"Sliver". Torn to shreads by most critics and especially looked upon as a vehicle for Sharon Stone resp. some sort of second "Basic Instinct", looking at the movie in a nutshell, it is actually a very exciting erotic thriller. The production of the movie turned out to be very complicated, though. Novel author Ira Levin, on whose book of the same title "Sliver" is based on), sold the rights relatively reluctantly. Joe Esterhaz (author of "Basic Instinct") therefore wrote a script. Things really started during the shooting, though: The two main actors Sharon Stone and William Baldwin couldn't stand each other. Stone even bit Baldwin's tounge during a kissing scene so hard he couldn't say any dialog for several days. Fortunately, nothing of this can be noticed during the brisk erotic scenes. Furthermore, the movie was supposed to contain a full-frontal nudity shot of Baldwin, which actually has been shot, but Baldwin himself had it removed later.
After the shooting, the problems continued. The first finished version was played to a chosen audience. They criticized especially the film's ending, so reshootings were neccessary. Beforehand, but without telling too much: Just as in the novel, the "other one" is the murderer in the workprint! The finale actually makes the movie's workprint extremely absurd, even though it is interesting to look at. For the final version, this ending is very "screwed up", though. Author Joe Esterhaz therefore supposedly wrote five different alternate endings. But for the theatrical cut, there wasn't only a different ending reshot - the movie was changed to a degree it now actually is another film. Today, Joe Esterhaz says he hates this movie. Most other participants hardly back the film as well. This is probably a reason why the existing DVD has absolutely no extra features. By the way, the trailer shows a few of the removed scenes.
As mentioned before, the movie is an exciting erotic thriller in my book. Due to the completely different editing and partly fully different scenes, the workprint is very interesting to look at, too. The theatrical version is the best one, though. I concerned myself pretty long with the movie and also read the related novel by Ira Levin, which differs both from the theatrical version and the workprint extraordinarily from time to time. But even the book cannot match the theatrical version, since here, Zeke Hawkins (played by William Baldwin in the movie) appears like a 12-year-old to the reader who only wants to play with his video equipment, due to the dialogs with it. As a result, the sexscenes in the book - which are much less detailled - degenerate completely.
The theatrical cut will be compared to an inofficial workprint in this cut report.
Since the workprint differs to about 30% from the theatrical version and almost makes a completely different movie, there will be no timeline designations (here and there, both versions miss whole, rather long scenes).
TC = Theatrical Cut
WP = Workprint
Italic text: Explanations of scenes, that are only shown in the theatrical version will be italicized. But if the workprint features alternate material which is being explained more clearly, the italic format will usually not be used.
"For classification": Plot elements that are important for understanding follow this connotation. Scenes that are mentioned here therefore appear in both versions.
The opening sequence varies entirely in both versions.
The TC shows Naomi Singer going into her apartment and shortly after an unknown entering her flat. She smiles and shows the audience she know this person through that, but the face is not shown. A little later, the unknown throws Naomi off the balcony. She falls into death.
The workprint shows different scenes of the surveillance monitors at first. Then you see a technician enter the building and passing a few guards. The technician fixes the elevator. Then he enters and tests it. Inbetween, some guards are shown keeping an eye on the surveillance monitors. Suddenly, the elevator gets stuck due to a blackout. The technician climbs out to check something. All of a sudden something fast comes from above and hits the technician.
In the next scene, a lot of policemen are gathered in the lobby. The inspector looks into the elevator shaft and notices a big pool of blood. One of the policemen says this used to be an elevator technician named Julio Rodriguez, aged 31. Some dialog takes place, the camera moves up and shows the headless corpse the inspector looks at. Fade-out.
After the opening sequence with the shot to the skyscraper, the workprint fades in again. Only the TC features an additional scene showing Carly (Sharon Stone) meeting old Gus.
In the WP, the talk with Judy ends in the middle. Instead, Carly talks to her editor Paul about a James Dean Biography. In the TC, Carly and July talk a little more about relationships, though. Her editor and the book-topic are mentioned shortly, too.
Rather long take of Carly in the WP.
Classification:The scene showing Gus tell Carly that she resembles former inhabitant Naomi Singer and that she had jumped off the balcony is contained in both versions.
The WP misses a shot of Carly touching her belly button.
The scene showing Carly masturbating in the bath tub differs a little in both versions. The WP shows Carly mostly through the monitors. Both versions also show a few different shots. Furthermore, a piano piece is played during this scene in the TC, the WP features the regular Soundtrack by Enigma, which can be heard a few more times in the movie. Both versions have their advantages: The background music of the WP fits better. The TC shows a little more of Sharon Stone and it is slightly longer.
The WP misses the scene that shows Vida, one of Carly's neighbors, making an appointment with a guy in his hotel room, but that gets shown later.
The editing and the arrangement of the surveillance cameras' recordings, which show what happens in the several rooms is a little different in both versions. The scenes themselves differ a little as well. The WP furthermore now features Vada making an appointment with the guy. This scene is also a little longer. A.o. She asks "Is he straight?"
Carly is seen a little longer in the WP, after having been edged by the reporters. Then you see some people pushing an empty stretcher in front of them.
The policemen are shown a little longer in the WP.
The WP now features an additional scene with Jack (Tom Berenger) after the policewoman asked Carly whether she knew old Gus. Jack says this place starts resembling a morgue. Zeke (William Baldwin) says he doesn't find that funny. Jack jokingly answers that Zeke probably has no humor at all and leaves. Subsequently, Carly and Zeke talk to each other about Gus; that he just moved in and that he is a nice man.
As Carly takes a look at a few old newspaper articles about the deaths in the apartment building, only the WP features a picture of the third dead's face. It is the elevator technician Rodriguez. The text Carly reads is in both versions a different one, too. The takes showing Carly read something about Naomi's death are slightly different, too.
The WP now on the one hand shows a different angle than the theatrical cut, as it is being discussed who the building's owner was. On the other hand, Jack says in the Workprint "Ignorance is bliss." The shots differ a little in the subsequent short scene with Carly (Stone) and Zeke (Baldwin) as well.
As Carly watches the lovers through her telescope, the WP features another, additional shot of the two making love. The Theatrical Cut keeps showing Carly instead.
After Zeke invites Carly to the gymnastics club, the WP shows an additional view of Carly. Therefore it misses the entire scene of Jack leaving her as the party's last gues. Jack flirts with Carly a little and asks her whether she would prefer having dinner with him to having dinner with Zeke. She says that she'd think about it. Then Jack leaves.
As Carly notices the love couple on the opposite also owns a telescope, they are shown a little longer in the WP. The man also takes a look trough the telescope.
The WP misses the entire scene showing Carly doing her laundry, a blackout happening all of a sudden and her not being able to open the door for a short time. She hears some noises and scaredly tries to open the doors. Finally she is being surprised by Zeke and a janitor, and the power gets on again.
Classification: Carly talks to Zeke about a strange entity. He says the entity was a vulcan and that he dreams of flying inside one one day. Carly asks him why, whereas Zeke answers that he didn't know but that he thinks it would be great. As mentioned before: shown in both versions.
The scene showing Zeke touch Carly's crotch is slightly different. The TC directly cuts to a close-up of Carly and Zeke. She, arousedly, repeatedly says she had to go as Zack continues to touch and calm her. The WP though keeps showing the distant shot, so both are shown. Then there is a close-up of Zeke touching Carly. The dialog from above does not occur here and the background music is different, too.
Screens only from the WP:
The workprint furthermore now shows longer shots of Carly and Zeke at the beginning of the sex scene. During the actual sex scene, both versions show different/longer takes. The WP features more close-ups of Sharon Stone while the TC usually uses distant shots. Zeke kissing Carly's breasts is only shown in the TC. The final take of both from above is different, too. The WP features more shots.
Screens only from the WP:
As Zeke sits up fron on the bed he asks in the WP "Did you like what happened? ...Did you?" Carly nods. Zeke:" So come over here then." The TC only shows Zeke nodding his head to Carly towards the bed.
Now, "plot" is interesting, again: The scene showing Carly laying down on the couch is over in the WP after her friend has called and left a message on the answering machine. In the TC, though, it is now being exposed that Zeke is the secret voyer of all the rooms' closed circuit television. He watches Carly and wishes her a good night and exciting dreams.
Jack says a few more words in the WP as he confronts Carly with having a relationship with Zeke. The TC shows another take of Carly. Furthermore, the WP misses Jack saying that Carly also looks very similar to dead Naomi Singer and that this was the same apartment she jumped off the balcony. He also says that Carly had no idea what kind of man Zeke was and that he is completely crazy.
The WP has got more dialog as Jack confronts Carly with having a relationship with Zeke.
[Jack: "Your boyfriend owns the building. I bet he didn't tell you, did he?"
Carly: "Yes, he did."
Jack: "...while he was still inside you?"]
Carly looks angry.
[Jack: "When? Because Lieutenant Hendricks didn't find out 'til this friday. You know how difficult it was for the police to discover that?"]
As Carly "asks" Jack to already go and Jack finally leaves the apartment, he turns around in the WP once more and says: "Carly, Naomi told the shrink he was so good she was begging for more. That right, girl?"
The WP now misses the entire scene showing Zeke watch Carly, then call her and invite her for dinner, right after the scene from above. The subsequent sequence, during which the two meet downstairs is missing. The restaurant-scene itself is contained.
During the restaurant-scene there are different shots in both versions from time to time. While the WP keeps using the long shot, the TC uses close-ups of Zeke and Carly in turns.
The WP misses the short close-up of Carly's leg as she shows Zeke what kind of panties she is wearing.
After Carly said that she had won and he had lost, a shot of an old married couple who had watched them the whole time is missing. A little shocked, the woman drops her fork loudly onto her plate. The WP shows Zeke longer instead. Also, the WP misses the waiter come to the two another time, asking whether they wanted to place their order. The final shot of this sequence, during which Carly licks her index finger is contained in the WP, though.
The second, shorter sex scene between Carly and Zeke has different shots from time to time. The WP shows the second half only in an ever closer zooming-in long shot. The TC uses this shot for a short time, too but features more close-ups.
Screens from the WP:
The WP misses yet another short scene showing Zeke watch Carly through the monitors. She dials a number. So, the WP's audience still does not know who the secret voyeur is. The WP shows the telephoning scene directly inside Carly's apartment. The TC continues as Carly has dialed the number, too. The TC is a little longer.
Subsequently to that last scene, the WP misses the entire sequence during which Carly calls Jack and talks to him about Vida having told her that he was the one who supposedly had an affair with Naomi Singer. Jack denies this and asks, whether it really was he neighbor Vida or Zeke, who has told her that. She immediately hangs up without saying anything, as well as Jack. In between and after that, Zeke is shown again and again, watching Carly through the monitors.
Both versions differ in how Jack is being interrogated by the policemen after Vida's death.
TC: Jack is being interrogated in a police station. Photos Vida had on her desk showing Jack are shown to him. He says Zeke Hawkins must have screwed him because of a woman, Naomi Singer.
WP: Jack is being interrogated in the apartment building. The cops ask him whether he had known Vida. He says that he had only met her once on Carly's party. Then there is an edit to Carly, who says she saw Jack and Vida together on the streets one time (the rest of the scene with Carly is contained in the TC as well). Shortly after that one, the WP shows another, alternate scene with Jack. He says he had heard sounds after jogging and wanted to check on what was going on. The police confront him with photos of Vida on his desk. Finally, he is being read his Miranda rights.
Classification:Zeke reveals having a closed curcuit television of the entire house to Carly (and the audience of the WP)
The WP misses the scene in which Carly first want to enter the elevator, after she has left Zeke's apartment disgustedly, as he showed her the surveillance system. Then, the WP shows Zeke a little longer. A fade takes place, probably expressing some time has passes since Carly returned.
A couple having sex is being watched by Carly at the monitors. This scene is longer in the Workprint The Theatrical Cut shows another couple with a baby instead. The WP is longer in comparison, though. Shortly after that, the couple is shown again which was replaced with another alternate scene in the TC again.
Screens from the WP:
The workprint shows another shot on the monitors, furthermore a few of the subsequent takes are longer.
Additional scene in the WP: Zeke says "Try 14B." They are watching a woman named Gloria pleasuring herself. Carly asks"Were you watching me?" Zeke: "I'm watching you all the time."
The WP misses the short scene showing Zeke fast forwarding the tape to find the scene in which he and Carly have sex together. The WP has alternate material for a few seconds instead, both at the tape's recordings and Carly. The following scene in which Zeke touches Carly's breasts is slightly different regarding the angles.
Screens from the TC:
Screens from the WP:
The TC now shows a scene with Carly in the elevator. A man and a girl join in. It is the girl who is being groped by her stepfather. The two don't know Carly knows due to the surveillance cameras, though.
The WP misses this sequence entirely, there is another scene instead: Carly walks through the city as she meets Jack. All excited, he tries to proove his innocence to Carly. He tells her that he found out Zeke's mother died as he was seventeen years old – in the shower, just as old Gus. He also shows her a few photos of Zeke's mom and stutteringly asks her who she looks similar as. Carly then silently goes away.
The TC shows this scene in a similar way. More about that later.
In the workprint, Zeke talks about more observations: He tellsCarly Mr. Anderson actually did not have cancer (a scene about that is shown in both versions earlier). Carly is relieved and continues listening to Zeke as she lays down on the ground. Then Zeke talks about Gloria, who has just set her hand on herself and is taking a nap right now. Carly asks: "Did you watch her?" Zeke: "Of course, i watched her. She's like a swiss clock. Beats a cup of coffee in the morning." Carly: "You're bad." Zeke: "We're bad." Now Zeke says he called old Ballinger and says he would kill him if he ever touched his daughter again. This is shown in the TC again. The takes are different, though: in the TC Carly is standing during the entire conversation. The WP now switches to the next scene already, as well. In the TC, Zeke sends a rose to Carly via computer message.
Screens from the WP:
Screens from the TC:
The final twenty minutes differ so much a singular explanation is not possible any more. Therefore, everything at once:
Carly comes back home and is being raided by Jack with a gun. Now, he tells her what he had told her in the WP on the streets. He forces Carly to call Zeke to her. Jack wants to squeeze the truth out of him now. Finally, a wrangling takes place during which Jack gets accidently shot.
Then there is another police interrogation in Carly's apartment. The cops find a bunch of keys by dead Jack, one of the keys fits Carly's lock, which explains how Jack could get into the flat. Also, the cops tell among other things, that Jack already was sued a few times for assault.
Carly is at Zeke's place again, and watches Ballinger through the monitors, telling his step daughter that he is sorry he touched her. Zeke joins. The whole thing goes too far for Carly now and she wants "their" tape. As Zeke gets the tape from his secret hiding place, Carly watches him through the monitors. After Zeke has erased the tape, he says he wants to get something to eat. After he has left the apartment, Carly storms the hiding place and finds several tapes showing Zeke having sex with all kinds of women (a.o. also Carly's neighbor Vida and Naomi Singer as well)
Zeke comes back prematurely, though, since he forgot his wallet. Carly locks the hiding place to the room with the monitors, but Zeke drills the door open. Carly draws a weapon and points it at Zeke. Suddenly, she notices one of the monitors showing resp. one of the tapes containing Naomi's murder. She recognizes the killer as Jack! Carly first lowers the gun but then shoots all the monitors and the surveillance system. She tells Zeke to already start living. THE END.
Many of the scenes that are talked about are contained in the TC as well, but most of them were reshot completely.
While these scenes are shown, the camera moves backwards. You now see Carly is together with Zeke again, she seems depressed. Both watch the action. Zeke proposes getting something to eat; Carly agrees and asks whether she could watch the tape showing the two have sex in the meantime. Zeke gets the tape from his secret hiding place. Carly watches the process through the monitors.
Carly is sitting in her apartment, the telephone rings. A little hesitatingly, she picks it up. It is Zeke, he says Ballinger is back since ten minutes ago and asks Carly if she wanted to watch. She says she wanted to have a shower right now. Now the WP features the scene showing Ballinger talk to his daughter, saying he was sorry.
Carly makes sure Zeke has entered the elevator, then she runs to the hiding place. She finds some photos and video tapes, among other things. She pops one of the tapes into the recorder and notices, Zeke had sex with Naomi Singer. She says "oh my god" and apathetically runs out of Zeke's apartment.
Shortly after, Zeke returns into his apartment, since he forgot his wallet, there he notices the running tape showing him and Naomi. He switches a monitor to Carly's apartment, who just returned there. Cut to the elevator in her story: Zeke gets out and knocks on Carly's door. Suddenly, Carly notices a shadow in the side room. She opens the door and lets Zeke inside. Numerous times, he assures her he never loved the other women, only her. Carly slaps his face. The strange shadow turns out to be Jack, who now appears, holding a gun and confronting Zeke. Some accusations and a bit of shouting take place before Zeke jumps at Jack. Carly takes the gun Jack lost during the fight. Jack hits Zeke's head on the ground several times and strangles him. As Jack wants to strike Zeke dead with a heavy object, Carly shoots him. With an uncomprehending look on his face, Jack drops back and Carly drops the gun. The subsequent police interrogation is almost identical to the one in the regular version. Only the angles differ, again.
Carly and Zeke are sitting at the surveillance system and watch the police interrogation's recording.
Carly says she was sorry, whereas Zeke shouts she saved his life and proposes to her. Carly asks if he was serious, then she wants to know what they should do the whole day – watch TV?
In the meantime, the rest of a recording is running in the background, on the tape Zeke used to record the interrogation. It shows an unknown person killing old Gus under a shower. Zeke kisses Carly quickly before she can see anything. Now, it's shown that Zeke is the murderer!
Zeke tells Carly they had a lot to discuss and that he actually wants to get rid of all this.
Zeke removes some tapes from the recorder.
Carly wants to know whether he wants to get rid of their tape as well. Zeke answers they could make more which Carly confirms.
Carly takes the tapes from Zeke's hands and throws them into the chimney fire. Zeke asks Carly again if she wanted to marry him, she answers yes. In the next scene, the two get married on the apartment building's roof.
Now Carly and Zeke are travelling by helicopter. Carly is holding a video camera in her hand.
Zeke tells Carly to open up her safety belt. As she asks why, he tells her to trust him and says it was more fun that way.
More takes of the helicopter.
Zeke tells Carly not to be afraid. She answers him she wasn't, then she says she kept the video showing Zeke kill Gus in the shower. He keeps silent for a momnt before asking where the tape is. Carly says it is more fun that way, then she opens Zeke's safety belt and tells him not to be afraid. He answers her he wasn't.
The two smile at each other as the helicoper approaches a volcano.
Zeke shouts: "Here we go!"
Carly laughs loudly. The two keep steering towards the lava.
Cut to white noise. The camera moves back, Zeke's apartment is shown. All the monitors show white noise. THE END
For especially interested ones, the following.
THE NOVEL'S ENDING:
In the novel, Carly (actually named "Kay" in the book) gets a tape from Zeke's (actually named "Pete" in the book) hiding place after he has left. But there, she spots Zeke punching old Gus with a golf club and then drowning him. Carly grabs a few more tapes and disappears into her apartment with them. Zeke finds out about that and keeps her in her apartment by blackmailing her with her cat (Carly has no cat in the film). Zeke tells Carly that he was going to hurt the cat if she didn't stay in her apartment. Zeke confirms Carly's assumption, he killed old Gus because he was close to discovering his surveillance system. Carly proposes to Zeke delivering himself up and the two marrying so she did not have to testify against him. Zeke is not sure whether she is serious about this at first and asks her to wait, because he wanted to think about this. Several hours later, he comes back with Carly's cat. She asks Zeke about his decision. He says, he decided to kill her! Now, a big wrangling takes place. Zeke almost manages do drop Carly off a window as Carly's cat jumps into Zeke's face and scratches out his eyes almost entirely. He survives, gets arrested and ends up in a hospital. THE END