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Doc SaLvageD: The Fan-edit of Bronze!


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For years, rumors have persisted of the existence of an alternate, "straight adventure" (read: non-camp) version of George Pal's 1975 "classic". I thought to myself, "Well, even if it *does* exist and it ever sees the light of day, they probably won't have made the changes that *I* would've made..." So I decided to do it myself.

I am pleased and proud to announce that I have just completed posting this to alt.binaries.dvd. Here are the notes from my NFO:

Are you a Doc Savage fan or George Pal fan or a hero/superhero fan - or just a *movie* fan - that saw the 1975 "Doc Savage" film and came away disappointed? Well, Have No Fear - "The Doc" is Here! He put his nose to the grindstone for two months and now is pleased to (noselessly) announce that this movie has finally gotten the re-edit it has needed for over *thirty years*...

This is a labor of love from someone who's long felt that George Pal deserved a swan song without a cheesy male chorus. Check out the "Changes - by Chapter.rtf" file for a comprehensive listing of the improvements made to this version of the film, and ENJOY!

Please note that this film is NTSC, and is a faily well-composed "open matte". Though intended for presentation in a matted 1.85:1 aspect ratio, it suffers from few of the bugaboos of open matte productions: visible boom microphones, incomplete sets, partial matte paintings, etc. Viewers with 4:3 displays will not find it distracting to watch this DVD "fullscreen".
Nonetheless, an experiment was attempted on this project to see if a subtitle stream could be used to "soft matte" an open-matted film for selectable-letterbox presentation on a 4:3 display. As the result was only partially successful (it works on some DVD players but not on others), a menu was not provided to highlight this "feature". Also, as this film is "open-matted", viewers with 16:9 displays are advised to use the "Crop to 16:9" feature of your television or DVD player for best results.

I will post my "Changes - by Chapter" text in a reply here in case anyone is curious...
Maybe downloadable from Fanedit.info
The chapters and chapter titles for this film were gleaned from the LaserDisc release of the film.

Chapter 1 - Opening Logo:
No change.

Chapter 2 - Main Title; Fortress of Solitude:
The first and most important change in this chapter is the replacement of the "Doc Savage March" with the "no vocals" version from "The Fantasy Film Music of George Pal".
The first of three "twinkles" in Doc's eye has been removed. In the first two versions of this re-edit, the offending frames (6 frames for each "twinkle", BTW) were exported to a series of BMPs and an un-twinkling eye was cut and pasted (from a "clean" frame) into each. However, without the twinkle, the close-up is superfluous, so it has been removed in favor of an extension of the medium shot to compensate. A dissolve was added in place of the jump cut from Doc to a snowy horizon which left the viewer with a lingering "after image"; this change also diminishes the obviousness of the backward footage used to accomplish the aforementioned medium shot extension. Also, with the twinkle gone, the corresponding triangle strike in the music seemed unnecessary, so it was removed.
The letters "U", "S", and "A" in the name "JOHN PHILIP SOUSA" have been changed from red, white and blue to yellow. (The task was simplified by the use of a Paint Shop Pro script to act on the series of exported bitmaps. There is no corresponding change to the closing credits as they are presented as a "roll" and a similar approach would be problematic.)
The "Fortress of Solitude" banner over the doorway of Doc's igloo has been cropped out.
The shot of the rocket was shortened to skip the silly "fish" thing.

Chapter 3 - The Fabulous Five:
Long Tom's "short circuit" was removed. To make up (somewhat) for the abruptness of the resulting cut, reverse footage was used.
Doc's minor stumble while rising from the lotus position has been edited out.

Chapter 4 - New York City:
Throughout this chapter and the next two, much effort was made to minimize the fact that the actor portraying the South American Indian assassin is all-too-obviously a blue-eyed Caucasian. His close-ups were eliminated, but some medium shots were problematic to remove so they remain.
Removed close-up insert of Doc's face from scene where he is pulling bullet out of wall and replaced with close up of hand. (Doc's teeth were not clenched in the insert, but they were in the flanking shots!)

Chapter 5 - Bad News for Doc:
Removed Renny's "Hi Doc" line (for cleaner intercutting).
Removed Doc's "I picked up your thought waves..." line.

Chapter 6 - Pursuit of the Gunman:
Removed the assassin turning to fire on Doc, Doc's subsequent duck into the stairwell, and Doc shooting his pistol at the assassin. This was done for cleaner intercutting, NOT to eliminate the one instance in the film of Doc using a gun!

Chapter 7 - Doc's Problem:
Removed Monk's "We know that sound by now" line. Also removed the word "buddies" from Monk's line about fighting together in the trenches.

Chapter 8 - Dogfight:
No change.

Chapter 9 - Somewhere in the Caribbean:
Removed Borden's "rest in pieces" toast and everything from Captain Seas' "I started out in a sideshow..." line to the end of the chapter. Dissolved the end of this chapter into the beginning of the next.

Chapter 10 - Deception of the Deed:
Cut Don Rubio answering and talking on the phone for use in the next chapter.

Chapter 11 - Too Much to Drink:
Removed Don Rubio sitting in giant crib speaking on the phone with Captain Seas and replaced it with the shot of Don Rubio on the phone from the previous chapter. (This shot was reversed for better effect.)

Chapter 12 - Doc's Good Example:
The cook drooling over Doc (after swatting the two young maids for doing the same) has been eliminated.

Chapter 13 - Flying Snakes:
No change.

Chapter 14 - Pleasure Cruise:
Edited out the waiter licking his lips in anticipation of Johnny's drink order. (Replaced this with a shot from a few seconds earlier in the scene.)
Removed Karen's "Chow!" line.

Chapter 15 - The Last Supper:
Removed Monk's hiccup reaction after Seas' informing the men that the meal was their last.

Chapter 16 - Village Stories:
Removed the first of several musical references to "La Cucaracha" (hackneyed if not completely inappropriate).
Removed Doc's second "eye twinkle", using the cut and paste method described under Chapter 2.

Chapter 17 - Jungle Safari:
Removed two shots containing Don Rubio's giant crib.

Chapter 18 - Setting Up Camp:
Removed "hungry as an ape" exchange between Ham and Monk. Also removed Doc whistling "La Cucaracha".
Left intact the singing of "La Cucaracha" in the car: it is less conspicuous in this context and trying to remove it would cause a problem with Mona indicating their approach to her village.
Removed Ham and Monk interacting with the girl in Mona's village.

Chapter 19 - Danger Ahead:
The second of three "Doc Savage March" cues were removed from this chapter. To do so, it was necessary to re-edit (and significantly shorten) the trek to the 'Edge of the World' to fit the available non-vocal musical segment.

Chapter 20 - The Edge of the World:
No change.

Chapter 21 - A Pool of Gold:
Removed Captain Seas' "law of the jungle" line.

Chapter 22 - Elixir of Death:
Removed Monk's exchange with Chief Chaac.
Re-edited so the Fabulous Five untying their hands seems like less of an afterthought.

Chapter 23 - Have No Fear, Doc Savage is Here:
Monk's "Have No Fear, Doc Savage is Here!" (perhaps a bit too energetic for a guy with the life sapping out of him) has been replaced with a quieter acknowledgement of Doc's arrival.
Removed hard subs indicating fighting sytles.
Replaced more musical references to "La Cucaracha" (with mixed results).

Chapter 24 - Nature Seeks Revenge:
Removed Doc's third (and last) "eye twinkle", again using the cut and paste method described under Chapter 2.
Removed medium shot of Don Rubio covered in gold.
Changed/removed some musical cues.

Chapter 25 - Doc Savage Rehabilitation Center:
No change.

Chapter 26 - An Urgent Message:
No change.

Chapter 27 - End Credits:
Replaced the last of the three "Doc Savage March" cues (again, replacing it with the available non-vocal musical segment). For the balance of the credits, a section of the "Doc and the Girl" track (from "The Fantasy Film Music of George Pal") was used.[/b]
Am downloading this now from newsgroups & will up it next to RS, if that ok with Slark?
That is FANTASTIC! Thanks!

Please let me know what you think of it, too, okay? (The good, the bad, AND the ugly...) Put a bit of time into this thing and and it's time for an honest appraisal of the result...

Thanks again for upping to RS. I mentioned that possibility on the OT Forums but my upspeed on this DSL line is CRAP...
I remember watching the original Doc Savage movie when I was around seven years old and loving it. Thirty years later.... well, lets just say I watch it with my hands over my eyes alot of the time. The original is very uneven, swinging from extreme camp to serious drama.... it is a movie that seems unsure of what type of audience it is appealling too... young children or the pulp reading fan-base.

Thus, this new fan edit is a welcomed relief! It is a slightly more serious Doc Savage movie. Most of the way-over-the-top cringe worthy moments have been removed, and the cute but annoying Doc Savage ballad has been replaced with just the musical march.

It is not a dark movie by any stretch of the imagination. It is fun, light adventure that does not go too far over the top. If you are a fan of the original Doc Savage pulp novels, then I would definitely recommend this edit for you. It is well done and entertaining.

Thumbs Up! :D
Thanks bionicbob!

My first review, and it's a positive one. Kinda makes me feel all warm and squishy....


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