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The Cutting Room Floor


WaldoLydecker
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Scissored Sequences ?

 

I thought it would be both fun and educational to compile a short list of

films ? both classic and contemporary ? that were significantly altered in the editing process with pivotal scenes, celebrated performers, sometimes an entire reel pared away and left on the cutting room floor. Feel free to add your own titles in your responses!

 

Some Noteworthy Examples:

 

?Ziegfeld Follies? (MGM, 1946) ? Katharine Hepburn and Margaret O?Brien sequence axed from the release print; Fanny Brice comedy sketch that appears in American distribution print was hacked out overseas; Bubble-rama finale with Cyd Charisse significantly shaved. Astaire?s rousing ?If Swing Goes?? number dropped.

 

?The Wizard of Oz? (MGM, 1939) Entire, elaborate production numbers deleted including ?The Jitterbug? and ?The Triumphal Return? (the four principals return to an exuberant Emerald City celebration after The Wicked Witch of the West is ?liquidated.?); Jack Haley is transformed into a buzzing beehive (complete with animated bees) by Margaret Hamilton in the scene where she menacingly appears on a rooftop.

 

?Meet Me In St. Louis? (MGM, 1944) ? Lobby cards and stills survive of a scene in which Judy Garland helps Mary Astor prepare to go out in fancy dress that didn?t make it to the final version of the film; ?Boys and Girls Like You and Me? number cut; Truncated scene of Margaret O?Brien talking to Tom Drake in the Smith?s living room.

 

?The Way We Were? (Columbia, 1973) ? Most of the politically charged

material in the second half was removed by director Sydney Pollack when preview audiences seemed far more interested in Katie and Hubbell?s unrequited love story. Co-stars James Woods and Viveca Lindfors lost most of their screen time; Barbra Streisand?s Oscar chances harmed when many of her most moving scenes were dropped; Arthur Laurents? original screenplay from 1972 is substantially different from the finished film.

 

?The Magnificent Ambersons? (RKO) - Studio sharpened their pruning shears on Orson Welles? director?s cut; Future director Robert Wise instructed to ?lighten? the revised recut after one disastrous preview; Agnes Moorehead?s role significantly altered; Sappy ending tacked on.

 

?The Big Sleep? (Warner Brothers; two versions) ? Radically altered with more snappy Bogie-Bacall banter included in the ?revised edition?; Bacall?s role expanded to play up her popularity after sizzling debut in ?To Have and Have Not.?

 

?Gone With The Wind? (MGM-Selznick, 1939) ? Longer Paddock scene with weary Leslie Howard and determined Vivien Leigh; Melanie?s labor pains originally ran longer;

Some of Barbara O?Neill?s scenes excised before Atlanta preview?? More of Scarlett?s sisters (Evelyn Keyes and Ann Rutherford) in evidence before the premiere screening.

 

?A Streetcar Named Desire? (Warner Bros, 1951) ? Allusions to Blanche?s deceased gay husband pruned; Steamy exchanges between Brando and Kim Hunter toned down. Some peripheral dialogue changes. Gorgeously florid Tennessee Williams language subdued in places.

 

?Mommie Dearest? (Paramount, 1981) ? Short scene of Joan driving on to the Metro lot - unaware that she?s about to be fired by Mayer - dropped; Camping sequence with Crawford and Christina trying to reconcile their considerable differences was filmed but cut over star Faye Dunaway?s objections (the scene reportedly ?humanized? Crawford).

 

?Annie Hall? (United Artists, 1977) ? Title changed; ?Invasions of The Body Snatchers? spoof removed; sequences shuffled prior to release.

 

?Heartburn? (Paramount, 1986) ? Meryl Streep?s hilarious fantasies (including one where her character imagines herself as Dorothy from ?The Wizard of Oz? hurling a bucket of water on her philandering husband?s mistress and joyously watching her melt) were nearly all excised; Cabaret star Karen Akers? role as the infamous Thelma Rice reduced to one very fleeting glimpse; Olympia Dukakis (as Streep?s dotty mother) completely deleted.

 

?Up The Sandbox? (First Artists, 1972) ? Footage of an extended party sequence with Stockard Channing reportedly stolen (!) during the production ? though she?s still billed in the credits; Some of Barbra Streisand?s more outlandish fantasies shortened. Scenes that hinted at an interracial romance between Streisand and an African-American revolutionary were trimmed (only a tame visual hint of this remains in the release print).

 

?Ragtime? (Paramount, 1981) ? Emma Goldman sequences completely removed.

(Who was the actress playing Emma? Not Maureen Stapleton but close!)

 

?New York, New York? (United Artists, 1977) ? Liza Minnelli?s opulent (and expensive) ?Happy Endings? sequence ? with Broadway?s best boy, Larry Kert ? axed then later restored for home video; Other musical sequences trimmed or completely deleted.

 

Other Notables:

 

?The Lady from Shanghai?

?Greed?

?A Star Is Born? (1954)

?On A Clear Day You Can See Forever? (1970) (Jack Nicholson?s musical number cut along with nearly 15 minutes of other footage)

?Gypsy? (?Together, Wherever We Go? bumped)

?Laura? (Waldo giving Laura the glamour treatment re-instated for video version)

?Lost Horizon? (valiant partial restoration by Bob Gitt)

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THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM - Gregory Peck's character is on a long journey by foot and stops in a village where he is taken in by the local woman of the streets (Helen Craig). The deleted sequence wound up in the possession of Ms. Craig and her husband, actor John Beal.

 

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE - the original end of the film had Edward Everett Horton being served a glass of elderberry wine. This scene is still in the theatrical trailer (available for viewing in the TCM Multimedia region).

 

KEEP 'EM FLYING - Abbott and Costello's magician act was deleted, to be reprised in their MGM feature LOST IN A HAREM; and at least four songs were cut, though promotional records were sent to radio stations.

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My favorite, which I've mentioned before elsewhere, is a deleted scene from "We're Not Married," a 50s movie about various couples finding out that they were married by a justice of the peace s

 

The excised segment shows Walter Brennan as a randy, slacker hillbilly, and the junoesque Hope Emerson as the married object of his lusty affection. He is after her all day long, and enjoys her chaste hospitality and good cooking when her husband and numerous children are out in the fields. He tells her constantly that he wants her to run away with him, and she says she would, if only she weren't married. He intercepts the notice addressed to her telling her that she isn't technically married, and he tears it up and tells her it's an ad from a used car lot. He's not about to scotch a good deal - free meals, exciting company, and no strings. It is really funny, in an understated way, and Brennan is so good, that someone at the studio decided that the episode was just too suggestive for the audiences of the day. You can see it in a made for TV documentary about movie censorship that runs on TV occasionally.

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What a great thread! I love this stuff! Here are a few additions to some of the film you mentioned:

 

"Ziegfeld Follies"- Opera tenor James Melton singing "We Will Meet Again in Honolulu". The Esther Williams swimming number is from this original number.

Gershwin's "Liza" was sung by Broadway's original Sportin' Life, Avon Long, in a number with Lena Horne. A Baby Snooks comedy routine of Fanny Brice's was also cut.

 

Note: A quick snippet from "The Wizard of Oz" triumphal return can be seen in one of the trailers. It shows a marching band parading before a jubilant emerald-clad crowd.

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When I first saw "The Thief of Bagdad" as a child, I was startled in the beginning of the picture to see the top of a woman's garment whisked from her during a slave auction, in order to get a better price for her.

 

I can't remember seeing that scene when the picture is shown on TCM, or any other commercial channel, and I assume it was removed to keep the "family movie" image. Since I understand TCM does not censor movies, the print TCM owns probably has the scene deleted?

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There must be many of those instances. I distinctly remember that up until recently, every broadcast of "The Incredible Shrinking Man" that I saw had deleted the scene where Scott meets a little person who gives him advice on how to cope with his size. I had forgotten that scene, which I'm sure I saw in the theatrical version years ago, until I saw it reinstated in a telecast a few years ago.

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"In the Wayne-Ford film "The Wings of Eagles",Maureen O' Hara's role was cut down due to pressure from the Wead family(the movie was about Frank "Spig" Wear early aivator and screenwriter friend of Ford's),was it actually sceences that were shot,or were those scences just taken out of the script?

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Then there's "A Place in the Sun" (1951) with the wonderful character actress Anne Revere whose part as Montgomery Clift's mother was cut to shreads after she was snagged by the HUAC.

She had said that it was some of the best work she ever did in a film.

If the scenes still exist today, I would like to see them restored.

 

And in the film noir "Double Indemnity" (1944), the ending scene where murderer Fred MacMurray is sitting in the gas chamber was cut from the film, believed to be too intense for audiences of the time.

I have a picture of that scene in one of my movie books.

 

Also a scene from "Lady in a Cage" (1964) when after Olivia de Havilland's harrowing experience in an elevator, she is actually reunited with her son, was cut from the film.

 

In the movie "The Children's Hour" (1962) there was a trial and courtroom scene after the nasty rumors, that was cut from the film.

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As I type this, I'm seeing Martha Eggerth performing in TCM's broadcast of Presenting Lily Mars; and this reminds me that Miss Eggerth had a major number excised from For Me and My Gal. She regretted the cutting of the song "The Spell of the Waltz", as she thought it was some of her best screen work.

 

Yesterday, I was checking the new "Hollywood Royalty Edition" DVD of Mommie Dearest. In the supplemental material it discussed (and showed quick clips from [presumably] second unit footage) of the intended opening that showed Joan Crawford (as played by Faye Dunaway) shooting the movie Ice Follies of 1939. In this scene, the character of Joan injures herself; but continues shooting the movie in spite of her bleeding wound. Producer/Writer Frank Yablans explained they wanted this in the movie to show what a professional trouper Miss Crawford was...

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?Ragtime? (Paramount, 1981) ? Emma Goldman sequences completely removed.

(Who was the actress playing Emma? Not Maureen Stapleton but close!)

 

So, Waldo, who DID play Emma Goldman in RAGTIME?

 

Of interest to me because I just got home from a rehearsal--I'm playing Emma Goldman in Ragtime, the Musical for a local theatre.

 

Sandy K

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I attended an MPAA screening of "Sunset Boulevard' where the original opening scene in the LA County Morgue, which hasn't been seen in over 55 years, was shown. Supposedly, the test audiences started laughing, so the pool scene was substituted. Also, an alternative scene around the piano at the New Year's Eve party was shown with an original song; "The Paramount Don't Want Me Blues". Composer Ray Evans appeared at the screening (He is at the piano in both scenes) talked about how his Oscar Winning Song; "Buttons and Bows" was substituted. Nancy Olsen also appeared and commented on the movie.

 

I also attended a screening at The Egyptian Theater of "Marty", (my favorite movie) where a scene showing Clara taking to her parents in their bedroom after her date with Marty was shown. This was cut out for TV distribution. Director Delbert Mann appeared with many tidbits about his career and the movie and live teleplay of "Marty".

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No, Cinesage, I wasn't thinking of Maureen Stapleton--I have seen REDS and, yes, she does play Emma Goldman in that film. I did some snooping and the actress who played Goldman in RAGTIME is Mariclare Costello. It seems that one of her excised scenes is a special feature on the RAGTIME dvd. I've never heard of Mariclare Costello--it looks as though she worked mainly in television.

 

Sandy K

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The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) The scene in which the monster murdered the burgomaster (E. E. Clive) was deleted from the final cut.

 

Maverick (1994) An entire sequence filmed with character actress Linda Hunt, playing a fortune teller ( believed to last about twenty minutes in length) didn't make the final cut.

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