The Bordello scene, which contained a "sex" scene with Sharon Stone and Russell Crowe, was cut from the U.S. release. It was included, however, in some international releases.
This was an important scene, in my opinion, because it established the relationship between Ellen and Cort. Without this scene, the viewer is left wondering how they had suddenly teamed up to defeat Herod and how Cort knows her name (the only time she's called Ellen is by Cort in their faceoff in the street).
The scene came after Ellen, fed up with the violence, rides out of town, ending up in the cemetary talking with Doc Watson in the rain, after which she returns to Redemption. She rides back into town and asks the Blind Boy where Cort is. He tells her Cort has been taken to the Bordello.
Ellen arrives at the whorehouse (the "Pigeon's Nest"), bursts in the front door and crosses the lobby area which was filled with a very busy background. I was there, drinking and laughing with two prostitutes. John Cameron, the First Assistant Director was there (he's listed in the credits as "Bordello Swell") and was dressed in a fancy suit with a (fake) goatee and mustache. Ellen shoved him into the bar as she passed. In a long and very fast steadicam shot, she proceeds through the lobby, up the stairs and starts kicking in doors looking for Cort. She passes a naked man in the hallway.
Since I was positioned in the lobby, I wasn't present for the filming of the scene upstairs. For that, l quote from the script:
"Wham! Cort is slammed against the wall. He's wearing his manacles.
RATSY: You win your fight, you win a free whore. That's the deal.
It was once quite a grand dining room but now it's falling to pieces,
paper peeling off the walls. Several smaller rooms lead off it. The two
men are ugly drunk. The air is thick with cigar smoke. Cort is near the
CORT: (quietly): I don't want a whore.
RATSY: Well that may as well be. But you're sure going to have one,
Reverend, and we're going to watch.
Wham! Slammed against the wall again. Cort looks like he's ready to
kill these people.
Ratsy goes to slam him against the wall again and - wham! - suddenly the
door is kicked in and Ellen is standing in the doorway, her clothes and hair
soaking wet, looking absolutely murderous.
The men stop and slowly turn around.
At the same time a lightning bolt explodes outside.
CORT looks at ELLEN.
And she looks at him.
AND IN THAT LOOK WE UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.
The hurt they both share.
The need they both share.
The rain is pouring down outside.
RATSY: What - uh - what do you want?
ELLEN pushes past RATSY like he doesn't exist and grabs CORT by the
chains and just walks backwards with him as the thunder booms outside,
pushing him through the main room into the small bedroom at the back.
RATSY: See I'm in charge of this prisoner and I insist he doesn't-
WHAM! The door slams shut in RATSY's face and -
INT BEDROOM IN THE WHOREHOUSE (SAME TIME)
Ellen pushes Cort back into the room, sending him crashing onto the
small single bed. He's completely helpless, chained. They are in a tiny
bedroom. A red lamp disguising the crumpled sheets.
He looks at her warily as she approaches him.
She goes to kiss him and he pushes her away violently with his body -
he's angry, he feels like he's being used.
CORT: Why are you doing this?
Agonizingly slowly, she lowers her body on top of him, her rain-soaked
hair sending drops of water splashing down on his face.
ELLEN: Because I'm dead and I want to feel alive again.
Suddenly she's just herself. No front. No pretence. He bites at her
mouth with his lips, he's bound by the chains but he kisses her and we know
he's just as hungry, just as desperate.
She kisses him like he's the last man on Earth.
ELLEN: Promise you'll leave Herod for me.
Her eyes are burning.
CORT: I promise.
ELLEN slams CORT against the headboard and then they both just explode -
all the tension and fear comes out and they wrestle against the wall,
suddenly going for each other like wild animals. They forget everything as
they lose themselves in desperate love.
This scene was shot between 2:00 and 4:30 am, on the first day of February, 1994. The scene called for rain outside, so they had a portable rainbar set up outside the front door of the Pigeon's Nest. It was very cold that night, and ice had formed on the front porch and steps. On one take Kyle Rudolph, the steadicam operator who had to walk very quickly backwards leading Sharon Stones through this scene, slipped and fell right on his ass. He wasn't hurt, maybe a little embarrassed, but I've always wanted to see the footage he was shooting at the time...
NOTE: The description above was taken from an early version of the script. Scripts are often re-written many times before a movie is shot, then can be re-written some more in the process. By the time this scene was filmed and edited, it ended up a little different than it appeared in this early draft.
Now you can see most of this scene online! This is not the ENTIRE scene, just the love scene between Ellen and Cort.
Availability of the foreign version containing the Bordello Scene on high-quality DVD (or VHS tape), playable on U.S. machines.