Released worldwide in 1984, it was edited by 37 seconds to a total running time of 137 minutes. Though this 137-minute version was not David Lynch's intended cut, it is the only director-approved version and the only official version he ever made of the film for release. It is widely available on both VHS and DVD. In 2006 it was remastered for a special DVD release, and as of late 2006 has been released on HD-DVD with many of the special features seen on other discs.
The 189-minute "Alan Smithee" version was released in 1989. Prepared originally for syndicated television by Universal's MCA division (and later seen on basic cable television networks) for a two-night broadcast, it was prepared without either participation or authorization by David Lynch. It includes a new narrator and a new prologue with a montage of painted pictures. It also reinserts approximately 40 minutes of cut footage, extending some existing scenes and adding others that were, until this version, entirely unseen. This television version also includes some repeated shots throughout the film.
Lynch objected to this version and petitioned the Director's Guild of America to have his name removed from the credits (which were replaced by the pseudonyms Alan Smithee and Judas Booth). It is now available worldwide on DVD as the "Extended Edition," but 13 minutes shorter because it was originally presented on television in two parts, with the opening and closing credits repeated on the second night with a Part 1 recap. Only Universal's Region 1 release from 2006 presents the Smithee version of Dune in the film's original widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
While the theatrical cut is cheaper, the Extended version has a better box visual as well as special features and previously deleted scenes. I'm big on special features as well as decent menu screens, otherwise I feel ripped off.
Do any of you have either version? If so, thoughts, opinions? Extended seems the way to go, though special features have a habit of being exaggerated and not really being that good. I know that I prefer the Irulan prologue of the theatrical cut, which is really the only reason I'd prefer that version.
My other concern is the upcoming Dune remake. If it ends up getting done, then a new release may came out that fixes a lot of the problems as well as does that whole remastering thing. So, would it be wiser to wait just in case a better deal comes along? But if I do wait, there's the possibility that a new release doesn't come around, but the price still goes up to cash in on the new adaptation.
Again, thoughts, opinions, advice? (And please, "Don't get it, it sucks" is not something I want to hear)