This Sunday evening at 9:05 p.m., the C8 channel has the bright idea of broadcasting the long version, or Director’s Cut, from Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. A broadcast not to be missed.
Very great film unfairly shunned when it was released in 2005 for some, bloated film and never rid of the tics of direction of Ridley Scott for others, Kingdom of Heaven did not fail to divide opinion. The verdict in theaters was final: a big failure in the United States and Canada, since the film only brought in $ 47 million out of the 130 invested. At the Global Box Office, he hardly shone much more: just over $ 218 million.
Ridley Scott was very angry with the marketing teams of the Twentieth Century Fox, who according to him had completely misled the spectators by selling them an adventure film mixed with exoticism and a love story; instead of a close examination of a bloody conflict of religions at the time of the Crusades.
Brilliantly written by William Monahan (and very solidly documented, although obviously some historical liberties are taken), the film takes place at the end of the 12th century, a little before the third crusade, and chronicles the rise of a bastard blacksmith of ‘a great lord who leaves for the Holy Land and ends up defending Jerusalem against the powerful Muslim warlord Saladin (played by the extraordinary Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, surrounded by a cast in unison and in titanium).
Cinema Version Vs Director’s Cut
The theatrical version is 145 min. For its version Director’s Cut, released on DVD at the time and available on Blu-ray since, this one passes to 187 min. The version Director’s Cut of the film, presented for the first time in December 2005 at Laemmle Fairfax Theater from Los Angeles, was eagerly awaited by fans. Because it rebalances the psychology of the characters, but above all develops the political sub-intrigues, which had been considerably reduced to the editing intended for theatrical exploitation, and greatly reduced the scale of the show.
We find in this new version:
- The village priest who taunts Balian and is killed by him turns out to be his half-brother;
- Revelations about Godfrey. He is not only Balian’s father; he is also the young brother of the lord of the village. It is also the son of this lord who attacks his camp in the forest.
- A scene where the leper King Baudouin IV refuses the last sacraments administered by the patriarch Heraclius.
- A 15-minute musical interlude (not sure that this one stays in its TV broadcast …)
- The character of Baudouin V is reinserted into the montage. Son of Sybille and her first husband, he ascends the throne but we quickly discover that he is also suffering from leprosy like his uncle;
- A scene showing a duel between Balian and Guy de Lusignan, after the fall of Jerusalem and the liberation of Guy by Saladin;
- No more violent and bloody shots;
- We understand how Balian excels in the art of war, especially with siege machines.
- A beheading of Renaud de Châtillon by Saladin, instead of slitting his throat;
- Sybille is presented more as a corruptible and unpredictable princess. In general, she plays in the version Director’s Cut a much more preponderant role than the assembly room.
If you haven’t yet seen this great version or seen the film for that matter, you know what you have to do. It is quite simply one of the best in Ridley Scott filmography. And what battle scenes!