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Old 05-31-2009, 04:52 PM   #1
redtornado redtornado is offline
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Default Michael Mann's "The Keep"

Im watching this right now. I got a copy burned off of laserdisc and it looks pretty good. Ive heard rumors of a dvd release, and saw what was supposed to be a dvd cover, but nothing ever came up.

PLOT SUMMARY: Nazis are sent to guard an old, mysterious fortress in a Romanian pass. One of them mistakenly releases an unknown force trapped within the walls. A mysterious stranger senses this from his home in Greece and travels to the keep to vanquish the force. As soldiers are killed, a Jewish man and his daughter (who are both knowledgeable of the keep) are brought in to find out what is happening.

Has anyone seen this? I know for an older catalog movie, it has little chance of a blu-ray release, but I at least figured Michael Manns name on it might do it some good.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:05 PM   #2
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I watched it on youtube last year because it's not available on DVD. I don't think it will ever get a DVD release because Michael Mann is embarrassed by the theatrical cut.

If I remember correctly, Mann had envisioned it being at least 3 hours long, but the studio cut a significant amount of footage making the movie a big mess. It failed at the box office, but it has become a cult classic.

The cut footage is probably in such bad condition that a restoration wouldn't be worth it to the studio. That's too bad because I would love to see Mann oversee a director's cut. The cinematography is gorgeous and I'm sure it would be a good movie if Mann got to reinsert the cut footage.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:15 PM   #3
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I really like that movie. I had no idea it was Mann who directed it (one of my favorite directors)
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewza89 View Post
I watched it on youtube last year because it's not available on DVD. I don't think it will ever get a DVD release because Michael Mann is embarrassed by the theatrical cut.
If I remember correctly, Mann had envisioned it being at least 3 hours long, but the studio cut a significant amount of footage making the movie a big mess. It failed at the box office, but it has become a cult classic.
But Paramount is still reading 1983 memos where the movie sank without a trace, and it's hard enough getting them to show some back-catalogue love for the unappreciated. (Even for their obsessions with the 80's catalogue.)

Quote:
The cut footage is probably in such bad condition that a restoration wouldn't be worth it to the studio. That's too bad because I would love to see Mann oversee a director's cut. The cinematography is gorgeous and I'm sure it would be a good movie if Mann got to reinsert the cut footage.
Now that we've actually heard of Mann (and Ian McKellen), it's an underrated piece of "Miami Vice"-era Mann stylistics, like "Manhunter".
Creepy backlit castle scenery, overcast-doom cinematography, and that edgy Tangerine Dream score, all the stuff of which Underappreciated Cult Classics are made.

The "cut" ending, however, eventually showed up on network TV, and...it's a snore:
After Scott Glenn ends up
[Show spoiler]sucked back into his Final Battle
, we get ten dialogue-free, explanation-free minutes of
[Show spoiler]Glenn and the demon flying through dark Keep space and shooting lasers at each other, until Glenn barely wins his battle, the girl runs back to the castle, and finds Glenn's eerily smoking body.

And you thought '83 audiences couldn't understand the theatrical cut!
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:20 AM   #5
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The film of The Keep is a horrid mess, IMO. It is based on one of the greatest horror novels of all time, The Keep by F Paul Wilson.

Wilson himself was furious over how badly Mann ruined the film. He actually wrote a short story by the name of Cuts in which a novelist gets revenge against the director, Milo Ghirl (OK, not so subtle), for making a terrible film out of his masterpiece. The story appears in Wilson's short story collection Soft and Others.

That is one horror movie that is begging for a remake.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
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The film of The Keep is a horrid mess, IMO. It is based on one of the greatest horror novels of all time, The Keep by F Paul Wilson.

Wilson himself was furious over how badly Mann ruined the film. He actually wrote a short story by the name of Cuts in which a novelist gets revenge against the director, Milo Ghirl (OK, not so subtle), for making a terrible film out of his masterpiece. The story appears in Wilson's short story collection Soft and Others.

That is one horror movie that is begging for a remake.
Wilson also wrote a graphic novel version of The Keep - which is, in effect, the storyboards for the faithful and author-approved film adaptation that never happened.

I love the Michael Mann film despite its undeniable flaws; it still contains moments of sheer cinematic poetry. It just feels like a film that needs finishing with a revised cut - extensions here, trims there - much like Paramount and Robert Wise did with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

That said, I definitely agree that The Keep is begging for a remake. In fact, it's about the ONLY remake I would genuinely be excited by - because we would get to see the novel adapted properly, and also (no doubt) we would finally see an official release of the Michael Mann film, riding on the remake's coat-tails. That's win-win in my opinion.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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Man I remember seeing this movie in the theater. I feel old now.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:43 AM   #8
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This flick always gets a bad rap... and y'know, even though I am a Michael Mann obsessed, I would have to say that this is not for everyone. An acquired taste for sure.

In the canon of Mann's work, it's a failure, but for me at least, an interesting one. Though I know he turned Wilson's novel upside down, I appreciate what Mann was trying to do... going for a cinematic equivalent of a dream. Far from the intent of Wilson's novel (which there could be a more straight adaptation of as a movie "remake" and wouldn't encroach on Mann's movie one iota)... but there are sequences that are just wonderful that when combined with Alex Thomson's photography and Tangerine Dream's scores it close to cinematic heaven. Then there's stuff that just falls dead on the floor. Oh well.

This was on the radar at Paramount as a DVD release a few years ago... announced, then pulled, then announced again... then pulled with the vague "waiting for Michael Mann's participation". Then... nothing.

My wife had the pleasure of working on a Mann movie and knows that he has a fondness for this movie. I would love to see it on Blu... but heck, I'd take an official DVD release if that was all that was available!
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:36 PM   #9
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I don't suppose anyone has an English subtitle file for this film do they? I see a couple Spanish or Italian versions, but no English ?
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #10
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I have never seen this but love all of Manns work. The trailer does make it out to look very cheap though..
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:02 PM   #11
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The Keep (1983)

Mann's second film and a controversial adaptation of Wilson's novel that didn't go down too well with either the audiences or the author. The film isn't particularly bad but there is obviously a lot of hack editing going on and much of the original plot has been ignored or cut.

On the visual side the film is really quite cool looking, it almost looks like an early MTV rock video. The effects (for the time) were pretty swish and do hold the tone of the film together. There is a lot of visual flair with stylish lighting, camera angles, creepy claustrophobic vibes etc...which is one of the films saving graces, great atmosphere.

Another plus point is the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. As you would expect their usual blend of futuristic electronic synth mixed with that old fashioned ethereal/spiritual fairytale-like sound is very unique. Their music can evoke strong emotions from you the viewer . The only problem is this lovely soundtrack doesn't really fit this film. A lot of the tense moments don't really come across as being that thrilling because the music floating in the background just doesn't match the scenario. You would expect to hear a score of this tone for a film like 'Blade Runner'.

The film is also confusing and rather unexplained, where as the original novel is straight forward (so I've read), so why is this film so messy? The evil entity that is released seems to be angry at the Nazi's for killing his people, so I'm guessing it was a Jewish entity? and if it wants to kill Nazi's why not let it? Also we don't find out where the entity comes from, what it really is, what's its purpose, who is Glenn, what is Glenn's story etc...

This isn't really a horror in my eyes, there isn't much blood or gore and its not scary in the slightest, it comes across as a slightly adult version of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' really.The entity or demon is a bit comical to be honest, it should of been kept unseen really. The whole atmosphere in the film is perfect for the entity to roam around in the shadows but they don't really utilise that advantage strangely.

The cast of big names in early roles also works in the films favour, check Ian McKellen in a pre-Professor X type role and Gabriel Byrne as the sadistic German SD Sturmbannführer Kaempffer. Of course being a film about the Nazi's you can't not cast Jürgen Prochnow, solid.

I think first time viewers who have not read the novel will struggle with many questions being raised. I'm very sure the novel addresses many of the issues in the film...well I presume as I have not read it. But the blend of gothic horror set amidst WWII will keep most entertained and interested as it is well created and crafted.

5.5/10

Last edited by Spirit Zero; 12-31-2014 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirit Zero View Post
The Keep (1983)

The film is also confusing and rather unexplained, where as the original novel is straight forward (so I've read), so why is this film so messy? The evil entity that is released seems to be angry at the Nazi's for killing his people, so I'm guessing it was a Jewish entity? and if it wants to kill Nazi's why not let it? Also we don't find out where the entity comes from, what it really is, what's its purpose, who is 'Glenn', what is 'Glenn's' story etc...
Much of the narrative confusion stems from the savage editing of the film, which took place against Mann's wishes. Apparently Mann's original cut was 3 hours long ... so shortening the film to roughly half its original length without the director's involvment was always going to result in a film that's (to put it kindly) not entirely comprehensible.

In the book it's made clear that this is part of an eternal struggle between two immortal adversaries: Glaeken ("Glenn" - the good guy) and Molasar (the entity). Glaeken built the Keep, hundreds of years ago, and imprisoned Molasar within it - unwilling to kill him because his own life was tied to Molasar's, i.e. when one died so would the other. When the Nazis who occupy the Keep in WW2 accidentally release Molasar from his centuries of confinement, Glaeken senses that his adversary is free and travels to the Keep to imprison him again before he gains too much power.

In the film you do "get" that there's some kind of link between the adversaries, that they are tied together in some way, and that both are supernatural entities of some sort - but much of the "history" between the two, especially the fact that Glaeken was the one who built the Keep in the first place, is lost.

As for Molasar - the "entity" - he's simply being manipulative; telling Cuza (McKellen) exactly what he wants to hear, in order to gain his aid. All he wants is to reconstitute his physical form (by absorbing evil souls) and to be able to leave the Keep - for which he needs someone to carry the talisman outside of the walls for him. He's able to tempt Cuza by curing his illness and promising to wipe out the Nazis, but in reality he'll likely discard Cuza the moment he's free.

In the book, Molasar is revealed to be an ancient sorcerer from "the first age of Man" who feeds on chaos, misery, suffering, and draws his power from it. The implication is that, if Molasar is freed during WW2, the suffering of many millions of people in that time will make him invincible. Molasar's interest in the death camps is really all about the suffering he could feed on: he can smell it on Cuza. Molasar draws his power from the suffering that the Nazis are causing - hence, when Kaempffer asks Molasar where he came from, he replies: "I am from you." Literally.

A good example of how the savage edits caused incomprehensibility in the film is a line from Cuza's daughter, Eva, during the scene where Cuza attempts to carry the talisman out of the Keep. Speaking about the talisman, she tells Cuza "It belongs to Glaeken Trismegestus, not Molasar" - names which are never used for those characters anywhere else in the film! As far as viewers are aware, the hero is "Glenn" and the entity is unnamed. No wonder people were confused...

A working knowledge of the novel definitely helps to fill in the gaps in the film's narrative.
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Old 12-22-2016, 02:31 AM   #13
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A decent film. Never read the book.
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Old 08-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #14
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Default When will Michael Mann give us a remastered Blu-ray of "The Keep"?

I've always been drawn to directors with a great visual sense. Films by guys like Fritz Lang, David Lean, Michael Powell, and Martin Scorsese have always left me feeling like I couldn’t wait to watch their films again.

Michael Mann is another director who spends a lot of time crafting the look of his films. One of his earlier films stands out as having not only a beautifully dark, atmospheric aesthetic, but also for blending an interesting plot involving Nazis with some classic conventions of the horror genre. The result is “The Keep.”

Over the years this film has actually developed a serious cult following, both in the US and Europe. The sad thing is how Michael Mann has apparently come to despise his own film, not because of how he shot it but because of how it and he were treated by the producers/studio. I can’t recall all the details surrounding it, but I believe it had to do with how he was forced to edit the film down to a ridiculously short running time.

He supposedly became so incensed that he to this day refuses to sign off on letting the film be released on DVD or Blu-ray, reportedly declaring that he’ll take it to his grave. What a crying shame that is because this is a film that would totally rock on Blu-ray! I so hope that he will finally give in to fan pressure and get behind a re-mastering of this great period piece, which has a great cast and wonderful musical score by Tangerine Dream. If you can get a copy of it, unplug the phone, pull the drapes shut and focus in on this story. If you like history and/or horror films, it’ll be worth your time!
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brand34 View Post
I've always been drawn to directors with a great visual sense. Films by guys like Fritz Lang, David Lean, Michael Powell, and Martin Scorsese have always left me feeling like I couldn’t wait to watch their films again.

Michael Mann is another director who spends a lot of time crafting the look of his films. One of his earlier films stands out as having not only a beautifully dark, atmospheric aesthetic, but also for blending an interesting plot involving Nazis with some classic conventions of the horror genre. The result is “The Keep.”

Over the years this film has actually developed a serious cult following, both in the US and Europe. The sad thing is how Michael Mann has apparently come to despise his own film, not because of how he shot it but because of how it and he were treated by the producers/studio. I can’t recall all the details surrounding it, but I believe it had to do with how he was forced to edit the film down to a ridiculously short running time.

He supposedly became so incensed that he to this day refuses to sign off on letting the film be released on DVD or Blu-ray, reportedly declaring that he’ll take it to his grave. What a crying shame that is because this is a film that would totally rock on Blu-ray! I so hope that he will finally give in to fan pressure and get behind a re-mastering of this great period piece, which has a great cast and wonderful musical score by Tangerine Dream. If you can get a copy of it, unplug the phone, pull the drapes shut and focus in on this story. If you like history and/or horror films, it’ll be worth your time!
I'd like to own this for the cinematography and the TD score, but I highly doubt this will ever get a release on dvd or blu ray.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:39 AM   #16
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I wonder if a 70mm print or negative still exists?

The film was also in surround sound Dolby 6-Track!!! I found this post on the Steve Hoffman Forum about the darkness of the image in the film.

"I can remember back around 1983, there was a horror film, The Keep, which was slammed by critics as being "the darkest film ever made." I think the story was, director Michael Mann was reportedly unhappy with the quality of the creature special effects, so he had the lab darken those shots to try to hide the bad effects work. It got awful reviews on Laserdisc. The movie did so badly, it has yet to get released on DVD (one of many "lost Paramount titles")."

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Old 05-05-2014, 05:20 PM   #17
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Never seen The Keep, due to it's unavailability on DVD/Blu. I read the novel by F. Paul Wilson many years ago, and enjoyed it - however, I'm not sure I would like the film as much.

This is one of those movies that I would take the time to see on DVD/Blu, but probably wouldn't want to bother to watch in a lesser format (i.e., streaming), unless it were in HD....
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brand34 View Post
He supposedly became so incensed that he to this day refuses to sign off on letting the film be released on DVD or Blu-ray, reportedly declaring that he’ll take it to his grave. What a crying shame that is because this is a film that would totally rock on Blu-ray! I so hope that he will finally give in to fan pressure and get behind a re-mastering of this great period piece, which has a great cast and wonderful musical score by Tangerine Dream.
I think the idea that Mann is responsible for the film's non-arrival on dvd or bd is just a myth. Not only have I read him claiming in an interview, that he is not responsible but I strongly doubt that he even has the power to do such a thing. He doesn't own The Keep, he just directed it. The problematic issue appears to be the use of non-commissioned, unauthorised Tangerine Dream music. Any dvd or bd release would have to pay out significant money to either Edgar Froese or a record company, taking away a hefty chunk of any profits. It's reported that the version of the film on streaming media sites has an altered soundtrack which would back that up. I haven't seen a streamed version so am uncertain if that's true (I own a laserdisc rip). btw Altering the soundtrack probably hurts the film as I consider it an integral part of the experience.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:53 PM   #19
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If anybody is interested:-
I've just found a few copies of The Keep on DVD. It's on ebay and is being sold by a seller from Aus region 2 for about £6.00 plus postage.I've also just rented it for £2.49 off Amazon. So I'm going to give it a watch and see what it's like before I decide to go ahead and buy the DVD. I know it's not Blu-ray but there's not a lot anybody can do about it until an official BR release comes out.

It's better to have it on DVD than not if you want it.
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Old 12-31-2014, 01:03 PM   #20
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Is it official or just a rip of the laserdisc?
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