BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11: (L-R) Steven Spielberg attend the AFI Awards Luncheon at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 11, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
Movies - TV
Steven Spielberg Left A Lot Of 1941's 'Connective Tissue' On The Cutting Room Floor
Steven Spielberg’s “1941” is blissfully chaotic, narratively scattered, and unabashedly irreverent, but although, the film was a hit, it fell far short of Spielberg’s previous two movies — “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The film was a learning curve for everyone involved, and ultimately a lot of edits had to be made.
In an interview, “1941” writer Gale described his writing process with Robert Zemeckis. Gale recalled, “We would think of this stuff and say 'Yeah, we could have a dogfight on Hollywood Boulevard — let's write that in!' or 'We could put riots on Hollywood Boulevard — let's do that!’” Although entertaining, these additions left little room for character development.
In order to accommodate all the dogfights and riots, Spielberg had to make a lot of tough edits. As Gale described it, the film was “flawed” because “the backstories of the characters and the connective tissues of the story ended up on the cutting room floor.” However, contrary to Gale's opinion, this may not have been a bad thing.
In extended cuts from 1980 and 1995, the film is shown with an extra half-hour of footage allowing some characters an extended backstory, but ultimately this detracts from the film’s exhilarating logic. The joy of “1941” is that a lot of inexplicable things happen at once; the mad, boisterous and untamed nature of the original is what made it a true classic.