Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is finally here, and it’s a substantially better version than the one we saw in Cannes last May.

Not to say that the first version was lacking. But with a little time, Tarantino has filled in the blanks and fleshed out the areas that were still a little sketchy when he delivered a “wet print” to Cannes.

Getty photo

Getty photo

And the audience at the Hugo Boss-sponsored New York premiere loved it. They included Tarantino plus everyone from the cast sans Brad Pitt Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, as well as Sam Rockwell, Gina Gershon, comic Jeffrey Ross, Matthew Settle, John Stamos, Chris Meloni, Richard Belzer, Tom Cavanagh, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Terrence Howard, divorced couple Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi,’ George Hamilton, and, yes, Lindsay Lohan.

The after party at Andre Balazs’s Standard Hotel was the hottest of the season ‘ literally ‘ like 100% humidity, 95 degrees and mostly outside under an abandoned highway now the chic-est spot in town ‘ it’s called the High Line. What can I tell you? Andre Balazs could serve hors d’oeuvres in a sewer and people would come!

But back to “Basterds” ‘ the movie ends with Brad Pitt ‘ just tremendous now as a comic actor ‘ speaking the line, “I think this is my masterpiece.” It’s certainly Tarantino’s. “Basterds” is the event movie of the summer. If you don’t see it right away, you’re going to be out of the loop at dinner parties and the water cooler.

Trimmed and a little rejigged, this final cut really highlights Pitt and Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. The latter just gives a dazzling and unexpected performance. He won the best actor prize in Cannes. Oscar and Golden Globe nominations are in his future most assuredly.

Tomorrow ‘ my interviews with Waltz and Laurent, the two hottest newcomers to movies in a long, long time.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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