There's a saying in Hollywood: "Cut what you love." No, it's not about cocaine. It means that it doesn't matter how expensive, beautiful or awesome a scene is -- if you can cut it and still have the movie make sense, then cut it. It's actually pretty common for perfectly good scenes to end up on the cutting room floor simply to shave a few minutes off the total running time or speed up the pace of the movie.
Of course, sometimes the movie doesn't make sense without that crucial deleted scene, but we just didn't notice it. Like in ...
6 Inglourious Basterds -- A Flashback Explains the Movie's Weird-Ass Name
We've mentioned before how Quentin Tarantino's Hitler-killing epic Inglourious Basterds ties the entire Tarantinoverse together like a fine carpet, but one mystery still remains: Why the hell is the title misspelled? There's one "U" too many and an "E" that should be an "A," in case you haven't noticed. Movie nuts know that the name is inspired by the Italian war movie The Inglorious Bastards (the director even makes a cameo here), but that doesn't explain the misspelling: In fact, Tarantino has gone on the record saying that he's "never going to explain that."
If that's the case, then he probably shouldn't have put the answer right there in the script, where we can see it.
"Alright, it's Marsellus Wallace's soul. Wait, what was the question?"
The Missing Scene:
The script by Tarantino contains an extended flashback sequence starring Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz, a part played by Eli Roth that was originally written for Adam Sandler. The scene comes just as Donny is about to beat a Nazi to death with his baseball bat -- we see Donny buying the bat in his old neighborhood in Boston (spelled "Bostin") right before shipping out to fight in World War II. Good luck not hearing Happy Madison's voice screaming in your brain as you read this dialogue, by the way:
"Put down your Yahtzee/It's time to beat some Nazis ..."
Note the spelling of "basterd." Donny then goes around the neighborhood asking his fellow Jews if they have any loved ones in danger in Europe, and to write down their names on the baseball bat. At one point he goes to the house of one Mrs. Himmelstein (who would have been played by Frau Blucher from Young Frankenstein), and right before signing the bat, she says:
"Remember your roots by never spelling anything correctly, ever."
To which Donny replies:
"Now have some freshly baked cookies, sweetie."
Cut to Donny spilling the Nazi's brains out in the woods.
How It Changes the Movie:
This scene would have explained why so many actors are referred to as "basterds" -- that's just how people talked in Donny's old neighborhood, and it stuck. The line "A basterd's work is never done" is so important that it even made it onto one of the film's posters.
We would have gone with "Grazzie."
It's possible that Tarantino cut the scene after Sandler turned down the role to make Funny People (it remains a subject of debate as to whether this was a good thing for either movie). Perhaps Tarantino shortened Donny's role when he realized that Eli Roth's acting range isn't quite as ample as Sandler's -- did you see that movie where he plays a guy and his twin sister?
5 Raiders of the Lost Ark -- Why Indy Knew Not to Look at the Ark
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, everyone from Indiana Jones to Adolf Hitler wants to get their hands on the legendary Ark of the Covenant -- and yet, if you pay attention, you'll notice that throughout the movie, nobody actually touches the thing they're supposed to covet so much. They're always carrying it on poles or putting it in boxes, as if they were grossed out by it or something. Why is that?
"All right, you move it over ... no, no, I'll put my end in first ... OK, just set it down for a second."
The only time they do touch the Ark is at the very end, when the Nazis open it and accidentally unleash a light show that sucks their souls and melts their faces. Indy looks away from the lights and the spirits spare him ... but how did he know he had to do that? It's literally the only thing that saves him. And you can't say it's common sense -- he's the only person in the vicinity who knows to do it, and he has to tell Marion, or else her face would have melted, too. Yet this life-saving technique is never mentioned in the movie prior to that point.
The Missing Scene:
There's a scene in the movie where Indy talks to an old man who says the Ark "is not to be disturbed." Well, in a deleted scene from the script, the guy explains exactly what he meant by that: If you touch the Ark or so much as look into it while it's open, you die.
Indy really should have packed, like, a tarp or something.
Even though they cut that part, it's pretty remarkable to see how deeply these warnings were ingrained into the story. Later, in the scene where Indy and Sallah first see the Ark, the script calls for Sallah to reach out to touch it, but Indy stops him:
"If you take it out of the box, it's worthless!"
This part was also removed, but again, the movie acknowledges the erased moment by having Indy and Sallah carry the Ark on poles instead of just lugging it around.
How It Changes the Movie:
We've previously pointed out that the Bible pretty much spells out the effects of the Ark, and therefore both Indy and the villain should have known what it does, but presumably not everyone in this audience is an archeologist who specializes in Biblical relics. With the old man's explanation, people who didn't pay attention in Sunday school can understand what happened at the end of the movie, too.
Plus, you know, it would have just been nice to have a little warning.
The only problem, and the most likely reason why they cut those scenes, is that they sort of spoil the ending: When the bad guy opens the Ark, nobody knows what's going to happen to him, and the deleted scenes would have ruined the surprise (although there's a big difference between "you die" and "your head explodes").