The Opening Shot

Something you’ll notice if you’ve previously watched Manos on video is the very abrupt beginning of the film. While the MST3K version starts with a shot of the family driving by in their car, the public domain version (which likely originated from an independent VHS distributor’s 16mm transfer) starts a few moments later with the car already parked on an overlook. Neither of these is in fact the beginning of the film, although the MST version comes closest.

In fact the first shot of the film, present on both the work print and the uncut release print, is a fade up on a view of 1966 El Paso from the overlook, followed by a pan right that takes in the full scene and stops on the city. It’s accompanied on the release print by an earlier start to the musical score.

Not an incredibly startling revelation out of context, but it gives us a bit more of that distinctive musical score to enjoy, and it does confirm that the movie has no opening credits, no copyright information and not even a production company logo before the title card several minutes in.

 

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