Extra scene in Paradise Road for Singapore
By Elisabeth Gwee
20 June 1997
(c) 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
WHEN World War II drama Paradise Road opens in Singapore on July 24, audiences will get to watch a scene at the start of the movie that viewers in the United States missed out on.
The film is based on some of the 600 women interned for 3-1/2 years by the Japanese during their occupation of South-east Asia.
While the American version of the movie starts off in 1942 with a scene in the Raffles Hotel Ballroom on the night that the Japanese invaded Singapore, the Singapore version opens with a present-day scene where a central character from the movie, Australian nurse Susan MacCarthy, is seen walking down Orchard Road with her niece, reminiscing about the good old days here.
But bargain-hungry Singaporeans need not lick their chops thinking they are going to be getting extra value for money.
After all, the three-minute scene bears no relevance to the plot of the movie.
In fact, the audience is likely to end up confused by it, if they can even remember it at all by the end of the movie.
Even the film's executive producer, Singapore-based hotelier Andrew Yap, says he does not think audiences in the United States missed out much with this scene chopped out of the American version.
So why then was this introduction, which is also included in the Australian version of the film, included?
"I thought it was a nice way of easing the audience slowly into the movie.
"Instead of just throwing them into the action, it would have been a nice chance for them to see how modern Singapore is," he told Life! last week.
Mr Yap does not know why the first few minutes of the film were taken out from the American version.
"Maybe they thought it made the movie too long, or maybe they didn't think it was necessary," he said.
The film opened in America in April and did not fare too well at the box office. It stars one of the largest-ever female casts in a movie, with actresses such as Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Jennifer Ehle, ER's Julianna Margulies, Elizabeth Spriggs and Cate Blanchett.
While the bulk of the film was shot in Australia, the cast also went on location in Penang, where scenes were shot in padi fields, jungles, crowded streets and temples.
While the extra scene which Singapore audiences will get to see is insignificant, audiences might want to make the most of their movie experience by looking out for the little absurdities that crop up in it.
For one, a rollerblader is seen whizzing at super speed down the pedestrian mall outside Ngee Ann City.
In the real world, he would have to be a little more careful lest he gets stopped for reckless blading and is fined.
Further in the scene, two women stand outside Ngee Ann City and point to Raffles Hotel, which happens to be right across the road from them.
Explaining this "error", that will no doubt catch the eye of many Singaporean viewers, Mr David Glass, general manager of Golden Village, the film's distributor, said: "We wanted to show one of the most modern buildings in Singapore together with one of the oldest buildings, Raffles Hotel.
"It was to show the contrast between the old and the new. I guess you could call it artistic licence."
Paradise Road opens in Singapore on July 24. The Gala Charity premiere will be held on July 13. The beneficiaries of the event are Aware and The Substation.