Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2012 by Germain Lussier
Men jumping off a boat. Freddie with a gun. Even at a healthy two hours plus, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master was noticeably missing some distinctive shots from its earlier trailers. We can now confirm they’ll be on the DVD, edited together in about a 20 minute pastiche of the entire film, echoing its themes through deleted and extended takes.
The filmmaker was on hand to present a pair of films that heavily influenced his latest work as part of An Evening With Paul Thomas Anderson, presented by Film Independent at LACMA. The evening began with screenings of two John Huston documentaries filmed during World War II, San Pietro and Let There Be Light, the latter of which is a direct influence of the beginning of The Master (and a must see for fans). Anderson then talked about Huston’s work and those two films, followed by the footage.
After the jump, we have a detailed rundown of the footage including how it relates to the movie in theaters.
The footage begins with a joke from a Gismo Newsletter in 1944 asking “Captain, how often does a little ship like this sink?” “Usually only once.”
What follows are descriptions of shots edited together.
Now we see Freddie in full battle gear lighting up a cigarette. He smiles and now we’re on the boat from the first act of the film in a gorgeous long take with Freddie talking to Dodd. The ocean is moving along in the background and he asks him if he believes they’ve met before. Freddie says yes, they talk about hurt and walk away. It seems like this was the prelude to the pair’s heated interrogation.
Half of Freddie’s body is in the beach between the legs of the sand lady. The soundtrack is Dodd talking about something philosophical and it cuts to a shot of Freddie in a bathroom, a man on the toilet left frame and Freddie concocting a drink in the right of frame. As he does this, Dodd’s voice fades out and Freddie’s fades up, he seems more sexual things in the Rorschach test. But the footage is still the bathroom. The drink is strong. Now the footage picks up with the dialogue and it’s a few extra Rorschach tests.
Freddie talking to Peggy at breakfast on the ship, which is in the movie but this is longer and Freddie asks her what time holes are, to which she gives a long answer. A jazzy song starts fading up on the soundtrack and we see the shot of two men jumping off the side of the boat from the trailer. Cut to Freddie, dressed up in his Navy whites at a party. It looks like Fleet Week. He grabs a beer walks around, cut to him in the back seat of a car with a gorgeous brunette. He said he just felt he had to jump and she laughs. Freddie says he loves her, asks what time it is, and falls asleep on her breast.
A long take at sunrise. Freddie running down a pier, obviously the next morning. The camera follows as he runs probably 50 yards and sees two men. “I lost my ship,” he says. “Nice going,” they reply and Freddie starts running back the other way. As he keeps running, we’re still in the same shot and we hear Laura Dern’s voiceover about those time holes and stuff. She continues to talk over more of Freddie on the beach with the sand woman, and then we see him on a bench outside of this huge rock structure with Doris. He asks her if she likes taking walks with him, to which she says yes. It’s tense.
The Dern voice over comes back up and now we see Freddie on a coach being analyzed by her. This interaction gets intercut with Dodd and Freddie wrestling. Finally Freddie tells Dern’s character that he can small her pussy and it’s driving him crazy. That smash cuts to a shot of Dodd’s older daughter shooting in the desert. Freddie and Dodd clap, then walk away off. This is obviously the set up to the desert scene where they dig up his book.
Them walking in the desert is cut with Clark in a car with Freddie, telling him that once Dodd died in a hospital for seven minutes. It was then that he was inspired to write his book. Clark says people who read the book died and that “There’s a truth about life on this planet.” Freddie asks him, “How much is something like that worth?” A line that gets referenced later.
In fact, we cut to the dinner scene were Clark brings up that line in the actual movie. Instead though we see him ask Dodd if books can kill people. Dodd looks confused and says that the pen is mightier than the sword, so yes. We’re now in the building where they hold their convention and Freddie and Dodd walk into a back room with the box they dug up. Dodd tells Freddie he’s the “guardian of good” and asks him to stay in the room all night and guard the book. As the camera is placed outside the room looking in, this feels like a test as a result of Clark’s accusations. Freddie agrees to say. Cut to him sitting down bored flicking a light on and off.
We see Melora Walters as the singer at the convention. She’s at the piano and Dodd is dancing. As we keep hearing her song, we see Freddie wield the gun from the trailer. He’s playing around in the room guarding the book. Melora’s song continues, including a little line for the Master and then we see Freddie give in to temptation and open the box with the book in it. As he does, a fire pops out of it. Was the book in there at all? Was this a trap? Freddie is as confused as we are as he closes it.
Freddie’s point of view from the movie theater, watching Casper the Friendly Ghost. Freddie laying down flat on a bench. Back to the convention and Peggy asks if Freddie will come up to the stage. He’s just beaten up the man outside so he’s not there. We see him walking back as she jokes around on the stage that he’s missing but when he walks in everyone applauds and he walks up on stage. The give him a brand new jacket and make him the First Lieutenant of The Cause. He and Dodd exchange smiles.
Now the soundtrack fades up “On a Slow Boat to China,” which Dodd sings in the movie but this is the real version. We get a few quick scenes of him and Dodd goofing off while taking photos and dancing, then we see Freddie in a hallway writing something on a bulletin board. The camera slowly dollies in toward him as he finishes and walks away. Finally, after he’s gone, we see what he was writing “Gone to China, Freddie Quell.” We see him on the side of the boat with the ocean below him.
Finally, it’s the shot of Dodd and Freddie smoking. “I like Kools. The minty flavor” Dodd says and the both crack up and break character. This is an outtake and Anderson lets them try it three times but they can’t stop laughing. The End.