Comparison between Criterion Collection's cut 2022 US Blu-ray and 20th Century Fox's uncut original cut (available in several countries, represented here by the German Blu-ray).
A few additional mini-deviations, each less than 0.5 sec in duration, were not listed in the cut report.
The Coen brothers already shortened their debut work Blood Simple somewhat back in their VHS days, and this version has long been the version in common use as the Director's Cut. Also for Miller's Crossing, a Criterion spokesman confirmed, unfortunately only AFTER corresponding inquiries from users on Blu-ray.com, that the changes were deliberately made by the directors: "I can confirm that the Coens made some minimal edits to the master for this director-approved release of MILLER'S CROSSING."
Fans were particularly struck by the scene about half an hour into the film, in which Mike Starr's character Frankie is hit with a chair by Gabriel Byrne's Tom, who comments in surprise, "Jesus, Tom!" Because this little gag is missing, users took notice - although a running time difference of almost 2 minutes could also make them wonder. In the further course there are a few more places where other parts of dialogue were removed as well.
Otherwise, you'll find quite a few mini-cuts throughout the film, almost all of which should hardly be noticeable during normal viewing. Mostly the end/beginning of shots have been tightened a bit. Sometimes there are still short movements in the face or the like to discover, which were probably a thorn in the eye of the Coens, for whatever reason. This was probably a subsequent fine-tuning of the pacing of the film and one can at least partly attest that the tightening in some places slightly improves the rhythm of the film.
Lastly, it was noticeable, at least in our detailed frame-by-frame comparison, that a few quick bits of violence were also caught in the crossfire. It would be wrong to speak of censorship here, and you shouldn't notice this during normal viewing. Nevertheless, a few short parts are missing now. All in all, a negative aftertaste prevails with this new apparent "Director's Cut" version, which no fan would have really expected.
The Criterion Blu-ray still has a corresponding logo to start.
+ 11.9 sec
02:07 / 01:55-01:56
Johnny Caspar can be seen a moment earlier. He laughs a little more clearly here.
19:26 / 19:15-19:16
Tom takes another step forward.
This little trim makes the pause between Leo's "Voted for him six times last May" and the reaction "And that ain't the record, either" a moment shorter.
20:58 / 20:48
There are a few inconsequential frames missing as Tom comments: "You did start it. You and Verna."
21:01 / 20:51-20:52
Dale talks a bit longer: "(We can dangle, Leo,) if you'd prefer."
The follow-up shot of Tom also starts a few frames earlier.
21:37-21:39 / 21:28-21:31
After Tom leaves the room, a first shot of Leo saying "Goddamn it!" and banging on the table has been removed.
However, Criterion has brought forward the beginning of a shot of Leo that follows shortly thereafter as a replacement. Here, you hear a shorter comment: "Damn it!"
After the cut to O'Doole and the mayor, this moment of the shot also appears in the original version.
Original Cut 1.6 sec longer
22:15 / 22:07-22:08
Before Tom pushes open the door, bartender Tad is seen a brief moment longer.
22:26 / 22:19
When Tom gets behind Verna, a few inconsequential frames are missing again during the transition of the shots.
24:21 / 24:14-24:15
After Verna punches Tom in the face, she can be seen a few frames longer.
24:24 / 24:18
Before Tom throws the glass at them, a few frames were also shortened.
24:39 / 24:33-24:35
Verna moves away a bit earlier.
24:45 / 24:41
Tom lingers a few inconsequential frames longer at the end of the scene.
29:04 / 29:01
Eddie Dane can be seen a moment earlier. At the beginning, he is still looking forward, while Criterion only starts when his gaze is directed sideways towards Johnny.
29:19 / 29:16-29:17
Johnny holds up his hands a little earlier, hoping that his son chooses the hand with the penny after all.
About a minute later, another mini-deviation of 0.3 sec.
31:37-31:40 / 31:35-31:39
Tom can be seen a few insignificant frames longer. Then the door is closed in alternate take.
Original Cut 1.1 sec longer
31:45 / 31:44-31:46
The next shot (with the door closed by now) can be seen from this perspective in both versions - but now it begins a bit later in Criterion.
32:08 / 32:09-32:10
As Frankie walks toward Tom, the shot starts a few frames early.
32:28 / 32:30-32:32
After Tom hits Frankie with the chair, he says at the end of the shot: "Jesus, Tom!"
32:36 / 32:40-32:44
Frankie moves outside the door a bit longer.
32:54 / 33:03
As Tom takes a beating, a shot starts a few inconsequential frames early.
33:01 / 33:10-33:11
Again, a few more basically totally unimportant frames with Tom on the ground.
34:35 / 34:45-34:46
O'Doole can be seen a bit longer.
35:34 / 35:45
Verna is seen a moment earlier before commenting on "Drop dead."
35:36 / 35:47-35:48
The shot is a bit longer as well.
A little more than a minute later: An irrelevant mini-deviation with a duration of 0.3 sec.
40:00 / 40:12
The shots under the bed start a handful of frames earlier.
40:30 / 40:42-40:43
Leo can be seen shooting outside a few frames longer, and we also go back inside a bit earlier. This is how you see a first shot.
40:41 / 40:54-40:55
Before the next cut to the lamp on the ceiling, the gangster is riddled with bullets for a little longer.
The following shot of the lamp also starts a few frames earlier.
40:43 / 40:57
Another shot from behind starts a little earlier.
41:49 / 42:03-42:06
At the end of the scene, Leo can be seen a bit longer. He takes another drag on the cigar here.
45:40 / 45:57-45:58
Before Leo addresses Tom as "Tommy!" he is seen a moment earlier.
47:10 / 47:28
Before Leo beats Tom a second time, a few insignificant frames are missing.
47:20 / 47:38-47:39
Tom stays at the bottom of the stairs for a moment longer.
47:22 / 47:41-47:42
In the following shot, Leo takes another step down the stairs.
The rest of the scene loses a handful of insignificant frames several times.
47:57 / 48:18-48:19
When the woman pushes Tom away from her, the tracking shot around them starts earlier.
47:59 / 48:21-48:23
While the new Criterion version only shows the first two blows with the handbag, the original version actually shows four more.
Perhaps this now seemed too comic-like for the Coens. At least the new version reduces the humor of the scene.
Shortly after, another mini-trim under 0.5 sec.
59:43 / 60:08
No editing for a change, but also a change in the new Criterion version: A part of Bernie's off-screen plea was muted. In both versions, he says "Look in your heart" here, though this has been slightly shifted on the soundtrack. However, another saying, now somewhat more tearful, of "I'm praying to you!" has been removed.
Note: At the next cut to Tom, however, both versions offer "I'm praying to you!"
59:58 / 60:23
As Tom is approached, another of the many "I'm praying to you!" exclamations has been removed.
61:46 / 62:11-62:16
After the fade to black, the shot of the street begins much earlier.
Tom's phone call was also shifted a bit on the soundtrack (even above the identical footage afterwards). Mainly one can hear more incomprehensible babble from the person on the phone. Tom's comments have remained complete.
61:54 / 62:24-62:26
The same shot is somewhat longer as well.
63:22 / 63:54-63:55
When fading in to Johnny, a little trim was done. So the break between "When you're right, you're right." and "But..." turns out a bit shorter.
64:01 / 64:34-64:36
After Johnny's "lousy son of a bitch" Tom is smoking his cigarette a bit earlier.
64:56 / 65:30-65:31
Tom is seen a moment earlier before asking about Eddie Dane.
65:23 / 65:58-65:59
Again, Tom smokes earlier at the beginning of a shot.
In the subsequent shots, individual frames go MIA again.
66:06 / 66:42-66:43
A trivial trim after Johnny's slap in the face to his son.
66:17 / 66:54-66:55
Tom is seen a little earlier.
When Verna is visited at home, individual frames are also lost several times.
68:05 / 68:44-68:45
Eddie takes another step toward Verna.
68:30 / 69:10
It takes a little longer for the other men to join them.
When Eddie guns down the men, inconsequential frames (< 0.5 sec) were also suppressed in several shots.
68:43 / 69:24-69:28
The door with the guy who fell to the ground there can be seen a little longer. Then one shot is completely missing: another guy crawls on the ground towards his gun.
68:44 / 69:29-69:30
The follow-up shot of the man is included, but shortened at the beginning. Criterion cuts in when Eddie steps on his hand with his foot.
72:41-72:46 / 73:27-73:37
After Bernie's "Of course you know about it", Criterion adds a reaction shot of Tom.
But actually you see Bernie longer in one cut and he is still commenting: "It's a painful memory and (I can't help remembering...)"
Original Cut 4.3 sec longer
76:03 / 76:53-76:56
At the end of the shot, O'Doole is still looking at the glass that Tom has just put in his hand. The follow-up shot of the street also starts earlier.
79:54 / 80:48-80:49
Eddie draws his gun a little early.
80:09 / 81:04
Mini-cut, just before Tom is grabbed.
80:13 / 81:08-81:09
Also shortly after, the transition of two settings was shortened.
80:42-80:45 / 81:38-81:41
Criterion dims a bit earlier and the image stays black longer.
No running time difference
82:56 / 83:53-83:54
Before the police chief reaches for the megaphone, a few unimportant frames are missing.
83:06 / 84:04-84:05
Another mini trim before the man comes out and surrenders.
83:08 / 84:07-84:09
Once again shortly afterwards.
84:34 / 85:34-85:35
Tom can be seen a bit earlier.
Some further irrelevant frames (< 0.5 sec).
85:42 / 86:44-86:45
Mini-cut, just before Tom approaches the table.
Two minutes later, another couple of inconsequential frames.
88:19 / 89:22-89:23
Two shots of Johnny insignificantly shortened.
Some further mini-cuts shortly after, < 0.5 sec.
88:50 / 89:54-89:55
Tom and Johnny halt a bit longer.
89:02 / 90:07-90:09
Another shot was trimmed in the beginning.
90:31 / 91:38-91:39
After Tom put the washcloth on his forehead, we have yet another totally insignificant trim.
90:44 / 91:52-91:53
Mini-trim before the blow in Tom's belly
Another time shortly after (< 0.5 sec).
91:42 / 92:51-92:55
The man still says "Take care now" at the beginning of the shot, makes a movement with his hand and turns around.
93:02 / 94:15-94:16
After the camera moves to the fat man, he briefly opens his eyes in the last frames of the shot.
93:19 / 94:33-94:42
Before Tom gets the whistle, there is some dialogue.
Tom: "Is there a point, or are you just brushing up on your small talk?"
Eddie: "I like that. Cool under fire. I'm impressed."
Shortly after that a few frames are lost again.
94:18 / 95:41-95:44
The long shot starts earlier, Johnny says something before the next shot.
From "You son of a bitch! Son of a bitch! You lousy son of a bitch!" only a single "son of a bitch" remains.
The following tracking shot on Tom starts a handful of frames earlier.
94:21-94:24 / 95:47-95:50
A shot of Leo was mirrored.
94:24 / 95:50-95:56
The fat man screams in an additional close-up. After a cut to Tom, Leo says: "Shut up, you son of a bitch!"
94:25-94:26 / 95:57-95:58
Criterion now interrupts the shot of Leo approaching the fat man to reinsert the cut to Tom. So this shot is shortened in the middle.
No running time difference
94:51 / 96:23-96:25
Leo and Tom are still looking at each other at the beginning of the shot and Leo raises his shovel again.
94:52 / 96:26-96:27
The reaction shot to Eddie starts a little earlier.
94:57 / 96:32-96:33
The long shot starts a bit earlier.
95:01 / 96:37-96:38
The next change between shots, a few frames are missing again.
95:03 / 96:40-96:41
Leo holds the gun to Eddie's head a moment longer.
95:06 / 96:44
The last view of Leo starts a moment earlier.
The last 15 minutes of the film then surprisingly go about without any further adjustments.