First, There Was Darkness…

About a month ago, I spent Friday and Saturday on the couch watching seven or eight movies. (It’s not as sad as it sounds–I was sick.) The highlight of the weekend was getting to re-visit a movie that has actually had a discernible impact on my life, Dark City.

The movie, for those of you who haven’t seen it, follows amnesiac John Murdoch, who can’t remember whether or not he’s a serial killer. In pursuit of a mysterious doctor who offers answers about his identity, Murdoch flees from the police (who think he’s guilty) and a group of long-coated strangers (who want him killed). The movie begins in the visual and story-telling traditions of classic film noir, but as the plot weaves its way toward resolutions, the story becomes a fusion of German expressionism and classic early science-fiction.

Revisiting the movie was a fantastic experience, and I was going to write a blog entry about it, but I was lazy.

Two years ago, Roger Ebert mentioned in the boilerplate of a review on his website that he had just recorded a new audio commentary for the director’s cut of Dark City, but there has been no mention of it anywhere since, including in the studio’s annual Upcoming Releases schedules. I had honestly given up hope that it would ever actually be seen, envisioning it sitting on a shelf somewhere between the master print of Chimes at Midnight and the original ending to Kubrick’s The Shining.

Well, I’m glad that I didn’t write that blog entry a month ago, because this morning I got an e-mail from a good friend letting me know that the Dark City director’s cut will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 28 (and I am now saved from needing to do two entries on Dark City in a month)!

It’s long been rumored that the director’s cut will not just restore a scene or two but will actually present the story with an entirely different pace and editing style (and, mercifully, without that blasted voice-over that kicks the movie off by revealing everything the viewer is supposed to learn at the end). As released, the film’s editing was frenetic and left the viewer as de-centered as Murdoch, so I’m interested in seeing it at a more contemplative pace, having the opportunity to let my eyes linger over locations and environments that I only got to see in brief flashes before.

I know this may not be too exciting to the five of you who know that this blog exists, but the day this thing comes out is actually going to be pretty exciting for me. I just thought I’d share.

You can read the original news at

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