The Ten Most Famous Movie Scenes Almost No One Has Ever Seen
The deleted scene. At one time the director thought that it was important enough to film, but at some point in time was removed from the movie. Sometimes this happens during the editing process. Sometimes it is discarded after previews of the movie had been screened to audiences. And even sometimes the scene made it as far as the initial theatrical release, and was edited out of any future releases. When television networks still aired movies in part-time, they often put deleted scenes back into feature films so that the running time would span the 2 hour time slot. It was not uncommon to see something on the television version that you did not see in the theaters. But it was not until the arrival of Laserdiscs and DVDs that most people became aware that deleted scenes even existed. Offering deleted scenes as an extra became such a standard, that most people complained whenever a DVD was released without them.
The omission of deleted scenes on a DVD release could mean that the studio is looking to double dip by releasing a "Deluxe" or "Ultimate" version at some point in the future, forcing many to buy the same movie twice. It could also mean that the director does not want to release any deleted scenes. Why show the public a part of the movie he thought was a mistake? But a lot of the time deleted scenes are simply no longer available. Lost and most likely gone forever. Existing only in a few publicity stills, or in the shooting script. Known to have once existed among fans of the movie, but having not been seen by any of them. Sometimes these scenes resurface. A scene deleted out of Universal's Frankenstein showed the monster throwing a child into a lake and drowning her. Fans of the movie knew this scene existed, but unless they were old enough to have seen one of the previews, had never seen it. Then one day the deleted scene was rediscovered and cut back into the movie. Those who watch Frankenstein today would never realize the scene was ever missing. Not every film is as lucky. Here are the top 10 scenes that are well known by movie fans, even though none of them have ever seen them, and probably never will.
Blazing Saddles ( 1974 )
The extended seduction scene
It would seem that Mel Brooks saved all the deleted scenes from his Western parody Blazing Saddles. But something cut from the movie has yet to resurface. In a scene where Madeline Kahn attempts to seduce Cleavon Little on a couch, she has turned out the lights. At this point the only thing visible in the room is a window. She asks him if black men are really as "gifted" as their stereotype suggests. On the soundtrack you hear something unzip, followed by Madeline saying "Oh, it's true! It's true! It's true!" The window fades to black, and the movie cuts to the next morning with a lovestruck Madeline cooking Cleavon breakfast. According to Mel Brooks, the seduction scene ran a little longer by a few seconds, and was cut by the request of Warner Bros. when they found the final line too offensive. What Warner Bros. wanted cut was Cleavon's line "I hate to disappoint you ma'am, but you're sucking my arm."
Since that time no record seems to exist of that gag, other that Brook's recollection that it was cut from the film. Some even wonder if the line ever existed in the first place, since not only is the clip of that line gone, but there is no soundtrack recording of the line in the Warner Bros. archives. Had it still existed, and since the line took place in a darkened room, a simple freeze frame, and the line dubbed over the freeze frame, could have restored the gag to the scene. Still, rumors persist that the line made it to at least one of the release prints as there are many who swear they remember hearing it when they saw Blazing Saddles during it's original theatrical run.
The Big Boss ( 1971 )
The Big Boss ( known in the United States as "Fists of Fury" ) was a breakthrough for Bruce Lee. The first Hong Kong film he made as an adult, his first full martial arts movie, and soon after his role as Kato in the television series The Green Hornet, it broke all Hong Kong box office records in it's initial release. But as historical as The Big Boss would be, it was no match for the censors. The modern wave of Hong Kong martial arts movies was in it's sixth year when critics began to complain of the violence. Much of the violence came from the Japanese Chambara films, and the Hong Kong studios felt obligated to catch up with their own blood and gore. But by 1972 the government felt that violence in martial arts films had gone too far, and began demanding that all films be censored. While this crack down on violence only lasted for about a year, it happened just as The Big Boss was being printed for it's general and foreign releases. Government censors demanded several cuts. And as long as the film was to be edited, the studio decided to cut some of the other non-violent scenes to cut down on the running time and allow the movie to be screened more times in a day.
Perhaps the best known edit takes place during Bruce Lee's iconic ice factory fight. Lee grabs a saw off the ground and in a fit of anger leaps at a gangster. In both the English and Chinese versions you can hear an audible edit in the soundtrack as well as see the splice in the film where the edit was made. After the edit, Bruce Lee is no longer holding the saw, and one of the gangsters is missing. According to those who were lucky enough to see the movie in it's limited engagement run, what had been cut was Bruce Lee slamming the saw deep into the skull of one of the gangsters ( and possibly even yanking the saw out horizontally to cause more damage. ) while not the only gory footage to be cut from the final print, it has become the most notorious, partially due to the obvious edit. Even for those who never heard of the saw-in-the-head deletion, know that they saw Bruce Lee pick up a weapon and it vanishes. One reason given for it's removal was not that it was too violent, but that it simply never looked real. A fake saw with a gap was placed over an actors head and pulled out in reverse. And then the film itself was reversed to make it look as if Lee was slamming the saw into the actors skull. But supposedly the special effect looked too fake, ruining the credibility of the rest of the fight.
While it is likely the saw scene is long gone, as it was evidently cut from the negatives, rumors persist of it still existing. A print of the movie screened in the U.K. had most of the edited scenes, but only the non-violent edits and not the censored edits. Still, some claim that the film was distributed uncensored in Germany and Spain, and that Fred Weintraub was given uncut prints of all of Bruce Lee's films during the filming of Enter the Dragon, and that those prints now reside in the Warner Bros. vault.
The BIg Chill ( 1983 )
In 1983 Kevin Costner was still unknown, having only starred in small independent films, or in minor parts in some major studio releases. The Big Chill was to be his breakthrough role. A major studio movie where he was the central character. Because the movie is about his character's funeral, which reunites his friends from college. But the film would not just have an inert Costner lying in a coffin. Several flashback sequences had been shot showing Costner's character back at college in the 60s.
At some point, director Lawrence Kasden decided the film was more about the reunion of old friends than about their collective remembrances of their deceased friend. Not only were the flashback sequences cut, but so was Costner's corpse. With exception to a few brief shots of his wrists as his body is being prepared for the funeral, we do not see Costner in the casket at all. And despite Kevin's fans demanding that the cut scenes be reinstated in a extended cut, or at the least, included as deleted scene extras, Kasdan has refused to make any of the deleted scenes public. Kasdan would make it up to Costner a year later by casting him as one of the leads in his next movie, Silverado.
Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb ( 1964 )
The pie fight
If I had written this article a year earlier, I would have included the pie fight in the 1927 Laurel & Hardy classic Battle of the Century. Highlights from that fight were shown in the documentary The Golden Age of Comedy, taken from a reel that was reportedly decomposing and soon after thrown away. It was feared the complete pie fight was lost forever when in the summer of 2015 the complete second reel was rediscovered hiding in someone's film collection. Amazingly though, Battle of the Century did not have the most notorious lost pie fight in cinema history. That honor belongs to a fight that to date has only been seen by a handful of people and has never been cut into any motion picture. Stanley Kubrick's classic cold war dark comedy Dr Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was originally suppose to have a different ending. A pie fight in the war room.
The film would cut between the president and the tossing pies at each other, and the United States and Russia shooting missiles at each other. Pies landing in faces intercut with mushroom clouds. The sequence was filmed, and then never used. Some say that the actors could not help but laugh during the shoot, which made it clash with the tone of the rest of the picture and therefore unusable. Others say that so much cream had covered the room an all the actors faces that after a few seconds it was impossible to see what was going on or whom was throwing a pie at whom. Still another reason given for the omission of the scene was the line "Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!" yelled out by a general after the president gets hit in the face with a pie. Kennedy had been assassinated shortly after the scene was filmed, and it was decided that line could never be used. Whatever the reason for the deletion, Kubrick was a director who regularly had unused footage destroyed, so the likelihood of the pie fight ever being seen again is very low. But at least we got Laurel & Hardy back.
Fantasia ( 1940 )
The uncensored Pastoral Symphony
Unlike the other other deleted scenes on this list, here is one that millions have seen. It was part of a feature film for 28 years before being edited out. In fact, you can even still find it on YouTube, so it is hardly missing. When Walt Disney released Fantasia in 1940, caricatures using racial stereotypes was perfectly acceptable. Sunflower was one of the cenaurettes ( half human, half horse ) in the Pastoral Symphony segment. While the rest of the cenaurs and cenaurettes appeared to be white, Sunflower was black, with big red lips, huge bulging eyes and spiky nappy hair decorated with bowties. Disney never meant for Sunflower to be offensive to African Americans. But what was tolerated in the 1940s, was no longer acceptable by the end of the 1960s. For it's 1969 re-release, Disney studios volunteered to edit Sunflower out of the movie. Initial edits resorted to extreme close-ups that cropped Sunflower off the screen, and in cases where the character was too integrated with the scene, jump cuts removing the footage altogether. When Fantasia was restored for DVD, Disney studios paid to reanimate the scenes with Sunflower, removing her from the film entirely.
But while Sunflower had been removed from Fantasia in the United States, she was still present in foreign prints of the film, and even wound up on foreign home video. Foreign distributors simply did not want to bother going through the trouble of re-editing their master prints of the film. Nor did they see anything particularly wrong with racial caricatures. It was overseas home video releases that ended up being bootlegged back to the United States. Disney purests wanted to own Fantasia as it's original version. Many of them complain that citizens of the United States are not given the option of owning an unedited version of the film. In fact, Disney studios did restore Fantasia with Sunflower intact, for historical purposes. And with every new home video release, Disney executives debate if this time they should release the uncensored version. And each time they decide it is just not worth the controversy.
Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ( 1963 )
Stanley Kramer's epic comedy originally had a running time of 210 minutes ( 3½ hours ) in previews. He had the film cut down to 192 minutes ( 3 hours 12 mins ) for the roadshow release. United Artists had the film cut down to 154 minutes ( 2 hours 34 minutes ) for the general release. Nearly an hour of footage was now deleted. More recently with the rediscovery of some of the preview prints, the film was lengthened back to 182 minutes, just 28 minutes short of it's original length. While several scenes were either lost or shortened, one missing scene in particular has frustrated fans of the movie. A missing scene featuring Buster Keaton.
Keaton was once one of Hollywood's leading comics. But after a bout with alcoholism, he was fired from M.G.M. blackballed from the other studios. He ended up working for smaller studios doing cheap two reelers. He eventually had enough of this, and in 1941 went into semi-retirement. But he still continued to accept the occasional small part in major studio movies as well as starring roles in foreign films to pay his bills. In the 1950s Buster began working on television, including his own weekly series. He also accepted a lot of work making commercials. This soon lead to a new generation of Keaton fans, and by the 1960s he was once again considered one of Hollywood's top comic actors. Stanley Kramer wanted It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to feature every living screen comedian, many which only appeared in cameos ( such as The Three Stooges showing up for three seconds as firemen ). Keaton had a more substantial role as one of Spencer Tracy's associates who owns a boat that Spencer plans to use to escape to Mexico with the stolen loot. Originally there was a five minute phone call between Keaton and Tracy. While the audio of this scene still exists, the footage appears to be long gone. Keaton still appears in the film for a few brief seconds, but most of his screen time is now lost. And as Keaton's cult following continues to grow, his fans hoping to see more footage of the comic genius, even something as mundane as him talking on the phone, have always regretted that he was cut from the movie.
King Kong ( 1933 )
The spider pit
Fans of the movie King Kong were shocked in 1974 when the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland published a story about an edited scene along with stills from the deleted scene itself. They thought they had known everything about the film. It had been released in 1933 just at the end of the pre-code era. When re-released there were edits for censorship. These were a few seconds here and there of Kong mashing or chewing his victims, and in one instance, dropping a poor woman off the side of a building he had mistaken for Fay Wray. Aside from removing the graphic violence, a scene where Kong stripped clothing from Fay Wray was also edited. In 1969 a pre-edited print of the movie was rediscovered and the censored footage soon restored. But the deleted scene in Famous Monsters of Filmland was not something that had been in the original 1933 release.
When completed, King Kong actually ran for 125 minutes. Director Merian C Cooper then edited the film down to 100 minutes, trimming any scene he felt slowed down the pacing. Among the edits was another fight between Kong and dinosaurs, cut because Cooper decided the film had too many monster fights, Kong disrupting a poker game in a hotel room, cut because Cooper decided it was too similar to an identical gag in The Lost World, a few seconds of Kong falling from the Empire State Building, because Cooper felt the special effects looked too fake, and more footage of Kong chasing Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot through the jungle after their escape from Kong's lair. The deleted sequences from King Kong had been known of prior to the magazine article. But it had always been assumed they had never been filmed, but rather cut from the script prior to being filmed. The pictures in the article of the Spider Pit Sequence proved they had in fact been filmed.
In the released version of King Kong, the search party attempting to rescue Fay Wray are chased out of a swamp by a brontosaurus, who eats one of the crewmen when he tries to hide in a tree. After a fade, suggesting the passage of time, the men are still running in the jungle. They attempt to cross a chasm via a fallen tree that has bridged the gap. But waiting for them on the other side is Kong, who grabs the log and begins to shake it, causing the men to fall off to their deaths. The only two members of the party who survive this encounter are Bruce Cabot, who had leapt off the log and onto a ledge beneath Kong, and Robert Armstrong, who had gotten his arm snagged on a branch while running, and had not reached the log by the time the men were already being shaken off. With Armstrong on one side of the chasm with no way across, and Cabot on the other side, they both decide that Armstrong should head back for reinforcements, while Cabot goes ahead on his own to find Fay, and perhaps attempt a rescue on his own.
There was more to this scene in the unedited 125 minute version. After being chased out of the swamp, the men cross paths with a styracosaurus, who chases them onto the log. This is why the men are still running when they cross the log. It also explains why they make no attempt to run off the other side of the log. The styracosaurus is waiting for them on the other side. After Kong shakes the men off the log, and then tosses the log down the chasm, a few of them are still alive at the bottom. But before they can climb out, various giant lizards and giant insects attack and eat them. Only one of the creatures attacking the men is a spider. But because that was the monster shown in the magazine photo, the lost scene has been dubbed "The Spider Pit Sequence" by King Kong fans.
More research into the deleted scenes uncovered Coopers notes on the movie. According to Cooper, audiences at the previews found the sequence so disturbing they had to leave the theater. This suggested that the Spider Pit Sequence was one of the most frightening scenes ever shot on film. However, the notes go on to suggest that Coopers decision to edit the scene out of the movie, was that he felt it stopped the story, spending too much time on the fates of the crew members instead of continuing the chase after Kong. By editing the footage out, and having the crew members fall to their death, the movie moves on to the rescue of Fay much sooner. Someone not happy with the edit was the film's animator Willis O'Brian, who in later years claimed that the sequence in the chasm was at the time his best work. It is assumed that R.K.O. had the footage destroyed, as was the common practice for deleted scenes in those days. But that has not stopped King Kong enthusiasts from searching the globe for the lost footage, and from rumors of it's existence on foreign prints of the film persisting.
Swiss Miss ( 1938 )
The bomb in the piano
By 1938 Hal Roach and Stan Laurel were no longer on speaking terms. The riff was said to have begun during the filming of Babes in Toyland ( 1934 a.k.a. March of the Wooden Soldiers ). Laurel did not think the fantasy was a good fit for the Laurel & Hardy characters, and refused to be in the film. He finally agreed, but only after he had the original script ( written by Hal Roach himself ) completely rewritten. Musicals made more money, which is why he kept insisting that Laurel & Hardy appear in them. But while Oliver Hardy had a good singing voice, Laurel could not carry a note. As a result, they rarely sung in the musicals they appeared in, and therefore were marginalized as supporting characters in their own films. To make matters worse, Hal Roach decided to discontinue the Laurel & Hardy shorts soon after Babes in Toyland was released, and limit the duo to feature films. Laurel had complete artistic freedom over the shorts, but with the feature films, had to conform to the script, limiting where he and Hardy could stage their routines. Laurel began to demand that he become the sole producer of the Laurel & Hardy movies, which would include being the one who picked or wrote the scripts. But with the production costs of movies on the rise, Roach began to interfere more with the production of his studios films. By the time Swiss Miss went into production, Laurel was threatening to leave the studio once his contract expired in a few months. Roach reminded Laurel that Hardy's contract still had a full year, and if he left the studio Roach would team Hardy with another comedian.
Swiss Miss was yet another musical that marginalized Laurel & Hardy's characters. Having little interest in doing the film in the first place, Laurel gave the movie his weakest performance to date. Behind the scenes, Roach retaliated by editing out scenes behind Laurel's back. One of the deletions was, ironically, one of the few times Laurel & Hardy sang on screen. But the deletion that bothered Stan Laurel the most was a scene that he and Hardy were not even in, but was a set up for another scene. In the released movie, Laurel & Hardy are asked to move a piano to a treehouse, which can only be reached via a cliffside path and a rope bridge. To make matters worse, Laurel is completely drunk, having discovered and downed a rescue dog's keg of brandy. nearly sending Hardy and the piano off the cliff and bridge on several occasions, the scene ends with the duo being attacked by a gorilla which causes the bridge to swing violently before breaking in half. While the piano and ape plunge over the side, Hardy and a drunk Laurel just barely hang on to their half of the bridge.
As suspenseful as that scene was, Laurel had intended for it to have even more suspense. The deleted scene showed a character placing a bomb in the piano, rigged to explode when a specific key is pressed. Throughout the scene where they are carrying the piano to the treehouse, the drunken Laurel is constantly pressing random piano keys and nearly setting the bomb off. Stan Laurel was outraged that all references to a bomb in the piano was removed, and for years complained about it, claiming the rope bridge scene was ruined without the threat of a bomb going off.
Time Bandits ( 1981 )
The Spider Women
Terry Gilliam fans had known about the Spider Women scene deleted from Time Bandits ever since the script was published in 1981. Not only did the book that reprinted the script have an entire scene that was not in the film, but had a couple of stills from that scene, which was proof it was actually filmed. The scene involved two elderly twin sisters, Myrtle Maisie, who lived in a cave and were half spider, using knitting needles to weave their webs. Director Terry Gilliam would often mention the Spider Woman scene as something he always regretted not being able to include in Time Bandits. According to Gilliam, the entire scene had been filmed. All that was missing was the scene prior to it, and the scene after, both which were scheduled to be among the last scenes filmed for the movie. Unfortunately, the budget ran out just as they were about to film those scenes. Gilliam had just enough money left to shoot a single scene that would take the Bandits from a desert to the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness. When Gilliam began putting his movies on Laserdisc, there was hope that the missing scene would be among the extras. But to date it has never been available as an extra on any home video release.
In 1977 the comedy troupe Monty Python had a deal with the studio EMI to produce their follow movie up to Monty Python and the Holy Grail ( 1975 ). It was not until the Pythons were just about to leave for the Mid East to shoot the movie that EMI pulled out. For some reason EMI executives had never bothered to read the script for Life of Brian, and with just weeks to go before principle photography, discovered that the next Monty Python movie would be a parody of religious films. The Pythons shopped the film to other studios. But while there was a lot of interest in producing a Python movie, none of the studios wanted to back a film that made fun of characters from the Bible. The Pythons had given up on ever making Life of Brian when member Eric Idle mentioned the film to friend George Harrison. The ex Beatle became upset that what sounded like Python's funniest movie would never be made. He then decided to take matters in his own hand. Partnering with his business manager Denis O'Brien, Harrison decided to finance Life of Brian, and founded the studio HandMade Films in the process. Life of Brian was a success, and Harrison began a new career as a movie mogul.
HandMade Films went on to produce the next Monty Python project, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl ( 1982 ), and would be the studio that produced many solo projects from the python members including The Missionary ( 1982 ), Privates on Parade ( 1982 ) and Nuns on the Run ( 1990 ). The studio also produced a number of other eclectic British films which ranged from the critically acclaimed Mona Lisa ( 1986 ) and Withnail and I ( 1987 ), to the box office bomb Shanghai Surprise ( 1986 ). HandMade Films most successful film was Time Bandits, which featured Python members John Cleese and Michael Palin, and was co-written and directed by Python member Terry Gilliam. In the 90s the studio was close to bankruptcy, with Harrison accusing the studios financial woes on O'Brien. With both owners about to face each other in court, the studio was sold in 1994 to a Canadian media company called Paragon Entertainment.
While Time Bandits was not Gilliam's first movie, it's box office success put him on the map as one of motion pictures premiere director of fantasy films, right at the time Hollywood began to think of all visual effect driven films as potential blockbusters. Gilliam turned down projects offered to him by major studios in favor of his own projects. His first full feature since Time Bandits, Brazil ( 1985 ), was shelved by it's America distributor, Universal. After a screening of the final cut, they felt the movie was too dark, and insisted that Gilliam make several edits to tone down the picture, including a major edit at the end of the movie that would have given it a happy ending. Gilliam refused to make the edits, and Universal refused to release Brazil. After Gilliam placed a full page ad in Variety asking the studio head to release his movie, and a screening lead to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarding the film Best Picture, Universal reluctantly agreed to a limited release of a shorter version of Brazil with Gilliam's ending. His follow up film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen ( 1988 ) also saw problems with it's distributor, Columbia Pictures, who decided to give the movie a limited release.
In the 90s laser disc distributor Criterion was interested in releasing a series of discs featuring Gillaim's films. Criterion was one of the first home video companies to include extras, and to release letterboxed movies so that none of the film was cropped. An arrangement was made in 1992 to release Baron Munchausen on Laserdisc complete with audio commentary by Gilliam, and all of the deleted scenes. Gilliam enjoyed making the laserdisc, and loved the idea that fans now had access to uncropped copies of his films with superior picture quality. Baron Munchausen was quickly followed up with a Criterion release of his latest film, The Fisher King ( 1991 ), an a year later with the first movie he directed, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-directed with Terry Jones. The Fisher King laserdisc included all the deleted scenes. However, only one scene was deleted from Holy Grail, and on the laserdisc it was edited back into the movie. Gilliam eagerly began work on the next Criterion release, Brazil, which would be released for the first time uncut. Brazil was released in a five disc box set, including every extra possible, including any deleted scenes, and even included the edited version with the happy ending. Shortly after Brazil was released, Criterion announced two more releases. Monty Python's Life of Brian, this time with full participation from the surviving Python members. And Time Bandits, which their press release claimed would include plenty of extras including deleted scenes.
The release date for both Life of Brian and Time Bandits came and went. Life of Brian was held up for a year. And when it was finally released in 1997, there was a shock. The deleted scenes were not on film, but rather poor quality video copies from a work print. It was also missing the Python film short Away From It All, which had been shown in theaters along with Life of Brian. The Criterion Time Bandits laserdisc finally came out in 1998, it was on only one disc, and as an extra only had some behind the scenes photos. Since that time Criterion has re-released Time Bandits on DVD and Blu-ray, sometimes with a few more extras, but never with the deleted scene. Time bandits has also been released by other home video companies, but always missing the Spider Woman scene. Gilliam continued to be involved with the Laserdisc releases of his films, moving on to DVD by the late 90s and eventually Blu-ray. Releases of his movies always included the deleted scenes. But not Time Bandits. Why?
One story that has circulated since the Criterion release of Life of Brian, but has never been confirmed, and has not to my knowledge been commented on by any of the Python members, blames Paragon Entertainment. According to the story, when Paragon bought HandMade Films, and they were transporting the film library to their own vaults in Canada, they decided not to waste any money transporting anything other than the master prints of the films. So they threw out all the archived promotional material, all the publicity stills, all of the trailers and all of the extra footage. The members of Monty Python did not discover this until it was time to produce the Life of Brian laserdisc, and when requesting the deleted scenes, were told they no longer existed. One version of this story even claims that the short sighted Paragon threw everything out but pan-and-scan video masters of their movies, believing the only value these films had was selling them to television and home video, and not foreseeing the future of HD home video. That would mean the original camera negatives of all the HandMade Films no longer exist, and for many of the films, now only existed as pan-and-scan video masters. According to Python lore, in 1989 Julian Doyle re-edited Life of Brian, putting back in most of the deleted scenes. The new print with the working title Death of Brian was to be released for the Python's 20th anniversary, until John Cleese nixed the idea. But before it was shelved, Terry Jones had made a VHS work print of Death of Brian, which was what was used for the deleted scenes on the Criterion disc.
If these stories are true, then it would also explain what became of the Time Bandits extras. It would also explain the delay in both releases, especially if Criterion needed to track down distribution masters if the archived prints including the original camera negative no longer existed. But there could be another reason. Around the same time as the release of the Time Bandits and Life of Brian laserdiscs, Monty Python was suing Paragon for distributing an edited version of Life of Brian to television. The goal of this lawsuit was to wrestle the rights to the film once and for all away from Paragon. It is possible, out of spite, Paragon refused to allow the Pythons access to the prints of the movie. In 2006 Paragon sold HandMade, and since it has been passed around to various investment companies. Time Bandits has been released on DVD many times, most recently as a "restored version" which was the same theatrical edit with the print cleaned up, the sound fixed and a flaw in one of the special effects digitally fixed. The deleted Spider Woman scene was included as an extra, but as a series of story boards instead of the filmed scene. Proof that Terry Gilliam still wants that scene on DVD, but does not have access to the footage.
The Wizard of Oz ( 1939 )
It is hard to believe, but the Wizard of Oz was a bomb on it's initial release. It had earned just over $3 million at the box office, but because of production costs, distribution costs and promotional costs, it ended up losing M.G.M. Studios over $1 million. Two years earlier Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs earned $6 million ate the box office, the most money any motion picture had made up to that time. M.G.M. had hoped to capitalize on that success by releasing their own fantasy musical. Disney himself had hoped to produce The Wizard of Oz as a follow up to Snow White, but M.G.M. outbid him for the film rights. There was hopes that, despite The Wizard of Oz being live action rather than animated, it would earn as much money as the Disney film, which was the only reason why M.G.M. agreed to such a huge budget in the midst of the Great Depression. Believing the movie to be a loss, it almost disappeared into obscurity. But when CBS aired it on television in 1956, it earned the network enough ratings that they began airing it every year. Each year the ratings grew, and The Wizard of Oz soon grew into a phenomenon.
Perhaps if the movie had not failed on it's initial release, M.G.M. may have retained the full length version instead of the general release print. The preview print was nearly two hours long. M.G.M. insisted on cutting the film down to 90 minutes, and to shorten the movie several musical numbers were lost. This included about half of the Munchkin sequence, the second half of the Scarecrow's "If I Only Had a Brain" song, and a musical number at the end of the film where Dorothy and her friends triumphantly march back to the Emerald City with the broomstick. One song that was nearly cut was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". But after the producer insisted the song was too good to be removed, M.G.M. relented and released The Wizard of Oz as a 100 minute film. Thousands of copies of the general release print were made and distributed, while the two hour preview print was somehow lost, most likely destroyed in the infamous 1967 vault fire.
The most well known deleted scene from the preview print was The Jitterbug. This was due to the discovery of a home movie taken on the set while the cast was rehearsing the number in costume. Since all of the audio from the preview print still exists, M.G.M. decided to match the audio with the home movie and release it as a bonus on their DVD in lieu of any existing deleted scenes. Most Wizard of Oz fans were unaware that there was ever a longer version of the film, and were shocked to discover anything was cut from the movie. Television shows like Entertainment Tonight began running the Jitterbug footage, further spreading its fame. By the end of the 90s there was almost no Wizard of Oz fan that did not know of it's existence. And while many other scenes had been cut, it was The Jitterbug that has remained the scene fans have always desired to see. In more recent years bits and pieces of missing footage, as well as some of the raw visual effects footage, have been rediscovered. But a complete copy of the preview print, as well as the Jitterbug scene, remain lost.
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