Comparison between the US Theatrical version and the Italian Theatrical version (both represented by the German DVD from Anolis)
Paris in the 50ies. The city is shocked by a mysterious murder series in which the bloodless bodies of young girls are pulled out off the Seine. So the newspapers luridly write about the "Vampire of Notre Dame". The journalist Pierre Lantin smells a story and begins with his own investigation. But what he eventually finds is something that he would not have dreamt of...
About the movie:
"The Devil's Commandment" is considered the birth of Italian Gothic horror, even though it does not even share so many elements with classics like Mario Bava's "Black Sunday" or Antonio Margheriti's "Castle of Blood". The film seems more like a mixture of an Edgar Wallace crime thriller, mixed with elements of the mad scientist film and the whole thing takes place in a spooky castle (including a secret passage to a crypt).
Actually, Riccardo Freda was the first director of the film. But when Freda and the producer got in an argument during the production the young Mario Bava took over the job as director. The highly talented Bava who was only supposed to do the camera, the lighting and so on eventually finished the movie in only two days of shooting. And many elements of the film are closer to Bava than to a Freda film. The producers were impressed with Mario Bava, too, but did not give him credits as co-director. Anyway, this movie was a ground-stone for Bava's career as a director.
For the US version of Riccardo Freda's/Mario Bava's classic the film was shortened by several minutes and entirely new shot scenes have been added. Mostly, scenes with more violence and erotic (for those days) are concerned. It was shortened to give it a higher pace. However, many important plot elements have vanished as well.
There is an outstanding German DVD released by Anolis Entertainment that really lives up to the movie. Besides the German Theatrical version it also offers the Italian Theatrical version. The parts that had been shortened, before, are now subtitled. And the DVD also contains the American Theatrical version. And on top of that they even gave us an audio-commentary with Christian Kessler & Marcus Stiglegger, a documentary and other interesting bonus features.
The times refer to the US version. Besides the mentioned scenes it can not be ruled out that some short parts have been overlooked
US Theatrical version = 69:18 min
Italian Theatrical version = 77:58 min.
00:00 The Italian version starts with a production logo, followed by the title and several credits.
The US Theatrical version starts with a different production logo. After that there is a credit sequence shot exclusively for the American audience: the English title is shown and the camera pans from a street-lamp to a man (we only see him from the back). He observes an apartment from the street. When the light in there goes on the unknown man starts moving. Then in the apartment. A woman in suspenders listens to music from a record player and prepares herself in front of a mirror. After that she gets naked and goes to the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel. In between we see somebody going up the stairs outside. Meanwhile the woman has gone in the bath tub treating herself with a bubble bath. After that we see somebody opening the door entering the woman's apartment. He goes to the bathroom and when the woman notices the unknown man she screams loudly. The man approaches her, meaning he walks towards the camera until everything is black. After that there is a scene of two unknown men tossing a body (probably the woman) off a bridge into the Seine.
04:30 Both versions use different inserts when the newspapers are shown.
No time difference.
05:29 When we see somebody opening a drawer and getting out a file this has been shot a little differently for the US version.
Italian Theatrical version = 22.8 sec.
US Theatrical version = 21.4 sec.
06:24 In the Italian version we see Nora a little longer reading the newspaper. A woman joins her and asks if she will come with her. But Nora says that she is waiting for an acquaintance. Then the two women say goodbye.
The US version, however, contains a short shot of Nora's back that has already been shown, before.
07:44 In the US version the end of the shot is missing.
07:56 Same here.
08:17 When Inspector Chantal questions the concierge, this is a little longer in the Italian version.
09:36 When Pierre is talking to the doctor, this is longer in the Italian version, too.
Therfor, the US version added a shot that shows Pierre taking notes.
09:55 A part of the plot at Pierre's workplace is missing in the US version. His desk is full of pictures and further information. Pierre is talking to Ronald while scrawling the word drug-addict on the table.
11:24 When Pierre joins Lorette and the other two young women the US version does not show him being slapped by Lorette. He is explained that it was a bet.
12:17 End of the shot of Pierre and the three women. He says to Lorette that he will contact her.
12:51 The conversation between Pierre and Giselle is a little longer in the Italian version.
Therefor the US version added a shot of Ronald that has already been shown before.
17:31 The US version lacks the entire scene of Pierre and Inspector Chantal going to the suspect's apartment with a few police men. When the door is opened for them an older gentleman introduces himself. He says that he has been living in that apartment for an eternity and that he is a retired police man. He invites the police men to the apartment to have a look around.
17:46 Because of the previous cut Pierre and the officers leaving the apartment is missing now, as well. Chantal apologizes to the man and says that it was a misunderstanding.
18:08 In the US version a scene of two men carrying away a wrongly placed street-blocking-sign is missing.
18:08 Different inserts.
No time difference.
20:23 Same here.
20:53 At the funeral the Italian version shows some older folks talking about Margherita du Grand and the relationship with Julien.
22:09 Here, the Italian version shows Julien's tombstone. The US version shows the castle from the outside.
No time difference.
27:02 Now, we have a sequence that lasts more than five minutes and has been shot exclusively for the US version: We see a woman walking through the streets. She is followed by an unknown man. The woman enters a restaurant where a man and a woman are performing a dance-show. After the woman has taken a seat she orders a whiskey from the waiter. Then she starts writing a letter. We hear her thoughts during that. It is a farewell letter to a friend. After the waiter brought her the whiskey he says to her that she should call her friend (he has been looking over her shoulder while she was writing). The woman stands up and says thank you to him after he told her she can use the phone in the saloon. After that we see a few scenes of the dance-show. After that we see the woman using the phone in the adjoining room. Suddenly, somebody unknown enters the room and attacks the screaming woman. He strangles her to death. After that we see two shots of blood being pumped out of her.
33:03 Lorette talking to the blind man is longer in the Italian version.
33:09 Same here.
33:21 A shot of Lorette and her friends is a little longer in the Italian version.
35:47 The scenes of Lorette's parents and Pierre impatiently waiting for the daughter are missing in the Italian version.
36:42 Lorette's father says goodbye to Chantal. He calls for Pierre and blames him for drawing attention to Lorette with his stories about a vampire. Chantal says that he (Pierre) only thinks about his job and does not care if someone gets harmed. Then Chantal goes back to his desk.
38:09 Here, a scene has been switched in the US version: While the Italian version shows Lorette screaming the US version shows a shot of a skeleton. The Italian version shows that shot after we saw Lorette screaming.
No time difference.
38:12-38:23 Here, the US version contains exclusively shot footage of some rats walking over a scull, for example. The inserts of Lorette are shown in the Italian version, too.
Therfor, the Italian version contains a shot of a skeleton.
38:25 Only the US version shows a rat approaching the unconscious Lorette.
The Italian version, however, contains a piece of plot that is missing in the US version: We see Lorette a little longer on the ground. We dissolve to a police station where one of Lorette's friends is being questioned. After that the blind man Lorette was seen with last is questioned. When he is being asked it comes out that he is not that blind, after all. He gives the officers the address where he sent Lorette wit the letter. After that we see Chantal and several officers entering that apartment. But the room is completely empty except for a roaming cat. Chantal realizes that the building was only a trap. They leave the room and keep looking.
Then at the newspaper where Pierre works. Somebody tells him that he is supposed to go to the boss' office. Then a conversation between them and the boss is not exactly a fan of Pierre.
39:35 The Italian version shows some older folks talking and then a shot of the ball.
The US version contains a shot of the ball that has been shown before.
41:19 The conversation between Giselle and Pierre on the balcony has been shortened for the US version. It gets clear that he is not interested in her even though she is obviously interested in him.
43:33 At the castle: Ronald runs after Pierre. When he asks Pierre why he is leaving already Pierre says that he cannot stand Giselle and the castle any longer. Ronald likes Giselle a lot better. So he wants to stay. Pierre says that he has to think about Lorette the whole time.
48:35 Here, the US version lacks the end of a shot.
49:25 In the US version a part of the conversation between Margherita du Grand and Julien is missing. Margherita demands that he makes her young again. But Julien says that they have already tried too often and that it gets more and more dangerous for her. Margherita, however, insists and threatens to kill him.
51:55 A black frame is a little longer. After that the Italian version contains scenes of Pierre and Giselle meeting at the park by accident. Giselle invites him to join her. They go into an antique shop where Giselle is supposed to pick a painting for her aunt. When she signs the check Pierre notices that she is using her right hand even though she actually is left-handed. When she has left, eventually, Pierre talks to the shop keeper about that.
52:01 Beginning of a shot.
52:12 The Italian version shows Pierre a little longer. After that there is a scene at the police station. Pierre says to Chantal that Ronald has disappeared and that he suspects Giselle. But Chantal says that only because of a suspicion he cannot have her house searched. So Pierre decides to investigate things himself.
54:11 A shot of Joseph is longer in the Italian version.
Therefor the US version contains a shot of his hand and him stretching his finger.
54:43 Beginning of a shot.
57:13 Same here.
58:37 This time, the US version lacks the end of a shot.
59:54 In the Italian version we see Lorette getting her mouth covered.
Therfor, new scenes have been shot for the US version. The doctor's assistant savages Lorette longer. He throws her on the bed and kisses her while Lorette fights back vehemently.
63:20 Chantal shouts to his men that they should backtrack. But Pierre insists that Giselle is lying. Chantal apologizes to Giselle.
64:07 End of a shot.
64:10 Only the US version contains a shot of Chantal and Pierre (used twice) and after that an exclusive shot of the baroness' craw-like fingers.
64:15 In the Italian version the end of a shot is longer.
Now a shot that has been exclusively shot for the US version that shows the face of the dead and old baroness.
67:17 The US version lacks part of the shot that shows the police car driving away. Then Inspector Chantal talks to Pierre reflecting on the happenings. Lorette's father joins them, too.
67:58 The Italian version only shows the word FINE and the movie is over.
For the US version an exclusive credit sequence has been produced, including its own music.