Blu-Ray News #388: Rough Cut (1980).

Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Burt Reynolds, Lesley-Anne Down, David Niven, Timothy West, Joss Ackland, Patrick Magee

Burt Reynolds news, two days in a row!

Don Siegel’s Rough Cut (1980) is a picture I’ve been wanting to revisit for quite some time. And this summer, Paramount is bringing it to Blu-Ray — good news for Siegel nuts like me.

It was a very troubled production — Siegel was fired, replaced, then rehired, and it’s a shame Burt Reynolds and Siegel never got a chance to work together again. Together, they could’ve made a really cool, tough movie. I have a feeling time has been kind to Rough Cut, and I’m looking forward to a high-definition chance to find out.


Filed under 1980, Burt Reynolds, Don Siegel, DVD/Blu-ray News, Paramount

28 responses to “Blu-Ray News #388: Rough Cut (1980).

  1. Walter

    Toby, I remember viewing ROUGH CUT(filmed 1979, released 1980) back in the day, during the Summer of 1980. In 1980 when a new Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Sally Field, and Goldie Hawn movie came out we went to see them, along with just about everyone else, who went to see movies in the theaters.

    For some reason, or other I don’t think that I’ve viewed ROUGH CUT since. If I remember right, I think it is a good movie and well worth viewing, especially if it is a good print on Blu-ray. I think the movie is worth a look see for the cast. Burt Reynolds doesn’t portray a conventional good ole’ boy in this one. He is an international diamond thief. Lesley-Ann Down is always good, and if I remember right, she does the driving during the chase scene, instead of Burt. David Niven is, well, David Niven, who is good in just about every role he ever played.

    I went over to IMDb(don’t we all) to see if the movie had ever been on dvd. I did find a listing for a Paramount Home Video vhs, but no dvd. There is probably a dvd out there, but it may be in the “gray area” of duplication. Could be a print from the old vhs tape. I don’t really know. Toby. I rely on you and John K for this type of information.

    Anyway, I would like to see this Don Siegel directed movie again. I read on IMDb that four endings were filmed. Three by Siegel and the one used for the final cut, directed by Robert Ellis Miller. I hope that they put the alternative endings on the Blu-ray features.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Siegel covers this a bit in his autobiography, and it sounds like it was a mess.

    Anything by Siegel is worthwhile to me. He’s as good as it gets!


    • Walter

      I agree that Don Siegel movies are always a worthwhile viewing experience and I hope that Paramount Home Video does ROUGH CUT a good turn on Blu-ray.

      Someday, I’ll find a copy of A SIEGEL FILM: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY(1993) and read it. I see that Clint Eastwood wrote a forward for the book.


      • Siegel’s book is one of my favorite film books, mainly because he covers making many of my favorite movies! I highly recommend it.


  3. john k

    I don’t like to see my cinematic heroes in their lesser films,that’s why I
    find it impossible to watch those later Fox Laurel & Hardy pictures.
    I’ve never seen ROUGH CUT or JINXED Don certainly went out on a low
    note despite the fact he is far and away my all time fave director.
    Almost everything he gave us before ROUGH CUT certainly makes up for
    it. ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ was Don’s last masterpiece and I’d most
    certainly snap at a Blu Ray of TELEFON.
    With all those lesser Bronson films getting high def upgrades…why not
    TELEFON.Most certainly TELEFON has a far superior supporting cast
    to ROUGH CUT.
    Too bad Jacqueline Bisset turned down ROUGH CUT her alone would have
    made the film a must see for me.
    The other Siegel film with a troubled production is DEATH OF A
    GUNFIGHTER which actually is a very good movie despite most of
    it being directed by Robert Totten. DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER was
    released on Blu Ray by Universal Pictures Germany.


  4. john k

    Listening to various Blu Ray commentaries and indeed extras it would
    seem there is a new term for directors who don’t fit into the “Auteur”
    description. Previously these directors were classed as “A Safe Pair Of Hands” but now the current description seems to be “Journeymen”
    I’ve never been impressed by the Auteur theory to me all directors are
    journeymen just some make more interesting journeys than others.
    It’s amazing how many great directors (or Auteurs if you will) ended their
    careers on a low note, with certainly Michael Curtiz faring far better
    than most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not much of a fan of the “auteur theory,” either. People, whether they’re great directors or your local plumber, are drawn to certain things, and it’s reflected in what they do.

      A director is going to make what appeals to them, and some of their personality or ideals is going to creep into the picture. At the same time, since Hollywood is so tuned-in to someone’s past successes, a director will be offered more movies kinda like the hit they made.


  5. john k

    Regarding “extras” on Blu Ray releases I’m very impressed by the
    featurettes provided by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.
    Ballyhoo extras seem to be on all Film Detective releases and there’s
    another one due on Film Detective’s BATTLE OF THE WORLDS.
    Most Ballyhoo features have input from Courtney B Joyner and that can
    only be a good thing.
    Their logo (at the end of all Ballyhoo features) really freaked me out the
    first time I saw it but now I regard in a fun sort of William Castle way.
    To me Toby Roan and Ballyhoo seem to go together like Ham & Eggs
    why has this not happened before…I live in hope!

    Speaking of Ham & Eggs why not try this for a tasty snack…………
    Toasted sourdough bread topped with smashed avocado then toped with
    feta cheese crumbs and chilli flakes AWESOME!


  6. Walter

    John K, good to hear from you. I understand about not wanting to see your cinematic heroes in their lesser films. Also, I agree that TELEFON(1977) is a much better movie than ROUGH CUT. Lesley-Anne Down is good, but she can’t hold a candle to the wonderfully talented and beautiful Jacqueline Bisset.

    I like Richard Widmark’s DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER(filmed 1968, released 1969). In an interview, Don Siegel said that this movie was actually Widmark’s film, not his, or Robert Totten’s. That says a lot. I also, like TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA(filmed 1969, released 1970) and I realize that some don’t. I’ve never seen JINXED(filmed 1981, released 1982).

    Like you I’m not completely sold on the “Auteur Theory.” Moviemaking is a great collaboration of many people attempting to do their best work possible. The title “Journeymen, or Journeywomen” is apt for most directors. I really like your description here, “I’ve never been impressed by the Auteur theory to me all directors are journeymen just some make more interesting journeys than others.” That is so true and that is a part of what makes it interesting too me.

    Writer/director John Huston had an amazing career from his first directed movie right up to his last. Many of the great directors didn’t fair this well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Telefon is very underrated, I’ve always thought.

      I think a lot of what happened with Siegel’s later films is that the industry changed and didn’t have a place for guys like “the last of the independents.” He wasn’t as hostile toward the suits as Peckinpah was, but he didn’t put up with the kind of meddling, committee nonsense that came with the major studios — and there were no true B movies anymore.


    • Walter,I too like DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER and TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA .I like the way that Widmark stands up for himself against the towns people and does the job he was hired to do.A little bit similar to THE LAST DAY,and how I wish that would get a BLU RAY upgrade and I could retire my DVDr.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. john k

    Walter, Good to hear from you our exchanges on these blogs are one
    of the great pleasures of my senior years.
    It’s strange but the H8 seems to be gaining far more traffic than Toby’s
    Western blog-does this reflect the ever declining interest in Westerns
    certainly as far as quality releases go.
    As much as I love Siegel there are just too many other great releases
    on my list of things to buy.
    Furthermore some releases like the forthcoming John Reinhardt double
    bill on Flicker Alley THE GUILTY/HIGH TIDE tend to be rather expensive
    but with that label you get what you pay for-to see two old Monogram
    B Pictures restored with such care and attention is beyond wonderful.
    The extras on Flicker Alley’s releases are an added attraction; on their
    recent REPEAT PERFORMANCE there is a most informative featurette
    on Eagle Lion Studios;my goodness, the high calibre of talent that
    passed through that studio in its short life.
    It’s also interesting that most if not all involved went on to highly
    successful careers.
    REPEAT PERFORMANCE also has a commentary by “The Nitrate Diva”
    (Nora Fiore) which I look forward very much in listening to.
    Regarding Eagle Lion I remember reading in an old Western film book
    that veteran producer Harry Sherman was hoping to produce a series
    of A Westerns in Technicolor released by Eagle Lion starring Joel McCrea.
    Just imagine an Anthony Mann Western shot by John Alton starring McCrea.


    • I think some of the drop in 50W’s numbers are due to fewer posts. I post a lot, the numbers go up — and vice versa. That’s been the case over the years.

      I have several posts in progress, but haven’t put the time in to wrap em up. That’s quite lame on my part.


      • Walter

        Toby, don’t be hard on yourself. You have a lot on your plate, especially in finishing up your book on FIFTIES WESTERNS. Look forward to the book.


    • Barry Lane

      John, have you read my comments on the Flicker Alley Repeat Performance issue over at CineSavant. I was irritated, not only by the presentation but by IMDB, which is deeply and consistently flawed. All require cross-referencing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Walter

        Barry, yes, IMDb is flawed, especially in the “trivia” section where no sources are given. Cross-referencing is a must.

        Here is a Dutch made documentary DON SIEGEL: THE LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS(filmed 1979, released 1980), which has some good material, especially the interviews. Don Siegel sees himself as a “professional.”

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Via Vision have their new releases on their website .Nothing there that appeals to me but someone out there might like them.
    I would like to ask our UK friends if there are some SGT BILKO,THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW fans out there a question.I ask this because there is a huge fan base there.Other BILKO fans join in.
    I have asked this question before ,if they think the last episode of SEINFELD was inspired by the last episode of BILKO where they are all behind bars in jail.Jerry Seinfeld had a few stars from that era on his show,llyod Bridges and Jesse White were 2 actors who appeared on his show,so maybe BILKO was an inspiration for that episode.These two shows were my favourites back in the day.


  9. john k

    I do follow Cinesavant but not the comments-as you have commented
    on REPEAT PERFORMANCE I will check this out.
    I thought that the presentation by Flicker Alley was excellent and I’ve
    listened to the commentary by “The Nitrate Diva” it’s very good and I
    look forward to re-watching the film with her comments in mind.
    She gives lots of details about Louis which I never knew before
    especially his service during the war and his adjustment.
    Although she thought Werker’s direction on the film was fine her overall
    impression of his career is middling to say the least.
    Of his 50’s Westerns she cites THREE HOURS TO KILL whereas I
    would have thought THE LAST POSSE would appeal more;especially to
    a Noir Diva.
    Barry I left a personal message to you on Colin’s blog at the very tail
    end of his MAN FROM BITTER RIDGE review.
    I wanted your input on the production duo of Aubrey Wisberg and
    Jack Pollfexen I know Louis worked for these guys in what I guess
    we would both consider hardly his finest hour.
    Some of their B Movies,however sound intriguing especially
    THE BURNING CROSS (1947) an early KKK expose and their later
    PROBLEM GIRLS (1956) with tragic Helen Walker at the tail end of
    what could have been a glittering career.
    PROBLEM GIRLS has a B Movie cast to die for and I’d give my left nut
    to se it.


  10. john k

    Thanks very much for the Siegel interview….my goodness just where
    do you source these gems.
    Very interesting hearing Don’s comments on working with The Duke
    an uneasy teaming to say the least;but ,now the film is rightly regarded
    as a classic.
    This interview has now made me want to see ROUGH CUT.


    • Walter

      John K, always good to converse with you. I find items like the Siegel documentary by following a link from another site, or something triggering my memory, which you do by bringing up some movies, which I remember viewing many years ago on tv or in a theater. I used to have a pretty good memory.

      I’ll be gone for a couple of days. My Paternal Grand Aunt Elsie passed way and I’m a pallbearer at her funeral tomorrow. Aunt Elsie(1922-2022) was 100 years old. May she R.I.P.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. john k

    Sad to hear about your Grand Aunt Elsie,I’ve no doubt those nearest and
    dearest to Elsie will be greatly saddened by her passing at such a
    wonderful age.
    I will not be around much next week as I’ve got to self isolate 3 days
    before my operation on Thursday (triple hernia) which will be completed
    on the same day. I just hope Toby does not preview his Carbon Arc
    Podcast while I’m away so I will not have too much to catch up with
    when I return…..Only kidding Toby!


  12. john k

    Thanks for the feedback over at Colin’s
    Actually PROBLEM GIRLS was 1953 and directed by once esteemed
    German silent director E A Dupont best known these days for the
    silent classic VARIETY.
    At the tail end of his ever failing career Dupont fell into the clutches
    of schlockmeisters Wisberg and Pollfexen their cheapies seemed to
    be the only work he could get although I’m rather fond of THE NEANDERTHAL MAN (1953) which creates some real atmosphere
    on a nothing budget.
    A “lost” Noir THE SCARF (1951) with John Ireland looks very interesting
    and can be viewed in decent quality on line. I’ve had a cursory look and
    it looks very good (shot by Franz Planer) it’s the sort of film that
    hopefully Film Detective will revive-with a Toby Roan Ballyhoo visual
    essay…..plenty to cover there Toby.
    It’s wonderful that there is generated interest in these B Noirs I always
    get excited to hear about them getting released.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. john k

    Yes Barry THE SCARF looks very good,I hope it gets an official release
    someday. Another Dupont picture at the tail end of his career THE STEEL
    LADY (aka Treasure Of Kalifia) shot by Floyd Crosby also looks interesting.
    The picture headlined Rod Cameron,Tab Hunter and John Dehner.
    Dupont’s last picture RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND was a sad end
    to a once brilliant career.
    Dupont seemed to fare less well than some of his fellow Jewish directors
    who fled their native Germany in the early 30’s.
    I understand a drink problem might have had something to do with it.


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