Despite being one of the longest books in the series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” was one of its shortest films — so does that mean there was a lot of material left on the cutting-room floor? You can bet your wand on it.
“We were just keeping a slightly cleaner line,” director David Yates said. “There were so many moving parts; that’s the danger of the book compared to the film. One of the things that people, even non-’Potter’ fans, love is the clarity of the films. They feel like they got it. So in removing some things, which we all love, we allow a whole new audience in.”
As well as an audience hungry to find those deleted bits on the DVD. And find they shall: Nine of Yates’ “moving parts” comprise 17 minutes of never-before-released footage on the collection, which hit stores in the U.K. earlier this week and comes out in the U.S. December 11. Some moments are just a few seconds long, others are extended or sweeping shots, and still others are full scenes that make you wonder how they could have been cut in the first place. “Sometimes you do that with individual scenes,” Yates said. “You might say, ’Wow, that’s really cool, that’s going to work,’ but once you put it in context, it doesn’t earn its place.”
So the deleted scenes on the DVD feature a little extra Harry and a whole lot of Dolores Umbridge. Two of the three Harry scenes are more scenery shots that show his isolation and frustration, by virtue of his surroundings. One, a sweeping shot of the Gryffindor common room, shows the rest of the students engaging in normal, fun activities (playing cards, making out, etc.) as Harry sits alone on the sofa after his detention with Umbridge. In another, after the battle of at the Ministry, Harry goes to Dumbledore’s office but stops short of destroying the headmaster’s things (as he does in the book) in his grief over Sirius’ death.
The third Harry scene, however, is an extended version of a scene, in which Harry packs to go home, that did make the film. “The feast is about to start,” Ron comes in to tell him, but Harry isn’t interested. “Thanks, Ron, I’m not really in the mood,” he tells him. “No, I’m not hungry either,” Ron says. “You go, really, I’ll be OK,” Harry says. Ron leaves, and finds Hermione waiting in the common room. She gives him a questioning look, he shrugs, and they leave together.
“That’s a scene that was cut a bit before you got to that bit,” star Daniel Radcliffe said. “You see a bit, and if we had just continued the shot, that’s what would have happened. It’s a sweet moment between Harry and Ron, but Rupert [Grint] and I shot that really early on, and we were maybe not quite into our characters at that time. It is a sweet scene though.”
Most of the Professor Umbridge scenes, however, are not very sweet at all, however pink the headmistress’ clothes might be. In one shot, she looks down from on high as members of her Inquisitorial Squad bully fellow students. In another scene, which had been chopped into a montage of her examinations of her fellow teachers, Umbridge interrupts and badgers Sybil Trelawney while she attempts to lead her Divination class. “It went really well,” Yates said, “but it slowed things up a wee bit.”
Of course, Trelawney has no idea at the time of her assessment she’s about to be fired — she barely pays attention during Umbridge’s speech at the beginning of the school year about the changes about to be made on campus, as you can see during the extended shot of her eating.
“I’ve also got a lovely moment between Umbridge and Filch after the fireworks,” Yates said, “where her hair is on fire and Filch tries to extinguish it. It’s very ’Planes, Trains and Automobiles.’ ”
What you won’t find in the DVD’s deleted scenes, however, is a shot that fans thought would have made the film because it explained Snape’s behavior throughout the whole series, a scene referred to as Snape’s worst memory, in which he calls a teenage Lily, Harry’s mom-to-be, a Mudblood. Some of that was in the film, but it stopped short of showing Lily, who turned out to be the love of Snape’s life. “We had a lovely actress play Lily,” Yates said. “And we may bring her back. But by introducing Lily and the Lily/Snape plot, that back story, we complicated it too much. We had to cut it.”
Surely somebody will wave an editing wand over this footage for the eventual “Deathly Hallows” DVD; by the time moviegoers learn how Snape really felt about Lily, they’ll want as much of her as they can get.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
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