DVD: "Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut"

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DVD: "Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut"

Post by marcus »

I really don't want this thread to become one for mud-slinging about the movie - might I request that we confine any subsequent discussion to this version of the movie, rather than comments about Farrel's performance (or whatever) which have been aired so many times in so many places?

Anyway - they've finally released this version of the film in the UK and I watched it at the weekend. Previously I had seen the theatrical release twice (in the cinema) and the Director's cut on DVD (probably watched that 2-3 times, as well).

Stone says in his "all new" introduction that people who loved the film first will hopefully love it more; and people who hated it first time round will probably still hate it. So Stone is perfectly aware of the reaction to the film!

First things first - it's about 3.5 hours long, so it's a loooong film. There is an intermission, thankfully. I thought that Stone had just bunged in every foot of film, but he has still been selective - as I mention in another thread, he actually removed the scene of Alexander walking the post-carnage battlefield of Gaugamela.

Additional things we get are:

- more of Bagoas, including him actually speaking, and he and Alexander kissing properly (which, significantly, he never does with Hephaestion).

- Alexander's self-incarceration following Cleitus' murder, and the argument with Cleitus is, I think, longer and more developed. It includes Cleitus being dragged out of the room and returning to goad Alexander more.

- More exposition of the Persians and their attitude towards Alexander.

- Gedrosia.

- Generally more voice-over from Ptolemy to fill in, with general footage accompanying it. For example, when Al. returns to Babylon, Ptolemy explains about his marrying two other wives.

Overall, I was very satisfied with this new version of the film. It did indeed flesh things out and make more sense in places. I'm sure everyone on Pothos knows that I am a supporter of the film, despite having some misgivings about certain aspects; and this is definitely, to my mind, the best version yet - albeit the longest!

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Post by Efstathios »

I was actually about to go and find this version to see it, until i read the first of the additional things:
more of Bagoas, including him actually speaking, and he and Alexander kissing properly (which, significantly, he never does with Hephaestion).
Stone must be Curtius' reincarnation, it cant be explained otherwise.

I was about to say more, but i dont want to ruin your post Marcus.
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Post by marcus »

Efstathios wrote:I was actually about to go and find this version to see it, until i read the first of the additional things:
more of Bagoas, including him actually speaking, and he and Alexander kissing properly (which, significantly, he never does with Hephaestion).
Stone must be Curtius' reincarnation, it cant be explained otherwise.

I was about to say more, but i dont want to ruin your post Marcus.
Well, I suppose it depends what you were going to say. :wink: If you had seen this new version, then I would welcome your thoughts on how the inclusion of more Bagoas added or detracted from the version as a whole; but you're probably wise not to say any more if you have actually chosen not to watch this version for the sole reason that they have included more on Bagoas - it's clearly not going to be to your taste, despite the fact that the film as a whole is better, more coherent, better edited, etc. (in my opinion).

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Post by Paralus »

I believe you may have to pirate me a copy Marcus. I've yet to spy it here in Oz. Then again, I haven't looked terribly hard.

Would be interested in viewing it though. 'Specially as I've a copy of the Director's cut. Which was ...oh why spoil a decent thread....
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Post by Efstathios »

As i said, i like the additions, except that one i mentioned. You cant say that the movie is historically accurate when you are based on the corrupted to the bone roman senator that may have been a bugger himself, who wrote down his version of history heavily based on his period and on gossips.

There is absolutely no source mentioning the things that Curtius mentioned about Bagoas and other spicey details. The other writters too were based on the initial sources, all of them, but only Curtius wrote about the hypothetical relationship between Bagoas and Alexander.

And if we accept that Stone chose to include this unsubstanciated story in his film, why did he not include the fact that Alexander had 355+ women for every night of the year who were parading in his tent every time for him to chose, as the Persian custom was?

I was ready to say more things, about deliberate actions like this, even from Fox, who advised Stone in including this gossip. Shall i continue? Oh yes. I am not waiting for an answer. Same thing that Green did and now a little country north of Greece claims that they are desentants of the Macedonians and that Macedonia had nothing to do with Greece. That's how history is written.

Nevertheless i will find and watch this version, just to see the restof the content.

P.S As you have seen i name people, i am not putting "this man, or this professor" instead. Because these things must be known.
Last edited by Efstathios on Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Paralus »

I wouldn't, then, read Arrian too closely Stathi. You might be in for a rude awakening.

Curtius, let's say, is just a little more ....to the point.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Post by jasonxx »

Ill not slag off the movie anymore as were aware some like it fair enough.

But what is Stone Trying to do. He keeps banging on recutting etc. Whos he trying to convert or to please. The first movie did the universal damage. You couldnt rebuilt the Statue of liberty once it had been blown up.

Stone needs to move on make another movie.Thats if he can maybe hes stucf for ideas. The viewing public has closed the door on Alexander and it dont matter what Stone does it wont be opened again.

Its like the English football team. They keep changing managers formations and players. But they will always be rubbish


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Post by Efstathios »

I've read Arrian 3 times until now. The only thing mentioned is that Bagoas went from Darius service to Alexander's service. Remind me if i am forgetting something else more important.
jasonxx

Post by jasonxx »

Efts

maybe you can clarify the biggest unhistorical misleader?

Where in Arrian Curtias etc does Cassander Crop up...

In the movie hes leading Cavalry Charges. Offering strategic Advice pre Gaugamela and even offering marriage advice.

Cassander is as prominent in Stones movie as Hepheastion is Abscent in the Burton movie. Doestnt Stone bang on about showing the person of Alexander how can a person be real in a story of make believe.

Alexander growling like a lion prenuptual. wearing more eye make up than a Panda.Getting Skewered at Hydaspes. Macedonians retreating at Hydaspes.

etc etc
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Post by Efstathios »

Historical misleading takes time. And money. And carefully planned actions.

People eat what they are fed uppon. Either it is a vegetable with a ton of conservatives, or a deliberately mistranslated text. Up until some years ago i thought it was some people talking conspiracy theories. Until in a thread we had here, it was Bob Sass i think who led me to read the ancient text because i couldnt believe my eyes on what he quoted from the famous now passage from Arrian talking about the long lasting rivalry between the Macedonians and the Greeks.

And it was indeed misstranslated. In every translation i could find on the net, and in books. I challenge anyone that knows someone that can read ancient Greek very good, to go and read the pasage and translate it word by word.
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Post by karen »

Efstathios wrote:People eat what they are fed uppon. Either it is a vegetable with a ton of conservatives...
NEVER eat these. They're much nicer with liberals, whose meat is more tender.

I saw Alexander Revisited for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I could see that it really was as long and comprehensive a version as Stone originally intended. It's much more coherent, everything is more fleshed out and better explicated, and thus it holds together much better as a story. Though it still suffers from the edits of history we all know and hate, the revolting wedding-night scene, and Colin Farrell not being convincing as one of the greatest military leaders, if not the greatest, of all time, I liked it better than the other two versions. Stone even had the taste to get rid of Hephaistion's deathbed convulsions, shown out of focus in the background while Alexander dreams aloud of the future.
Marcus wrote:- more of Bagoas, including him actually speaking, and he and Alexander kissing properly (which, significantly, he never does with Hephaestion).
Well, here's the thing. Homophobes can prattle on as much as they like about Stone having a "gay agenda," but if you look carefully you can see how he actually steered as close as he could to conservative American mores, avoiding visual images of Alexander having sex with an actual other man. The main sex scene is, of course, with a woman, and Roxane goes on to have much more of a relationship with Alexander than history suggests she did -- even presuming to share in his decisions on where to travel to -- though history knows Hephaistion was his true significant other. Second, Bagoas is a eunuch, so he doesn't really count as a man -- and even so the sex is limited to kissing. Third, Hephaistion is feminized through portrayal by a very girlish-looking Jared Leto with longer hair than any of the other Makedonians, even though ancient portraits claimed to be him are invariably short-haired and plenty masculine -- and he and Alexander don't do more than hug nonetheless. Not only that, but they both act guilty when Roxane catches them in a clench, as if they would have in a million years, in real life. There were a LOT of sops to the anti-gay audience here -- pointless sops, as some of our own members illustrate -- or, possibly, Stone's own 20th-century American sensibility dictated these things.

Bagoas, as his speaking lines show, is totally Mary Renault's Bagoas. There's no historical evidence that Bagoas' family had been killed off, as far as I know -- that was artistic license on Renault's part -- but Stone went with it. Having Bagoas call Alexander by his name rather than an honorific, but mispronounce it "Al'skander," is from Renault too.

If you look at it as really being the story of Alexander and his relationship with his two parents, this version has a VERY big difference, encapsulated in one line that comes in a scene near the end.

*** SPOILER WARNING ***

In previous flashbacks, Olympias has been trying to convince Alexander to assassinate Philip, contending that he's not really A's father (Zeus is), doesn't love or value him despite his avowals, and is going to dispose of him in favour of Eurydike's son. In this scene, after Philip's assassination, she tells him that Philip wanted to expose him at birth, because he had a "breathing problem." Totally ahistorical, as far as I know -- pure artistic license.

But what it does is vastly intensify the whole theme of ambiguity and uncertainty in Alexander's life. Is it true or not? He can't be sure. Which parent is more trustworthy? He can't know. Does his mother truly love him, or is she just using him for her own nefarious schemes? He can't tell. Did his father love or hate him? He'll never know. He doesn't even know whether she was behind the assassination. If such dramatic tension makes for a more satisfying story for you, you'll like this aspect. To me, actually, in a way it tied the whole movie together, thematically and emotionally.

Best,
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Post by Paralus »

karen wrote:conservative American mores
The side you order with your vegetables and liberals?
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Post by karen »

No, no, no. That'd be conservative American morels. You know, the mushroom. As they say, "That George Dubya Bush, he's such a fun guy."
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Haram/Harim

Post by sikander »

Greetings,
I would like to address this point:

"why did he not include the fact that Alexander had 355+ women for every night of the year who were parading in his tent every time for him to chose, as the Persian custom was? "

Because a harem did not consist of just nubile young women; it is, simply, where the women live and includes older women, young women, children, servants and such. In some areas, it simply means the place where women live.

Oliver Stone's depiction of the harem was Hollywood fantasy, not reality.

The harem was an inherited establishment; women usually remained in it until they died. They would have ranged in age from new born babes to grandmothers. Also, since many of the women were also there for political alliances, they were of all shapes, sizes, ages, races and more.. not a bevy of beauties <laughing>
The myth of the exotic harem woman parading her wares is more due to orientalism than to fact.

Indeed, there is current discussion on-going in academic circles as to whether a Persian harem actually existed at the time of Alexander...

Regards,
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Re: Haram/Harim

Post by marcus »

sikander wrote:Greetings,
I would like to address this point:

"why did he not include the fact that Alexander had 355+ women for every night of the year who were parading in his tent every time for him to chose, as the Persian custom was? "

Because a harem did not consist of just nubile young women; it is, simply, where the women live and includes older women, young women, children, servants and such. In some areas, it simply means the place where women live.

Oliver Stone's depiction of the harem was Hollywood fantasy, not reality.

The harem was an inherited establishment; women usually remained in it until they died. They would have ranged in age from new born babes to grandmothers. Also, since many of the women were also there for political alliances, they were of all shapes, sizes, ages, races and more.. not a bevy of beauties <laughing>
The myth of the exotic harem woman parading her wares is more due to orientalism than to fact.

Indeed, there is current discussion on-going in academic circles as to whether a Persian harem actually existed at the time of Alexander...

Regards,
Sikander
And, I might add, the ladies in the harem, even if they were such nubile lovelies as depicted in the film, would not have made themselves so "available" to all of Alexander's entourage - nor should Alexander have permitted "his" women to disport themselves in such a shameful way.

A very nice scene, though ... :wink:

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