"Even as much of the revised version seems aimed at making the dialogue more realistic, less stylized, that seems to go in the other direction, especially when Frank ludicrously suggests they could make a statement with the movie."
Agreed. I am really glad to hear that this ridiculous moment was not in the original. As soon as I have the chance to do so, I'm going to re-watch the archival tape of the original production (which is in the TOFT collection at the NYPL at Lincoln Center) from start to finish to see if I think the original script was far superior to the revised version(s) overall, and I strongly suspect my opinion will be, "Yes, it was."
AT LEAST the current production of MERRILY doesn't include that stuff about 3-D movies, which didn't make any sense at all :-)