Directors' cuts have become an increasingly prevalent part of the cinematic landscape. Restoring footage that was either lost or snipped by know-nothing studio executives, these new prints have been greeted with open arms by film fans.
Francis Ford Coppola's new version of his 1979 classic about the Vietnam War is quite different from the usual director's cut, though.
Instead of being merely a restoration of the original film, this "Redux" (meaning "return to health") is actually a reworking of the story, using additional footage that Coppola - not the studio - previously decided to leave out.
None of the original's scenes have been snipped; rather, Coppola has added footage that changes their tone.
So, there's a complete sequence set in a French plantation that emerges from the mists during the river journey (as if the crew had stepped through some time warp to 50s Indochina). There's lots of scenes of Willard playing around with the crew of the riverboat - turning him from an obsessed loner into someone more human. Finally, there are several additions to Brando's improvisational ramblings about war, existence, and death - scenes that might have been better staying on the cutting room floor.
Aficionados of the film will be entranced by this new version. The scenes are more than just additions: they add a whole new edge to the film, making "Apocalypse Now", in Coppola's own words, a "richer, fuller, and more textured film experience".
A word of warning: those who have never appreciated this masterpiece's astounding artistry are unlikely to be converted by a print that's long enough to make even the most devoted fan long for an intermission and the ice-cream seller.