Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview foretells his return to Apple

PBS magically found the master tape from a Robert X. Cringley interview with Steve Jobs from 1995 and has released it as a 70-minute feature film.

I went to see Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview tonight at a theatre in downtown Philadelphia. The movie is the "entire tape" interview that Robert X. Cringley did with Jobs in 1995 for a PBS television special "Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires" that premiered in June 1996.

Here's the official trailer for the film:

Only about 10 minutes of the interview made it into Triumph of the Nerds -- which is available on YouTube -- and the rest of the interview landed on the proverbial cutting room floor. The rest of the tape was feared lost, or so the story goes, until the original tape was recently discovered in the director's garage.

The movie is playing for a limited two-day engagement (November 16 and 17) at 23 theaters across the U.S. Tickets and showtimes are on the official movie Web site.

The '95 interview, about 70 minutes all told, captures a spunky and charismatic Jobs at the wise age of 40, speaking about Apple after a bitter power struggle with John Scully ended in his ouster. Jobs is about 10 years into his stint at NeXT and one point he asks Cringley "you don't want to hear about NeXT, do you?" -- almost as if he didn't want to talk about it.

Although clearly not over his split with Scully -- Jobs describes how Apple in 1995 was in a "glide slope" that "isn't reversible" -- it's easy to detect a hint reverence in his voice when Jobs speaks about Apple.

Was Jobs making his big pitch for Apple to buy NeXT? Could be, because Apple indeed acquired NeXT (for $400 million) just 18 months after the interview was taped, and Jobs made his biggest triumph to date -- returning and resurrecting Apple.

A couple of short clips from the movie:

My advice is to see the movie if you can. It's definitely worth your time, especially if you're, ahem, enlightened.

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