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From Script To Screen: Your Guide To All The Deleted/Missing Scenes In 'The Master'

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage January 9, 2013 at 12:04PM

With the book now closed on 2012 films and awards season in full swing, we thought this would be a good opportunity to dive a little deeper into one of our favorite films of last year, Paul Thomas Anderson’s most recent opus, “The Master.” Though not your typical awards bait, the film has nonetheless managed to rack up an impressive number of accolades including being named the Best Film of 2012 by Sight & Sound, Rolling Stone and the Village Voice among others.
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Master S2S: More
6. FREDDIE VISITS HIS COUSIN BOB (69-75)
After being told by The Master to keep an eye on Val, Freddie tracks him from their hotel to a coffee shop in the Village where he sees Val meeting with Bill White, his girlfriend and two men. After being unable to discern what the meeting is about from his vantage point across the street, Freddie gets bored and calls his 17 year old cousin Bob who also lives in New York. He tells Bob he's coming over and heads to his cousin's West Village apartment where a party is going on. Despite the presence of girls and booze, Freddie convinces Bob and a few other boys from the party to come with him up to Harlem to look for the stolen jewels that Dodd had described dropping in the sewer there 60 years prior.

The five ride up to Harlem and descend into the sewers armed with flashlights and a sledgehammer. Freddie leads them as they begin busting away with sledgehammers but eventually their search turns up fruitless. Even as Freddie's faith is shaken he doesn't want to disappoint the group so he pretends to find the jewels he lifted from Mrs. Drummond's apartment and shares them with the other boys. Elated, the group heads back to Bob’s apartment to celebrate. After everyone else passes out, Freddie leaves a note that says, “I’VE GONE TO AFRICA. SEE YOU AGAIN SOMETIME. FREDDIE” (which echoes Freddie’s earlier letter), along with the stolen jewels and takes off.

Master S2S: Melora
7. THE GROUP ARRIVE IN PHILADELPHIA (75-80)
In the film, The Master and co. arrive at Helen Sullivan’s (Laura Dern) Philadelphia estate like old friends but in the screenplay she’s revealed to be just another admirer. Helen writes a letter to The Master promising him a nightly audience if he’ll bring his teachings there and he agrees. When they arrive in Philadelphia, the group is thrown a lavish welcome party where a woman named Joan Banks (possibly Melora Walters, who was cut from the film) sings and The Master’s daughter Elizabeth plays the piano. This scene was likely reconceived by the “I’ll Go No More A-Roving” sequence. But nowhere in the screenplay does it mention The Master singing that song or Freddie daydreaming about all of the female guests being nude.

One of the more ambiguous bits of dialogue in the film is when Peggy tells The Master, “It didn’t work for them and it’s not going to work for you” during the Master-bation sequence. In the screenplay however (and as many viewers might have inferred) it’s made more explicit that the “them” she’s referring to are the Mormons and what "didn’t work for them” is polygamy. In the screenplay, Master openly flirts with Joan Banks during the party but overplays his hand. “Something that Joseph Smith had right: the breeding and development of the group... doubled, tripled with certain.... a certain marital structure...how clever. Something to look at deeply for a growth...” This rant explains why Peggy feels compelled to re-assert her power in the following scene by giving him a handjob and also showing him who's boss.

Master S2S: Jail
8. JAIL SCENE (84-86)
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is undoubtedly the jail sequence with The Master and Freddie. In the script, the scene is similar to the one onscreen but contains more dialogue where Freddie confesses that he wants to fuck all the girls at the house. The Master tells him that there’s nothing wrong with that because “sex is not an aberration” and Freddie reveals that Val was the one who called the police. One can infer this was something discussed during Val's secret meeting with Bill White and might explain why Val is so casual on the porch as the police arrive.

When Freddie returns to the house, Val has written “YOU’LL NEVER GET BETTER” in lipstick on his mirror, which once again shows him to be a much more antagonistic character on the page.

This article is related to: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master


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