Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dumbo Deleted Scenes - Part 4

OK, here we go... the rest of the deleted scenes. I can't claim that my reflections are completely comprehensive, so if any of you notice anything you feel I should have mentioned... either about any of these scenes or others I may have missed... then let me know in the comments!

As before, these are transcripts from the drafts - you can find scanned copies of the originals on the A. Film L.A. website by following the links in the scene titles. The portions of the transcript in italics are the parts which don't appear in the film, the rest is included to provide context.

Sequence 16: Clown Sequence (Draft No. 1)

1 LS - Tent. Clowns in sillhouette celebrating and singing, "WE'RE THE SMARTEST CLOWNS ----."

2 MS - Ollie and Frank dancing and singing, "WE'RE THE ANSWER TO AN OLD RINGMASTER'S DREAM."


4 MS - Group of clowns dancing and singing finish of song - "---THE BIG TOWNS, FOR THE GREATEST CLOWNS THE WORLD



The dialogue throughout this sequence is not given in full in the draft, but in a shortened (and sometimes very slightly paraphrased) form. Fortunately most of the cut song is included in the draft, and, better yet, Hans has posted up an acetate recording of it, and of the "hit the big boss for a raise" reprise that survived into the film.

Mark Mayerson mentioned that a lot of the film relies on "the principle of contrast", and there's certainly a lot of contrast going from the tear-jerker previous sequence to the clowns laughing it up in their tent. There would have been more of a direct contrast if they had kept these scenes in, as the film would have gone from one song (the lullaby) to another (the clowns' celebration song). Maybe that kind of cut would have been a bit too jarring, though.

And, yes, two of the clowns are identified as "Ollie and Frank". If they really are named after the two animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, it's very interesting. Neither worked on Dumbo, but would have been occupied on Bambi at the same time. Seems like some light-hearted in-house rivalry. It's also interesting that, so soon after Ollie's promotion to full animator, than he and Frank would already have been seen as some kind of double-act.

Sequence 17: Hiccups and Cure (Draft No. 2) has quite a few differences in the draft, but not much in the way of deleted scenes. Scene 12 is a kind of deleted scene: after Dumbo has swallowed the alcohol-enhanced water, he lets out a hiccup, and the draft mentions a close-up of Timothy saying "OH, I GUESS YOU HAD ONE LITTLE ONE LEFT OVER." However, in the film he is off-screen when he says this.

Also, in scene 18, after Timothy emerges from the bucket, the draft has him say "GIGGLE WATER!", evidently in response to his own question about "WHAT KINDA WATER IS THIS ANYHOW?" The question is in the film but the answer isn't.

Mostly, though, we can see the opposite of deleted scenes - scenes which are in the film but not in the draft. I expect Mark Mayerson will cover this when he reaches this sequence in his mosaic.

Sequence 19.2 - Dumbo learns to fly (Final Draft)

Now, this one's a bit more complicated than the usual clean lifts. Thanks to Zartok-35 for first noticing it.

29 CU - Dumbo's head. Crows flying around. Timothy jumps out of Dumbo's hat on to his trunk. Crows Laughing.

30 EXTREME CU - Timothy on Dumbo's trunk talks to him, kisses feather. "DUMBO! I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT. NOW OUR TROUBLES ARE OVER. HO-HO!" To crows off-stage: "YOU BOYS KEEP THIS UNDER YOUR HATS. MUM'S DA WOID."

31 CU - Crows on top of Dumbo's head: "SHO' NUFF, BOY." "WE DON'T GONNA TALK." "NOT TO NOBODY." "MUM'S DE WOID."

32 CU - Two crows on top of Dumbo's head. Crow with deep voice: "MUM'S DE WOID."

33 CU - Timothy on Dumbo's trunk, says "WAIT'LL WE GET TO THE BIG TOWN."

As Zartok mentioned, a close-up of J.C. was added after this, saying "BOY, THEM CITY FOLKS IS SURE IN FOR A SU'PRISE!" This seems like a bit of a redundant addition: more something that would be taken out to condense dialogue (see story notes from The Reluctant Dragon) than added. In the next sequence, Timothy says basically the same thing - in both the draft and the film.

Or maybe they really needed to hammer it in that flying elephants are supposed to be surpising, in a world where storks literally deliver babies! Then again, we have just had a whole song about how unusual a flying elephant would be.

But a couple of other things, too. I'm not sure if I'd describe scene 29 as a close-up of Dumbo's head, also, it contains Timothy's "I knew you could do it!" line that the draft places in the next shot. I guess they didn't want to lose that line even though they were cutting the scene where it appeared. It seems a surprising number of differences for a so-called "Final" draft.

Sequence 20 - Big town, Dumbo triumphs (Draft No. 2)

3 LS - Burning building. Old Woman Clown running back and forth, yelling, "POOR BABY, OOH, OH."

4 CU - Old Lady Clown yelling, "SAVE MY CHE-ILD."

5 MS - Fire truck enters and throws clowns.

6 MS - Firemen land and run in confusion.

8.1 Clowns grab net - They all fall down.

9 Fireman cranks group of firemen up ladder.

10 Firemen on ladder come up into scene. Ladder out. Firemen fall out of scene.

18 MS - Four Firemen run in with net yelling: "JUMP, COME ON, JUMP."

It seems that originally this sequence was going to have a build-up to Dumbo's leap as big as the one in the earlier "Fireman Sace My Child" sequence, with several scenes of clowns fooling around as before. In addition to those actually included in the draft, there are also mentions of scenes 2, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 16 as "No Scene" and 8, 15 and 17 as "Out of Picture". The difference in terminology might refer to different dates when these scenes were removed. At any rate, it appears that they gradually cut more and more of the build-up and eventually decided to just lose the whole thing and "cut to the chase".

Also, from the end of the sequence:

62 CU - Timothy in hat says, "THAT'S THE STUFF, NOW THE VERTICAL FLIP-FLOP."

51 LS - Dumbo weaves through tent poles and zooms out at upper left.

64.1 Dumbo's shadow on tent top. Timothy says,

Now, as you can see, this is another more complicated cut -- it seems that the visual from scene 62 was used to end the sequence, but with Timothy's dialogue from scene 64.1. Also notice the numbering - quite a few shots in this sequence have been rearranged, as noted on the draft - similar to the "Fireman Save My Child" sequence. The draft we have is of the sequence as a work in progress, after they had started and before they had finished rearranging and removing scenes.

Well, that's it for deleted scenes. But the realms of "what could have been" extend further, with Michael Sporn posting some fascinating early storyboards on his blog last month, many of which are of unused story concepts. I'll take a closer look at them in a later post.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Dumbo Deleted Scenes - Part 3

As before, these are transcriptions from the draft posted on Hans Perk's A. Film L.A. blog - material that was deleted from the film is put in italics, the rest is included for the sake of context.

Sequence 12: Gossips disown Dumbo (Draft No. 1)

This missing section includes a few more shots of the "gossip" elephants speculating about what happened to Dumbo after the Pyramid Act disaster. You'll also notice if you look at the draft that the sequence begins with scene 13, and the note: "Scenes 1 through 12 inclusive are out". Either the sequence was originally longer and the beginning was taken out before they even reached draft stage, or scenes 1-12 were an earlier version of the whole sequence, which was later discarded and replaced by the version described in the draft.

15 CU - Catty with block of ice on head - "OH, THAT WONT BE NECESSARY, DEARIE ... THEY'VE FIXED HIM GOOD!"

16 MCU - Matriarch and two elephants. Matriarch: "WHAT DID THEY DO?" Ella: "DID THEY BEAT HIM?"


18 CU - Giggles (hopefully) "DID THEY SHOOT HIM?" (Giggles)


20 CU - Matriarch. Catty, o.s.: Continues: "HE'D BE BETTER OFF DEAD."
Ad lib chatter: "GO ON, TELL US, TELL US!" Matriarch, angry: "I DEMAND TO KNOW!"

21 CU - Catty: "WELL, THEY'VE GONE AND.." She pushes ice back into place with trunk "..MADE HIM...OH DEAR, I JUST CAN'T SAY IT!" Matriarch, o.s.: "OUT WITH IT!" Catty "....MADE HIM A CLOWN!"

It's strange to hear one of the "gossip" elephants use Timothy's term "clink" ... don't they have their own term for it? (The Ringmaster was going to call it "jail" in the "Menagerie" sequence, but that line was also cut)

I'm not sure why these lines were taken out. Maybe the "ad lib" nature of the "chatter" meant that they were just never recorded? Was the gleeful "did they shoot him" deemed a little too harsh? Did they think that it would be more reasonable for Dumbo to have been shot or locked up, and they didn't want to call attention to the unusual nature of his punishment?

Sequence 14: Fireman save my child (Draft No. 1)

Scenes were taken out and shuffled around both before and after this first draft was typed up.
As we can see by the scene numbers as well as additional notes, scenes 2, 7, 14, 20 and 25 have already been taken out, and scene 12 has been moved to follow scene 22. Then, some time after the draft was written, scenes 18 and 21 were taken out, and 19 moved to between 16 and 17.

16 MS - Clown running in with sprinkler to flower box. Cocoanut [sic] tree springs out of flower box.

17 Two-shot. Big clown runs in with little clown who has barrel on back - takes out eye dropper and puts one drop of water on fire.

18 Two-shot. Old woman screaming - mouth wide open. Clown comes in with atomizer and sprays mouth.

19 LS - Firemen running up ladder to burning house and throwing water in Dumbo's face.

21 MS - Eskimo clown runs up to fire and warms [rear end].

22 MS - Dumbo in midst of smoke. Fireman climbs up and fans him.

With a bit of detective work we can also speculate that, before the draft was written, some scenes were added to give Dumbo more of a presence in this sequence, which otherwise might lose him amid all the clowning. A reaction shot of Dumbo is numbered 12.1, and scenes showing the effect of pouring gasoline on the fire, including another reaction shot of Dumbo, are 26.1 and 26.2. These numbers suggest these were late additions to the sequence. It may be that the rearranging of the other scenes was also to make sure that the audience didn't lose sight of Dumbo for two long at a time. I'm reminded of the Battle of Helm's Deep in the film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, where they made sure that one of the main characters was on-screen for at least every third shot, so the audience had a focus.

As for the missing scenes themselves: I'm not sure who "old woman" in scene 18 refers to, although I guess it would have to be the clown dressed up as the elephant woman. Presumably "atomizer" means a breath freshener... I guess the gag was taken out because it's almost identical to scene 12 where a clown does the same thing with water from a flower, but a little less "clown-like." The "eskimo clown" from the deleted scene 21 doesn't appear at any other point in the sequence, and I'm curious as to what he would look like, and how late he was removed from the film. Then again, the "captain" from scene 12 doesn't seem to appear in any other shots either (notice the blue coat and epaulettes).

Friday, 4 June 2010

Dumbo Deleted Scenes - Part 2

It occurs to me I should have listed what the draft number has been for each sequence. I have therefore edited the previous posts to include this information.

Sequence 10: Ringmaster's Idea for Pyramid Act (Draft No. 2)

1 MLS - truck to MCU - Shadows of Ringmaster and Joe appear against side of tent. Ringmaster says: "WHAT AN IDEA! YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES I WONDER WHAT MAKES ME..."

3 MCU - Tim and Dumbo watching Ringmaster. o.s. Ringmaster: "SO SMART!" Tim talks over his shoulder to Dumbo: "HUH! HE NEVER HAD AN IDEA IN HIS LIFE -" Ringmaster continues: "JUST VISUALISE..."

4 MCU - Shadows of Ringmaster and Joe. Ringmaster tosses coat - Joe catches it. Ringmaster, excited, continues: "IN THE RING STAND SEVENTEEN ELEPHANTS!"

4.1 MCU - Shadow of Joe - "hangs up" coat, missing pet [?] and allowing coat to fall on floor. Ringmaster o.s. continues "ONE ELEPHANT CLIMBS ON TOP OF ANOTHER ELEPHANT UNTIL..."

5 CU - Ringmaster wriggles out of pants, kicks them up in the air and catches them, as he says: "...FINALLY ALL SEVENTEEN ELEPHANTS HAVE CONSTRUCTED AN ENORMOUS PYRAMID..."

6 CU - Joe's shadow. Ringmaster, o.s., continues "...OF PACHYDERMS!" Joe, puzzled, scratches his head - asks: "WHAT'S A PACHYDERM, BOSS?"

7 MCU - Shadow of Ringmaster - Tosses pants to Joe, o.s., as he says "THAT'S AN ELEPHANT, STUPID. HANG UP MY PANTS!"

8 CU - Joe's shadow - He catches pants, hangs them up as he says "GEE, BOSS, I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU THINK 'EM UP!" Ringmaster, o.s.: "THAT'S NOTHING!"

11 CU - Shadow of Ringmaster wriggling into nightshirt - continues: "THERE STANDS THE PYRAMID OF ELEPHANTS..." Arms shoot up thru sleeves - "I STEP OUT!" Head pops thru neck of shirt - "I BLOW THE WHISTLE!"

12 CU - Tim on tent-peg - Ringmaster continues... "THE TRUMPETERS ARE TRUMPETING - THE DRUMS ARE DRUMMING -" Tim stands up to listen. Ringmaster, o.s., very excited continues "...AND NOW..."

14 MCU - Shadows of Joe and Ringmaster. Ringmaster continues: "...COMES THE CLIMAX!" Joe: "YEAH... WHAT IS THE CLIMAX?" Ringmaster: "I DON'T KNOW"

16 CU - Tim. Ringmaster, o.s. "...DOT'S CHUST VOT I DON'T KNOW." Tim relaxes into disappointed expression - says: "I KNEW HE NEVER HAD NOTHIN' ... BUT STILL I WAS HOPIN'."

17 MCU - Shadow of Ringmaster - "WELL, MAYBE IT COMES TO ME IN A VISION WHILE I DREAM. GOODNIGHT, JOE." Climbs into bed. Joe, o.s. "GOODNIGHT, BOSS."

The main thing from this draft section that isn't in the final film is the Ringmaster explaining to Joe what a pachyderm is. I'm glad they took this out - it just feels like the storymen are calling attention to the fact that they know a word which they think the "average Joe" doesn't. Anyway, we already know that the Ringmaster is talking about a pyramid of elephants, so the audience should know what he means, even if they've never heard the word "pachyderm" before. I do think that the Ringmaster ordering Joe to hang up his clothes is funny though, just after insulting him.

Notice that one of the Ringmaster's deleted lines is written in a thicker German accent than the rest of the dialogue. I'm not sure why that is, although even in the final film he starts to sound more Germanic as he falls asleep.

Also noteworthy is that Timothy's line about "hopin'" the Ringmaster had an idea was cut. I'm not sure why he would hope this: it hasn't occured to him yet that this could be Dumbo's chance to shine. I guess Timothy himself sort of makes a living from the circus and wants it to be successful.

Notice that although the film does not retain the Ringmaster's full description of the pyramid act, he still says "seventeen" elephants will perform rather than the seven who do (or eight in the opening shot, for some reason).

Sequence 11: Pyramid Act
(Draft No. 3)

Not really a deleted scene, but an alternative version of a line, at the start where the Ringmaster is announcing his act.


3.2 CU - Rearview of Ringmaster: ...PYRAMID OF PROUD, PONDEROUS, PULSATING.....



It appears that the Ringmaster struggles over the word "pachyderm" and gives up. In the film he has no such problem with the word. Once again, the film differs from the draft in that it does not make such a big deal about the word "pachyderm" - the film-makers aren't trying to call attention to their vocabulary.