Mister Tee wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:...no Emma Goldman at all!
I can't find any online confirmation of this, but my recollection is of the NY Times running an article saying the original cut of the film had run to an unwieldy length, and that the character of Emma Goldman -- played, I'm pretty sure, by Mariclare Costello -- was eliminated entirely.
WHEN EMMA GOLDMAN HIT CUTTING-ROOM FLOOR
By ALJEAN HARMETZ, Special to the New York Times
Published: December 12, 1981
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 11— When E.L. Doctorow's ''Ragtime'' reached movie screens a few weeks ago, most of the historical figures who interacted with the novel's fictional family were missing. The book had been crammed with such titans of the first decade of the 20th century as J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Sigmund Freud and Harry Houdini, but critics mourned in particular the loss of the anarchist Emma Goldman.
It was assumed that some artistic decision had been made in advance by the screenwriter, Michael Weller, and the director, Milos Forman, to eliminate Miss Goldman, who in the novel had raised both the consciousness and temperature of the showgirl Evelyn Nesbit in a sexually tinged political encounter. It will doubtless surprise all those who made that assumption that there was an Emma Goldman in the movie, but her entire role landed on the cutting-room floor in July, when the $32 million movie was shortened from more than three hours to its final 2 hours and 36 minutes.
Mariclare Costello, who spent three weeks in London and New York last year playing Emma Goldman, is imperturbable about what most actresses would regard as a serious setback to their careers. ''It was certainly an interesting role I was delighted to do,'' she says, ''but, in terms of one's life, it's just a movie. I'm disappointed, but I didn't expect it to make me a movie star.'' Busy on Stage and TV
Miss Costello, who was featured last year as Mary Tyler Moore's sister-in-law in ''Ordinary People,'' is much better known as a stage and television actress. She played the hero's first wife opposite Jason Robards in the original Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center production of Arthur Miller's ''After the Fall'' in 1964 and recreated the role 10 years later in a television production with Christopher Plummer. She also performed on Broadway with James Stewart in ''Harvey.''
Her first film role was opposite Dustin Hoffman in ''The Tiger Makes Out''; her biggest film role was with Zohra Lampert in a horror movie called ''Let's Scare Jessica to Death.''
On television, she has starred in one less-than-successful series, ''The Fitzpatricks''; as a German terrorist in ''The Raid on Entebbe,'' as Private Slovik's wife in ''The Execution of Private Slovik'' and opposite Kenny Rogers in ''Coward of the County'' in October
She had, she thinks, ''maybe eight minutes of screen time in 'Ragtime.' '' But it was expensive screen time. Recognizing the showgirl Evelyn Nesbit in a crowd on the Lower East Side, Emma Goldman causes a riot with a speech about poverty and money that uses Miss Nesbit as an example of the way male exploiters use women. The speech is broken up by 50 mounted New York policemen.
''Taking Emma Goldman out was not an easy decision,'' says Mr. Forman, the director. ''She was there for six and a half minutes, and I wanted her left in. It was the only spot where Dino'' - referring to the film's producer, Dino de Laurentiis - ''and I disagreed. He thought her scenes slowed the pace of the film. So we called in an arbiter - the author, E.L. Doctorow. He agreed with Dino. We did it the democratic way, 2 against 1.'' The Emma of 'Reds'
''Red Emma,'' the turn-of-the-century anarchist and feminist whose name was probably unknown to most Americans until the publication of ''Ragtime,'' is, however, a major character in another film, the $33 million ''Reds.'' Played by Maureen Stapleton in a unanimously praised performance, the Emma Goldman of ''Reds'' is a tough, earthy woman who is able to stare anything in the face, including her eventual disillusionment with the Russian Revolution.
In both the book and movie of ''Ragtime,'' Emma Goldman's quite different function was ''to make us aware of the class structure in America in that time,'' says Mr. Forman. ''In the book, she was absolutely necessary. In the film, we see the class structure with our own eyes. We see how they walk on the Lower East Side, how the middle class looks, how the rich live. We don't need a character to tell us.''
Miss Costello - who lives in a comfortable hillside house with her husband, Allan Arbus, who is also an actor, and her 4-year-old daughter, Arin - butters some slices of homemade bread hot from the oven. ''A disappointment,'' she says again. ''But not a tragedy'' is what her tone implies.
She smiles. ''And Milos said there is a possibility my scenes might go back in when 'Ragtime' is released to television.''
Illustrations: photo of Mariclare Costello as Emma Goldman cut from 'Ragtime'
"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
- Minor Myers, Jr.