Miramax Releases '54: The Director's Cut' with Restored Scenes

54 The Director's Cut is available on streaming services
54: The Director's Cut is available on streaming services

In the summer of 1998, Miramax released 54, a dark but amiable drama written and directed by Mark Christopher about Manhattan's legendary Studio 54 disco and the decadence that unfolded there. The film died a critical and commercial death, very likely because Miramax ruined the director's original final cut and made the main character, "Shane" (played by Ryan Phillippe) – and the entire film – less complex and sexual than in Christopher's original. Now, Miramax has made 54: The Director's Cut – with restored original footage that gives the film back its depth and plot twists – available to streaming services like iTunes and Amazon Prime.

The 54 that was released into theaters in 1998 (starring Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell and comedian Mike Myers as 54's late co-owner Steve Rubell) was a kitsch, nostalgic look back at the 1970s: the fashion, the drugs, the music. As released, the film was more like a made-for-TV melodrama about shirtless dancing waiters, moneyed Manhattan matrons and the cocaine that connected them, along with a hyperactive Rubell leading them all to Gomorrah. This 54 was not the taut, sexualized drama reviewers were led to believe they'd be seeing, and the movie tanked.

Meanwhile, writer and director Christopher – unhappy with what happened to his film – began a renegade editing process (without Miramax's knowledge) of re-constructing his original version in which Philippe was an opportunistic, bisexual hustler looking to score by-any-means-necessary; something closer to Midnight Cowboy than Thank God It's Friday. By 2008, a bootleg version of Christopher's revamped 54 began making the rounds of gay film festivals and winning new fans and critical accolades. In June 2015, Miramax made 54: The Director's Cut available, first on iTunes, and now on all major streaming systems. A BluRay of 54:The Director's Cut should be out before Autumn 2015. Stay tuned.

Photo © Miramax

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2015