Steven Soderbergh has posted his Black and White silent recut of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) over at his website, Extension765.com.
I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).
Soderbergh’s cut is really missing some intertitles (“Bad dates…”) and the Reznor/Ross score is all kinds of wrong. I would gladly have watched the whole thing if he had left John Williams’ score in place, but as an example of staging and cutting narrative film, it’s peerless.