Shane Salerno's Salinger -- the feature documentary about J.D. Salinger released alongside the book with the same name -- received middling reviews. In an effort to save it before its wide release, producer Harvey Weinstein decided to recut the movie by taking their advice into account.
Critics lambasted the movie once it was screened for the first time at the Telluride Film Festival for its handling of the complicated author. The movie was amateurish with cheap visuals and overbearing music that did the famous author's life a disservice, critics said. So, according to The Hollywood Reporter's Pamela McClintock, Harvey Weinstein decided to fix that:
In particular, reviewers took issue with Salinger's use of reenactments (in many of them, a man is typing on an old-fashioned computer) as well as the dramatic music. Both the reenactments and the music have been toned down considerably, with some of the reenactments gone completely. Also, some scenes have been rearranged.
Oh, everything critics hated. The film's representatives said Salerno had final cut authority on the new version of the documentary, but McClintock reports "it was Weinstein who guided the changes in Salinger." This is one of the most Harvey Weinstein things ever, right?
The notoriously meticulous producer wants the film to be loved when it goes into wide release this week. The movie will go from playing in four theaters to 148 theaters, and Weinstein's "special edition" will be the cut playing when it makes that jump.
Salinger's new cut hopes to improve through subtraction: 13 minutes were trimmed from the original version, with eight minutes of new footage added, so it's five minutes shorter. They also added more footage of author Joyce Maynard, who had a controversial relationship with the reclusive author. Whether or not Salerno and Weinstein took her criticism of the film into account for the new version isn't made clear.