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Secrets of The Master: Elements of Scientology That Didn’t Make It into the Film

By now you’ve no doubt either seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master or you’ve read about it. You’ve probably heard from writers like yours truly who say that the film is filled with references to Scientology’s early history, while some reviewers, unfamiliar with that history, seem to think the Scientology in it is only a faint backdrop.

In each of our radio interviews, we’ve taken pains to point out that Anderson had written a script that was much more steeped in Scientology than what made it to the screen. That’s not surprising. Anderson researched and wrote his script years before it came time to actually lens the thing. It isn’t hard to imagine that the sheer fervor he obviously had for Scientology history had waned somewhat by the time he got actors in front of a camera. But one thing’s for sure — at one point, Anderson was planning more of a Scientology expose than what ultimately made it to the screen.

We thought we’d do an occasional series about some of the things in Anderson’s script that ended up on the cutting room floor (or perhaps, will be restored in the DVD extras). We’ll start today with the scenes of Freddie Quell’s first meeting with The Master.

Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), meet L. Ron Hubbard

We’ll pause here first to reveal a little something about our bona fides on this subject. Well before the movie opened, in July we wrote an analysis of Scientology in the script, and we said that The Master is particularly interested in three themes of Scientology’s early history — 1. L. Ron Hubbard’s move from birth-memories to past life experiences, which turned off some early supporters of Dianetics. 2. The driving away of a wealthy early supporter, Don Purcell in real life, “Margaret Drummond” in the film. 3. The increasing paranoia of the organization, rise of the Sea Org, and methods of control.

The day after that story ran, we heard through our film advertising executive at the Voice that Weinstein Company reps were talking about it, and were pleased. Really? Yes, we were assured. (That was surprising, because you may remember that at the time, the company was trying to pretend that the film had nothing to do with Scientology.)

Then, almost two months later, the week the film opened in New York, WNYC’s nationally-distributed radio program The Takeaway called, and they explained that they had approached the Weinstein Company about John Hockenberry interviewing a producer for the film, saying that they wanted to ask about the Scientology in it. WNYC’s people said that the Weinstein Company — yes, Harvey’s own people — recommended that they interview yours truly instead.

So, at the same time that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams were telling the public that the film wasn’t about Scientology, the film’s producers were recommending your narrator for a radio program because of our analysis of Scientology in the script.

OK, enough of that digression. Now, back to the script itself.

Peggy Dodd (Amy Adams), meet Mary Sue and L. Ron

The Master opens with an extended series of short scenes that establish Freddie Quell’s involvement in World War II, his discharge from the Navy, and his wayward wanderings after being demobilized. On the run after causing a man’s blindness or death at the Spreckel’s Sugar Beet operation near Salinas, he ends up wandering onto a yacht tied up to the harbor in San Francisco. The yacht Alethia is hosting a party in full swing, and we’ll learn later that its participants include Lancaster Dodd, his wife Mary Sue (changed to “Peggy” in the filmed version), and other Hubbard family equivalents.

As you can see in the image at the top of this post, the first few lines of dialogue by The Master (played in the film by Philip Seymour Hoffman) are noted under the name “Master of Ceremonies.” At other times, he’s referred to as “MOC.” (The only remnant of this in the film is a very brief look at the title page of “Book 2,” also known as “Split Saber,” where you can see the “MOC” reference under the name Lancaster Dodd.)

We can’t help thinking that “Master of Ceremonies” and “MOC” is an echo of “Chairman of the Board” and “COB,” the titles that current Scientology leader David Miscavige goes by.

Anyway, Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) has an initial scene on the boat the night he sneaks on board, and then another the next morning with Dodd. In the first scene, after Freddie’s presence has been detected, he’s slipped a mickey and then is taken to talk to Dodd by his “right hand man” Norman Conrad. (We’re hearing Norman Starkey, who was captain of Hubbard’s yacht the Apollo at one time.)

Conrad and Dodd then interrogate Quell about what he’s doing on the ship.

The Master then interrogates Freddie about his reasons for being on the ship.

Master: You’re a Russian spy. Did you hear me? Wake up, Freddie.

Freddie: What do you want? …what’s your name?

Master: We’ve told you. You’re a Russian spy. What are you escaping.

Master: You’re a little drunk and sleepy.

Freddie: More than a little watchu put in my drink.

Master: More than a little. You work for Dick Quinn.

Freddie: Dick.

Master: Richard Quinn.

Freddie: Don’t know him. No.

Master: You work for the AMA. CIA.

Freddie: …you got alotta questions..

Master: You work for Bill Christos and his friends at the APA.

Freddie: I don’t know you…

Master: And you picked this ship at random?

Hubbard, of course, considered the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association to be mortal enemies — his struggles against them are still foregrounded in the most current introductory film to Scientology being shown at its “orgs.” After more interrogation, Freddie eventually passes out. The Master tells Mary Sue and Norman that Freddie is what he says he is, just a simple stowaway.

None of this scene made it into the film. However, we do see some of the next scene, when Freddie has slept off his drunk and meets the Master the next day. While some of these lines did make it on screen, the full scene in the script should give you an indication how much more Hubbard-like Dodd originally was…

Master: You said you were an able bodied seamen and you were looking for work?

Freddie: You have any?

Master: Perhaps.

Freddie: What was in my drink?

Master: You were sedated with chloral hydrate and bubble gum kisses. Ha ha ha. I’m sure if you check your butt-hole you’ll find it’s all in working order (he he he…) Isn’t that what all men are worried about in they surrender themselves.

Freddie: I didn’t surrender myself.

Master: You were acting very aggressive because you drank too much alcohol.

Freddie: I don’t think I was.

Master: Yes I think you were. And I don’t like strange boys jumping on my ship.

Freddie: So what are you gonna do?

Master: Why don’t you just ask for work? Work can’t be hard to find.

Freddie: Depends on when you’re ready to go…do you have a job for me.

Master: You can’t work in your condition.

Freddie: What condition is that?

Master: You’re aberrated.

Freddie: What’s that mean?

Master: A wandering from the path. The problems you have in your life (your appendix, your work, your need to batter your body with booze…) I resolve that they can be fixed.

Freddie: I’ve got no trouble. You got a job for me to do, I can do it.

Master: Maybe I do, but not the kind you think.

Freddie: Do you own this ship?

Master: A charter through the Explorer’s Club.

Freddie: What do you do?

Master: I am many things. I am writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher. Above all, I am a man. A hopelessly inquisitive Man, just like you.

Freddie: Where’s your money come from?

Master: Many years of successful writing and publishing has made me self sufficient. Readers in all languages have enjoyed my work — but now I’m retired to study the mind and the spirit…my life’s true work. These studies have made me a target and I am hunted for what I know. Which is why…it is so un-wise to go lurking and jumping on strange ships…how do we know what your motives are?

Freddie: Well. I apologize if I got a little out of hand last night — I’m just looking for work and your ship looked good, so…it’s a nice looking ship.

Master: Don’t apologize. You’re a scoundrel. How I miss the days of working a four mastered schooner with nothing but salt horse, dried peas and a couple quarts of water…the present-day maritimers seem so much more fragile, don’t you think? You — you’re an adventurer. An able-bodied seamen, a maker of wine, and a dashing mischeviousness is what I knew would come to me in this lifetime.

Freddie: I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

Master: I am always looking for mature men of unusual ability who are willing to stretch the boundaries of what they know. To increasing knowing-ness and communication amongst man. I need day-ta. And with your help, I can gather it… You already understand, you just need to remember. And only say yes. Say yes.

Freddie: I’m not saying yes to anything I don’t understand.

Oh, how we wish that line was actually in the film…

“I am always looking for mature men of unusual ability who are willing to stretch the boundaries of what they know. To increasing knowing-ness and communication amongst man. I need day-ta.”

Things we’re sure you caught:

— That bit of midcentury homophobia is precious.

— In the film, Dodd’s use of the word “aberrated” is the first clear sign that Scientology is in the house.

— The reference to the Explorer’s Club is a great giveaway by Anderson (Hubbard flew its flag based on his legendary 1932 film-making expedition to the Caribbean, which in reality was an utter disaster).

— Dodd is also making the first references to past lives here, which will become much more prevalent later.

— And of course, it’s great to see such Hubbardisms as “knowingness” and the cute obsession with “day-ta.”

We hope you can see that, in the script at least, Anderson was planning more of a send-up of Hubbard and Scientology than what ultimately got filmed and edited. And there’s much more in the pages ahead…

Links of Note

— Oh look, Radar Online is once again claiming an “exclusive” for something we did earlier, this time a story we put out in July.

— And the UK’s tabs, The Star/The Sun are saying that Hubbard great-grandson Jamie DeWolf is “speaking publicly for the first time.” Apparently they don’t have the Internet over there.

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  • There’s also dialogue in the jail cell scene which evidently got cut but which is in the trailer where Freddie demands of Dodd “I know you’re trying to calm me down but just tell me something that’s true!”

    I had originally thought that there was an overboarding scene too, based on one of the trailers, but that depicted Freddie and/or his WW2 crew jumping off their ship The Hornet.

  • Bury the Nuts

    I see there is a bunch of stuff in the news today similar to the “radar” story.
    These yahoo’s are really slow!

    Tony, did you ever find out if Michael Lewis took the night off or if he did that seminar?
    Sorry if this has already been asked and answered, but I never have been able to find the Day-ta. LOL

    • MidwestMom

      Simi, a contributor of this site, called AOLA to inquire about the Michael Lewis event, and was told that Michael was off handling a family matter. He was replaced by Kevin Wilson.

    • @BTN: Someone called the numbers on the pamphlet, and it said he’d taken the night off to attend to family matters. Too bad. If he’d have done that last week, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.

    • Bury the Nuts

      Thanks folks. Glad he didn’t do it!
      Ya never know with these wing nuts.

      • Capt. Howdy

        Correction BTN. I think you meant “DC-8 wing nuts” . You wouldn’t want to offend any of our esteemed colleagues, would ya ?

      • Bury the Nuts

        True Capt.
        That was rather low tone of me.
        Please don’t KR me to OTVIIIisgrrr8.

      • flunk123

        Hey Howdy – Am I a “wing nut” because I acknowledged how science and technology has changed the way we live? Even with regard to women’s reproductive rights snd other freedoms? Because I know something about the history of science?

      • Bury the Nuts

        Science and Technology vs. Scientology <This is the side with the wing nuts.

  • MidwestMom

    It seems as though The Sun’s article was written some time ago and held until yesterday for printing. Jamie’s interview was terrific, as always, and hopefully he’ll get some more exposure in the mainstream media.

    Best of all, that cringe-worthy photo of the galaxy’s favorite dimestore coyboy! I love how they labled it “Cult leader”. He missed his calling; he should have been a used car salesman.

  • Troggy

    I wonder how long before the DIRECTOR’S CUT comes out?

    • Well seeing as how there are no “Director’s Cut” for any of Anderson’s other films, I’m guessing, I at least will have to wait until my next lifetime.

      Wow, Tony’s in good stead with the Weinstein ? That’s definitely
      an upstat.

      • Bury the Nuts

        Love that they were referring folks to Tony O.
        That pretty much says it all now doesn’t it.

      • flunk123

        It’s the smart move. Let Tony take the heat.
        But still, they chose Tony … it ‘s an unspoken approval of the work he does without taking sides against Scientology.

  • sugarplumfairy32

    I know it was only two weeks but god, I missed you, Ortega.. That is the review of ‘The Master’ I’ve been waiting for.. I’ve seen it twice so far.. The second time was to actually sit in the theatre and list all the similarities between the flick and lrh/co$ for ammo when someone denied it was about scientology.. I came out w/ a list four pages long.. and I didn’t even hit some of the ones you did..

    My personal fave: what MidwestMom just called ‘that cringe-worthy photo of the galaxy’s favorite dime store cowboy.. ‘ I truly will adore PTA forever for that..

    • PeggyToo

      I loved your review of the movie Sugar. I thought it was spot-on. I think it was Poison Ivy that had a really good review also. I thought the movie was incredible and I wish I could write my thoughts as well as you and PI. The one scene that sticks with me though is him walking back and forth, touching the wall and window, with the whole group just watching him go mad. The intensity of this movie just grabs you, and Joaquin’s ‘Freddie’ is so heartbreakingly powerful.

      • sugarplumfairy32

        Thx, miss Peg.. =)

    • MidwestMom

      Hey there, little lady, I am going to put you and your hubby behind the wheels of these vintage twin DC-8 space planes. They’re oldies, but goodies, and still have the original paint and upholstery. You will never have the good fortune to find anything like these babies anywhere else in the galaxy. Why, I’ll even throw in a custom made rhinestone cowgirl hat for you and one for your your hubby from Sheplers; absolutely free. That’s my gift to you. Now, let’s just go inside to cross the t’s and dot the i’s!

      • sugarplumfairy32

        You had me at rhinestone cowgirl hat..

    • Bury the Nuts

      And I still haven’t seen this movie because of that bitch Kelly Preston. Yes, I am totally blaming her. I ought to go over to the local mission and carpet bomb them with OT III leaflets.

  • Boson Stark

    Some reviewers saying the movie has nothing to do with Scientology might be because they either don’t know much about Scientology or they’re such Anderson or film fanatics, they don’t want to see his work as being derivative of anything.

    While all cults have things in common, Scientology is has many distinctive features and many are in this film. I have a theory that the approach or the producers or Anderson, was to feel out the public, before emphasizing any particular aspect. Would the public be turned off or turned on, or neutral about the film having a Scientology-like cult as a backdrop?

    They rushed it to the screen weeks ahead of time to capitalize on the TomKat divorce free publicity. See a f’d-up-on-cult movie star lose his 3rd wife, and now see f’d up Freddie fall into a similar group. Do such groups or masters really have “all the answers”?

    Is David Miscavige’s relationship to Cruise now, similar to that of Freddie’s with Dodd? Who better to explore these questions with than you Tony?

    • sugarplumfairy32

      I really think PTA’s motives were more altruistic than that.. We know he’s worked with Cruise and considers him a friend.. I’ve also read that he was good friends with artists Jeremy Blake and Thersa Duncan who both committed suicide, ‘coincidentally’, after being hounded by co$.. I imagine, working in Hollywood, he has many other friends/acquaintances affected in some way by scientology..

      So, I’ve chosen to believe that PTA was a man with a plan and that he executed that plan to perfection.. And what’s true for me is true, baby..

      • Boson Stark

        Why does any director want Cruise in their film? Because in getting to know him, he becomes such a good friend?

        Be real. They want Cruise is a movie because he’s a reliable actor who almost assures a box office success, even for a film that is not so great, like War of the Worlds.

      • Poison Ivy

        Sugar I agree with you. I also think that PTA as an artist is attracted to these charismatic leader figures; these father/son, mentor/apprentice relationships – they exist in all his films. These dark-light dichotomies. I’m sure seeing the effect of Scientology on people he knew (and it’s impossible to be in Hollywood and not brush shoulders with it at one point) touched off that inspiration in him. I don’t think he wanted to send a message i.e. the way a political artist sends a message…but I think these incidents that brought Scientology and Hubbard to his attention may have inspired the evil he explores in The Master. Which is something he clearly wanted to send a message about. If that makes any sense. In other words, a more literal artist like George Clooney sends a very direct message about political corruption in “The Ides of March.” (Credit where credit is due, that film is adapted by a play by Beau Willamon). An artist like Paul Thomas Anderson, on the other hand, discovers the message through the exploration of character. IMHO.

    • @Boston Stark. Don’t tell Steven Spielberg that. According to Andrew Morton, he washed his hands of Cruise after War of the Worlds. Steven said TC’s personal life and Scientological Couch Jumping hurt the movie.

      Just another brick in the wall…

      • “after Cruise realized how destructive his Scientology-driven actions had been to his career.”

        You were being sarcastic of course ?

  • Boson Stark

    I loved the whole Sun article — deliciously strident and pointed. Jamie was great.

  • MidwestMom

    The Canadian show The L.A. Complex on CTV has introduced a Scientology storyline (“Scienetics”) to a major character. The Why We Protest site discusses the storyline with specific details with links to view recent episodes as well. CTV has an agreement with the CW network for the show, so it could possibly air as a summer replacement in the U.S.

  • Poison Ivy

    Ah, Tony, to start my day with intelligent and witty analysis from the bunker…true unfolding tales…of one of the most perverse modern-day (semi) dynastic dramas since the Wars of the Roses…yes indeed, all is right with the world.

    I’m sorry so much of that delightful introductory scene was cut from the final film. Not just for the Scientology aspect, but for the exploration of Dodd’s character. The paranoid interrogation; the homophobia; his waxing poetic/hyperbolic about his sailing days, which says so much about the man’s proclivity to pathological lies. MrPoisonIvy left the theater wishing there’d been more Dodd and less Freddie. I’ve come to think that Freddie isn’t just an emblematic follower but aspects of Dodd as well – the ignoble naval history, the bizarre sexual problems (as Hubbard’s affirmations confirm), the inability to deal with authority, even the abandoning of the women in his life. Freddie is Freddie, but he’s also Dodd’s id, which makes him impossibly attractive to Dodd. Dodd’s subconsciously trying to cure himself with all his mumbo jumbo, hence the compulsion to cure Freddie. But what Dodd’s “cause” really does is turn everyone else into little Dodd-bots. The real insanity goes untreated…but is now a virus that is set free to spread.

    Hey, one more tidbit I picked up from your piece: ” I resolve that they can be fixed.”

    Isn’t that an “un-stuck postulate?”

    Cheers, Tony, keep the bunker safe!

    • sugarplumfairy32

      I love your ‘the real insanity goes untreated..’. Such a huge prob in the co$.. And so apropo especially the past few days..

  • Chocolate Velvet

    I would say that the Master is not a film about scientology and LRH, simply because it leaves a great deal out that would make it that story. Instead, it uses elements of the cult’s history (which are obvious to anyone who knows the subject) as a medium for the message of this film. A message that seems to vary depending on the viewer.

    I would call it a great film, and a special treat for those who already know the subject of scientology. However, if someone watched this film knowing nothing about the cult, they would come away with a lot of separate incidents from it’s history and no sense of their connection to reality, or the storyline that runs through them. So I wouldn’t recommend it as a film “about Scientology and LRH”. In my opinion, it is an allegory set in a true-life historical setting.

    I would love to see a Scientology expose, and when I first heard about this film that is what I anticipated. The early script pointed in that direction, the final product was something else. I loved the film nonetheless, whatever you want to call it.

    There is an interesting write-up about PTA on the Wash. Post site.  Anderson is quoted a little about his shifting attitude towards the topic of scientology:  “.?.?. The more that I sort of learned about the things that I did learn about, [the more] I sort of felt more invested. You sort of find ways to enjoy or love something that you don’t understand or are curious about. It’s not worth pursuing making a film in an effort to be nasty about something.”

    The reporter also mentions how the film changed in editing:  “Anderson filmed scenes that explored the Cause’s collective interplay, but he says the idea lost traction in post-production.” This is the part that intrigues me; I want to see those cut scenes. Perhaps that is where we’d find the stuff in these script excerpts. I hope the DVD is full of them.

    The whole article can be found here:

  • blissfulldreams

    And the UK’s tabs, The Star/The Sun are saying that Hubbard great-grandson Jamie DeWolf is “speaking publicly for the first time.” Apparently they don’t have the Internet over there.
    they also don’t know how to link story’s together either and what the cult is slyly doing to our kid’s Drug’s education my ass!

  • Poison Ivy

    Remember UK pubs have to abide by different libel laws. Remember how recently they were made to recant their “Where is Shelley” tidbit (whereas no one has to do that over here.) So the article could’ve been held pending attorney approval.

    • Holding it for more than a decade? Huh? In my stories, I pointed out that Jamie first spoke publicly in 2000, then again in 2011, when we first wrote about him. CBS in the Bay Area did a lengthy interview with him back in July. No, the Star and Sun haven’t been holding on to this interview, they just like to pretend they have an exclusive that isn’t an exclusive at all.

    • Poison Ivy

      Oh no, Tony, wasn’t by any means intimating that they had spoken to Jamie before you! Clearly they are jumping on the bandwagon very late here, like the rest of the mainstream media! (And this is the Sun we’re talking about. When they say ‘exclusive’…well, consider the source.)

      Just responding to Midwest Mom’s comment about the article being “banked.” I’m sure if it had been banked, it wouldn’t have been for long…I’m sure you scooped them by well over a year.
      It seems the UK press go back and forth with their “courage-factor” about Scientology reports…perhaps following trends on this side of the pond. Based on the Anderson Cooper 360 lawsuit (as well as the recantation of the “where’s shelley” article a couple months ago), it seems COB is not unfamiliar with the malicious practice of libel tourism.

  • KimberlyinOklahoma

    Unfortunately I have not seen The Master yet. Living in a relatively small “city” in Oklahoma doesn’t afford me the luxuries of getting to view a good portion of good films such as this one. I have to drive to Oklahoma City if I want to see it and that’s about 89 miles away so I will most likely have to await the dvd version. I would love to see a Director’s Cut or Deleted Scenes option on the dvd, but since the director isn’t usually inclined to do so, I won’t hold my breath. That is unfortunate because it appears that these “cut” scenes not only deepen the film’s connection to Scientology but also would add more interest & depth to the film.

  • sugarplumfairy32

    Btw .. I frking lovvvvvve that Weinstein referred them to the underground bunker. It further validates that PTA knows a LOT about co$.. And it shows what a masterful manipulator he is.. A truly valuable ally in the war.. Frking love it.. (I also love that I’ve used the term ‘frkng’ so often that my new phone’s spell check recognizes it now and finishes it for me..

  • LemonLemon

    It was a beautifully shot film. To the scientology-watcher’s eye, there was quite a bit of scientology parallel to chew on. To the general public’s eye, much of the reference to scientology was lost, not explained, or too subtle to catch. Oh how fun it would have been if it had been doused more heavily in scientology which it sounds like it was originally meant to be.

  • Chocolate Velvet

    Off-topic, but of interest: I just noticed while browsing on iBooks that Jenna Miscavige Hill has a book coming out on Jan. 22, titled “Beyond Belief: My Life In and Out of Scientology”. They offer no info, but are taking pre-orders. Has anyone one heard anything about it? Seems like this one could be a bombshell, with the Miscavige connection. Hmmmm…

    • Bury the Nuts

      I pre-ordered my copy as well. She is pretty fiesty and I am looking forward to this one. Between this and Marc Headley’s plans, January ought to be spectacular.

  • PeggyToo

    I already pre-ordered my copy (Barnes & Noble, I have a Nook) but they have no synopsis of the book as of yet. Hopefully it will be another nail in DM’s coffin.

  • WeStandTall

    I wish more people would admit their disappointment with this film. Disappointment not only in its failure of adequate CoS-scrutiny (which I know this community was thirsty for) but also its lack of cohesion just as a movie. I personally was not satisfied.

    I know it has become very fashionable to praise this film so my opinion is obviously in the minority, but I also thought that Joaquin Phoenix’s performance was exaggerated and not believable, nor was his relationship with the master (although I did think PSH was terrific). I would however like to see the movie a second time, but I’m just a bit tired of the hype and excessive acclaim for what I thought was a two-and-a-half hour heap of confusion.

    • sugarplumfairy32

      If I were disappointed, I’d be the first to voice my disappointment.. Maybe the fact that you are disappointed by the lack of disappointment stems from the fact that not that many people were disappointed? disappointing, I know..

      • ^lol

      • Poison Ivy

        MrPoisonIvy, a gifted filmmaker himself and a PTA fan (we saw the “There Will Be Blood” at NYC DGA with Q&A after with PTA & Scorcese – unforgettable!)…anyway, MrPI was disappointed, particularly with the ending. PTA likes ambiguous endings but MrPI felt this went too far. I was disappointed in the ending, too, but not to the extent he was. I need to see the film again but it is staying with me on a visceral and gut level (which is pretty much my personal criterion for a great film)…although I felt the narrative had problems especially in the last 1/4. Perhaps the course the film took in editing had something to do with it?
        I do hope PTA releases a blue ray w/deleted scenes. Just to let us look at the glorious 70mm some more…

        • GladBreitbartsDead

          Holy mackerel, get a life!

    • sugarplumfairy32

      Yah.. I have to admit that the non-sci watchers who went with me were like “wtf?”.. But since I began clueing them in, they’re becoming fascinated by this amazing scam, scientology..

    • Capt. Howdy

      I went to “The Master” comment board on IMDB and found it strangely quiet considering PTA fanboys are notoriously hardcore.

      There were a few obvious threads started by scilons like ” Word of mouth is killing this movie”.

      Most of “wog” negative responses seemed to be based on the lack of narrative and the ending . Meh, I was predicting something like this awhile back. It’s a PTA film, and that’s an acquired taste.

      As someone on IMDB pointed out, if a Fellini film was released today and given lots of hype, the typical movie goer would be scratching their heads, saying “WTF ?”.

    • deselby88

      If The Master was a “heap of confusion,” I’d be curious to hear your review of Inland Empire.

      • Capt. Howdy

        LOOOOOOL Yea, that and Lost Highway. ” Hey half way through the movie the lead actor was replaced with a different guy ? “.

  • You are not alone, but agreed that we are in the minority (at least around these here parts). I think you either have to be a CO$ junkie or a tried and true film lover to really enjoy this movie. None of my friends have seen it yet so I don’t know what their wog reaction would be but I’m interested to find out. Problem is that I’m not comfortable recommending the film to anyone except a handful of my friends who I think would like the movie just for the acting and cinematic experience.

    One thing I will say is that PTA’s willingness to even include a CO$ connection in a movie is pretty ballsy in light of how CO$ normally deals with folks who have something to say about them. The tide has been turning with the media and this is one more avenue for fomenting open discussion.

    • sugarplumfairy32

      Im telling you, PTA is a freaking genius.. He managed a scathing indictment of scientology–especially its tech and its founder–without alienating co$, the indies or anybody else.. He didn’t make it so overtly obvious that scientologists would view it as blasphemy and avoid it.. The automatons might actually go see this flick and recognize the covert strategies that hooked them and reeled them in.. Freaking genius, baby ..

    • I’m not saying he’s not a genius, I’m saying I personally don’t appreciate the genius at work here. And I’m saying that in order to appreciate the genius fully you probably need to be a pretty well-entrenched sci-watcher or a film geek. If there is someone out there who does not fall into one of these categories, I’d be very interested then to hear what they like about the film. Cuz I damn near fell asleep during it. Maybe I should not have eaten the entire box of raisinets in one sitting . . .

  • sugarplumfairy32

    And I believe the title of Jennas book includes the words ‘and my harrowing escape..’ I can’t wait..

  • MidwestMom

    Uh oh, you’re talking in Hubbardese. Snap out of it, girl! You have acute Dianeticitis, but you’re going to be just fine. Tony, Peggy, Captain Howdy and I are here, and Dodo too.

  • D.Geiger the 1d
  • flunk123

    I liked that the APA (American Psychiatric Association) guy, “Bill Christos” was Greek, and that the name of the boat is “Alethia”, which is Greek for, “For real?”

  • Lol I had a signed one of those LRH photos from that DeWolf article. I’m kicking myself for throwing it away over 30 years ago, it could be worth some bucks in kitsch value alone these days.

    • sugarplumfairy32

      Yah, it would .. This weekend I saw an lrh-signed e-meter on eBay for $25,000..

  • sugarplumfairy32

    Wow..Geiger! great review.. Thanks for posting that.. and the vid below the article has some scenes I don’t remember in the movie

  • deselby88

    Tony, as a follow-up article, could you report on the stuff in Anderson’s head that didn’t make it into the script?

  • mooki

    Johnny Lewis’s father in cult propaganda video from last year

    • Capt. Howdy

      Thanks for that perfect example of scilon woo-woo vagueness and shiny happy homo-novis creepiness.

  • Poison Ivy,

    You may be onto something with the editing. For me, it seemed slow and unusually disjointed, neither of which by itself would necessarily be a deal killer for me. For example, The Whale Rider was a pretty slow movie but it is one of my all time favorites. As for disjointed/nonlinear narratives, I think Pulp Fiction falls into this category and again, I loved that movie.

    I also didn’t mind the open-ended denouement because it leaves you with something to mull over. What I enjoyed mulling over after the fact was the suggestion of what a war-mongering society produces–namely, disaffected, aberrated people who might just be attracted to cultish behavior, whether an actual religious cult (the Cause) or more traditional addictive allegiances (whorin’ and boozin’). Also the thought that we as a society pulled this in by what we put out into the world.

    I think the post-war mindset of the 1950s is very relevant today. When you think about the world we live in and how we seem intent on killing each other, how great would it be if we could EVOLVE onto a totally different plane of existence and intelligence? It’s an attractive notion . . .

    As much as I wasn’t amused by the movie, from an intellectual standpoint I like reading others’ reviews and all the parallels and connections to be drawn. That would be the English major me, before it was corrupted by the lawyer me. Ha!

  • V4Vacation

    PT Anderson is scheduled to be the guest on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross tomorrow, Oct. 2 (according to the Weinstein Co’s Master Facebook page).

    • PeggyToo

      V, I love your Gravitar!!!!!

  • We in RTC watched the film at the local implanting station in Hemet that they call a cineplex. Let us tell you, the film was a completely degraded wog piece of trash from beginning to end. As we in RTC have said before, the original camera negatives of the film and all copies need to be taken and burned in a giant bonfire in a protest against Anderson’s religious bigotry. religious hatred, and his attempt to smear the Founder and the Scientology religion for fun and profit.

    “PTA” as he is called needs to be locked up by the Psychs as he is most certainly insane and a danger to all Mankind. If Anderson would go over to England, we could cure him of his insanity as the Founder did find the cure for insanity.

    Scientology could pop Anderson right out of his skull and exteriorize him with full percpetics in just a few hundred hours of standard auditing run flublessly by 100% Tech trained Class VIII auditors.

    We in RTC would start Anderson on the False Purpose Rundown (FPRD) in order to find and eradicate his evil and not-so-hidden purpose to destroy Scientology. We would do some False Data Stripping as Anderson is obviously crammed full of false data and destructive computations that have turned him into a madman with a camera.

    Finally, if only by way of recapping in order to move you all up the Tone Scale and end off with a win, we in RTC remind readers that what is needed in these days of rampant attacks against the Church of Scientology is for people to visit their local Ideal Org to see what Scientology is actually about.

    We in RTC want all of the false notions about Scientology shown in The Master to be eradicated.
    For example, it would be wrong for people to think that Scientology is all about getting a hand job while standing over a wash basin and being sternly lectured by one’s 2D. That is grossly out ethics and reeks of wholetrack Psych PDH.

    • more importantly, how can i get that hand job image out of my mind? is the purif rundown appropriate for that? i was going to gouge out my eyeballs but i kind of need them.

    • flunk123

      Thank you OT VIII for bringing me back into present time.
      “PDH stands for pain drug hypnosis … known to some psychiatrists as a means of compelling obedience.” – LRH
      That’s EXACTLY what I thought when I watched that scene!

    • Capt. Howdy

      Your pronouncements now seem to be visually emanating directly from the COB’s hole. Well done.

  • I was a loyal lurker on Tonys blog for ages. I never commented but I feel like I know you all. *waves hello* I wanted to share an observation. “The Cause” and the CO$ … When you say the acronym for COS as if it were a word, well it sounds like the word “cause”. I just find that interesting. 😉

  • PeggyToo

    HA!! Good observation, I likey. Welcome, good to finally hear from you.

    • flunk123

      “Cause” is a word Sci’s hear from the very first introductory course. Communication is described in terms of cause and effect and it doesn’t stop there.
      Scientologists are always talking in terms of being “at cause” in their job, or trying not to go into “effect” of their mean boss who is getting them down …
      “The Cause” is both a blatant Scientology reference, and at the same time something anyone else can easily latch on to.

  • flunk123

    I thought OTVIII hit it out of the park this time, but you gotta love Howdy for putting it in perspective.

  • Chocolate Velvet

    Yes! There is something so right about that avatar! Glad to see you brought it back. It’s the little touch that means so much. The soupçon of style that even the COB would applaud! 😉

  • Split saber as a title for “Book 2” is an obvious throwback to “Excalibur” the title of the unpublished 1938 book manuscript Hubbard based DIanetics Book 1 on, and I think you caught this in your earlier articles, or Marc Headley spotted this, or some commenting person spotted and posted this in your hundreds of comments in your earlier Village Voice articles on this.

  • Tony, I’m frankly gonna have to wait for the DVD or amazon copy, and later down the road, some way more intense dissection.

    Big things, to me, are Anderson did get into the therapy crap a little bit. Just the questioning that Dodd did of Quell, in the two simultaneously being run “sessions” to me, was brilliant. In that it showed the crazy therapy, being applied and intersperse from two different time periods of sessions, but shown one session, then the other session, back to back.

    The audience might not have gotten this, but to any of us who’ve done the “Objectives” (I did at least 300 total hours of Objectives, did them ALL, 3 times in full). And then the oddball Anderson revised Scientology therapy commands, those really were “squirrly” by our standards, and I have to say I came away with a pressure ridge down the top of my skull, trying to think where those commands were leading one.

    The scenes of the “processing.” For anyone who’s not had a lot of processing, those scenes are just weird, I imagine. For me, they gave me a headache, since the actor, Freddie, took the commands so genuinely, it just threw me “into session” too, a bit of PTSD getting shoved into what goes on mentally in one’s head when one DOES get the Scientology shit for real.

    So that part of the movie, showing those two separate sessions of processing Freddie was getting, but interspersing them, was brilliant depicting the Scientology processing experience on a preclear.

    “Processing” as a word is SO smack dab “Tech Dictionary”, Tony you need a set of the red and green hardback dictionaries, and someone ought give you Scientology full library.

  • scilonschools

    “Seventy per cent of respondents to the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll said the controversial Church of Scientology, which is popular with Hollywood stars such as Tom? Cruise and John Travolta, was not a real religion, but 13 percent said that it was”_13% X 311 million(current US population) =40 million_ Now thats a worrying statistic!!

  • blissfulldreams

    you forgot to say that it had 4 offers but no one willing to pay the asking price lol

  • blissfulldreams

    hi flunk
    cause and effect for every action there is a reaction and it looks like all the actions of the co$ have caused, the effect of that is one mighty reaction, people now are turning away from co$ be-cause no matter how much ness they put on the ending of words, happiness was the one thing that they was not at cause with which had an effect of mass unhappiness and the effect/reaction of that is they are all leaving

  • wannabeclear

    Interesting to me that the official publicity machine was denying the $cientology connection, while still stoking the flames. They were able to have their cake and eat it too. Having the actors and director downplay the $cilon connection would keep anyone (Tom Cruise) from being too pissed off, but continuing the discussion and more importantly, the controversy, by having you, who are completely unconnected to the film, talk about all of the reasons it is a very accurate reading of the cult’s early days.

    Plausible deniability and masterful PR that is. The Co$ could learn a lot from Harvey Wenstein…but they won’t.

  • wannabeclear

    Interesting to me that the official publicity machine was denying the $cientology connection, while still stoking the flames. They were able to have their cake and eat it too. Having the actors and director downplay the $cilon connection would keep anyone (Tom Cruise) from being too pissed off, but continuing the discussion and more importantly, the controversy, by having you, who are completely unconnected to the film, talk about all of the reasons it is a very accurate reading of the cult’s early days.

    Plausible deniability and masterful PR that is. The Co$ could learn a lot from Harvey Wenstein…but they won’t.

  • October 2, 1914 was the birthdate of chemist/alchemist and JPL cofounder Jack Parsons, possibly COS worst nightmare.
    Here’s a tribute made to commemorate his death in a mysterious explosion in his Pasadena home lab on June 17, 1952:

  • xique

    love the blog!

  • Jgg2012

    OT8, you did NOT see the movie. Instead, you had memories of the movie implanted in your brain. We wogs know better. The movie is 100% true, based on sworn statements by Scientology officials in that long list of lawsuits you lost. Your cult is deteriorating. You are losing members to Wicca, Fictionology and the Flat Earth Society.

    Not to change the subject, but where is Shelly?

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