“Prince of Tides”—Cut Scenes
& The Criterion Laserdisc

[continued from previous page]

[Special thanks to Robert Heusinger for his help on this page!]

Criterion laser disc of TIDES

Criterion describes itself as "dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements."

Before DVDs became the format of choice for home video, laserdiscs enjoyed a brief but popular life with home theater enthusiasts. Laserdiscs (LDs) were LP-sized—about 12 inches. Technology-wise, they produced analog video (as opposed to digital video on DVDs). Therefore, LD movies were sometimes split into several discs since it took so much space to hold an entire 2-hour film plus bonus material.

Criterion back cover

Criterion/Voyager (as it was known in the '90s) prepared an LD of The Prince of Tides with Streisand's involvement in 1992. After much work on the LD, including cut scenes and director's commentary, Streisand requested that Criterion pull the disc. Reportedly, 5,000 copies were trashed — although copies were kept by collectors and employees of Criterion (some have shown up on ebay for sale over the years).

Peter Becker (President of Criterion) told the L.A. Times, "There's no question Prince of Tides has been very hard on the Voyager Co. Yes, it is difficult to destroy discs and take the financial hit on those, but I don't think it's such a hit we can't make it back. And releasing it is the only way to make it back. But there was never any ill feeling toward Barbra. Barbra had put in many more hours than anyone who wasn't a Criterion producer."

Barbra faxed her instructions on how to amend the LD to Criterion as she toured the U.S. in 1994 ("The Concert"). After correcting what Streisand requested and doing a repressing of 2,500 discs, the Prince of Tides LD was finally in stores in December 1994 with a $100 price tag.

Becker, in a 1999 interview with The Digital Bits, explained what happened with the Tides LD: "That was simply a matter of Barbra Streisand quite rightly having found some typographical errors in the supplement and thinking better of a couple comments on the commentary track and asking us to change it, which we laboriously did over the course of a year-and-a-half. It lead to some delays, but in the end was more or less the identical disc to the one that we had originally produced with a couple of errors corrected and one or two (not terrifically significantly) comments lost from the commentary track."

laserdiscs and dvds

Laserdiscs (LDs) were approx. 12 inches wide (like the old LP vinyl albums), whereas DVDs are about 4-1/2 inches. DVD technology allows for more digital information to exist on one disc (in layers). LDs were limited as to how much information could be recorded to each disc, so it was necessary to flip the LD over in the middle of watching it.

Columbia Pictures released The Prince of Tides on DVD in 2001. A dual-layered disc which presented the film in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, the DVD was devoid of any bonus features except for "talent files" and "theatrical trailers".

Streisand fans have longed to see a more complete version of Tides in the DVD format. Although the Criterion LD is over 13 years old (and the LD format has all but died), it remains the definitive home video version of Barbra's 1991 film.

Criterion flyer

Criterion LD Specs

The Criterion LD of The Prince of Tides (POT) was presented on 2 discs, 4 sides.

As a separate audio channel, the LD contained Streisand's commentary—her perspective on the film's central themes and her approach to filmmaking.

As a bonus, the LD also contained "Visions and Versions: Making The Prince of Tides", which was an interactive documentary on the production of the film. The interactive supplement included screenplay excerpts, audition and rehearsal footage, behind-the-scenes video, alternate versions of key scenes, deleted scenes, costume and makeup tests, an interview with Streisand, production photos, and storyboards.

More bonus material included Nick Nolte's "gag reel" and Streisand singing "Places That Belong to You," intended as (but ultimately not used for) the closing credits.

Finally, the theatrical and teaser trailer were on the LD.

Supplement Features

Visions and Versions: Making The Prince of Tides

Post-production

“Places That Belong To You” at End Credits

With music by James Newton Howard and lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the song "Places That Belong To You" was readied for Prince of Tides' end credits. After all, Streisand had done quite well in the past with singing movie theme songs—especially on her own films (The Way We Were, What's Up Doc?, For Pete's Sake, and Yentl).

Barbra had a different attitude toward a Prince of Tides "theme song". The Criterion LD reported that "86% of the audience at a San Diego screening favored the song's inclusion". Streisand also had pressure from Columbia to include the song on the soundtrack album: sales would be good, and the song could be nominated for an Academy Award. Criterion also pointed out that "Streisand herself would earn considerable revenue from the song's inclusion."

But Barbra wasn't convinced. Barbra said, "I have to sing for my supper? Like the film isn't enough? The story isn't enough? The acting isn't enough? I thought it would take away the emphasis on [Tom's] journey. This is the story of the character Nick Nolte plays—Tom Wingo. I didn't want to bring it back to emphasizing Lowenstein's life. To me, that would have seemed gratuitous, exploitative, and just wrong."

Streisand, always one to explore editing options, created four versions of credits for POT:

  1. Credits at opening of film; shorter credits at end
  2. Credits at opening; "Places That Belong To You" at beginning of end credits
  3. No opening credits; "Places" at beginning of end credits; rest of end credits with orchestral score
  4. "Places That Belong to You" coming in 1:12 minutes into the end credits ("separting the film from my [vocal] performance"].

Ultimately, "Places" did not appear in the final film. The ending credits were scored by James Newton Howard. And the soundtrack CD contained a clarifying disclaimer: "Please note—Ms. Streisand's vocal performances were recorded exclusively for this Compact Disc release. They do not appear in the film The Prince of Tides."

Laserdisc Features

Pat Conroy and Streisand dance the shag

(Top, left): Streisand and POT author Pat Conroy do the "shag". Streisand wanted to learn firsthand from Mr. Conroy so she could add the dance to a scene in the film.

(Top, right): On location in South Carolina, Streisand had this rehearsal with Nick Nolte videotaped on 8mm video. They are rehearsing the scene in which Tom and Susan walk through the West Village after meeting at the party.

Model of Prince of Tides New York set

(Above): The set model for Lowenstein's New York apartment. The set and scene were actually built and filmed in Beaufort, SC.

Streisand's costume tests

(Above): Streisand's costume tests as Lowenstein for POT. Streisand wanted the color of Lowenstein's costumes to progress from black to brown to gray to white to symbolize the character "warming up" to Tom Wingo.

Kate Nelligan in makeup

(Above): An early makeup test on Kate Nelligan as Lila. Streisand (seen on the right of the frame) wanted Nelligan to play Lila as both the young and the older version of the character. But getting the makeup correct was important. Streisand deemed this version to be too "old".

Streisand and Pinchas Zuckerman

(Above): Footage of Streisand in the recording studio with violinist Pinchas Zuckerman. Zuckerman performed the violin for scenes in the film in which actor Jeroen Krabbe had to play the instrument (at the party scene in which he plays a classical piece and also teases Tom Wingo with "Dixie"). Zuckerman also performed the violin for actor Jason Gould, who learned to pluck the correct strings for his big scene in Penn Station in which he plays the violin for Tom Wingo (Nick Nolte). The Criterion LD includes a short video of Streisand directing Zuckerman in the studio. After some 'takes', Streisand joins Zuckerman, who proceeds to give her a lesson on the violin. At the end, Streisand laughs and asks Zukerman, "Can you sing?"

In a related story (not on the laserdisc) Dan Danielli, whose record label represented Pinchas Zuckerman, got involved in the recording of "Dixie". Zucherman improvised five rough versions of the tune into Streisand's handheld recorder. Then Danielli went into the studio control room and transcribed the segments Streisand had chosen into one seamless tune. “I brought the finished product back into the studio, Zukerman played exactly what I wrote down, Madame Streisand proclaimed herself satisfied with it, and indeed it was used in the film,” he said. “A most unplanned event, but then again, my entire career, with all its shifts and bumps, was totally unplanned,” he said.

Ending “Tides”

The Last Two Scenes

Streisand, the queen of alternate takes, arranged for several versions of the final scenes in Prince of Tides.

Streisand in the last scene

Streisand had, basically, three scenes to end the film: The goodbye outside Lowenstein's office; The Rainbow Room; and the reconciliation of Tom and Sallie, followed by his end narration. All the versions that Streisand worked on began with the goodbye outside Lowenstein's office. After Lowenstein says, "I've gotta find a nice Jewish boy, you guys are killing me...", here's how the film could have ended...

END VERSION ONE

Streisand filmed a long version of the Rainbow Room in which Lowenstein pouted about her breakup with Tom. An excerpt from the script of this longer scene is below. Following that scene, the film would have proceeded to the end in which Tom returns home and hugs his family on the beach...

INT. RAINBOW ROOM—NIGHT

The city rises up in pillars of light beneath Tom and Lowenstein as they prepare to have their last meal together. Avoiding his eyes, she studies the menu as he studies her face ... with love.

LOWENSTEIN
What's the worst thing on the menu?

TOM
Why are you making this so hard, Lowenstein?

LOWENSTEIN
Because I want you to stay with me.

TOM
One part of me wants you more than anything else in the world, and the other part knows I have to go back to my family.

LOWENSTEIN
But I left Herbert.

TOM
He was hurting you. Sallie wasn't hurting me. I was hurting her.

LOWENSTEIN
You just love her more. Admit it.

TOM
No, Lowenstein. Just longer.

Lowenstein smiles. TOM AND LOWENSTEIN dancing a slow dance, bodies pressed close together.

END VERSION TWO

Following the hug goodbye ( "I've gotta find a nice Jewish boy, you guys are killing me..."), Streisand then could have used a voice over by Tom, then proceeded straight to the beach ... skipping the Rainbow Room altogether!

TOM (V.O.)
I held her in my arms as I told her it was her doing that I could go back. Six weeks before I was ready to leave my wife, my kids ... but she changed that. She changed me. For the first time I felt like I had something to give back to the women in my life. They deserved that.

(over beach reconciliation scene with Sallie)

END VERSION THREE

The third version allows Tom's voice-over to do all the work in relaying the exposition of the story. The Rainbow Room is back in the film ... however, Tom's voice-over plays over the image of Lowenstein and Tom dancing. There is no dialogue at the table in the Rainbow Room.

TOM (V.O.)
I spent my last few hours with Lowenstein, dancing in the Rainbow Room. I held her as she said, 'You just love Sallie more. Admit it.' I said, 'No, Lowenstein. Just longer.' I held her in my arms as I told her it was her doing that I could go back. Six weeks before I was ready to leave my wife, my kids ... but she changed that. She changed me. For the first time I felt like I had something to give back to the women in my life. They deserved that.

(over beach reconciliation scene with Sallie)

Cut Scenes from PRINCE OF TIDES

TOM REMEMBERS LUKE

Tom remembers Luke cut scene

Streisand filmed a very short scene in which Tom looks through old photographs that showed Luke and Savannah.

TOM & SAVANNAH AT THE HOSPITAL

Streisand in cut scene

This scene would have followed the scene in which Bernard (Jason Gould) apologizes to Tom. This is the first time the audience would have seen Savannah and Tom speak together.

LOVE MONTAGE

Love montage scenes

Streisand filmed a very short love montage that would have added a bit of substance to Tom and Susan's relationship. The montage began with some brief dialogue between Tom and Susan on the Brooklyn Bridge. After that, Susan laughs over cappucino as Tom dabs some froth off of her mouth. Finally, Susan explores Tom's mouth with her hands, then kisses him, as seen through the window of the apartment.

End.

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