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Lightning Over Water (1980)

Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Himself
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Herself
Pierre Cottrell ...
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Becky Johnston ...
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Tom Kaufman ...
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Pat Kirck ...
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Martin Müller ...
Himself
Craig Nelson ...
Himself
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Susan Ray ...
Herself
Timothy Ray ...
Himself
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Storyline

Director Nicholas Ray is eager to complete a final film before his imminent death from cancer. Wim Wenders is working on his own film Hammett (1982) in Hollywood, but flies to New York to help Ray realize his final wish. Ray's original intent is to make a fiction film about a dying painter who sails to China to find a cure for his disease. He and Wenders discuss this idea, but it is obviously unrealistic given Ray's state of health. Written by Karl Engel <cassiel@ix.netcom.com>

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Documentary

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

23 November 1984 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Nick's Film - Lightning Over Water  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film directed by Nicholas Ray. Also marks as his first documentary. See more »

Quotes

Nicholas Ray: The film is about... a man who wants to bring himself all together before he dies. A regaining of self esteem. A once, very highly successful man.
Wim Wenders: [narrating] I was getting very confused. Something was happening. Each time the camera was pointed at Nic - something that I had no control of. It was in the camera itself. It was looking at Nic through the viewfinder. Like a very precise instrument, the camera showed clearly and mercilessly... that his time was running out. No, you couldn't really ...
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Connections

Featured in Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Lightning Over Water
Performed by Ronee Blakley
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User Reviews

Beware: two versions exist, first is better
10 January 2003 | by (Danville, IL) – See all my reviews

Two video versions of this film exist, both roughly the same length. The first was released by Pacific Video on VHS in 1987, the second just this month (1/03) by Anchor Bay on DVD. According to Kathe Geist's book "The Cinema of Wim Wenders: From Paris France to Paris Texas," Wenders was so depressed by the filming of "Lightning" and Ray's death that he handed the footage over to his editor, Peter Przygodda, who spent a year fashioning it into a version shown at Cannes; apparently this is also the version released by Pacific Video in 1987 and which I first saw around that time (and have watched many times since). Wenders supposedly found this version obscure and depressing and re-edited, adding a voiceover (his own) and superimposing passages from Ray's diary; this is the version just released on DVD, and is considered by some the definitive edition. But I find Wender's criticism of the initial cut confusing, for it's the LATTER cut (his own) which is murky and depressing. Nick Ray's final scene, for example ("Cut...Don't Cut.") is tortuous (we're watching a man dying), and there are sequences edited so bizarrely as to be almost incomprehensible. The first cut, in contrast, has a narrative flow and progression that make it easier to absorb, though it's still tough going as we witness Nick Ray's suffering. Also, Wender's narration in the 2nd version (absent in the initial cut) actually adds little to the film. The first version is unfortunately out of print but is worth tracking down because it's the superior one.


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