3.1.25 Release information; Missing Scenes

Where was the premiere of "Heavenly Creatures?"

[lfr] Wellington, New Zealand.

How many versions exist?

[lfr] The running time for "Heavenly Creatures" in its Wellington Premiere version was 108 minutes. The running time for "Heavenly Creatures" in its North American release version was 98 minutes. The difference is due to about ten minutes' worth of scenes that were cut for the worldwide release. The "original" version is as yet only available on video in Australia and New Zealand. (Want this to change? See the "Heavenly Crusade".)

An early draft script of "Heavenly Creatures" contains reference to several scenes that did not appear in the North American release version. These were concerned primarily with the girls' reaction to Hilda Hulme's relationship with Bill Perry, and scenes with Henry Hulme being told to resign because "he was not working out" and the "threesome" living arrangement was unacceptable.

ref: Heavenly Creatures, Draft #5, February 7, 1993, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA.

When was "Heavenly Creatures" released?


US:       16 November 1994
Germany:   12 January 1995
Canada:    20 January 1995
UK:       10 February 1995

Has "Heavenly Creatures" been released on video?

[lfr,aa] Heavenly Creatures has seen a release on all three major formats of the last decade. Here is a summary by format - emphasis on NAm releases (however any and all information about international releases is welcome and will be incorporated here):

The NAm VHS video release occurred May 23, 1995. It is not a letterbox version, unfortunately. This is an enormous pity because the filmmaker used every square inch of the screen and the soundtrack, especially, to tremendous effect. This film is meant to be huge, larger than real life, and it is meant to sweep the viewer away in a sensual overload.

The laserdisc version has also been released. It is in letterbox format, but does not contain any extra material, interviews etc.

The current format of choice. HC fans have been waiting a long time for the kind of high-quality release that the film deserves - missing scenes, cast and crew interviews, background information, and the like. But the wait has been long, and is not over yet. A DVD release was made, and released at a budget price, but it was a bare-bones affair and fell far short of expectations, proving again that you get what you pay for. But currently (early 2002) there is much buzz and rumour that a proper release is in the works. For more information, and a detailed breakdown of the different versions, see the crusade section.

In the meantime, lobby Miramax or Criterion for a complete version - most likely now to be presented on DVD format. And be sure to bug the manager of your local rep theatre to bring "Heavenly Creatures" around to the big screen, where it needs to be seen for its genius to be fully appreciated, so to speak.

What scenes were cut for the NAm version?

[lfr,mk,sb,aa] I now have pretty complete information on the differences between the NZ and NAm versions of HC as released. See section 9 for a breakdown of the differences.

However, there are also scenes that were in the original script and either filmed and not used, or not filmed at all. The following scenes not appearing in the NAm version of the film are from Heavenly Creatures, Draft #5, February 7, 1993, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA. [lfr]

Scenes 3, 4, and 6 do indeed appear in the NZ cut. As for the first scene, there is a still photo of Kate Winslet in a spaghetti-strapped party dress in "Cinema Papers" 97/8 April '94, p. 29, which confirms that the "Bennett's Party" scene was filmed. [sb]

1. (scene between Juliet and Hilda, both dressing for a party at Dr Bennett's. J. is borrowing a dress of Hilda's - described as a bit "freakish" as it's obviously too sophisticated for J.) [aside: this wouldn't have worked as Kate Winslet could make almost anything look good. lfr].

J: Pauline ought to be going.
H: She wasn't invited.
J: Its unfair! She's being held prisoner in her own house!

(Hilda demures and along with J. we realize she isn't going to the Bennett's either)

J: What's more important... me or your stupid bloody clients?... Is it Mr. Perry again?

(Hilda, rising and heading out from her room continues to evade. J. follows getting more and more excited)

J: (contd) It *is* Mr. Perry!

(As Hilda continues down the stairs, J. follows and then feigns a fall. Hilda is momentarily startled, calls for Henry, then realizes J. is faking. Hilda leaves Henry to attend J. and sweeps out, indeed on her way to Mr Perry. Henry tries to buck up the enraged J., only to have her erupt into a full blown temper tantrum, screaming non-stop and hurling objects all about.)

(Cut to Bennett's. Dr B. is prompting his son Colin (whose 16th birthday this is) to ask Juliet to dance.)

Dr B: ...She's having problems with her... orientation. [aside: unlikely that terminolgy would've been used at that time in that place if anywhere. lfr]

Colin: Maybe she should get a compass. [aside: chuckle and reason for term. lfr]

Dr B: This is bloody serious Colin! This girl could be lost to the opposite sex forever!

(A reluctant Colin drags himself over to Juliet, who everyone has to this point studiously ignored, sitting in her far too glamorous, adult dress.)

Dr B: Relax Henry... She's on her way to healthy womanhood!

(C. gets J. to dance and she begins assailing him, first subtley, then bitingly. Colin is startled when one of J's spaghetti straps suddenly slides down her arm. In a moment the other follows... C. is disturbed and J. wickedly says:)

J: Oh God! I think my breasts are about to pop out!

(C. flees. Henry is dismayed and comes out to finish dancing with Juliet who quickly becomes despondent. Henry is annoyed and impatient. In the background Dr B. is railing at the unfortunate Colin) Henry: What is it now? What do you want? Do you want to stop dancing?

J: (near tears) I want Paul...
(fade out)

2. (next scene is the 'bridge scene' of "why could not mother die?" that I think I mentioned to you would've been really good and helped out in making Pauline's leap from hysteria to murder. lfr).

3. (Another party, this time at the Hulmes. Pauline and Juliet are hiding in the woods, chucking rocks at the pond as Dr B goes by, splashing his legs. They stroll nonchalantly out of the woods eating grapes and drinking sherry from a decanter [aside: !!! completely the wrong mood, come off like juvenile delinquents here - but has this some basis in fact? lfr. [Yes. It was an anecdote also heard and used by M Forster in "Daughters of Heaven." jp]]. Dr B joins Hilda who is watching Henry and Bill Perry play tennis. Henry is being thrashed and he knows it. The girls walk around the entire scene chatting).

J: Bloody Bill's sniffing around Mummy something chronic.
P: I thought he was terribly ill.
J:(sarcastic) That was the theory.

(J. then tells how Hilda offered Perry the guest flat upon finding out he was ill. J. imagines - we see - Perry so ill he is brought to Ilam in a speeding ambulance, siren and lights going full blast. Perry is wane and near death. Then we jump to what really happened, Perry hoping out of a cab, coming up the front walk making some "jolly good digs" comment.) [note: This is actually a 'dig' at WAB Perry's testimony at the trial where he explains why Hilda Hulme was in his bedroom... she heard him coughing and brought him a cup of tea. WAB Perry then claimed he had been admitted to hospital the following week. Apparently, he was, according to an entry in Pauline's diary. Also, apparently, the girls really did refer to him as "Mr Bloody Perry." jp]

P: Do you think Bloody Bill's trying to get into her drawers?

J: ...Fat chance! Daddy is the only one Mummy lets in her drawers...

(Henry is being anihilated by Perry, who finishes him off then collects Hilda and strolls away as Henry collects the balls, then looks after them in despair)

J: (contd) ...they're absolutely besotted with one another!

4. (this is followed by Henry's being told by the head of CUC that he's "not working out" and has three months to find another position). [note: This is taken from real-life letter, paraphrased by Glamuzina & Laurie in their book. jp] This casts the later scene showing Henry's "farewell gala" in a completely different and utterly ironic light!

5. (one last scene at Ilam between Hilda and Henry).

Henry: Its getting out of hand. She's now insisting we adopt Pauline! Its preposterous!...

Hilda: If you want to be the one to tell Juliet, good luck to you.

(they walk by Juliet's room, from which audible sobs are heard) Hilda (cont): I don't intend to pick and choose my daughter's friends. Pauline makes Juliet happy and that's good enough for me.

Henry: But Hilda -

(Henry is cut off by Hilda who, downstairs by this time, is off to meet with Perry. Henry is dismayed and sitting on the steps, begins to cry.[!])

6. Furious with her mother for not allowing her to visit the Hulmes, Pauline imagines Honora abruptly choking to death during dinner as the rest of the family sits around implacably. Herbert also dies, stabbed fatally by a fork while reaching for the salt. Pauline snaps back to reality as her grandmother, Nana Parker, asks her to break a wishbone with her and make a wish. [lfr]

7. I've checked, and the version of HC was indeed 108 minutes long when I saw it first in NZ. But I still swear that I have never seen the Bennett's party scene. The differences I *have* noticed have been very slight (and intuitive - I only have two viewings 8 months ago to compare the US film to). For example, in the US version, the scene where PYP and the Hulmes are off to Port Levy starts with a soundtrack version of "How much is that Doggy in the Window." In the NZ version, it was longer, and was sung by the actors - J&P singing with great gusto, and Mrs Hulme encouraging her husband to go 'woof' in the appropriate place. It was gloriously funny - I wonder why they cut it.

I have also noticed missing shots - stuff that served no great purpose, but that I could swear was there last time I saw the film. I'm more and more puzzled about the missing Coronation footage. Apart from anything else, it would have been highly and suitably symbolic - i.e., in order for Liz to be Queen, her father had to die. The parallels between P&J and the Queen are quite obvious, and surely worth playing up by Jackson. [mk]

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