One of the best films we were fortunate to see at this year’s BFI Flare film festival was the first UK screening (and, we believe, the 2nd worldwide) of the Director’s Cut of the film of the legendary New York nightclub, “54”.
The original version of “54” was released in 1998 and much of what was writer and director Mark Christopher’s original intentions ended up on the cutting room floor (one third of the original shots, no less), resulting in a rather sanitised depiction of Studio 54. So much so that producer Dolly Hall dubbed the film “55”.
More than 15 years later, a “Director’s Cut” has been released, with about 40 minutes of additional footage. This is a no holds barred depiction of sex, drugs and disco.
The release of the Director’s Cut is partly by chance. The original 35mm film masters were spread worldwide and some scenes in the Director’s Cut are actually taken from VHS copies of the daily “rushes” of the original shoot (industry parlance for the first print of a day’s filming).
Having seen the film and taken a look back at original photographs from the club we can testify to the quality of the cinematography and its visual accuracy.
“54” was also noteworthy for being Ryan Philippe’s lead role and Mike Myer’s brilliant portrayal of club co-owner Steve Rubell. And then there is the music (Chic, Sylvester, Diana Ross, Odyssey, Dan Hartman).
There’s no word yet on any further screenings in the UK, nor a DVD/Blu-Ray release. However, more film screenings are planned at film festivals around the world, including some with the original cast – a testament to the regard in which they hold the film.
There is also a screening in London on Wednesday 29 April 2015 at the Art House Crouch End.
The film should also be available on on-demand video services in due course. So we’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for this. In the meantime, you can keep up with the latest news on Facebook.
Ryan Philippe, San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2015
Breckin Meyer, San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2015
Ryan Philippe & Breckin Meyer, San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2015
Mark Christopher, San Francisco International Film Festival, April 2015