American History X - director's cut (lost version of film; 1998)

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American history x poster.jpg

Advertisement poster for the film.

Status: Lost

American History X is a 1998 drama film directed by Tony Kaye. It stars Edward Norton as a Nazi skinhead that makes a remarkable transformation after 3 years in prison. It received critical acclaim for its realistic portrayal of it's subject matter, and it earned Norton an Academy Award nomination for Leading Actor.

The surviving film was actually stolen from the director's hands by both New Line Cinema (the film's distributor) and Edward Norton (who is a notoriously difficult actor to deal with). Several squabbles over what scenes should stay and what order they should be in resulted in an extremely lengthy post-production process. After New Line Cinema rejected Kaye's first and second cuts, Norton eventually ended up helming the editing process in early-1998, allegedly tailoring his cut in order to specifically give himself more screentime, something Kaye believes "ruined" the film. There is little information available towards what exactly was different.

It is widely believed that Norton destroyed many of the master copies of the deleted scenes. Only a handful of scenes were featured on the movie's DVD or leaked onto the internet. Kaye did eventually release a documentary about the struggles the film's production had, but even that movie has been screened a limited amount of times. To this day, it is unknown exactly how many more scenes have yet to be released if any. No material at all from the earlier cut was ever made publicly available until a workprint of Kaye's second cut, dating around late-1997, was leaked online in the form of a rip of a high-generation VHS tape. Lost Media Wiki user dycaite had initially uploaded a copy of the workprint that he had acquired from anonymous sources, however, it was later removed from Mega due to a copyright claim. An alternative rip of the bootleg has surfaced on private torrent trackers, such as MySpleen.



4 and a half minutes of footage from the found workprint.