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ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT
Year: 2003 (1979)
USA & UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Bolaji Badejo, Helen Horton, Eddie Powell
Director: Ridley Scott
USA & UK: 116 mins
USA Rated: R for sci-fi violence/gore and language (Director's Cut)
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language, moderate violence and horror (Director's Cut)
USA Release Date: 29 October 2003 (Re-release)
UK Release Date: 31 October 2003 (Re-release)
Alien is the first chapter in one of the most popular and terrifying sagas in science fiction history. The nightmare begins when the crew of a spaceship investigate a transmission from a desolate planet, and discover a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate mankind. Sigourney Weaver stars as the iron-willed Ripley, who is destined to do battle with the galaxy's ultimate creature.
The crew of commercial vessel Nostromo, on its return journey to earth, receives what appears to be a SOS from a stricken craft on a nearby planet. Despite concerns, the workers discover that they are under contractual obligation to launch a rescue attempt. Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) leads the mission but returns to the Nostromo when his colleague Kane (John Hurt) is attacked by a mysterious organism which refuses to release him from its grip. Second-in-command Ripley is reluctant to allow the creature into the ship but scientist, Ash (Ian Holm), is insistent. Ripley's misgivings are soon vindicated as the strange and resilient nature of the alien begins to reveal itself to the crew.
For this digitally remastered special edition of what many have called the "scariest movie ever made," Ridley Scott has incorporated new footage never before seen in movie houses.
Working closely with Twentieth Century Fox, Scott oversaw a restoration of the original film's negative, as well as further digital enhancements. In addition, Scott and his team of archivists went through over 100 boxes of film footage, unseen in almost 25 years, which was discovered in a London vault. From this wealth of material, Scott selected new "Director's Cut" footage, which then underwent digital restoration, matching it to ALIEN's newly-"polished" negative. The film also features a brand-new six-track digital stereo mix.
Fox released the original ALIEN in May 1979. The film was hailed by critics and audiences worldwide as a seminal work of science fiction, and went on to gross over $100 million worldwide, a remarkable number for that era. The film's success spawned a film franchise for the studio, with three adventures in the saga following in 1986, 1992, and 1997.
ALIEN launched the career of Sigourney Weaver, whose character Ellen Ripley became one of the genre's first and most enduring heroines.
The film also stars Tom Skerritt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm and Yaphet Kotto. The producers are Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill, and the screenplay was written by Dan O'Bannon from a story by O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett.
The Making Of THE DIRECTOR'S CUT
The special edition of ALIEN originated two years ago when Twentieth Century Fox commenced preservation efforts on the original 1979 film. The studio and director Ridley Scott, while pleased with the condition of the negative, decided that additional enhancements were in order. "Surprisingly, the negative still looked pretty good," says Scott, "but the blacks were a little 'fluttery' and it was starting to go a little grainy."
To preserve and enhance the film's colors, the studio made black-and-white preservation elements, creating an Interpositive print (IP) from the original camera negative, which was then digitally scanned.
As this work proceeded, Fox approached Scott with the idea of creating a special edition of ALIEN, adding scenes and footage never before seen in theaters. "I don't usually revisit my films, but after I took a look at ALIEN, I thought that it really held up well after 24 years," says Scott. "At the same time, I realized a new generation of filmgoers has never seen it properly - on the big screen. So it seemed the right time to release ALIEN again, theatrically.
ALIEN tells the story of five men and two women working on a battered commercial space vessel, far way in space and time, who encounter an awesome galactic horror. The members of the Nostromo crew are not stereotyped, heroic space explorers - they're interstellar truck drivers. The realism of the characters -and the performances of Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Kotto - complements Scott's candid, almost documentary-like directing style, drawing the viewer into the action like an eighth member of the crew.
The Alien itself is one of the film's greatest technical achievements. Conceived and designed by acclaimed Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger, the Alien was based on the artist's personal visual world called "bio-mechanical." Giger worked closely with Ridley Scott throughout the entire production, designing the creature in its various forms and actually constructing life-sized costumes and sets personally. In addition, Giger was responsible for the realization of the alien planet and the mysterious derelict spacecraft in which the Alien is first discovered.
Giger's work on ALIEN was recognized when the film won the 1979 Oscar® for Best Visual Effects. His creation has become a legendary movie monster, as mysterious and terrifying on the tenth viewing of the film as it is on the first. From egg to parasite to its final hideous form, the Alien is relentlessly horrifying, killing with no conscience or morality.
Futuristic designer and political cartoonist Ron Cobb was responsible for the designs and for the Earth ship Nostromo. His fully-functional realistic hardware provided an excellent contrast with Giger's otherworldly concepts for the planet and Alien. Brian Johnson, who had also worked on "The Empire Strikes Back,"and Nick Adler supervised the visual effects.
ALIEN began production in 1978 at the famous Shepperton Studio Centre outside of London. It was the first motion picture from Brandywine Productions, and independent film company headed by producer Gordon Carroll and writer/directors David Giler and Walter Hill.
As well as the original, Alien Director's Cut DVD features Scott's recent theatrically released in 2003 cut
Subtitles: Hard of Hearing English
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16x9)
Sound Quality: 5.1 DTS / 5.1
Special Features: Theatrical and Director's Cut of films
Director's introduction to 2004 version of the film
Ridley Scott and crew commentary on theatrical version
First Draft screenplay
2 pre-production galleries
Art of Alien - screentest footage - Weaver's screentest with optional Scott commentary
Art of Alien Featurette - Truckers in Space
4 Art of Alien galleries (approx. 160 pages)
2 Art of Alien portrait galleries
Production Documentary - Fear of the Unknown: Shepperton Studios, 1978
Production Gallery Featurette - The Darkest Reaches: Nostromo and Alien Planet
15 Production Galleries (approx 326 pages)
Documentary - The Eighth Passenger: Creature Design
6 sets of Alien Galleries (approx 158 pages)
Chestburster Gallery - H.R. Geiger's Workshop - Photo Archive (approx. 23 pages)
Multi-angle segment - Chestburster Scene
Documentary - Future Tense: Music and Editing
7 Deleted Scenes
Featurette - Outward Bound: Visual Effects
Featurette - A Nightmare Fulfilled: Reaction to the Film
5 Galleries (approx. 126 pages)