Comparison between the theatrical version (taken from the German DVD by Starlight, rated FSK 12) and the Director's Cut from the US DVD by Anchor Bay (PG).
Story: In a time long ago the high priest Maax is the head of a demonic sect. One day, after being banned from town by the just king Zed, he abducts his son by using dark magic because he plans on sacrificing him to his god Ar. The child is being saved by an inhabitant of another town who decides to raise it as his own.
Years later. The child, Dar, has become a brawny man who is able to communicate with animals. One day his village is being pillaged by the barbaric Juns who are also connected with Maax. They kill everyone except Dar who from now on roams the land aimlessly. On his voyages he meets several feral companions: An eagle, two ferrets and a panther. At some point he meets Kiri, a girl that was enslaved by Maax' sect. Together with Seth and Tal, two pilgrims, he wants to free Kiri and end Maax's evil doings. On this dangerous quest his companions are going to save the day more than once...
The Beastmaster (1982) was Don Coscarelli's second movie, his first being Phantasm. Both movies definitely do entertain the viewer, despite the mediocre acting by Marc Singer and Tanya Roberts, who should become famous as the Bond Girl in A VIEW TO KILL. Two more movies and a TV series followed The Beastmaster but couldn't live up to it's quality and success. At first the movie was only released in a tightened version that doesn't really feel right at some points. Years later a Director's Cut was released. It is a lot more logicalas it develops the characters a lot better. Right at the beginning a large part of the plot has been put back in place. It explains the details for the fight between king Zed and Maax as well as the reason why Dar can talk to animals (he was transferred to a cow's belly as an unborn). Additionally, some beautiful landscape views seen through the eagle's eyes now delight the viewer.
The first time refers to the Theatrical Version (TV), the second to the Director's Cut (DC):
Theatrical Version = 89:56 min. (PAL)
US DVD Version = 118:20 min. (NTSC)
Total length of cuts = 24:35 min.
00:00 The MGM logo is missing in the TV.
01:22 After the beginning an essential part of the story is missing: The main gate is being opened and three mummed men go through it. They go further towards the pyramid. Two of the men stop in front of it, the third (Maax) goes further inwards. There three witches are standing in front of a kettle and are looking inside it. They see the face of the queen and give Maax the prophecy that he is going to be killed by Zed's unborn son. Max isn't impressed and says that the child is going to die this night. Suddenly they are being confronted by Zed and his guards, among them Seth. Zed asks Maax if it's true that he wants to sacrifice a child. After it becomes clear that Maax wants to sacrifice the king's child the guards want to attack him but are being held back by Zed. Maax continues explaining his plan: The child is to be taken from inside the mother, marked with the sign of Ar and sacrificed afterwards. When being threatened by Zed, Maax looks at the priests next to him. They hang themselves using chains with hooks which they throw to the ceiling. Zed calls Maax a fanatic and orders his men to take him away.
Dabei Following is the scene in which Maax is riding out of town. He exchanges a glance with a witch leading a cow.
Next up is the scene in the royal bed room. The witch is sneaking up with the cow and is exposing the queen's belly. Then she pours some blue liquid on the necks of king and queen, paralyzing both of them. Now the witch is applying her black magic to steal the unborn child. The pregnant woman's belly starts to move and shrinks while the cow's belly is inflating. The child is transferred to the cow. During this procedure the queen dies and Zed can only watch helplessly as the witch gets out of sight.
Outside. The witch is cutting open the cow's belly (no close-ups) and takes the child out. Mumbling something to Ar she goes to a blueish camp fire. She is being watched by a man who is to become Dar's foster-father. Shortly afterwards the TV finally starts.
This part is all in all 461 sec. long.
02:56 The man takes the baby after killing the witch. We can see him coming back to his village where he is welcomed by the inhabitants. He is showing them the baby. Following are some scenes with an aged Dar in his childhoof as he lears how wo use a sword.
11:41 After the attack on Dar's village. The unconscious Dar and his dead dog can be seen. Dar now opens his eyes can see through the eyes of the eagle.
15:44 Some aerial shots of the destroyed village and the area around are missing as well as Dar standing on top of a rock waving around with a stick.
15:51 Again some aerial shots together with Dar taking out his sword and looking at it.
17:07 When Dar is chasing the two ferrets that stole his bag he is sliding down a slope and landing in quicksand. The ferrets watch him and he tells them to help hims as it was their fault that he is in this position. He then uses his gift while sinking further into the quicksand. One of the ferrets is gnawing on a branch causing it to bend towards Dar who can now free himself. When he notices that one of the ferrets fell into the sand he fishes it out with his hand. It is very dirty and squeaking. Dar laughs and decides to name his new friends Kodo and Podo. He then walks on.
28:56 Shot of the eagle in front of the moon. The next morning: The sun is rising and is being awoken by the ferrets. He looks at the medaillon he received from the bird people.
29:07 Dar is watching the village Aruk from a ledge. We then see him together with Ruh, the panther, going along a road. On both sides of the road are spiked skeletons. Dar is looking sceptical.
33:08 Maax is looking down to the people on the ground. Then a shot of Kiri.
33:20 Dar is giving the sack to a ferret to sniff on it in order to let it find the home of the child he had hidden in there.
35:42 Dar is going through the region (longer).
46:13 Aerial view. Dar, Seth and Tal are voyaging on a raft down the river.
49:02 Another aerial shot of the river. Then again a part important for the storyline is missing. Tal asks Dar if he helps them to free his father. Dar tells him to ask his cousin Kiri to come and ask him. Tal does so. After being asked the same question again Dar answers that he is too tired to help them right now. Kiri kisses him passionately. Cut to Seth and Tal who say that he is convinced now (he is indeed). Again shots of the flying eagle and scenes of the travelers going through the scenery. After a while Seth tells the others that he is going away to find rebels to aid them. He wants to meet up in two days in the village of Taran. The others watch him go away, then Kiri asks whether he can make it. Tal answers that if anybody can make it, Seth can make it.
54:20 The shot of the face of a priest after being hit by a death guard and of another one that's screaming can be seen earlier in the TV. No difference in running time.
58:54 Podo's and Kodo's excape from the death guard is a bit shorter. They slip into a pipe which is being hit by the guard. The ferrets slip under a door with the key.
59:55 Tal and his father are climbing down the route of escape (longer). Kiri wants to wait and tells Dar that this is the only way out. He explains that he wants to cover their back and has to wait for Podo and Kodo. Kiri shouldn't worry about him. She also leaves.
60:02 We can see Dar half closing the door and watching the priests before they see him.
62:45 Dar's, Kiri's und Sacco's flight with the hay cart is shorter.
63:03 Dar ties Podo and Kodo to a rope which he also applies to the eagle's claw. The bird then flies to the wall of the gate and drops the ferrets.
63:49 Shot of the three during their escape from the gate guards.
66:33 The depressed Dar is sitting on a stone, strokes Podo and Kodo and is hitting the ground with his sword. He then draws a circle and draws a line in it's middle.
69:14 A new day dawns. Dar and his anima friends wake up. Dar goes to a ledge to look out. He sees two horses with one rider.
76:08 In the village the horses are being hitched up to the bridge.
76:30 A tracking shot ends earlier in the TV. It continues past the main gate and one can see Dar sitting on the steps of the pyramid and looking at the medaillon. Suddenly the eagle appears. Dar throws the medaillon to it, the eagle catches it and flies away. We then see Dar and his friends expecting the attack of the Juns.
84:27 Dar, Kiri und Seth bring the injured Tal to a hut. Seth pulls the arrow out of his chest and they look at him caringly.
85:34 After Dar leaves a scene is missing in the TV. Tal is waking up and is being greeted by Seth. Seth then gives Tal the piece of leather he received from dar. Tal understands that Dar has left the village.
85:49 Kiri is gazing behind Dar (longer). In the next scene Tal runs to the pyramid and is climbing it's steps. When he reaches the top the eagle is already waiting for him. Tal is looking at him and unfolds the piece of leather. inside is Dar's kapa (a kind of boomerang). Seth is joining and both watch as the eagle takes off and flies away.
89:56 The MGM logo at the end is missing in the DC.