What we really learn from deleted scenes
…what is great about deleted scenes is that they remind us that a work of art is not a sacred, inviolable artifact that springs fully formed from the head of anyone. Art is the result of choices made by—in the case of movies—directors, actors, editors, even producers and studio executives. We might tend to think that those in the latter category are more likely to ruin a movie than improve upon it, but, as Phipps acknowledges, sometimes director’s cuts are worse than what makes it to theaters.
Paul Thomas Anderson seems happily aware of the messiness of movie-making: While he is probably as artistically ambitious as any prominent contemporary American director, he mischievously sprinkles his movie trailers—which, in contrast to the usual Hollywood practice, he produces himself—with scenes that he hasn’t used in the film’s final cut…
I liked the trailers for The Master more than the movie, and for good reason—PTA cuts all of his own trailers, and has his hands in a lot of the marketing. I’ve read interviews with him where he talks about how cutting the teaser trailers is a nice break from filming, and it’s a chance for him to use stuff that’s lying on the cutting room floor:
[Editor] Leslie Jones and I, mainly more Leslie than me, started putting these pieces together when we were doing Punch-Drunk Love. We were doing these little tiny things we called scopitones. They were just ways to use pieces of the film that we liked but didn’t have a place for in the movie. It was just something to do when you kinda didn’t want to work on the film for an afternoon — just messing around.
I still need to get The Master on Blu-ray to watch all of these. Here’s a list of all the deleted scenes in The Master.