Michaelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger has a complicated history. Made in 1975 and considered by the director to be his most stylistically mature film, its original cut - made by Antonioni himself - was a full four hours long. Later, with the aid of editor Franco Arcalli, he reduced the running time to slightly less than 150 minutes; MGM, however, demanded a running time of under two hours, and the film was further cut ("mutilated," according to Antonioni) for its release in the US.
In an effort to preserve the remaining integrity of the film in which he starred, Jack Nicholson bought its negative and worldwide rights in the 1980s. While his move has frustrated those who are desperately awaiting a DVD release (Warner released a shoddy, full-screen VHS edition in 1992), Nicholson felt strongly enough about the film that he wanted it to receive the best possible treatment in its rerelease. Toward that end, he turned down approach after approach for the rights until finally securing a deal with Sony Pictures Classics last year. After decades of being almost impossible to find in a watchable form, The Passenger will be back on the big screen in the US (a limited release starts October 28), and will finally appear on (non-Japanese) DVD some time next year.