August 4, 2014

My Thoughts: FWWM The Missing Pieces

22 years is a long time to wait. But we finally have (most) of the fabled deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me. As discussed elsewhere on this site, I've been a Twin Peaks fan(atic) since day one, and loved the series from the pilot thru the final episode. And even though it made a quick exit from theaters, I still managed to see FWWM 3 times on the big screen before it disappeared in 1992.

I loved the film from day one as well, although I did have to adjust to some of the cosmetic changes (fake Donna, Sheryl Lee's wig, different Palmer house, WAY different Harold Smith house). And I did miss some of the characters from the show, especially since I had heard so many had filmed parts, so leaving the theater that first time, I was like, "where were they"? Pretty quickly I learned of many of the cuts that had been made via a great article in "Video Watchdog". Which provided pretty much the only positive assessment I had seen at the time, and assured me I wasn't alone in my love of the film.

Over the years, those deleted scenes became legendary, and release after release came and went without them, even after hearing reports that they were going to finally see the light of day. So their mystique kind of snowballed over the years, made even bigger by the fact that no footage had ever leaked, and almost no pictures had ever been seen. No one had even seen pics of many of the cut actors.

Then the preview for the "Missing Pieces" dropped, and it was chill-inducing and surreal. Images that only existed in our heads were finally being seen. I for one, could hardly believe it. A wait of 22 years is crazy, and a lot to live up to. So did they?

Watching the scenes themselves didn't bring me that same level of surreal that the preview did, because the preview had already done that. But it was still an experience that can hardly be described, and can't really compare to anything. For me, finally seeing all of these scenes brought a huge sense of satisfaction, when it could have easily been one of disappointment or a sense of being underwhelmed.

I feel so happy and satisfied that I have finally seen these scenes. Seeing what amounts to 90 minutes of all-new Twin Peaks content after 22 years is nothing short of extraordinary. I loved it, and there are many highlights. But for the most part, I can see why Lynch made the choices that he did with the final edit. On the other hand, I think the Missing Pieces only enhance one's experience with FWWM. Having seen the original film so many times over the years, and knowing the script, the scenes kind of fall into place in my head. And the film and the Missing Pieces complement each other. So I don't really mind having them as two separate pieces of the whole. I only wish we would have seen these from the beginning.

And there are a few scenes I wish would have remained in the film:

The Norwegian scene. Great counterpoint to Bob-Leland. As a side note, it was great to see Wise, Lee & Zabriskie finally get to see this scene in "Between Two Wolds". Zabriskie has often talked fondly of this scene over the years, and you could tell she was excited to see it. And I have to say, she was really hurt the most by the final edit of the film, as most of her best bits were left off. She is just fantastic in these deleted scenes.

The Hayward scene. I always felt Donna was strangely parentless in FWWM. Plus Sheryl Lee's final line of this scene, where she turns back from the sidewalk, just might be her shining moment as Laura.

Laura under the fan. Amazing, mesmerizing & scary! Why this short bit was cut is baffling. Lynch at his best. This was also the biggest surprise for me, as I knew what to expect from most scenes, knowing the script.

Jacoby's call. Short and not exactly essential, but Jacoby's (as well as Ben Horne's) absence was a big continuity point with the series. Plus Lee is (once again) great here, and Jacoby, a man who should be helping her, in the end is just another creepy predator.

Log Lady in her cabin. Why cut it? It adds nothing to the runtime, but certainly adds to the film!

Of course the Convenience store and Bowie scenes are amazing and people are talking about them. But this is one instance where I love both versions. What's in the film, while cut way down, is a real highlight for me. One of the most beautifully edited sequences in the film. But its great to finally see the longer versions.

Other highlights, that I don't think necessarily fit into the final film:

The Desmond/Cable fight. Great to finally see.

Ed & Norma in the truck. Simply amazing. Without question, one of the best scenes here. Everything here is perfect, the acting, dialogue, music, feeling. Peggy Lipton is amazing in both this and the diner scene. To me, its her best work as Norma. I know Peggy has never been a big fan of the film, and that's probably partly because her scenes ended up being cut. Glad she was at the premiere and finally got to see these. And I'm glad we did as well...

And of course:

The post-series scenes. Holy crap. These were amazing. I think I held my breath the whole time. How amazingly well done. 

The fact that they filmed on the exact same series set for Cooper's room and the bathroom was really important- the scenes match so well. Of course there are still a couple of things that don't exactly gel with the series (although the same set, they swapped out the lights for some reason, Annie is wearing Caroline's Dress, "Some Months Later" really should be "One Month Later"), but who cares?

Probably the highlight of the Missing Pieces for me. But- do they fit into the film? I think Lynch made the right emotional and storytelling choice of going directly to Laura and Cooper in the lodge for an ending. The film needs to end with Laura/Angel/Cooper. And placing the deleted scenes BEFORE the Laura/Cooper ending throws off the pace, and makes it seem like the ending (with Laura) comes a month later (after the series) as well.

On the other hand, obviously those scenes were filmed in part to remind viewers where the story stood, and to end on pretty much the same cliffhanger as the series. Many fans were looking for a continuation, not a prequel. And the funny thing is, back when FWWM came out, I had hoped to see something like this- something that took place post-series. I didn't know until later about these scenes. So I feel that having them in the film may have actually helped fuel more positive feelings from fans and kept the momentum for a continuation. Who knows, if they remained in the film, perhaps another movie may have happened(?)

In the end, the one thing I was thinking may have worked is if they had gone the "Marvel" post-credits sequence route. End the movie as is, roll credits, fade to black, "One Month Later"... Hell, people who missed it because they left during the credits might have even gone back to see it!

Anyway, there are also some scenes that are still "Missing"... But we got most of them, which is something I had almost given up on. I had already gotten my "Holy Grail" of Twin Peaks with the music releases, but these scenes are amazing as well. Never did I think we would end up with almost all of the Twin Peaks music, as well as most all of the deleted FWWM scenes in pristine, beautiful quality. What a good few years its been to be a Twin Peaks fan.

What about the music? I will return to talk about the music of the Missing Pieces soon!


  1. Strange and Wonderful Observations! Having a copy of the original script myself, it always amazes me how what is on paper is just a suggestion of what is actually filmed. We seem to have had a similar journey with Twin Peaks. I was there at the start and there at the end without fail. Looking forward to your "... talk about the music of the Missing Pieces soon!" VERY soon :) Keep up the great work. You are a true fan's true fan!

    1. Thanks- always appreciate feedback. My report on the music is up now!