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Released Highlander - The French Theatrical Cut - Preservation
#1
After my recent Highlander 2 European Cut preservation, and williarob's excellent Highlander US Theatrical preservation, I thought I'd have a go at bringing the often overlooked French Theatrical Cut of the original Highlander into the world of HD...and English!

Released just a few weeks after the US Theatrical Cut, the French Theatrical version is very similar; most of the cuts made to the US version are here, but it's already a little closer to the full length European Cut which would be released a few months later. The extra wrestling shots and the Bedsoe scene have already gone by this version, and many of the shots have been trimmed or extended by a few frames here and there. The biggest change in comparison to the US Cut is that this version retains the WWII flashback sequence, so Rachel's character makes a bit more sense here. This also features the first appearance of the "enhanced" final quickening which features different effects to the US Theatrical Cut. This would go on to be the version seen in all later cuts of the film. 

This cut can still be bought in France on DVD, and as far as I know has never gone out of print, but it has only ever been available in Standard Definition and dubbed into French.

For this preservation I used the video from the 30th Anniversary Blu Ray, and the audio from the US Theatrical Cut laserdisc to recreate this version in full HD. I used the most recent French DVD as a guide for both the editing and the audio. Obviously English language audio has never existed for this cut, but the US audio is almost identical so it fits quite well.

I also used the original UK Blu Ray to patch the opening shot of the wrestlers walking through the tunnel (this has been trimmed by 9 frames on the 30th Anniversary Blu Ray), and upscaled the end credits from the French DVD (both the US and French Cut feature small differences in the end credits in comparison to the European Cut). I also used the French DVD to patch a small piece of missing audio from the US Theatrical Cut.

[Image: ChuDbgo.jpg]
I've included the original French audio on a second track. It may be of interest to some as it features Christopher Lambert dubbing himself back into his native language.

This is more of a curiosity for the hardcore Highlander film, but I hope some of you enjoy it. PM me for the link. 

[Image: L3Y17bh.jpg]
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#2
This is all kind of awesome! Finally!
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#3
(2019-11-11, 10:39 AM)Stamper Wrote: This is all kind of awesome! Finally!
Thanks, I hope you enjoy! I wasn't expecting this one to be that popular as it's a pretty obscure cut of the film, but I'm getting quite a few requests for it. 

Please let me know if you have any feedback : )
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#4
Well it's the cut I saw several times in the cinema, and then VHS so many french people like me are fond of it.

Tell me, there was another different cut in the french cinemas: The french dub you have here, and the english language subtitled prints, which didn't include the nazi scene. Is that one on a DVD or Blu-ray?
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#5
(2019-11-11, 01:17 PM)Stamper Wrote: Well it's the cut I saw several times in the cinema, and then VHS so many french people like me are fond of it.

Tell me, there was another different cut in the french cinemas: The french dub you have here, and the english language subtitled prints, which didn't include the nazi scene. Is that one on a DVD or Blu-ray?
I'm glad you enjoyed it : ) It's always nice to be able to watch a film the way you grew up with it. I'm from the UK so I don't have any nostalgia for this version, but I just couldn't bear seeing it being forgotten when it could be easily restored. I hope the French soundtrack was ok. I used the latest DVD, I skpped through the film to make sure it was in sync but didn't check the whole thing in French. 

The second version you mention, without the WWII sequence, sounds like the USA Theatrical Cut. It's almost identical to this French version except it includes some alternate wrestling footage, an additional shot of Detective Bedsoe in his car, and the WWII scene has been removed. I wasn't aware that this version had been seen in French cinemas. When you saw it in the cinema was it only the English language prints with subtitles that didn't feature the WWII scene? 

The USA Theatrical version was released on VHS and laserdisc, but never DVD or Blu Ray. Another user here, williarob, recently restored this version and it's really well done. He even restored some shots from a 35mm film print. That's dedication! 

I've always loved all the many different versions of the Highlander films and even now I'm learning of new ones!
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#6
Yes I'm a big fan of the film.

Highlander played in french cinema like all others US films, in two versions:

- French dubbed
- Original English with french subtitles.

After about a week of the film being released, word of the mouth began to spread that the Original English with french subtitles was different from the French dub, it didn't have the WW2 scene, but also there was either a narration or no narration on the beginning text (I forgot but could research this).

I saw it thus in English too, just to watch the differences and hear the original english, but apart from the WW2 scene being missing, I can't remember the other differences. I think in all I saw it six times on original release, maybe 2 times in original english.
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#7
(2019-11-11, 02:55 PM)Stamper Wrote: Yes I'm a big fan of the film.

Highlander played in french cinema like all others US films, in two versions:

- French dubbed
- Original English with french subtitles.

After about a week of the film being released, word of the mouth began to spread that the Original English with french subtitles was different from the French dub, it didn't have the WW2 scene, but also there was either a narration or no narration on the beginning text (I forgot but could research this).

I saw it thus in English too, just to watch the differences and hear the original english, but apart from the WW2 scene being missing, I can't remember the other differences. I think in all I saw it six times on original release, maybe 2 times in original english.
Thanks for the information, it's all new to me and really interesting.

I'm guessing that the English language version was exactly the same as the US Cut. Perhaps the English audio mix hadn't been completed for the WWII scene yet, as it wouldn't be first seen in English for several months until the the full length European Cut appeared. 

All versions of the film that I'm aware of feature opening narration over the text.
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#8
The european cut was the one release in england?
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#9
(2019-11-11, 03:06 PM)Stamper Wrote: The european cut was the one release in england?
Yes, and it's the one that's now available on all Blu Ray releases. It's the most complete version as it features many scenes and shots missing from previous ones, but does lose three unique shots from the US version. In the 90s the US got a similar version called the Director's Cut that had altered audio and some changes to visual effects.
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#10
It was only the "Director's Cut" that features the new VFX. I haven't watched it in a while but I think the only visual change was that they digitally removed the wires during the final quickening. The European cut seen on all Blu Rays still shows the wires.

The US Cut does have slightly different effects for the final quickening (williarob restored this from 35mm for his restoration), but starting with the French version all other cuts of the film featured more polished effects.

If you know how to get hold of Russel Mulcahy then please do ask him to petition for a collector's set. There are four different version of the original Highlander, and five versions for Highlander II. It would be a dream come true to see both of his Highlander films get the Blade Runner treatment with all versions fully restored. I could even help provide hard to find sources for the European cuts of Highlander II.
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