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Quick Takes: A Matter of Time

Is there a longer cut of A Matter of Time (1976) hiding somewhere in a vault in Italy, waiting to be restored? The last film from the masterful Vincente Minnelli feels like a film maudit, its meditations on the ravages of aging and imagination ironically foreshadowing the movie's own fate (Minnelli's original cut was over 3 hours long, but the American International/Italian co-production was snatched from the director's hands and slashed to 98 minutes by produces, including Jack Haley, Jr., then-husband of its star, the director's daughter Liza Minnelli; it's almost as if the venal producer from Minnelli's earlier Two Weeks in Another Town had come to life to haunt him). Would a three-hour cut give Time's blend of artifice and neo-realism room to expand? Would it let us see more of the film's lush fantasy sequences, and better balance them with the strikingly drab spaces of its "real" world moments? Would the snatches of earnest character deve…

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