Where Are They? The Victors (1963)

 “Where Are They?” will be an occasional series on missing films. They are rarely, if ever, shown on TV and have never been released on video in any form. Some films I may have seen years ago and some I have never seen.  If anyone has any knowledge where these films have been shown, TV, a film festival or in a basement in your house please let me know.

 victorr

Directed by Carl Forman, “The Victors” is a film that has disappeared off the cinematic map. Unusual film for its time, a serious uncompromising anti-war film that was a big production for Columbia Pictures who had aspirations of Academy Awards for the film. Released during the prestigious Christmas holiday season at almost three hours in length, the film is a grim, epic anti-war drama with an all-star cast.

the-victors-poster

The cast includes Vince Edwards, Melina Mercouri, Albert Finny, George Hamilton, Jeanne Moreau, George Peppard, Maurice Ronet, Romy Schnieder, Elke Sommer, Eli Wallach, Peter Fonda and Senta Berger. With this kind of cast it is strange this film has not seem a home video release.

 the-victors-still1

For Carl Forman this was the only film he ever directed. Better known as a writer (and some time Producer)  of such films as “The Guns of Navarone”,  “High Noon”, “A Hatful of Rain”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “MacKenna’s Gold” among others.  

  victors_sountrackscp516

Part of the film touches on the true life story of Private Eddie Slovik who was the only American solider executed during World War II.

victors1

There are unofficial copies of this film available on the web. Beware! According to IMDB the film has a running time of 175 minutes. Some copies I have seen for sale are closer to 150 minutes. Then again, since Columbia/Sony is not releasing the film it may be the only version we can see.    

 Attached below are a couple of  interesting articles on the film.

Joe Baltake article on “The Victors”

1963 New York Times Review

107 comments on “Where Are They? The Victors (1963)

  1. obscureclassics says:

    Hi John! I feel bad because I hardly ever comment on your blog, but I read it all the time.

    Anyhoo, I wanted to let you know that you’re one of the blogs I’ve passed the Premio Dardos award to.

    http://obscureclassics.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/the-premio-dardos/

    Like

  2. John Almerigotti says:

    Hi John, I was looking for a DVD of “The Victors” and found your blog. Great film, one of the best war films about WW2. It reminds me of the work of Sam Fuller. One of the most unforgetable scenes for me is when the squad comes upon the concentration camp. The visual of the skeletal humans clinging to the barbed wire fench is so stunning, so disturbing it’s hard to watch without tearing up. Sadly I haven’t been able to find it even on VHS but on occasion it is run on TCM. Try writing TCM through their site requesting that they run the film – it’s been a while but it’s in their library. I’ve had very good luck in the past with several films I’ve requested/suggested to them, assuming that I wasn’t alone in the request. I’m still hoping for a DVD release but only time with tell.

    Like

  3. John Almerigotti says:

    Okay I did find it on You Tube, it’s better than nothing for those who haven’t seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uTT84_nDsI
    Also put in a suggestion to TCM, the more that do it the likelier it is to be shown.

    Like

  4. John Greco says:

    Thanks John for your commments, the link and the TCM idea. I need to watch this.

    Like

  5. Oldgit says:

    You can watch the 146 minute version here;
    http://www.megavideo.com/?v=XJ0F21UQ

    Like

  6. John Greco says:

    Oldgit,

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  7. Mike Stack says:

    THE VICTORS was one of the most profound movies of my life. I remember, that it was aired around Thanksgiving time in Chicago between my late Grammar School and High School years. it was an event I looked forward too.

    Like

  8. John Greco says:

    Mike,

    thanks for your comments, I’ve heard nothing but good talk about this film and I have been delinquent in watching it. A few previous comments have given resources available on the web to watch this.

    Like

  9. Jonathan F says:

    I have heard the Columbia will finally be releasing a DVD of “The Victors” in the next few months. I don’t know if it will be the full version or a shorter one.

    Like

  10. John Greco says:

    Jonathan

    that is great to here. I am looking foreward to watching this. Thanks for the info!!!

    Like

  11. Charles Allan says:

    Thought I would check this website for info. on “The Victors”. I happen to have the original cinema poster of 1963.I believe it was a great film and great cast.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Charles,

      I look forward to evntually seeing this film. Another commentor mentioned that Columbia is releasing this finally on DVD! Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

      • Jeanne Polese says:

        REALLY?!!! WHEN?

        Like

      • Edward Slack says:

        Thanks for keeping me up to date.  The film still stirs people.Best Wishes for the Festive Season. Eddie

        From: Twenty Four Frames To: ed.slack@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 17:46 Subject: [New comment] Where Are They? The Victors (1963) #yiv3883330297 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3883330297 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3883330297 a.yiv3883330297primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3883330297 a.yiv3883330297primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3883330297 a.yiv3883330297primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3883330297 a.yiv3883330297primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3883330297 WordPress.com Jeanne Polese commented: “REALLY?!!! WHEN?” | |

        Liked by 1 person

      • John Greco says:

        Jeanne. As far as I know the release never happened.

        Like

  12. Wolfy says:

    La fille de Romy Schneider,Sarah Biasini en a mis un extrait sur son blog consacré à sa mère

    http://merveilleuseromy.typepad.fr/inoubliableromy/film1963vainqueurs/

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Merci Wolfy!

      attached is terrific website on Romy Schneider with plenty of photos from The Victors and other films. Check it out.

      Like

  13. eddie ortiz says:

    hi i have a copy of this film on dvd-r if anyone is interested el me know email me at napo396@yahoo.com

    Like

  14. joe says:

    One of the greatest movies I have ever seen. It isn’t shown because it is an anti-war movie. Like Johnny Got His Gun, You will never see it again. The Global Elite don’t want you to watch it because it is ANTI-WAR…get it? War is how the Global Elite run the world. Read The Biggest Secret by David Icke and find out what “they” have always known, but kept you in the dark.

    Like

    • John Almerigotti says:

      I think you’re making assumptions based on very little evidence. If it’s the “Global Elite”(whatever that means) that’s preventing the airing of The Victors then I think they’re not very good at being elite suppressors of anti war films. There are many far better films that have an even stronger anti war message that are shown frequently on tv. A short list: Paths of Glory; Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; Zulu; Too Late the Hero (banned in the US during Nixon’s reign at the height of the Vietnam War – 1970); Apocalypse Now; Full Metal Jacket (hmmm, that’s the third Kubrick film in this list!); All Quiet on the Western Front (two versions, first made in 1930 is the best, a second in 1979 with Richard Thomas isn’t bad); The Americanization of Emily; The Bedford Incident (anti Cold War from 1965); The Battle of Algiers; Catch-22; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Fail Safe; The Deer Hunter; Fires on the Plain (excellent Japanese anti war film made in 1959); Galipoli; Go Tell the Spartans; Grand Illusion (French anit war film from 1937); Hell is for Heroes; How I Won the War; Oh!What a Lovely War; Hamberger Hill; Kelly’s Heroes; Platoon; The Sand Pebbles; Salvador; King of Hearts; Coming Home; Duck Soup (a classic Marx Brothers film); The Dawn Patrol; A Very Long Engagement – I could keep going. Those are just a partial list of the anti war films that are most frequently shown on tv, especially TCM. There are many more readily available on DVD or VHS. Rather than blaming some imaginary global conspiracy for The Victors not having been rereleased on DVD the reasons would be far less sinister. First and foremost with all film releases is profitability. If the studio, production company, etc. can not see a viable profit then it simply is not worth it to them to produce the film (this includes producing for home viewing). The age and length of the film makes it a particularly risky venture, while those of us on this site and some others may purchase this film on DVD the numbers will be low as compared to a more recent and popular film like Avatar (a fine anti war film BTW). Another reason that the film may not be ready for release is that it may be under the process of resturation, which can take years. Yet another reason can be legal issues, for example one of the best Marx Brothers films, Animal Crackers made in 1930, was not shown on tv until 1979, although it had limited theatrical release from 1974. The issue here was film rights – everybody had a piece of the pie. The film was retored and shown for the first time in years on TCM just a few years ago. The Victors was an internationally cast, financed and produced film, the legal issues are probably monumental.

      I know it’s a lot more exciting to blame this 1984ish organized global entity that you imagine but if that were the case then it’s laughably funny that this menacing censor would only select The Victors as a film never to be seen again by the public. A good film, with many memorable scenes and images but compared to some of the films I listed above it almosts scores as a pro war film. If anything it’s anti war message is diluted or muddled by the bigness of the film.

      You can put a vote in for DVD release of The Victors here: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=94779.

      Like

      • John Greco says:

        John, thanks for a fantastic response! I agree there are plenty of other anti-war films that are out there and are not repressed.

        Like

  15. Steve Nunn says:

    Hi – I expect everyone knows by now but a Region 2 release of The Victors appeared a couple of months back. Great art work on the cover; unfortunately it’s the 146 mins. version but I would guess as the studio cut the original 175 mins. version soon after original release it’s nigh on impossible to ever see the full version. Still, it’s a great film even at 146 minutes.

    Like

  16. Phil Cowlam says:

    I worked in the Art Department for this film -my best contribution was the Bombed Berlin set filmed on the Silent Stage at Shepperton Studios as were most sets.

    I’d like to see the full uncut version if there is one and find stills. An amazing piece of ‘syncroicity’ occurred one day when I walked into a friends house only 2 years ago and that scene was showing on British TV. My friend didn’t believe I was responsible for the sets. Excellent Production Designer who made a huge contribution for the ravaged look of the movie.

    Sad too about Romy Schneider who later committed suicide. I recall coming upon her in costume standing stock still by one of the stages, looking lovely but fragile & wistful.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Thank you very much for stopping by and for the personal anecdote. This is a film that continues to elude me. It’s unavailabilty on home video is a shame. Schneider was a beauty. so sad about her fate.

      Like

    • TREVOR POPPLE says:

      For Phil Cowlam,
      Hello Phil, very interesting to read your comments re: the sets.
      Was the ruined street and the Jean Moreau house entirely a set? Or was it a ruined area where a house facade was erected?

      Many thanks

      TREVOR

      Like

    • David Greene says:

      I was sadly touched by your comment. Schneider was so good, and so lovely in this movie, and her scenes with Mickey Callan, who may, himself, have never been better, are burned into my memory of it. I still own a large souvenir book, bought in the Times Square theater where I got to see the original uncut show. I have longed to see that version again for almost five decades.

      Like

  17. TREVOR POPPLE says:

    Other than being in Sweden can anyone tell me the location of the country house used in the execution sequence please? Even the nearest town would be a help. This is for a Making Of article on THE VICTORS currently in preparation.

    Like

  18. d503kemp says:

    I loved this movie. I saw it in my early teens on AMC, back when AMC was a decent network for movies.

    I was amazed at the time that a movie made in 1963 could or would offer up what war can really do to people even after it’s over. Hey, I was a kid. I’m not going to say it’s the best “AntiWar” movie ever (when that comes out let me know) but I will not apologize for making the statement that it really had an effect on me, an emotional response. I would love to own a copy someday.

    Like

  19. Dave Fairweather says:

    I have just watched the Victors on BBC2 this afternoon. I cant believe how lucky I was to stumble across it, and watch it from start to finish. Quite brilliant, for a variety of reasons.

    First, the style of the film reminded me of later 1960’s Italian neo-realist films – profound messages expressed simply without fuss. The construction of the sets had a stylised but simple appearance, all the better for being in black and white.

    Second, the documentary narrative cut into the drama scenes, cleverly selected to show both the absurd banal elements, while juxtaposed with the dramatic, contrasted wonderfully with the dramatic vignettes. Each dramatic scene was simply shot, but was alllowed time to convey its poignancy, meaning, and depth. There seems to be a current trend in modern films to rush the film and keep the time under 2 hours – I have heard film critics critise films for being over 2 hours – what nonsense.

    Third, although the film is referred to demonstrating the brutality of war, this clearly ignores the sensitivity of other scenes. While some of the vignettes were of callous brutality (i.e. french soldiers killing the german troops trying to surrender), others showed the indomitable human spirit – its empathy, tenderness and selflessness (i.e. George Peppard / Chase being invited into the english terraced house to shelter from the rain). And some mixed both – the re-enactment of the shooting of the deserter mixed with the ironic choice of christmas music.

    Finally, the end of the film. Bearing in mind the date of the film – 1963 – the height of the cold war – the end is both excruciatingly clunky and obvious, while also being so profoundly allegorical reflecting the fears of MAD (mutual assured destruction) prevalent at the time.

    So, although not the best anti-war film, it certainly is one of the best, not least because of its highly original choice of content and styles. And as a contrast to the more powerful films like, Deerhunter and Platoon, it has to be included in one of the 10 best anti war films. Why? For me Deerhunter / Platoon hit you emotionally hard and unremittingly. While the Victors creeps up on you and whipsers its messages, and leaves you the viewer time and space to construct his/her own significance.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Dave, thanks for this wonderful recap and thoughts on the film. I am still trying to see this film and seen to miss every attempt to catch it. Your thoughts here only make it that much more enticing. Thanks again!

      Like

  20. Steve Nunn says:

    Yes, excellent review by Dave. Thanks. Just to re-cap, this 146 mins version is available on Sony DVD, Regions 2,4 & 5. Try Amazon UK. Many DVD players are region-free these days, so I’d have thought there must be some way of viewing the disc 1n Region 1. Great cover art on the box.

    Like

  21. John Greco says:

    Thanks Steve. Unfortunately, I do not have a region free DVD player. Wasn’t thinking clearly when I went shopping!

    Like

  22. John says:

    I have a region free DVD/Video player & recorder and I am very glad of my decision to buy one. There are many truly great films on DVD that are not availble in region 1. Many of these are classics that were released in England, Australia or elsewhere overseas. Many classic war films that were commonly run on US tv when I was growing up are now only available overseas. I highly recommend any film fanatic to go out now and purchase one. The DVD/Video players can be had for a steal since video is now considered passe. I certainly wouldn’t recommend getting one just to view “The Victors” (as good as it is) but if you are into great films that you can not see otherwise it is a good investment.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Thanks John – I actually regret my decision now that I did not buy a region free DVD player. Will have to take the plunge at some point.

      Like

  23. Rob J says:

    A good friend has just lent me “The Victors” on DVD, and I watched it
    a few hours ago. All I can say is that it is a very seriously overlooked
    film. It is a far cry from other war films from that same period,
    perhaps its’ bleak message is probably the reason it is very hard
    to track down.

    I wonder if it was an influence on the magnificent “Battle Of Algiers” ?
    Some of the opening montages seems to suggest it could be a possibility…

    Like

  24. TREVOR POPPLE says:

    Hello,

    I see that The Victors is now out on a USA region one DVD. Does anybody know when it was released? The Region two UK version came out in 2009.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Hi Trevor,

      The only verison I can find on Google of THE VICTORS as a region 1 DVD still seems to be an unauthorized copy. A website call Santaflix is selling it.

      Like

      • TREVOR POPPLE says:

        Hi John,

        That makes sense: I bought a copy from them in the hope of finding a copyright date on it which, in the event, it doesn’t have. Added to which it doesn’t have a very good picture. So you have explained all. I’m very grateful.

        By the way, the article on the making of The Victors for AFTER THE BATTLE magazine is almost done. The mag’s a quarterly, so I’m, hoping for May.

        Like

      • John Greco says:

        Hi Trevor,

        Looking forward to your article. Please keep us updated.

        Like

  25. David Greene says:

    Having seen both the original version of “The Victors” and the edited release, I am certain that the film was not shortened with the intention of improving it in any way. Much of the critical response to it was negative, and there may have been other behind-the-scenes pressures brought to bear against the film. Whatever the motivation, exhibitors were not fond of very long movies as their length limited the number of shows that could be scheduled in a given day, thereby limiting ticket sales. When the studio expected too much market resistance to this nearly three-hour black-and-white epic, they rapidly pulled it from the theaters and cut it down by nearly a third of its running time. The shortened version was nowhere near as unique or as wonderful as the original. I have never been able to learn if the deleted footage was kept safely somewhere, or simply thrown away. I have always felt that the previous blacklisting of the director might have negatively predisposed studio execs against the production. What a travesty!

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      It is a travesty when films are cut, prints destroyed for no other reason than to fit in an additional showing or two. Art is the last thing on an exhibitors mind. Hopefully, the deleted footage still exist and if so, maybe one day released on DVD. We can only hope.

      David, I want to thank you for your contribution here.

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        I only wish, in this “cyber-age” that there was any way to find out if that deleted footage was in storage somewhere, or lost forever. I have always despised re-cutting of films for any reason, save their improvement, as in the case of Coppola’s revisions in “Apocalypse Now, Redux”. As a former filmmaker, I have too strong a sense of just how much goes into producing them in the first place. I still wish I could see what Peckinpah had originally intended with his “Major Dundee”.

        Like

      • John Greco says:

        I agree, too many films have been ruined by corporate greed. One of the great things about home video of course is the chance for filmmakers to have their original vision preserved. What kind of films did you do?

        Like

      • David Greene says:

        Years ago, I was making a wide variety of long and short films. The two most ambitious projects were a very gritty, artsy drama which saw only limited distribution in urban art houses. Later I put together a wilderness adventure story designed for four-wall distribution. This was a bit of a “comic-book” kind of story, but my cinematographer achieved some really beautiful shots throughout the thing. We sure are getting off the subject of “The Victors”.

        Like

      • John Greco says:

        Off the subject of “The Victors” but very interesting none the less. Thanks for sharing this.

        Like

  26. eddie slack says:

    The Vistors was back on UK TV yesterday. This is a film I did not know despite being around in ’63. It must be one of the most underrated war films of all times (though the decors leave something to be desired) and inspired many that came after. However, having researched the film’s storyline, I realise the televised version is so cut to pieces that it makes less sense. Anyway, the actors (especially female) gave all and gained little credit. Pity.

    Like

    • eddie slack says:

      Sorry ‘Victors’ !

      Like

    • John Greco says:

      Eddie,

      THE VICTORS seems to have been chopped up, shorten, edited since it first came out, at least that is what I have always read. I keep hearing how good it is and how underrated it is so I do look forward catching it one of these days. Thanks and please come back!

      Like

      • eddie slack says:

        Hello John.
        Glad to have your comment – from the site looks like you’e been around since some time! I’m convinced the film needs exposure. I am in two minds – there were some great stars, so what went wrong? I think that in 1963 they did have the male leads. But this was a film at the crossroads of post-war gung-ho heroics and the real questioning of what it was about. I still bill the female roles – they were brave. So maybe we didn’t have the right men. Different times, different moeurs.
        Eddie

        Like

      • John Greco says:

        Hi Eddie,

        Like I mentioned I have not seen the film but I would say some of the male roles most likely could have used better actors. I’m thinking the two Georges, George Hamilton and George Peppard. Neither are heavyweights. I think you are right about the timing of the film. The Vietnam was was growing more and more unpopular and may have had an affect, at least with the young audience of the day. Also, the film was made in black and white (not a problem for me) but it was at a time when less and less films were being made in B& W. Hopefully someone at Columbia Pictures or whoever owns the rights will finally give this a DVD release!

        Like

  27. Rhodri says:

    It was shown on BBC Television yesterday afternoon (9th Sept 2012). I stumbled across it when it was about a third of the way through. It blew me away. Its anti war theme was radical and way ahead of its time. It had the unsentimental righteous fury one expects from films that emerged during and after the late sixties counter culture. What also really took me by surprise was the unflinching reference to the rape of German women during and after the fall of Berlin. This only reached popular discourse (we have been told) in 2002 but The Vitors dealt with it full on in 1963! Amazing. What a contrast to the other war films of that time.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Thanks for your thoughts here Rhodri. That is another good point about this film from what I have read and that is that it was ahead of its time in its anti-war stance. Thanks again!

      Like

      • TREVOR POPPLE says:

        Hello John,

        My article on the making of THE VICTORS is now complete pending publication in AFTER THE BATTLE magazine. I’m guessing early New Year. It will be available from their website.

        Regards.

        TREVOR

        Like

      • John Greco says:

        Hello Trevor,

        Great news! Please keep us updated!

        Like

    • eddie slack says:

      Rhodri – same as you I stumbled on it. An unjustifiably forgotten film. It inspired so many others. Compared with the theatricals of the men the sincerity of the women’s roles blew me away. Eddie

      Like

  28. ashley wales says:

    Hi john, i recorded the Victors on monday afternoon and watched it yesterday, still a great and moving film. One of my dad’s favourites, i first saw it on tv with my dad way back in the past and it has remained in my memory ever since. I seem to recall that we might have seen the uncut version even, as yesterday’s viewing seemed to miss out key connecting scenes. Memory can play tricks though. Have to agree with the casting though, the women were especially powerful and the male leads a little weak but perhaps that was the point and gives the film extra gravitas. Eli Wallach is always good value, and Romy Scheinder is so beautiful. Lets hope someone somewhere has a uncut version

    Like

    • David Greene says:

      It is sad, and almost unbelievable, that so many years have gone by without anyone being able to discover if that brilliant original uncut version of “The Victors” still exists anywhere. I feel so privileged to have once seen it. By comparison, the version that is so rarely shown today is a sorry remnant of Foreman’s film.

      Like

  29. John Greco says:

    Hi Ashley and welcome!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories.Romy was a tru beauty and as you also mention Eli Wallach always adds value. I will throw in Albert Finney too who I have never seen give a bad peformances. I agree about the uncut version hopefully being out there somewhere and making it to DVD! Thanks!!!

    Like

  30. David Greene says:

    After five decades, my heart still aches when I recall that touching performance by the exquisitely beautiful Romy Schneider. Of course, one of the factors that made it work so well was the brilliant work of Michael Callan. In general, I agree with John Greco that greater talents than George Peppard and George Hamilton might have been more effective, but I felt that these two, and most of the cast, were well handled by the director, and gave very decent performances. Whenever I think of Eli Wallach, I can not forget a scene that was badly cut in the adulterated version of “The Victors”. Stubble-faced and dirty, Wallach arrives at an old stone fountain in the ruined heart of an Italian village. As he leans in to get a drink, he extends his lower jaw, almost grotesquely, to catch the trickle of water. An old woman approaches. She speaks to him in Italian. She seems to be begging for whatever he might be able to give her. When he hands her a chocolate bar, the camera lingers on her emaciated face, an incredibly wrinkled visage, as she struggles to chew the candy. Without dialogue, the scene conveys worlds of information about the sergeant’s war-wearyness, and the way the war’s ravaging of Italy has reduced an old woman to a sad, gaunt shell of a human being. The uncut movie was full of these gem-like touches.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      David,

      Thanks for sharing this. It makes it even more painful that this film in its uncut form has not seen the light of day in so many years. As has been said before, let’s hope there is a uncut version in someone’s basement waiting to be discovered.

      Like

  31. Dave Jones says:

    If only Spielberg and the restorers that re- did Hitchcocks films at Universal could get interested on this excellent film and restore a full print.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Agree with totally, Dave, thanks!

      Like

      • TREVOR POPPLE says:

        Hello John,
        At last! My article on the making of THE VICTORS is out this month in AFTER THE BATTLE magazine – available through ATB’s website. In addition, commentary and stills regarding the deleted scenes are available via the external links icon on the site.

        Best regards.

        TREVOR

        Like

  32. TREVOR POPPLE says:

    John,

    Whoops – It would help if I included the issue number – its Issue 160.

    Like

  33. jon elwood says:

    Like so many here, The Victors had a huge effect on me when I first saw it it NY in 1963. I have never forgotten it. Eli Wallach was amazing in this movie, and Romy Schneider was heartbreakingly lovely. How very sad her later suicide.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Jon, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. We can continue to hope this film gets a DVD release!!!!

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        In this internet era, I wish there was a powerful way to influence those who hold the rights to many fine films, to see to it that the titles get released in quality home entertainment editions. It would be nice if we could even find out which movies have survived in the kind of condition that would make this possible. Often, the care of old negatives is so sloppy, even in the case of big-budget, major studio productions, that restoration is costly and difficult, sometimes impossible.

        Like

  34. John Greco says:

    It sometimes takes a person in a influencial position like a Scorsese to get something done!. Hey Marty, please, how about using some of the influence!

    Like

  35. jon elwood says:

    A correction — my mention above of Romy Schneider’s suicide was incorrect. Her autopsy officially noted cardiac arrest as the cause of death. The suicide rumor apparently was started due to her relatively young age at the time of death – 43.

    Like

  36. Ken Koc says:

    A 170 minute HD version of THE VICTORS is on the Sony Movie Channel this month.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Thanks Ken! For those who have the Sony Movie Channel a great opportunity.

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        This could be a great break after so many years. I have seen movies on that channel presented in the 1.85:1 format that were actually shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. We should hope that they don’t give “The Victors” that treatment.

        Like

  37. John Almerigotti says:

    Those who have Verizon Cable: The Victors on SonyHD, Monday 9/30/13 @ 2:00am (to 4:50am)! Not sure if it’s the 170 minute from the time (150 mins. according to the schedule), though I hope Ken is correct. Set your DVR’s, VCR’s, or hire a biblical scribe so you don’t miss it. I recommend adding an extra minute on the front end and 10 – 15 minutes at the back end (in case it is the 170 minute or programming delays).

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Thanks John!!!

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        So disgraceful! The Sony HD Channel broadcast the severely shortened version of “The Victors” which reduced it from a great film to a mediocre one. Given the two-hour, fifty-minute time they allotted for the showing, which clearly suggested that this could have been the wonderful original director’s cut, it was monumentally disappointing to discover that they’ve made no effort to restore the crucial missing scenes. Will we ever live to see this situation remedied?

        Like

  38. John Greco says:

    David, edited versions are never good but at least it is out there. Thanks for the info.

    Like

    • David Greene says:

      It is nevertheless painful that people will assess this film based on the mutilated version. At the moment, there appears to be no known way to access the magnificent original. Anyone who could compare the two versions would readily understand the travesty of the hamfisted hacking out of vital material that was done to this production.

      Like

  39. jon elwood says:

    Is it possible for someone to briefly list the omitted scenes that ruined the film (by being left out). I saw it on its first run in New York in 1962? and I’m wondering if I saw the whole thing or an edited version. Thanks.

    Like

    • David Greene says:

      The two particularly remarkable deletions that trouble me the most are near the beginning, and near the end of the film. The first one is a sequence which develops when Eli Wallach approaches the fountain in Sicily. As he leans in with his stubbly jaw jutting out, mouth open to catch an apparently much needed drink (a very atmospheric close-up), a little emaciated old lady, dressed in black approaches him. She is pleading with him in Italian. He does not understand. He produces a piece of chocolate which the woman snatches from his hand. The subsequent shot of her incredibly wrinkly face as she toothlessly struggles to eat the candy has to be seen to be appreciated. Something about the way the director lingers on this moment is very striking. So early in the film, this little segment (very unusual material for a movie of that era) wordlessly plunges you deep into the feeling of a weary, war-ravaged world. Other little contemplative moments such as this were once found throughout the film.
      The most glaring cut in the butchered version involves a troop of men in the field who take pity on a starving young french kid, with the look of an angel-faced choir-boy. They give him small chores to do around the encampment, feed him, and give him a sheltered place to sleep. The conclusion of this episode is dramatized so subtly, and so tastefully, that some might not have fully comprehended what occurred. What transpires in the dead of night is that one of the soldiers awakens with a jolt. It is implied that the boy has attempted to perform a sexual act on the soldier. The men ultimately conclude that he was previously coerced into doing this, frequently, by occupying German troops. Unfortunately, the awakening soldier reacts with such alarm and disapproval that he frightens the confused child into fleeing the tent. The boy runs across an open field where he is killed by a land mine.
      In the original version, “The Victors” was a very thorough, in-depth examination of the many ways that War affects human beings. This powerful, and perhaps lost forever, scene was the most poignant expression of one of the many ways that War damages the lives of children. It was too tastefully executed to be, in any way exploitive, but the studio hack, who savaged the original cut so soon after the premiere, was likely sure that he would insure a wider audience for the movie by removing what he likely saw as too bold and controversial an episode.

      Like

      • jon elwood says:

        Thanks David. I have a vague memory of the boy but not of the old Italian woman. It’s over 50 years since I’ve seen the movie. Yet, almost every scene is still with me. Since the two scenes you mentioned are not clear in my mind, I suspect I saw the edited version – it was Christmas season 1962.

        Your description of the young French boy scene was almost as devastating as it must have been on the screen. The early scene that I recall was Eli Wallach (“Sarge”) chasing the guys out of a storefront where they had been mesmerized by the lovely toy ballerina slowly dancing on a music box – the amazing contrast between the grungy battle-hardened soldiers and the tiny figure of femininity that represented everything of beauty they had left behind. I knew at that point I was in for a very special movie.

        Vignette after vignette, interspersed with the ironic movie Newsreels of the home front, Carl Foreman gave the world a masterpiece. I never think of it as anti-war in the sense “All Quiet…” was. Rather, it’s more like a great novelist’s observation of the human condition.

        Like

      • David Greene says:

        Yes, if you saw the movie around December, it was definitely the cut version. I saw it in the summer, a matinee show. I did not know at the time that it had just opened. It was telling that the studio did not give it a big promotional sendoff at the outset. Foreman, and the picture itself (a war movie almost devoid of battle scenes) clearly had serious opponents in the corporate hierarchy. Exhibitors did not like longer movies because they meant scheduling fewer shows in a given business day, therefore fewer tickets would be sold. When the critical reception of the film was “mixed”, with numerous fairly negative reviews, the studio yanked the film, within a few weeks of the premiere, and hacked out as many minutes as they could. Their stated purpose was “to make it move more quickly” (I paraphrase). As you say, it is unabashedly anti-war, which may also have caused some corporate execs to scorn it as unpatriotic.
        I get passionate about this stuff because I’ve always been a serious film buff. I made two of them myself, and I know how you put your soul into the vast amount of work that goes into trying to craft effective and meaningful movies. Unfortunately, in this country, movies are the product of the film INDUSTRY. The conflict between the commercial and the aesthetic is generally unavoidable. If you want to see a grand example of the rare victory of the artistic side of this eternal conflict, don’t fail to view Elia Kazan’s personal epic, “America, America”. It is such a wonder that this movie got made.

        Like

      • Jonathan Foreman says:

        I am going to try to find out if there is an uncut version with the Carl Foreman papers at UCLA or elsewhere. The DVD that finally came out in the UK is definitely a shorter version, though it includes the famous execution scene.

        Like

      • TREVOR POPPLE says:

        Jonathan,
        My article in AFTER THE BATTLE magazine (Issue 160) in Feb 2013 describes the making of THE VICTORS in some detail. And a breakdown of the missing scenes with stills can be viewed on their website.
        As to a full-length print existing: in March 2010 UCLA loaned one for a viewing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York with Sony’s consent.
        I’m just hoping that if a USA region one DVD is ever released that it will be the full version.
        Regards.
        TREVOR POPPLE

        Like

      • Edward Slack says:

        In the last scene it is implied the Russian soldier committed a rape.  If this is so, the possible victim appears to have affected Anthony Perkins.  We can only speculate – as I saw it, the final scene just seemed to be tagged on without real context.

        Like

      • Edward Slack says:

        That should read George Hamilton of course (sorry !).  The whole episode is clarified in Wikipedia, along with other missing scenes.

        ________________________________

        Like

  40. David Greene says:

    Trevor,
    Are you certain of the existence of this UCLA full-length version? So many sites I have visited suggest that no one knows for certain that such a print even exists. My stubborn dedication to this issue arises from the fact that I actually saw the whole thing right after the premiere, and vividly remember much of the wonderful lost footage. For years, I have been asking Criterion Home Entertainment to tackle a restoration. Sadly their funds are limited and I don’t know the likelihood of their being able to do this.
    Dave Greene

    Like

    • TREVOR POPPLE says:

      Hi David,
      A chap called Joe Baltake writes that “The Victors will be showing in a new print and in it’s full version at the Film Society of Lincoln Center at 8 p.m. on Monday, 1 March (2010).” Subsequently, a guy called Billy Bentley having seen it wrote flowingly on the Britmovie site, also stating the print came from UCLA.

      And here’s a copy of the email I received from UCLA:

      Hi Trevor,

      Hopefully the following will answer your question:

      The screening venue (in this case, The Film Society of Lincoln Center) is
      responsible for obtaining clearance to screen the print, not UCLA (we only
      loaned them the physical print). When loaning prints from its collection, UCLA
      typically plays no role in obtaining rights for venues outside of its own
      programming efforts, unless UCLA itself happens to own the rights to a
      particular title (this is very rarely the case).

      So the Film Society of Lincoln Center needed UCLA’s permission to borrow the
      print (which belongs to UCLA), and the rights holder’s permission to screen it.
      I believe Sony is the current rights holder of this title, so the Film Society
      would have had to clear the rights with them.

      All the best,
      Steven K. Hill
      Print Loan Coordinator

      In the UK the BFI have several prints: “In the Archive we have prints that run 153 minutes, ie the same version as the 2010 DVD release after allowing for the faster frame rate of video, but also a print that runs 162 mins (location number 950262J). We also have negative material for a 174 minute version, but regrettably no viewing print. And finally we have a print that runs 180 minutes, but this is classified as master material and cannot therefore be viewed.”
      Regards,
      TREVOR

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        Might anyone be able to set in motion the creation and release of a DVD or Blu Ray of at least the 174 minute version?

        Like

      • Steve Nunn says:

        A helpful and informative response from the British Film Institute. They are the guardians of all thing rare in the classic cinema and TV world over here in the UK. They issue ‘lost’ films, tele-recordings and archive material regularly but clearly there are issues with working with the master tape. At least we know it exists and is in good hands. So there may be the prospect of a full-length release in the future…?

        Like

  41. Nedarc says:

    This is such a great movie. A couple of weeks before it came out TIME Magazine did an article about it with pictures saying it was one of the Most significant WW11 movies ever made, and now it is no where to be found. The movie is over fifty years old so there should not be any copy write problem.

    Like

    • John Greco says:

      Nedarc, There seems to be a few issues from what I can gather including issues with the master tape, ownership rights and the various lengths that have been shown on rare occasion. My hope is Criterion gets into the mix and puts something out.

      Like

      • David Greene says:

        Hi John, I have recently discovered that surprisingly effective film restoration technology has recently become both easier to use, and less costly. Some of the kind of small home entertainment companies, that used to put out nothing but junk, have lately made deals with major studios allowing them to issue limited edition versions of classics that the big outfits are neglecting. Preminger’s “Exodus”, “Nicholas and Alexandra”, and “The Swimmer”, with Burt Lancaster, are a few grand examples. I have been amazed by the quality of these releases. I communicate with each of these outfits about such mothballed movies as “The Victors” and Brando’s “One Eyed Jacks”. When sellers know that the demand is out there, sometimes the wheels start to turn. I have heard strong indications that a few good prints of the uncut Carl Foreman movie still exist. Every once in a while, I think there might be a breakthrough in this regard. I wish I knew if there was an industry “deal-maker” who could be approached on this subject, someone with the clout to make things happen.

        Like

  42. mayagrafix says:

    There is a 2hour 33 minute version available in Youtube here:

    Great movie. Glad to have an opportunity to see it 🙂

    Like

  43. David Greene says:

    I just got word from a guy who deals with restoring and releasing older films in DVD and Blu Ray editions indicating that he has reason to believe that the people who retain the rights to “The Victors” at Columbia are now at work on a restoration of the original uncut version. Of course, time alone will tell, but my experience with this particular source is that his information tends to be very reliable. I wish there was a way to communicate directly with the people in charge.

    Like

  44. Jeanne Polese says:

    Thank you for this. I have been searching for this film on tape or DVD forever. Sounds as if I have no hope but to possibly find one of the abbreviated versions. Did the one you saw include the empty bar scene with Frank Sinatra’s “I’ll be Home for Christmas” on the radio in the background? This movie holds memories for me!

    Like

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