Info on no Grateful Dead in the director's cut of
Still No Room For The Gratefull Dead
Even in Relaxed-Fit 'Woodstock'
By Judy Brennan
From L.A. Times June 26, 1994
Twenty-five years, to be exact. The opening number in
"Woodstock," the documentary of the 1969 music festival that
forever marked a generation, is unfurling on the big screen once
again. And this time, there is even more peace and love to
around. Forty minutes of footage, including some of Janis Joplin
and Jimi Hendrix, has been added to the already three-hours-plus
length of the film.
The film, which also features remixed sound, opens Wednesday
at just four theaters(Mann's Chinese in Hollywood, South Coast
Plaza in Orange County anbd two theaters in New York), seven
weeks before a much ballyhooded anniversary concert will be held
near the origianl concert site.
The added footage will included Joplin singing "Wpork Me,
Lord."; more of Hendrix, including "Voodoo Chile"; two Jeferson
Airplane songs, "Try" and "Uncle Sam's Blues" and Canned Heat
performing "Change Is Gonna Come."
The highlight of the new footage, saya original director
Michael Wadleigh, who is overseeing the expanened version, is
Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile." "It's about death what happened to
him, the Vietnam war. It was a telling moment."
Viewers will hear sound supervisor L.A. (Larry) Johnson's
restored sound, where the original eight-track recording was put
in a sonic solution. "The digital domian regenerates the tapes
to a higher level the removes all the hisses and distortion that
pops up after 25 years," Johnson says.
And that's not the only addition. In 1994, Wadleigh,
instead of protesting the Vietnam War or the Establishment, is
tweaking distibutor Warner Bros. and the MPAA which rated both
versions of the film R, which Wadleigh thinks is to harch. (The
film got the label for language, nudity and drug refrences.)
In the new version, when the theater gose dark, the Warner
Bros. logo appears on the screen. Jimi Hendrix's electric gutair
is heard tuning up. The logo fades and a rating card appears:
"Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Has Been Rated R-Restricted;
Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Guardian." There is a
pause in the gutair licks. Then Hendrix's rendition of "The Star
Spngled Banner" -the film's closing number-blares forth. The "R"
in the rating card catches fire, the word "Restricted" bursts
into flames, and a fireball burns the warning off the screen. As
the smoke clears, only "Woodstack: 3 Days of Peace & Music
That footage, which Wadleigh wanted to add to protest what
he saw as meddling by Warner and the MPAA, originally made some
at the studio nervous, Warner sources said, becuase they knew it
would have to get past the rating board.
"In the end," Wadleigh says, "they stood behind this 100%
and that's what counts. My hope is that this could triger a new
open dialogue about ratings."
Back in 1970, before the films original releas, Wadleigh
also tusled with warners, over artistic control: the studio
wanted the film kept to under two hours; Wadleigh and his two
assistant directors and supervising editors, Thelma Schoonmaker
and a very yung Martin Scorsese, wanted four hours and four
minutes, but but only after Wadleigh threanted to destroy the
film if the acts Warner wanted to trim weren't left in. Warners
ultimatley conceded, and the film went on to gross $40 million at
box office and win the Oscar that year for the best feature
documentry (it was also nominated for best sound and editing".
Still, "Woodstock" remians a shining example of history
repeating itself. As in 1970, Warners is opening the film in
just two cities. There are no traliers or TV ads promoting the
film. there isn't a Woodstock film memento, T-shirt cap or
Buttion to be had, although Warners is saying there will be a new
soundtrack album out later this summer that will chronologically
mirror the performances on the film and possabley an interactive
Since the original event was three days long, there is still
unculled footage that Wadleigh has considred adding.
"The two bands people always ask me why I didn't included
are the Band and The Grateful Dead. I love theses bands but,
quit frankly, their performances just weren't there. If I made a
five-hour director's cut, I would included them."
Wadleigh, now 51, says that while he's excited about the
chance to retool and add to his film, he is nonetheless
dishearted by the hype and corporate spoonsorship of "Woodstock
II," the Aug 13-14 commemorative concert to be held in
"To Me, Woodstock was rock 'n rool," he says. "Today, it's
Woodstock Rock 'N Roll INC. Woodstock was about Free expression,
Woodstock II was about Free enterprise."
"The message of Woodstock was to take stock in who you are,
to get back to the garden of life, to the cathedrell of communal
spirt where you can get your batteries charged. And that is why
it became the evnet that named a generration."
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