Soldier Blue - is it available uncut?

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
Hi Folks,

I recently taped and watched the BBC2 screening of "Soldier Blue" - a graphic and uncompromising Western movie from 1971, starring Peter Strauss and Candace Bergen.

Anyway, I'd heard all about its notoriety, but having never seen the movie or any clips, I hadn't been able to vouch for its content. I have to say that it was a brutal film, albeit quite humorous in places, and despite my hatred of Westerns, this is one of the few really good ones.

Well, I'd actually quite like to get it on DVD, although I'm having problems locating a fully uncensored version. The German DVD release looks to run only 110 minutes, and is cut.

BBC2's print was in an approximate 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, and ran for about 112 minutes (TV speed, though). However, the BBC could not tell me if any material had been censored or cut by them, or by the distributor of the movie.

According to the BBFC website, it says:
Film (19th September 1970) - Rated "X", but cut by an unknown amount.

Video (13th March 1986) - Rated "18", but ran to only 108m 53s.

Video (26th January 1990) - Rated "18", still cut, some previous cuts now included, but now running to 109m 28s.

Video (14th July 2000) - Rated "18", not cut any further, now running at 109m 27s.

However, according to the Internet Movie Database:
"UK release is the original uncut version at 114 minutes, excludes all 'toned down' material from USA "PG-rated" version and includes all director's material in climatic scene, except for 36 seconds cut from a scene showing the rape of an Indian woman during the massacre of the village."

So, does anyone know if a completely uncut DVD release is in existance, or will this be one of those films that will never be seen in full, due to its history (ala "The Last House On The Left"), and bad storage of one copy of the original uncensored negative?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, in advance.

Pooch
 

Setenza

Well-known Member
Pooch I have pondered this issue for a long time.

The last print I saw was a UK video version about 8 years ago, and it was easy to spot where thre cuts were.

I have checked as many european and far east distributors that I know and no one seems to be circulating an uncut print.

Infact the I would agree, there's a good chance that the original may be lost if some label doesn't undertake a restoration project, soon.
 

Kevo

Well-known Member
Originally posted by PoochJD
Hi Folks,

I recently taped and watched the BBC2 screening of "Soldier Blue" - a graphic and uncompromising Western movie from 1971, starring Peter Strauss and Candace Bergen.


WHAT !!!! :eek: :eek:

When was this on?

How on earth did I miss it?

Bet it was shown when I was abroad on my hols!

Of all the luck :(
I've been waiting years to see this.

Damn, I'm annoyed.

Oh well, there's always BBC Choice/Four :)
 

Thor

Standard Member
Hell, I missed it too. What a time to show it at. They could have taken most of the crap they show earlier in the night off and shown this good film. Tonight, or this morning NOW, I am watching Shalako, another excellent film. Again what the hell sort of time to show it at 1:00am.:mad: :confused: :rolleyes:
 

Rachael Bitchlist

Active Member
The film portrays the "battle" or more accurately massacree at Sand Springs, Colorado. I saw it in the theatre uncut. It was not a popular film. It was too historically accurate! It didn't help that it was released during the Vietnam War either, I suppose? Americans, pale-skins that is, don't like having it thrown in their face just how badly the Indians were treated. I imagine a movie about the brutal Cherokee Trail Of Tears would be equally unpopular, even now. I applaude the film for portraying the truth! I never bought the Laserdisc because it was cut. I doubt it will ever be fully restored. I hope I'm wrong. Best wishes!
 

kevb

Active Member
Are we talking about the infamous scene where the squaw that is raped has something very nasty done to her breast. Or are there even more cuts to it. Never seen the film myself but have been told stories from people who saw it at the cinema during it original release. A bit of an uban legend.
 

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
Hi Again,

Thanks to everyone for their help, so far.

The film "Soldier Blue" aired on BBC2, late at night on Friday 16th August, between 00:20 and 02:15 hours. The timeslot was kind of understandable, bearing in mind the ending, and the nature of the film itself.

In the BBC's defence, though, it was a good clean print, and was almost in the right ratio, as far as I could tell. (The film appears to start in a hard-masked 2.35:1 ratio, before pulling out to its proper ratio of 1.85:1, which is what the BBC version did as well.)

As it seems that no one has yet been able to locate an uncut print of this, I think I'm going to e-mail Criterion and see if they might consider releasing this title in a digitally remastered, uncut version.

I mean, as much as the ending is very sick and disturbing, the film is historically accurate, and the violence is in a suitable context. Not to mention, that the movie is now 30 years old, so hopefully someone, somewhere must know of an uncut print that exists in a closet, or attic. And I think the film would qualify for the Criterion Collection's criteria...

"The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films, is dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Criterion began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors. All of the films published under the Criterion banner represent cinema at its finest."

If anyone else would like to also see this movie, given a legitimate and uncensored DVD release, please could you also visit Criterion's "Suggest A Film" site. The site address is:

Criterion Title Suggestion Link

Thanks,

Pooch
 
S

shaunthedude

Guest
Hi,

I came in from work just before the film started. I watched most of it in bed so obviously I missed some of it when I dozed off. From the bits I saw it did not seem very violent or bloody. In fact it seemd quite comical at times. Can sombody fill me in on the ending you are all talking about. What did I miss??

cheers

shaun
 

PoochJD

Distinguished Member
HI,

Just had a response from Jon Mulvaney - the Customer Service guy from Criterion. Sadly, it's only a pre-generated reply.

"Thanks for your suggestion!

Sorry for the bounceback, but due to the large volume of suggestions we receive every day, I can't respond to each one individually. You should know, however, that when you click the title suggestion button, you ensure that your message will be forwarded directly to our acquisitions crew. Customers input is very important to us, and many films that have become Criterion editions first came to our attention through the enthusiastic recommendations of Criterion viewers.

Thanks again and keep the ideas coming!"

Shaun - it's the final 20 minutes of the movie, that give the film its "18" certificate, and also the problems with censorship in most parts of the world. (Even the US still doesn't have an uncut version legally available!)

To cut a long story, very short, the final 20 minutes shows in graphic detail the US cavalry taking on the Indians, who have no reason to be attacked. As such, the carnage that ensues, includes:
- rapes
- beheadings
- disembowellings
- killing of women
- killing of young children and babies
- horse trips
- gun shot wounds exploding in slow-motion
- limbs being hacked off and/or severed

That should give you a rough idea, at least. However, up until that time, the film is - like you say - pretty tame. If only you had seen the final 20 minutes, then you'd know why it was so controversial!

Pooch
 
S

shaunthedude

Guest
BLIMEY!!!! Well, from what I saw of it I would never have thought the ending could be like that. Surely it will be out on dvd at some time in the near future. Fingers crossed eh

cheers
shaun
 

ptb2014

Novice Member
Just taken delivery of German Blu Ray, and while the rape of the Indian woman and the breast cutting begins it only begins, as does the castration of the Indian chief, so there is nothing explicit and I dont know if this is uncut now or not. Either way it is a dramatic condemnation of the treatment of the natives by the white men. Good clean print and rich colours on Blue Ray in correct aspect of 2.35:1, not 1.85:1 as Pooch stated. Film runs at 114 minutes so could be the full uncut movie.
 

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