“Prince of Tides”—Cut Scenes
& The Criterion Laserdisc
[Special thanks to Robert Heusinger for his help on this page!]
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/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."
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 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.
- Chapter 39 Supplement introduction
- Chapter 40 The Prince of Tides featurette
- A promotional item, including many behind-the-scenes shots, including commentary by Barbra and Nick
- Chapter 41 Out-takes: Nick Nolte's gag reel
- A number of bloopers (9) all featuring Nick Nolte, including a bed scene (Barbra saying: "CUT!")
- Chapter 42 Teaser trailer
- Chapter 43 Theatrical trailer
- Chapter 44 Alternate credits with vocal performance of "Places That Belong To You"
- 86% of a preview audience in San Diego favored the song's inclusion, not to mention Columbia. Barbra felt differently. Analog track 1 presents this alternate version, with Streisand's comments about her decision on track 2.
Visions and Versions: Making The Prince of Tides
- Chapter 45 Introduction: Table of contents with screenplay, pre-production, production and post-production
- Barbra calls herself "the version queen," multiplying her options through the course of the ﬁlm's production, keep- ing various alternatives after the negative is cut. Again, Barbra provides her own commentary, along with the commentary footage.
- Chapter 46 Screenplay; novel adaptation
- The digital track offers Barbra on Pat Conroy; the analog track (and also the video) feature Barbra and Pat doing the "shag"—a dance performed in a ﬂashback scene. Also pages of the screenplay are shown, covered by Streisand's notes. Then follow two screenplay excerpts from the most complete version, the director's ﬁfth draft dated May 8, 1990, also with Barbra's hand-written notations. It's possible to jump from screenplay to the ﬁlmed versions of these scenes (in other words, altemate versions) or to pre-production, through the interactive aspect of the laserdisc.
- Chapter 47 Children's auditions
- Hundreds of children from throughout the South were interviewed during the pre-production in Beaufort. Barbra says that with children, "casting is 90% of the art." Off- screen readers are the casting directors. Split-screen presentation groups the different sets of siblings. Various audio channels can be selected to hear the desired audition.
- Chapter 48 Additional rehearsal of Tom's daughters
- Chapter 49 Rehearsal - "Shrimp and dog food" ﬂashback
- An 8mm video excerpt rom one of the rehearsals side- by-side with the scene from the ﬁlm (making use of digital and analog soundtracks).
- Chapter 50 Rehearsal - Tom and Lowenstein leaving party
- An 8mm video excerpt of a blocking session with Streisand and Nolte, accompanied in split-screen by their comments on working together.
- Chapter 51 Rehearsal - "The Manhattan Dinner Party"
- Split-screen video, showing Jeroen Krabbé rehearsing his violin performance (digital audio track) and Barbra blocking out camera-to-subject relationships (analog track).
- Chapter 52 Streisand costume and make-up tests
- Split-screen video (no audio). Barbra comments on her character's costume progression.
- Chapter 53 Nelligan costume and make-up tests
- At one time, Barbra had considered two actresses to play two Lilas (for ages 30 and 65). She later became convinced Kate Nelligan had the talent to accomplish the transformation herself—with a little help from the make- up artist. This is an 8mm video documentation of the ﬁrst unsuccessful attempt to age Nelligan (the "Methuselah" look). The audio track offers Streisand and Nelligan's comments.
- Chapter 54 On Location in South Carolina
- 8mm video excerpts devoted to location shooting for the ﬁlm's "prologue" and other flashback scenes.
- Chapter 55 Siblings under water (tank shot)
- This scene was shot in a tank at MGM after location ﬁlming was completed. Storyboards are shown —the only ones used during the entire production of the ﬁlm.
- Chapter 56 Making music on and off camera
- 8mm video excerpts showing Pinchas Zukerman recording studio work, including Jason's performance ﬁngering along with Zukerman (split-screen, digital and analog audio). Barbra is also shown getting violin instructions from Zukerman.
- Chapter 57 Alternate version of "Tom and Lowenstein's Village walk"
- This is a short version of the Village walk scene which appears in longer form in the film.
- Chapter 58 Alternate version of "Tom and Lowenstein at the cabin"
- The screenplay excerpt of this scene in chapter 46 details the difference between the scene as written and as modiﬁed by Streisand.
- Chapter 59 Alternate version of "Tom and Savannah at the Seaport"
- A counterpoint to the alternate short version of a scene in a previous chapter, this is a long version of a scene that appears in an abbreviated form in the ﬁlm.
- Chapter 60 Alternate endings
- Presented here in split-screen are three altemate treatments of the love story's wrap-up. These alternate survive as 8mm video with unﬁnished music.
- Chapter 61 Production photo album
- A number of photos covering the man facets of production and the work of key players.
- Chapter 62 Deleted scene: Tom remembers Luke
- Chapter 63 Deleted scene: Tom and Savannah at the hospital
- Chapter 64 Deleted scene: Tom confronts Henry
- Chapter 65 Deleted scene: Tom sends ﬂowers to Lowenstein
- Chapter 66 Deleted scene: Lila is ridiculed as white trash
- Chapter 67 Deleted scene: Love montage
- One of the most diﬁicult decisions Streisand made was to delete the sequence of small scenes and vignettes detailing the unfolding of Tom and Lowenstein's romance.
- Chapter 68 Test screening: Negative cut revisions
- As a director, Barbra sought and obtained an alteration of the negative cut AFTER the ﬁnal release version had been struck. This was caused by a test-screening response by the audience.
- Chapter 69 Laser disc production credits
- Chapter 70 Color bars
“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:
- Credits at opening of film; shorter credits at end
- Credits at opening; "Places That Belong To You" at beginning of end credits
- No opening credits; "Places" at beginning of end credits; rest of end credits with orchestral score
- "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."
(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.
(Above): The set model for Lowenstein's New York apartment. The set and scene were actually built and filmed in Beaufort, SC.
(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.
(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".
(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.
The Last Two Scenes
Streisand, the queen of alternate takes, arranged for several versions of the final scenes in Prince of Tides.
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.
What's the worst thing on the menu?
Why are you making this so hard, Lowenstein?
Because I want you to stay with me.
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.
But I left Herbert.
He was hurting you. Sallie wasn't hurting me. I was hurting her.
You just love her more. Admit it.
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!
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.
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
Streisand filmed a very short scene in which Tom looks through old photographs that showed Luke and Savannah.
TOM & SAVANNAH AT THE HOSPITAL
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.
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.
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