Director of First Harry Potter Film Wants Three-Hour Cut Released

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Image: Warner Bros.

It has been 20 years since the original release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. As part of the anniversary celebration, director Chris Columbus has been giving interviews about the first film. In one interview, he reveals that a three-hour cut exists and he wants it released. Screenings shown to test audiences had featured an extra 30 minutes over the theatrical cut. He said kids loved it, while parents complained about the movie’s runtime.

“We knew that the film worked because we did a couple of previews,” Columbus said. “Particularly a Chicago preview where our first cut was a three-hour cut. Parents afterwards said it was too long, the kids said it was too short. I thought, well, the kids presumably have a shorter attention span so this is a good thing.”

Columbus had also spoken about the alternate cut a year ago, discussing the sense of excitement from the children.

By the time we finished the film and we screened it in Chicago – it’s good luck for us to screen our films in Chicago, so back in the day when we could go to a movie theater we would fly to Chicago and show the film to an audience – the audience loved it. The audience just ate up the film. The film was two hours and fifty minutes long at that point and the kids thought it was too short and the parents thought it was too long.

Image: Warner Bros.

The half hour that was removed focused on a poltergeist called Peeves who haunted Hogwarts. The character is quite popular among fans of the books, and the first film is already considered a faithful adaption, making some desire the lost footage even more. The character was portrayed by the late Rik Mayall (The Young Ones, Drop Dead Fred), who passed in 2014. Chris told The Wrap that “We have to put Peeves back in the movie, who was cut from the movie!” There is no word on whether Warner Bros. will release another version of the film with the cut footage. The Ultimate Edition with an additional seven minutes that was released on DVD and Blu-ray does not include the character.

Sources: The Wrap (via IndieWire), Collider

Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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