Katina Paxinou’s scene that was cut from Orson Welles’s THE TRIAL
While Orson Welles's considered The Trial to be one of his greatest films, many critics didn't agree with him. I must also say after I first saw the film, in 1978 (at Theater 80 St. Marks in the East Village), I didn't much care for it, either. In fact, truth to be told, I fell asleep!
It was only after the third or fourth viewing of the film that I began to understand it more completely, and therefore to enjoy it.
Which just goes to show that we can't really expect to unlock the workings of a master in a single brief viewing, whether it's from Welles, Picasso, Kafka, Shakespeare or Einstein. For example, just imagine if you had a chance to talk with Einstein about scientific theory. I daresay most of us would be totally baffled by his conversation. Which is why, I think Welles has never had a popular audience. The general public is simply "overwhelmed" when confronted with such complex films.
In any case, Store Hadji has just posted a link to this very interesting sequence that was cut from THE TRIAL here.
ORSON WELLES: There was a long scene that lasted eight minutes, which I cut on the eve of the Paris premiere. Joseph K has his fortune told by a computer — that's what the scene amounted to. It was my invention. I only saw the film as a whole once. We were still in the process of doing the mixing, and then the premiere fell on us. At the last moment I abridged the scene. It should have been the best scene in the film and it wasn't. Something went wrong, and it didn't succeed. The subject of that scene was free will. It explains my attitude at the time about computers. My attitude has changed slightly since then, but only slightly. I believe that what that scene did, was to show Man’s slavish relationship to something which is really only his tool. It was a splendid thing to say in the picture, but it turned out to be rather a drag, so I took it out. The scene was tinged with black humor; that was my main weapon. I always direct the humor against the machine and in favor of freedom.
The following scene between a Scientist (played by Katina Paxinou) and Joseph K (Anthony Perkins), was cut by Welles in the editing. It originally came after the scene where Joseph K is talking with his cousin Ermie, before he enters his office building.
Scene grabs and text for the scene can also be found at the Wellesnet film page here
INT. JOSEPH K'S OFFICE - NIGHT.
We see K walking through his office. It is late at night and he is alone. In a luminous island surrounded by a vast sea of empty desks he works, or tries to, or imagines that he is working. Finally he cannot wait any longer. He gets up and walks across the empty office to the far corridor which contains the electronic brain, sleeping in the darkness. A pool of light from a single bulb shows the scientist in charge: A woman. She is wearing the same clothes as the men but that is all she has in common with her colleagues. The day shift workers all have expressionless faces. They are stereotyped technicians of no particular age. The woman in charge of the night shift is as old as the world. Immutable, vaguely disquieting, this venerable lady of science is the archetype of the priestess serving a powerful, millenary mystery.
What are you doing here?
You told me to wait.
(after a short silence)
I said that you could if you
You said you would try to
Yes... on condition that you
gave us the data to work with...
I've got them... I've written
them down for you. First of all
the crime, or whatever it is...
that I'm accused of...
There are no coordinates for
that... None... It is a simple
But everything depends on that...
My God, if an electronic brain
can't tell me that...
I can believe no one...
Oh!... We have something for you.
About my case?
Don't mix cybernetics with good
fortune... It's the best we can
do with what you've given us so far.
I'm most grateful to you for
everything... Then it's about
The SCIENTIST smiles.
What's so funny about that?
The quibblings of lawyers are
not within our province either.
(trying to be tactful)
I see. I suppose a computer is
rather like a judge.
The SCIENTIST smiles again, but K pursues his thesis.
Yes, why not? Why shouldn't an
electronic brain replace a judge?
That would be a great step nearer
to perfection. Errors would no
longer be possible and everything
would become neat, clean and precise. Instead of trying to take advantage of us behind our backs the lawyers would be forced to be as exact as accountants or scientists. Imagine a tribunal working like a laboratory. Do you think one day it'll be like that?
You don't think we're going to start
telling fortunes, do you? Let's be
You're not going to tell me that your
machine couldn't do it?
She wouldn't want to.
The SCIENTIST pours some milk from a bottle into a saucer and puts it on the ground near the computer.
I... er... I hope that's for a cat.
K smiles and pulls himself together as she raises towards him her aged, simian features.
You specialists always talk about
feeding. Of course, I was only
trying to be funny.
It's your fault K.
Trying to be funny?
(He feels at the end of his
What data have you given us?
Practically none. Language -
that's our problem.
She takes off her lab coat.
You're not going?
The night shift is over.
THE SCIENTIST looks at the brain and then takes a raincoat from a peg and puts it on.
Now she is resting.
But you have something to
THE SCIENTIST hands him a piece of paper.
(looking at it)
What is it?
The crime you are most likely
(irritated and nervous)
In the future? That sounds like
(He looks at the paper).
Just a few holes!...
Facts based on the calculation of
But the questions I asked...
I've told you. All that we can
analyze are precise facts...
But there's no fact...
Then what do you expect?...
Feed her vague imaginings and
you'll get silence... Oh...
One thing she can do is to count
the stars for you.
A whole university of physicists
would have to calculate for a year
to solve a problem which she could
solve in a few seconds...
But my problem?... It seems a bit
beyond her powers.
The SCIENTIST smiles condescendingly. K continues.
I know... You want to convince
me nothing is beyond the machine.
But she has her limitations.
Surely that's what's happening
in my case.
You're the one who's limited...
She can only resolve what you can
Although you can say exactly what
you think... you cannot even know
what you want to know.
(She moves away).
The questions of legality or crime
are despairingly resolved with
so-called moral values. Conscience,
innocence, guilt... good and evil.
And all that's just imagination?
(turning towards him)
Well... there's nothing for us in
all that... nothing to get our
(She looks at the electronic brain).
She is ready when you are, but not
THE SCIENTIST puts her hand on the machine. It is not a familiar gesture but rather one of respect and even a sort of pride.
She is waiting... always...
THE SCIENTIST turns out the lamp. A small light continues to flash in the machine. K follows THE SCIENTIST as she walks away. He is half way down the corridor when he hears a muffled groan and stops. He turns his head slowly towards the source of the noise - the cloakroom. After a moment's indecision he comes and opens the door.
MAN IN LEATHER
The scene is exactly as K left it previously: the MAN IN LEATHER, the two assistant inspectors with adhesive tape over their mouths. K slams the door and starts to run across the vast open space of the office.
EXT. K's OFFICE BUILDING.
K emerges from the building. Far ahead of him he sees THE SCIENTIST, who notices him and stops. K calls after her.
What does the piece of paper say?
I told you...
It's in code or something of
the sort. You haven't translated
it for me. What is it?
She replies at the same time he speaks but he doesn't hear what she says.
You mentioned the crime I would
be most likely to commit...
That's right... Suicide...
(She moves away).
But that's ridiculous...
K starts to follow her, but she has disappeared.
EXT. OF CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE ADVOCATE'S APARTMENT.
K comes slowly up to the door and knocks loudly.