowbrow sex farce. Maybe an approach closer to the book by the filmmakers would have helped here, since the literary Chance is described as looking like a cross between Cary Grant and Ted Kennedy, but while Peter Sellers was all sorts of brilliant, strikingly handsome in a classical way he wasn't, so everyone suddenly getting horny for him just doesn't work. The approach seems to work fine for many people (see eyepainter's review) but for me it had always been jarring, and in fact you can put the blame for the final version of this edit on me, as I did encourage Paranoid Android to go beyond his initial tweaks.

But for my tastes, this is how it should always have been. Tasteful from start to finish, no longer "Carry On Washington" in the final act. The vulgarity is gone, the biting satire stays. But it seems it will reveal itself to be divisive. In any case, just remember: fanediting is a state of mind.

10/10 across the board from me.
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User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
8.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0(1)
Audio Editing
 
9.0(1)
Visual Editing
 
9.0(1)
Narrative
 
8.0(1)
Enjoyment
 
8.0(1)
Overall rating
 
8.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
I believe that it is much harder to do a fanfix for a good movie than it is to do one for a bad movie. The reason is obvious. With a bad movie, it's easy to justify why the film needs to be fixed. But with a good movie like this one, the easy thing to do is raise an eyebrow or two and ask why (Especially because of how much of a passion project this was for the late Peter Sellers). Fortunately, this edit of the 1979 classic is very good, all things considered. To quote Chance himself, as long as the roots aren't severed, all is well.

I love the original 130-minute version just fine (Although I do agree the outtake reel during the end credits was a grave mistake. Something I'm glad this edit fixed, by the way). I have read Ebert's review on the film, and while I disagree that the sexual subplots were unnecessary (In fact, I think the scene with Eve getting naughty over Chance while he remains blissfully unaware gives us a major clue about the infamous final scene, if you're asking me), I can see how someone might consider this an improvement over the original. It works for what it is, and if you want an abridged version of Being There, this is a pretty strong alternative. It's not my favorite edit ever, but I can imagine someone liking this version. Definitely check this one out if you're a fan of the film.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched
Digital
Owner's reply January 29, 2023

Thanks for taking the time to watch through, glad you enjoyed it even if you did miss the removed elements. Can quite understand where you are coming from, the opinions of critics are rarely universal and never gospel!

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