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Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, The

Well, we all know about the on-set woes that dogged this baroque Gilliam escapade – language problems and heat exhaustion in Rome, spiralling set budgets, Sean Connery quitting his King of the Moon duties as ‘windows’ came and went – but Putters had to put up with neck-deep shite to even help get it off the ground, thanks to an interminable legal wrangle with one Allan Buckhantz, representing the company that owned the rights to the wartime German film Munchhausen (and, he claimed, the entire West German government), who fired off endless letters, up to seventeen pages in length, to Columbia to stop them making their version, which on the surface looked like threatening legal documents but turned out to be mostly written like this – ‘NOW COME ON…! GET OFF IT, *PUTTNAM!* The fact(s) is (are): COLUMBIA PICTURES… has been *deceptive, evasive, circumventive*, etc., thus maybe cunning – from Columbia’s point of view – but not very smart I say… please *Mr Puttnam*… DON’T MAKE ME LAUGH! If anything, THE JOKE IS ON YOU… *NOT ME!*’ Eventually, through a mixture of exhaustion and finally realising the original Munchausen stories were clearly public domain and had been for centuries, he relented. But as net losses on the film mounted up to 24 million dollars (higher than the film’s original budget) Puttnam’s successors might have been forgiven for wishing he’d put a bit more *EFFORT!* into things. They contented themselves with burying the (rather good) film via a singularly shite distribution policy.

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