Shortly after Inglourious Basterds premiered to less than overwhelming enthusiasm at Cannes, rumors began to surface that Universal, the co-distributor on the film along with The Weinstein Company, wanted Quentin Tarantino to trim and tighten the film prior to its August release in the United States.
Now Tarantino has confirmed to Anne Thompson that he’ll do some work on the film. It’s widely known that he rushed the movie, formally announced just a year ago, to make the Cannes fest. But Thompson suggests that wasn’t due only to a desire to hit the Croisette this year. Tarantino evidently feels that Death Proof didn’t benefit from his typical long post-production process, and the Basterds schedule was an intentional departure from his typical pace.
The film currently runs two hours, 27 minutes; QT had to deliver at 2:46 or less to retain final cut. But he’ll go back for “an audience pruning cut” after some test screenings in the states. And while Maggie Cheung’s scene(s) won’t be reinstated (they didn’t make the Cannes cut), a scene introducing Michael Fassbender probably will go back in.
With that running time, the film can almost certainly be cut to a more manageable length. But the primary criticisms have been that Basterds lacks the unpredictability of other Tarantino films, and that’s something that may not be possible to inject at this stage. And yet the Best Actor award handed to Christoph Waltz, who plays the ‘Jew Hunter’ Colonel hans Landa, is enough of an advance nod that Basterds has some glory, no matter the reviews.