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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday May 23, 2019 

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SIXTH SENSE, THE: EXTRAS ON VIDEO

Taking a leaf out of the DVD manual, Touchstone Pictures Home Video's release of The Sixth Sense contains a 15 minute featurette containing five deleted scenes, with commentary by writer/director M. Night Shayamalan, reports ANDREW L. URBAN.

Having seen and enjoyed The Sixth Sense on the big screen, I was intrigued to see not only the deleted scenes, but also to see and hear the director, M. Night Shyamalan, discussing them and why. But the biggest impact of the first scene on this extra footage comes from child actor Haley Joel Osment's remarkable performance - a turbo-charged reminder of it.

"Intensely moving"

Titled TOY SOLDIERS, the scene shows Cole Sear (Osment) playing with toy soldiers in a cemetery near his home, in the company of Bruce Willis' character, Dr Malcolm Crowe. Buried under a piece of red cloth lie the 'dead' soldiers, and Crowe is astounded as Cole begins to reveal things about the dead soldiers as if they were real people - and begins to cry as their story evidnetly filters through his consciousness.

It's a shattering scene, beautifully directed and shot, intensely moving - but had to be cut out because in Shayamalan's view (and he wrote it!) it comes too early in the film, causing audience confusion. He explains why it was written in the first place: to show how much more Cole knows than he should, as a normal child.

Shayamalan addresses similar issues throughout the extra footage, inviting us deep into his filmmaking process. He admits that his favourite moment while writing the film was also chopped out - the extended version of the ending. He remarks how learnt at film school that a filmmaker had to be prepared to cut his/her favourite scene for the sake of the film. And he was.

FOOTNOTE: Ever wondered about character names in movies? In a movie such as The Sixth Sense, dealing with a child's psychic ability and other paranormal occurences, it was either subconscious inspiration or planned invention that the boy's surname is Sear - he is, after all, a see-er. As for Willis' Dr Malcolm Crowe, it is my guess that his name springs from a cinematic prompt of Alex Proyas' enigmatic action/fantasy, The Crow, with the late Brandon Lee (pic), where a murdered man comes back as an undead...

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The Sixth Sense

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