Comparison between thetheatrical screening (available through the German DVD by Warner / AVF Bild) and the Director's Cut (available through the German DVD by Warner from the Oliver Stone Collection)
- 18 altered passages, including
* 10x alternative footage
* 1x only the theatrical screening is longer
* 1 editing
- difference in time: 982,7 sec (= 16:23 min)
Featuring a merely incredible amount of celebrities (many of whom went without their usual fee), in 1991 Oliver Stone produced this famous, very exciting political Thriller about the conspiracy theories referring to the assassination of the American president John F. Kennedy.
Stone created a Director’s Cut in favor of a home-cinema version, which contained over 16 minutes of new footage adding up to the already over three hour lasting movie of the theatrical screening. In America, only this new version is available on DVD and Blue-Ray, while e.g. in Germany and the UK, the theatrical screening was released on DVD, too.
Like it is the case with the entire film, the new scenes are obviously full of dialogues. A few of the contacts of Lee Harvey Oswald’s past are introduced more thoroughly in the Director’s cut which thus reasonably deepens the background information. This can also be said of the team of agent Jim Garrison, as here, among other things, the tensions between Bill and Lou along with the corruption of the former become a lot more intelligible. Moreover, Jim appears in the public for one time and extensive interrogations of witnesses can be seen. Eventually, the text box before the closing credits is worth mentioning: It points out the impact of the theatrical screening which logically was not possible to show within the cinema-version itself.
Alongside with these extensions, rather unobtrusive alternative footage has often been used at extended passages, such as varying takes which trigger new scenes in the first place. One scene has been shifted in a slightly changed form for about a few minutes. What could theoretically be regarded as editing, too, are the two witness interviews and one scene set in a telephone booth – whereas the DC shows this scene explicitly, the theatrical screening contains it only at different passages in form of short establishing shots. Due to these enormous differences in duration, the overview tells only about one part which has been edited, while said three passages were merely counted as alternative footage.
On the whole, the Director’s cut is the version which is more recommendable. Everybody interested in it should prefer those releases containing ample and informative bonus material.
run times are arranged according to the pattern
theatrical screening in PAL / Director's Cut in PAL
The dialogues are rendered only in the English original sound. All new scenes, however, can be found on the German DVD in a synchronized version as well.
40:37 / 40:37-41:03
Jack Martin (Jack Lemmon) is further being interviewed about the meetings of Oswald and Guy Bannister and remembers one incident.
Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner): "Anything more specific, Jack? It's important."
Jack: "One time, the secretary got upset."
In the flashback, the secretary runs into the office holding Oswald’s leaflet in the hand; "I can't believe it, Mr. Banister, Oswald is down on Canal Street handing out Communist leaflets supporting Castro."
She looks skeptically in the direction of Jack; Bannister appeases: "It's okay, Delphine, he's with us."
57:54-57:59 / 58:20-59:54
In the DC, Susie Cox tells distinctively more about Oswald’s past before mentioning the contact with Janet and Bill Williams. At the fading, there is a short alternative order of events.
In the theatrical screening , one can see the listening Jim, then two brief shots of the party.
In the Director's Cut Susie tells: "It's odd. His closest friend is an oilman, named George DeMohrenschildt. He is 35 years older than Oswald, who is only 23 and supposedly broke. He is a part of the Dallas Petroleum Club, speaks five languages and was a French Vichy intelligence during the war...also rumored to be a Nazi sympathizer. DeMohrenschildt draws a picture of Oswald as an intellectual well read, speaks excellent Russian, a man who adored JFK."
According to that, Oswald tells within the Flashback: "I think he's made some mistakes regarding Cuba. I think he's doing a pretty good job. If he succeeds, in my opinion I think he'd make a great President and a handsome one, too."
Once more, Jim tries to hold her back; "That's scenery, Susie. Now, don't get sidetracked. This is the same man that nailed Oswald to the Warren Commission as a potentially violent man and linked him to the rifle."
Within another flashback in his flat, Oswald thinks: "Well, in that sense Castro is an experimenter. It could go any way with that country. It could go the way of the communism..."
DeMohrenschildt remarks a weapon and doubtfully says; "What you got there? Do you have rifles in there? Tell me what I'm shooting at, rabbits or Fascists?"
Oswald: "I hunt."
DeMohrenschildt: "You hunt?"
Jim comments: "We don't know he's CIA. Let's circle him very probable. Call him Oswald's handler."
The last shot of the party is quite similar but not identical.
Director's Cut 89 sec longer
58:47-58:49 / 60:42-60:44
In the theatrical screening, one can see Oswald’s head being placed on his body during the photomontage. The Director’s cut uses another shot in which Oswald can be seen in total.
no difference in time
72:38-72:44 / 74:33-76:03
In the theatrical screening there is only one shot which shows Jim slowly putting down the rifle.
The Director's Cut uses a similar, alternative take in which the assistant Lou raises his hand at the end. The discussion about a realistic process of the assassination along with new suspects within the ranks of the CIA goes on.
Lou: "Main Street's over there. Original parade route on the way to the Trade Mart is too far, right?"
Jim confirms: "Too far."
Lou: "Impossible shot, so they change the parade route. Bring him down here. Moving at a normal 25 mph. They knew the motorcade would have to slow down to about 10 mph to make that turn there. And that's where they got him."
Jim: "Who do you think changed the parade route?"
Lou: "Beats me. Secret Service, city officials, Dallas Police."
Jim: "You know who was the mayor at the time?"
Lou: "Roy Cabell."
Jim: "Guess who his brother is?"
Jim: "General Charles Cabell. Deputy director of the CIA. Kennedy fired him in '61 because of the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Moved back to the Pentagon and called Kennedy a traitor. When he came to New Orleans to address the Foreign Policy Association, know who introduced him? Our friend, Clay Shaw."
Lou: "Didn't the Warren Commission call him?"
Jim: "His boss was the one on the Warren Commission who handled the leads in the intelligence community."
Lou: "Allen Dulles?"
Jim: "Head of the CIA since '53. Kennedy fired them both. Cabell was his Deputy for nine years. Talk about the fox investigating the chicken coop. Now, we'll have to subpoena them both."
Director's Cut 83,7 sec longer
73:54-74:06 / 77:13-77:48
In the Director’s Cut, the first part of the meeting has been shaped more elaborately and therefore filled up partly with alternative footage.
In the theatrical screening Susie says: "Your suspicion was right. In January 1961, that is the time when Oswald is in Russia, a man comes to a Ford car dealer here in New Orleans and pretends to be Lee Harvey Oswald. He says that he wants to buy some trucks for a group which calls itself ‘friends of the democratic Cuba’”
In the course of this, a short B/W-Flashback can be seen.
The Director's Cut shows a completely new shot of Susie as well as another part of the theatrical shot. Additionally, the flashback lasts longer.
Here, she says: "Your hunch was right, Boss. But it's even spookier than we thought. Starting in September '63 on, two months before the assassination, there are sightings of Oswald all over Dallas. Buying ammunition, getting a telescopic sight fixed. Going to rifle ranges. Early November, at a downtown Dallas Lincoln dealership, he tells the salesman: 'Let's take it over for a test drive.' Despite the fact he has no license, and doesn't know how to drive, he hits the curves like A.J. Foyt at the Indy 500. Beauregard later told his boss that he drove like a madman."
Director's Cut 22,6 sec longer
74:10-74:33 / 77:52-78:12
After two short identical shots of the car dealer within the flashback, the two versions diverge again before the firing practices are being shown.
In the theatrical screening Susie says: "the salesman will never see him again. Guess whose name is on the membership list of the ‘democratic Cuba’?”
Jim: "Tell us..."
Susie: "Guy Bannister."
To the surprise of all, she continues: "Bannister sent somebody under the name of Oswald in order to buy trucks. Hoover, the director of the FBI, has got a memorandum of June 1960. In that, it says that someone is possibly trying to use Oswald’s passport and identity.
Alongside, a short B/W-flashback can be seen.
Here, the Director's Cut merely shows a longer shot of the scene at the car dealer and it becomes again clear that a fake Oswald has emerged there (cf. 76:44 / 80:48).
Oswald whines about the price: "What? For this heap? No honest working man can afford to buy a car in this goddamn country anymore. Maybe I'll go to Russia and buy one."
Susie comments: "Really dumb dialogue like he's trying to draw attention to himself. Salesman remembers him as about 5'7", but his draft card says he's actually 5'11"."
Theatrical screening 2,6 sec longer
75:10 / 78:49-79:14
The flashback with Sylvia Odio lasts longer, respectively Susie makes some more comments as well.
Susie: "Something about the man bothers her. 48 hours later, one of the Cubans calls her."
A man says from a telephone booth: "What did you think of me and Oswald last night?"
Sylvia: "I don't care about Oswald."
The man continues: "You know what he said to us? 'Cubans don't have guts, because Kennedy should have been killed after the Bay of Pigs by a Cuban.'"
Susie comments: "It's like he's giving her information she doesn't even ask for. She's scared and doesn't see him again till she sees Oswald's picture in the paper."
(Here, the scene inside the telephone boot can be seen in detail, while this was only implied very shortly in the theatrical version during the earlier discrepancy.)
76:44 / 80:48-81:25
After Oswald’s comment inside the booth about the montaged photo could be heard, the DC shows the reference to Guy Bannister as well. However, due to the differing context, among other things, the scene has been edited here in a completely different way and there are, in contrast to the theatrical screening, views of Bannister.
Firstly, she recalls the incident for her colleagues; "Now it gets positively spooky. In January 1961, in New Orleans, at the Bolton Ford dealership when the Oswald we know is in Russia there is a man using the name of Oswald to buy trucks for the Friends of Democratic Cuba. Salesman never sees him again. But who's on the Articles of Incorporation of the Friends of Democratic Cuba? Guy Bannister. Bannister has someone using the name Oswald to buy the trucks. Hoover at the FBI has a memo dated June of 1960 that someone may be using Oswald's passport and identity."
87:30 / 92:11-93:40
After the press turmoil, at first Jim walks through the building and then talks to his colleagues about now being the right time to get out. These, however, stay with him.
Already in the corridor, Numa says: "They went to the public records, got vouchers we requested for withdrawals."
Susie interposes: "Shaw got them on our tail."
Jim discusses while entering the office: "It could have been Ferrie, Martin, Andrews, any of them."
Bill: "Or they talked to Ruby 'cause of they're on our asses for a measly $8,000.
Jim: "They're hunting the news, it's their business."
Numa: "You'd think they'd understand what were doing."
Jim: "Getting angry doesn't accomplish a damn thing. Son of a bitch. This changes everything now. Either we pull out now or we go through heavy flak together. Bear in mind, this may affect the rest of your careers, your lives. Any one who wants to pull out now...I assure you there will be no ill feelings and I will reassign you to regular duties."
General silence; nobody wants to respond to his offer.
Jim: "There it is then, thank you. It means a great deal to me. I'm giving this office $6,000 from my National Guard savings account. So we can continue. I'll make speeches where I can and make additional money."
The secretary dashes into the room; "What shall I tell them? Their piling up outside the door. They want a statement. The phones are going crazy."
Jim: "I won't confirm, deny nor discuss, Sharon. Goodbye, ladies and gentlemen. I'm going home to get a decent day's work done."
126:22 / 132:32-133:30
Before Susie talks about Oswald’s visit at the FBI, the Director’s Cut contains an additional scene in which Bill talks about the suspicious behavior of Clay Shaw. Furthermore, tensions within the investigation-team become visible as Bill and Lou snarl at each other or one moment – hence a sensible extension as short afterwards the both of them leave the team in the theatrical screening as well.
Jim: "Any more on Oswald or Shaw?"
Bill: "They were seen together in Clinton in early September. The Civil Rights Movement was running a voter's registration drive. Rumor is, Shaw was working on some arms deal to discredit the Civil Rights Movement. Nobody really knows what they were doing there, but hell, they stood out like cotton balls. I got whites and coloreds that saw them there. Last time I checked, it was not illegal to register to vote. We still got the, the junkie, Vernon Bundy, who saw him talking at the sea wall. This is tough. No one wants to talk about Shaw."
Lou complains; "You keep saying that."
Bill: "I keep saying what?"
Lou: "You're not digging deep enough."
Bill also speaks louder: "You want to do my job! You do my job, I'll do your job."
Jim interrupts: "I think Clinton is a breakthrough now. Shaw denies ever knowing Oswald, right? That proves he's a liar. Keep on it, Bill."
He places his coffee angrily while Susie starts saying off-screen; "This is the interesting part."
133:55-134:06 / 141:03-146:30
Here when Jim takes a seat and asks if somebody wants to leave, an alternative take has been used. This becomes obvious as Susie is still visible on the left side of the screen in the DC alone.
Afterwards, only the Director's Cut offers a few additional scenes: First of all, Jim justifies the investigations during a talk show. Then at the airport, Bill tells him about a planned assassination attempt. Although Jim does not want to hear such rumors, he flees hectically a moment later as he hears suspicious sounds inside a toilette.
Moderator: "Now, Jerry, here's Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans, Louisiana."
Jerry: "Welcome, District Attorney Garrison. You're investigating the murder of President Kennedy. We have heard some strange things coming out of your office. First, we heard that Cuban exiles killed the President. Then the mob. Your latest theory seems to be that the CIA and the FBI and the Pentagon and the White House all combined in an elaborate conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Is there anyone besides Lee Harvey Oswald who you think didn't conspire to kill the President?"
The audience laughs and Jim counterattacks: "Let's just say this, Jerry. I've stopped beating my wife. Maybe you should ask Lyndon Johnson. He has some answers."
Jerry: "There have been a number of reports in reputable news media, Time, Newsweek, our own NBC that you've gone beyond legal means as a prosecutor that you've intimidated, even drugged witnesses, bribed them, and urged them to commit perjury. Do you have a response?"
Jim: "Your faith in the veracity of the major media is touching. It indicates that the age of innocence is not yet over. But ask yourself, if we had learned on November 22, 1963, that the Russian Premier had been shot from a Moscow building by a lonely capitalist sympathizer who, himself, was then liquidated by a patriotic Muscovite within 48 hours while surrounded by armed police. I think it would be apparent to anyone that a coup d'etat and a transfer of power had just taken place. And we would not ask questions or attack Jim Garrison. We would, in a free-thinking society be asking why he was killed, and what forces opposed him."
Jerry: "There are some people who might say that you are paranoid."
Jim: "I should show you some pictures so you can understand what I'm talking about."
He pulls out some pictures; "These are arrests. These arrests were photographed minutes after the assassination. They were never shown to the public."
Jerry becomes uneasy; "I'm sorry, these pictures can't be shown on TV."
Jim: "Sure they can."
Jerry: "No, I'm sorry. They can't."
Jim: "The camera can pick these up."
Jerry: "Jim, I'm sorry. They can't. We have libel laws."
Jim: "Those men you just saw were arrested in Dallas minutes after the assassination. They were never seen again. No record of arrest, no mug shots, no fingerprints."
Jerry interrupts him once again; "Hold that thought. We'll be back, right after these commercials."
At the check-in desk of the airport, Bill runs toward Jim who tells him: "Bill, what the hell are you doing here?"
Bill: "I'm sorry about the other day. I didn't mean to walk out on you like that."
Jim: "You came all this way to tell me the obvious?"
Bill: "No. Look. I just heard of an attempt to kill you between here and New Orleans. A mob guy was brought down by Shaw from Canada. This is serious. You'll need a bodyguard tonight."
Jim: "When you were in the Army, did you ever find out what an order meant? Do you remember my orders about passing on rumors about someone going to be killed?"
Bill: "Yes, I do, but this is..."
Jim: "No, there is no 'but.' There is no 'but' in a military situation! I don't appreciate you dumping this paranoid garbage on me, nor your inability to follow a simple order, especially when it means I have to pay for your flight back to New Orleans. Let's get you a ticket."
Bill: "Boss, I'm sorry. I'm just looking out for you."
Jim puts the ticket on the table for him; "Get a receipt."
Jim buys a newspaper and goes for the bathroom.
There, he observes through a slightly open door several men entering and whispering secretly. At some point he is losing it and leaves the room hectically.
One of the men whispers: "Come on, come on. He's out here."
Behind him, and old acquaintance says; "Jim, where are you going? It's me, Samuel."
While he leaves, a policeman asks: "Hey, how long were you in that restroom?"
Jim responds hectically: "None of your goddamn business."
He walks on and sees Bill inside the news agency.
Director's Cut 315,4 sec longer
134:10-134:13 / 146:34-149:26
After the external shot of Jim’s house, which is identical in both versions but only in the theatrical screening already contains comments from the TV hearable off-screen, the next extension in the Director’s Cut follows: Jim arrives at home and hugs his wife and children, but then immediately, the team members, who are also present, report him the bad news as Bill is alleged to have been the mole. Right in the middle of the subsequent discussion, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy is being initiated already.
Al: "Jim, bad news, Bill's turned. I think he's given everything we've got to the feds."
Numa: "We studied the memos and there was nothing there. Nothing. We went to confront him and the landlady said the son of a bitch just left. Left everything."
Susie: "It's unbelievable. I'm sorry."
Liz says to the housemaid: "Mattie, could you get Mr. Garrison a drink, please?"
Numa: "Something sure scared him."
Al: "Bill doesn't scare that easy. Somebody got to his thinking. He was never that good a thinker."
Susie: "He sure fooled us."
Numa wants to switch off the TV but is stopped by Jim: "No, no, leave it. Don't turn it down. I want to see this."
A presidential election can be seen; Numa says: "You know what's happening, he's winning."
Jim: "He'll never make it. If he wins, they'll kill him. He'll stop the war. They'll kill him before they let him be President."
Al: "With Broussard, they have everything, all our witnesses, our strategies for the trial. We got to double check his work. There could be false leads. We can't go to trial! We don't have a prayer!"
Jim: "I don't think so, Al."
Susie: "I have to agree with Al, Boss. This is not one we'll come out on."
Jim: "You remember the Hemingway story, The Old Man and the Sea? The old fisherman manages to catch this great fish, a fish so huge, that he has to tie it to the boat to get it back in. By the time it reached shore the fish had long since been picked apart by sharks. Nothing was left, but the skeleton."
Numa: "And that's what will happen to us. Then what did we do this for?"
Jim: "It's a means to an end. This war has two fronts. In a court of law, we hope to get Clay Shaw for conspiracy. In the court of public opinion, it could take another 25, 30 years for the truth to come out. At least we'll strike the first blow."
Liz; "What if you're wrong?"
Jim: "I never thought for a second I was. Will you come to the trial?"
Liz: "I don't think so."
She walks away, leaving the team members looking disappointed.
Then, the two versions offer a varying view of the room in the evening hours.
Director's Cut 169,4 sec longer
138:28-138:29 / 153:41-154:06
In the Director’s Cut, two additional witnesses are interviewed and a B/W-flashback can be seen at this (it is, by the way, the freshly at 126:22 / 132:32-133:30 inserted incident).
Prosecutor: "Is that the man?"
Witness: "That was the man, right there. He dropped Oswald off on the voter's line. I remember 'cause they were the only white strangers around that day. That big black Cadillac of his made me think they might be FBI."
Even in the referring flashback the next witness says: "Welcome to Clinton. If you need any help, let us know."
Now, the said man tells in front of the court: "He said he was a representative of Warren International Trade Mart.
The prosecutor doubts the accuracy of this information; "More than five years ago, for two minutes...?"
In lieu of that, in the theatrical screening the subsequent shot of Jim starts one moment earlier (not illustrated)
Director's Cut 24,1 sec longer
Only the theatrical screening is longer
138:32-138:33 / 154:09
For whatever reasons, in the DC the shot of Clay Shaw as well as the next one of Dean Andrew (John Candy) have been shortened by a few insignificant frames at the end/beginning.
+ 0,7 sec
138:52 / 154:28-155:05
Here, only in the DC another witness is being interrogated and, to Jim’s regret, turns out to be mentally ill.
Prosecutor: "Mr. Goldberg, you claim you met Ferrie and Shaw on a vacation trip from your accounting business in New York. You had drinks and while drunk, discussed killing Kennedy. Is that not so?"
Mr. Goldberg: "Yes, I did."
Prosecutor: "Is it also true that you fingerprinted your daughter when she went to college?"
Mr. Goldberg: "Yes, sir, I did."
Prosecutor: "Is it also true that you fingerprinted her when she returned?"
Mr. Goldberg: "Yes, I did."
Mr. Goldberg: "I wanted to make sure she was the same girl I sent away."
Al comments: "He was one of Broussard's witnesses. He was totally sane when we took his affidavit."
Jim only knows to help himself with a skillful face-palm.
140:18-140:19 / 156:31-156:32
Here in the theatrical screening during a fast series of cuts, one sees the witness of the earlier extension in the DC for a short period of time. Since the scene has been shown in detail there, the prosecutor is shown here instead.
no difference in time
140:20-140:22 / 156:33-156:35
The same shortly afterwards:
In the Theatrical screening one can see Mr. Goldberg as well as the other witness. Then you see Al talking to Jim.
Instead of this, the DC shows Susie, then Clay who is smirking and eventually an alternative shot of Al and Jim.
no difference in time
175:36 / 191:49-191:59
Right before the closing credits, the DC shows a text box which virtually underlines the success of the movie. After the film was screened, additional documents were declassified.
The following credits were played faster in the DC. However, at some points new names can be found because of the exclusive material of this version.
(This was added to the overall cut duration/-amount)
Theatrical screening 12,8 sec longer