Comparison between the US version, represented by the US-DVD from Universal (R-Rated) and the European version, represented by the British DVD from Universal (BBFC 18)
- US-DVD: 99:21 min without end credits (103:43 min with end credits) in NTSC
=> this equals 95:21 min without end credits (99:19 min with end credits) in PAL
- UK-DVD (European version): 111:50 min without end credits (115:41 min with end credits) in PAL
- 54 changed parts, including
* 10x alternative footage
* 9 sound changes with same image
* 3 extensions only in the US version
* 2 recuts
- Cut length: 989 sec (= 16:29 min)
Mobsters is a pretty nice gangster movie that mainly deals with the development of Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, once again. Here, he is played by Christian Slater the supporting actors are Richard Grieco, Patrick Dempsey and Costas Mandylor who is probably best known to today's audience for the sequels of the Saw-franchise.
But especially among the supporting actors some other famous names can be found such as (among others) Anthony Quinn, Chris Penn and F. Murray Abraham.
Naturally, Mobsters cannot rely compete with the prime examples of the genre such as the Godfather or Good Fellas, but for letting yourself be entertained for almost two hours it should definitely be enough.
The DVD available in America, however, contains an almost 15 minutes shorter version of the movie than the version that can be bought in Europe.
Mostly, the plot was tightened a bit, here and there. Longer difference appear mostly because of the completely different intro and a few scenes with the main characters' wives.
Here at least two scenes can be blamed for typically American censorship because nudity was removed. In that aspect, the scene with Richard Grieco was heavily changed and the American version hardly makes clear that he almost exclusively arouses his mistress with his brutal stories about blood and thunder such as threatening her with a dagger. Shortly flashing female breasts were removed from another scene, too.
Concerning violence there are no (serious) changes.
The few appearing sound changes (different/additional off-commentaries) also result from the shortened intro in the US version - the additional information of the European version is usually put back in the US version in a short form.
Which version is to prefer should be everybody's own choice. Those who think the European version is too lengthy are likely to be better off with the US version.
Times refer to the scheme
US-DVD in NTSC-speed (UK-DVD in PAL-speed).
All cut lengths are in PAL-speed.
Already the beginning of the movie offers a lot of changes, for a clearer view they will be treated as one big change.
1. block: 00:21-00:56 (00:20-00:55)
Here the first credits are rolling on a black background.
The US version is a little slower, also, before Christian Slater is mentioned this image is missing.
The titles are a little different, too
2. Block: 00:56-02:41 (00:55-05:32)
Now, the actually alternative part.
The US version remains in black and white almost until the end and shows a medley of the scenes in the Mott-street without explaining off-commentaries. Meanwhile, the remaining credits are rolling.
When the director appears in the credits the image saturates which is followed by the text "1917 New York".
Charlie comments from the off "This is where I grew up. Mott Street. I'm Charlie Luciano. In my neighborhood there were two dons. Two bosses, each fightin' for control of New York. And sometimes innocent people got caught in the middle."
The European version on the other hand has a much more extensive introduction which introduces all of the main characters and tells a lot more about the backgrounds - especially the friendship between Charlie and Joey (who gets killed shortly after) gets clear, the US version, however, only tells this through a new off-commentary (see 05:54) and a little extension of the dialogue between Charlie and Joey's indirect killer Masseria (see 26:00). Also, this version is in color from the beginning.
First, we see the shot of Mott Street with the text "1917 New York".
Charlie comments from the off: "Mott Street, Little Italy. That's where I grew up."
Then several shots of the ado in the streets, some of them are also in the US version but in a different order.
Charlie (Christian Slater) and Frankie (Costas Mandylor) appear, to it the off-commentary: "In our neighbourhood, there was action every day. You lived by your wits, your fists and your back. I say your back 'cause you never turned it to nobody."
Again, the boys in front of the wall, Frankie whistles to the cop. We hear Charlie, again: "And that's me, Charlie Luciano. The one in the middle. And that's Frankie Costello. The other one is Joey DeCarlo. My best friends."
The police man winks at them; "We did everything together."
The three friends sneak into a barn and close the door behind them.
Further shots of the people in the street, and to a new off-commentary we see Meyer and Bugsy for the first time at a Dice-game; "Now this was the day I met Meyer Lansky. He was running a crap game in the back of a synagogue with his best friend Bugsy Siegel. Meyer would call the game while Bugsy would roll. They had a pretty good racket going."
Back to Charlie and his friends stealing a horse.
"We were stealing a horse at the time."
They calmly cross the street passing the corrupt police man.
Parallel to that, Meyer and Bugsy are chased away by the older Jews; "What are you doing at the house of God?"
Charlie comments: "Meyer and Bugsy ran into a little trouble."
Bugsy threatens the older man with a weapon and Meyer wants to stop him, the does not seem impressed; "You think that scares me?"
Back to Charlie, Frankie and Joey, they now have the problem that the horse does want to walk, anymore; "Now we had trouble of our own."
The horse remains intractable drawing the people's attention to it.
The police man is angry about the coup going wrong so he turns around and hits a box with his sap. After one of the pedestrians was thrown into a fruit waggon he has to interfere. Joey is left on the horse.
Bugsy and Meyer are meanwhile escaping from the older Jews, too.
Further scenes of the wild running away, some people get bumped into, until the groups finally meet and fall to the ground. Meyer and Charlie start fighting, immediately, commentary: "Anyway, that's how we met."
Meyer yells "This is a Jewish street!", Charlie responds "THIS is an Italian street! Jews do not come onto my street without paying protection."
Meyer: "Protection? From who?"
Charlie points to the side: "From the Irish!"
Meyer triumphantly: "Irish! Then it's not an Italian street. It's an Irish street."
Charlie: "No, no, no, no. It's an Italian street. But the goddamn Irish go where they goddamn please."
The police man interferes; "That's right. So you Jews go back to Jew Land" - to Charlie; "and you wops stay here where you belong. Move!"
The older Jew pulls Meyer and Bugsy aside.
Charlie says "Hey, tough guy!" and throws Meyer's cap back to him.
Then he leaves, the police man nags about them making him believe that they know how to handle a horse.
The European version is 177.4 sec longer
When we see Charlie lying in bed the off-commentaries are different.
US version: "That was one boss. Don Faranzano. Some things change your life forever."
European version: "Some things change your life forever. I swore I'd get even with Faranzano, no matter what it took."
Extended US version
After Charlie and Frankie got the topic of loyalty the shot is a little longer in the US version and an off-commentary from Charlie appears: "He and Joey DeCarlo were my two best friends."
Then, he points ahead and asks: "That Joey?"
+ 3.1 sec
When Joey runs away only the US version contains Charlie's commentary: "But on these streets friends were hard to keep."
Now, an additional off-commentary only in the European version.
"If I could have, I would have killed Masseria right there."
Again, only the European version contains a commentary from Charlie.
"Some friends you never lose, some you lose the hard way."
Extended US version
After the black frame only the US version shows Charlie in bed, again, the camera tracks towards him and we hear his thoughts; "That was the other boss. Don Masseria. Some way, some time, no matter how long it took, I knew what I had to do...to both bosses."
+ 17 sec
Here the two versions differ a little more clearly, concerning Charlie's off-commentary about Meyer - since he appears for the first time in the US version he is being introduced. The European version only shortly addresses the fight but splits the commentaries to a longer time period because the fight scene is longer, there.
The US version already begins when Charlie only approaches the fight: "The law of the street was: take or be taken. Everybody fought everybody. Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews. But this was different. This was that Irishman who killed Joey. Beatin' up on some skinny Jewish kid, Meyer Lansky. And the Jewish kid wouldn't stay down. Meyer wouldn't give no matter how bad he got it. You had to respect that."
The European version begins a little later during a(n) (additional, see next point) shot of the beating: "A couple of days later, I ran into Meyer again. He was in a fight with that Irish bastard who killed Joey. He was taking a hell of a beating." - when he attacks again - "Meyer would not give up. You had to respect that."
Here, the US version lacks a shot of Meyer being grabbed by the Irishman.
The US version shows Charlie and his boys wonderingly watching Meyer getting up in the off.
The European version, however, shows the previous shot a little longer, Meyer goes to the ground and stretches his painful hand ahead while the Irishman is already leaving.
Then, Bugsy (Richard Grieco) is held back by a couple of people, he wants to run towards the guy and yells: "Leave him alone, you fucking mick!"
The European version is 3 sec longer
When Meyer runs towards the aggressor, again, the two versions start being identical, again.
Recut / Alternative footage
After Meyer went to the ground, again, the US version shows the shot of the angry Bugsy, while the European version shows the shot of Charlie, this time.
The shot of Bugsy, however, is longer at the end (which is the only thing that is being pictured, here).
The US version is 3.2 sec longer
During this alternative shot (and also shortly after it) only the US version contains an off-commentary from Charlie about Bugsy; "Meyer's big pal was Benny Siegel. Benny loved a good fight. Even a bad fight, but they wouldn't let him in on this one."
After the audience ran away we do not see Charlie slowly standing up from the Irishman's dead body and walking over to Meyer.
The off-commentary is a little different.
US version: "So that's how we started. Two Italians and two Jews. Funny combination, huh? Frankie - he liked to worry, so he paid off the cops. Benny liked to brawl, so he was our muscle. And me and Meyer - we were both the leader. At least it started out that way. Just four mugs off the street. At first we were penny-ante, but together we grew."
European version: "Well, that's how the gang started. The four of us. Two Italians and two Jews. Frankie - he liked to worry, so he paid off the cops. Bugsy, he liked to fight, so he was our muscle. And me and Meyer - we were the brains. We started penny ante, but together, we grew."
Rothstein (F. Murray Abraham) exchanges a few words with Meyer in Yiddish. They also talk about Charlie and Meyer seems to put in a good word for him. Once again, we see the alienated Charlie before Rothstein addresses him.
We see Meyer's girlfriend Anna Citron a second time, then Charlie says: "I've heard so much about you, but I had no idea you were so beautiful."
Before Charlie and Meyer enter Faranzano's office the European version shows them passing his secretary.
When they step through the door the woman communicates this, immediately; "Mr. Luciano and Mr. Lansky are here to see you."
They pass her she smiles once again and hangs up the phone.
The shot is longer, behind the boys a maid suddenly enters.
"Excuse me, Mr. Luciano, would you be needing anything before I go?"
He negates, she says goodbye and leaves.
Charlie calls her "Sweetie-Pie" and the boys agree.
The women's dancing is a little longer.
Extension US version
The US version shows Masseria longer and Charlie says from the off: "Your nephew Joey was a friend of mine."
Masseria only comments shortly: "It's too bad, Charlie."
+ 4.8 sec
In the US version Charlie lights up a cigarette.
The European version shows the previous shot (Mara) longer and then another tracking shot of her dance.
She ensnares Charlie from the distance, he smirks.
The European version is 9.4 sec longer
The shot is a little longer, Joe also hits on the next dancer; "Don't you run away from me. Sit down."
More dialogue between Charlie and Mara, the shot of Mara is correspondingly longer.
When Mara said his name Charlie responds: "Don't believe everything you hear."
Mara says: "OK, I won't. So who are you, then?"
To her "doesn't it?" Mara adds "to make a friendship" for explanation.
Charlie can be seen longer and Mara says "So why rush it?"
Charlie answers hesitantly: "OK, uhm, I'll see you some... some other time, then, maybe."
Then, the following shot of Mara starts a little earlier and she says: "Sure."
Meyer tells Charlie something else on the phone.
US version: "We got hit. We got no shipment New Year's Eve. We gotta see Rothstein." - Charlie mumbles "Right." - "Now!"
European version: "Our trucks got hijacked again. We got no inventory. New Year's Eve." - Charlie mumbles "Great." - "Yeah. We lost a couple guys."
Directly after that, a tracking shot across Rothstein's garden was removed from the US version, the boys are driving up and get off the car.
Shot of a cup being filled.
The US version shows Rothstein talking to a dancer.
Instead, the European version shows the boys, the woman says adoringly "We've heard so much about you" and Bugsy makes a step ahead.
The European version is 2.6 sec longer
The shot starts earlier in the European version, Rothstein gives his apologies to the round and leaves his conversational partners.
The US version begins when he is already approaching them.
When Bugsy seduces the woman this was heavily recut, beginning from the moment when he approaches her. To make things easier this is being treated as one big change even though several parts of shots appear in both versions.
Throughout the scene, not a single word is spoken in the US version, in the European version, however, Bugsy impresses her way longer with the dagger and the stories linked to it.
Shot of the woman's mouth, Bugsy comes closer and pulls out the knife. Directly back to the mouth in a close up and Bugsy starts kissing her.
Bugsy turns her around and kisses her neck, further close ups of her face looking aroused.
He turns her around, again and moves the dagger over her stomach, then over her shoulder removing her dress that way. We see her breasts for a short moment then, again, Bugsy gets closer and kisses her.
Bugsy approaches her in a different shot and starts telling; "They got a saying. when Bugsy kills 'em..." - he pulls out the knife - "...they stay dead. You know why they say that?"
She negates, he turns her back towards him and says in the same shot: "Kill a guy, dump him in the river, he sinks, right?"
He pushes the shoulder strap of her dress aside and kisses her shoulder saying: "Only, two days later, damn body pops up again."
Bugsy keeps kissing her holding the dagger against her breast and her neck, she moans aroused.
He adds: "But not when I do it..."
Now, he turns her around, again, but we already see him moving the dagger over her body beginning from the neck. Inbetween he tells: "You see, I did a little study of anatomy. I found out the body floats up 'cause the belly swells."
He rests the dagger on her stomach and takes a deep breath.
Bugsy continues: "And the kidneys...they swell, too."
He turns her around, again, and while he moves the dagger downwards he says: "But, if you..." - he presses the dagger against her body, once again, she moans and he keeps kissing her - "...puncture the belly and the kidneys real good, the body stays down there."
When she has turned around, again, he moves the dagger past her neck and adds "Underwater".
In this shot he also moves the dagger to the shoulder and removes the dress.
After we saw the undressing in a profile shot there is another a little more distanced shot that shows her breasts.
Bugsy says "He stays dead!" and keeps kissing her.
The European version is 57.2 sec longer
Here, in the beginning there are different shots of the baseball game.
Then, the European version contains some additional dialogue between Charlie, Meyer and Bugsy about his hot headed behaviour.
Charlie: "You know what we got to do now?"
Meyer does not react, so Bugsy says: "Kill me?"
Charlie: "Somebody's gotta take you for a ride, Bugsy."
Bugsy: "Benny. And what, 'cause I bumped off Tony No Nose?"
Meyer: "You got no discipline. We don't need a war with Faranzano."
Bugsy: "Discipline? I never had discipline."
They both agree: "Exactly."
Charlie points out: "You know, it's like baseball."
Meyer smirks: "Baseball."
Bugsy: "Baseball what?"
Charlie: "Like a pitcher. He's fast. He's wild. People are scared of him. That's good."
Meyer agrees: "But...it ain't worth nothing unless you got some control."
The European version is 36.6 sec longer
The shot of Charlie is a few frames longer in the US version, which will not be listed as alternative footage.
Therefor, the dialogue is a bit longer in the European version.
Meyer: "Let's not lose sight of what we're doing here."
Frankie: "Yeah? Then what the fuck are we doing here anyway?"
Meyer: "Good question. Running around New Jersey killing people. What are we? Hoods. Punks! You wanna live small time your whole lives?"
Bugsy: "I don't think we're exactly small time, Meyer..."
Meyer: "Think small, live small, die small. You want to die small? No problem."
The following line ("A few more stupid moves...") can be heard is both versions, again.
Here, we have a recut. After the conference the US version continues with the meal at Masseria's immediately.
The European version shows Charlie and Mara getting closer and ending up in bed together, eventually.
This scene was reinserted in the US version (see 42:22) and shortened at one point.
Cut length will only be mentioned at that point.
Bugsy and Mr. Coll argue a little longer in another shot.
Bugsy: "What's the difference? They're dead."
Coll: "You don't know what you're talking about!"
Bugsy: "I don't know what I'm talking about?"
First, the dialogue is a little longer in the European version.
Charlie addresses Coll's past murder of his friend a little longer; "I'm a little curious who hired you to do that."
Coll nods his head repellent: "I don't know. It's a long time ago. Maybe it was Masseria. No, maybe it was Faranzano. How much you wanna pay me to make me remember?"
The following shots look alike but already the lamp in the background shows that they do not match.
In both version Charlie says "By the old way of doing things, I should let Benny shoot you in the head right now", but only in the European version he answers "Nothing" to the question previously asked by Coll.
The European version is 18.6 sec longer
As mentioned above, the meeting between Mara and Charlie was reinserted in the US version, here.
Only at one point there is a change (for the sake of censorship).
The shot is a little longer and the dancer turns to the side so we (and Charlie) can see her breasts.
The European version is 1.7 sec longer
42:22 or 47:48 (53:06-55:27)
At this point the European version contains a calm scene of Charlie and Mara, too, (in order to keep the flow of the movie) but this time it is a scene which is completely missing in the US version.
They are at a picnic, lie under a tree, joke around and kiss each other.
After several transitions we are closer to what is happening. Mara kisses the dog, while Charlie is drinking some whine, then, he turns towards her.
Charlie: "I want you to think about something."
Charlie: "I'm nuts about you, you know that. You're like...you're like a disease."
When he takes another sip she repeats amused: "A disease? Sounds kind of negative."
Charlie: "Nah, I'm just trying to say...not say a word you don't like."
Again, she laughs shyly; "Ok, I buy that."
Charlie: "See, I was wondering if...if you'd like to quit your job and move in with me."
Mara nods her head smirking; "No. I don't want to live off some man. I had to sweat bullets to get my job. I like it."
Charlie: "Why don't you...think about it?"
She says "Ok" and they kiss again.
Meanwhile we hear soft thunder from the background and Charlie comments looking up: "I feel rain coming."
Immediately it starts raining right above them and they start grabbing their stuff.
Then, the scene in Meyer's office starts earlier.
From a rotating record we pan a little across the room, from time to time lightnings enlighten the room.
To Meyer's "We gotta know we can trust each other" the European version contains two shots of the puzzled looking Charlie and Meyer, before Charly mentions Meyer's planned wedding, again.
The complete calm beginning of Meyer's wedding is missing in the US version.
First, we see a rotating record, then Anna with her bridal veil goes to Meyer who is sitting in the crowd.
In the background we hear Anna's older brother standing between musicians and holding a speech the whole time. He praises Meyer's professional success that is an enrichment for the Citron-family.
Charlie and Bugsy take part in Meyer's slow dance with his bride, Masseria compliments Meyer's dancing skills.
To some slow music, Meyer and Anna dance around a bit.
The US version fades to black and fades back in when Charlie is already standing on the bridge.
The European version, however, fades to white and shows a few impressions of the landscape in which the meeting takes place such as a few words from Charlie to Tommy.
Charlie: "All these years I've never been to Staten Island before. Now I know why."
On the other side Faranzano and his aids get off the car and come closer.
Charlie says to Tommy: "Thanks for setting this up, Tommy. You're a pal."
The European version is 40.7 sec longer
Here, the US version contains Charlie's words "Thanks for setting this up, Tommy. You're a pal." when he turns around to Tommy on the bridge.
In the European version, however, he does not say a single word.
Interesting cut: in the US version Charlie only says that he does not accept Faranzano's offer and then we already see him being tortured.
Only the European version shows his desperate attempt to escape which fails miserably.
First he smashes his shoulder into Faranzano's stomach and also his right hand Rocco has to suffer a bit.
Being shot at by the other myrmidons he flies upwards until he falls and loses his weapon being followed by two guys.
The chasers pull him up and hold him, Faranzano approaches him and we fade out.
Only the European version contains another scene at Charlie's bedside.
A preacher is preaching in front of his bed the whole time, after a hint from a nurse Mara comes to him and wants to stop him; "I know why you're here. He's not gonna die, I don't care what the doctors say! They don't know everything and neither do you!"
Preacher, while they are walking ahead: "Only god knows everything."
Mara: "Oh, is that so...then he knows, Charlie's too good of a guy to have die. You're wasting your time!"
She turns back to Charlie and whispers his name twice.
Another shot of the lion and one of the tiger in the other cage.
After Masseria got shot the first shots of the meeting at Faranzano's are missing in the US version.
After the failed assault on Coll the European version starts earlier, with a short tracking shot across the room.
Frankie says: "Let me tell you something. Masseria tried to get Faranzano for six months and never got even close."
In the European version Mara is in the room at the beginning offering her help.
Mara: "I can help. I'll distract him."
Bugsy asks: "Come on, Charlie, what is she doing here?"
Charlie: "What is she doing here? Well, she's with me."
He turns to Mara: "And no, you cannot help. It's very dangerous. Your life is too valuable for you to risk."
She gets up and while she is passing Bugsy with a grimace on her face she says: "Ok. If you change your mind, it's ok with me."
In the US version the conversation in bed fades to black earlier.
Only in the European version she mentions that she will have a child.
The surprised Charlie says "What?" and then kisses her happily.
The following can only be found in the European version: Meyer, Frankie and the corrupt police men arrive at Faranzano's company and take the elevator.
We see the guards leaving after being yelled at by the police man.
After Joe asked who also votes for Charlie the two versions are a little different for a short while.
The US version contains two shots that show the entire table. Almost everybody has raised their hands and Joe makes an according gesture in Al Capone's direction.
The European version, however, already shows the previous shot of Joe longer and we pan to the side where Frankie raises his hand. After we saw Bugsy and Meyer, too, there are further tracking shots across mobsters also raising their hands.
Only Al Capone hesitates, Joe looks at him.
The European version is 25.4 sec longer
The European version shows directly and completely on a black ground the text that explains what happened to the main characters.
The US version, however, first shows the boys in a restaurant clinking glasses to their friendship.
The last frame of this shot freezes and the image becomes black and white then the text begins to roll.
(Pictures are only from the US version because the text is the same in the European version)
The US version is 6 sec longer
Logically, only the US-DVD contains a note to the MPAA-Rating at the end.