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The Sissi Collection - including US and Original Version



Sisu






Cliffhanger






National Lampoon's Vacation






Evil Dead Rise






DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES






The Covenant




Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress

original title: Sissi - Schicksalsjahre einer Kaiserin

Comparison:

  • US Version (Forever, My Love)
  • Uncut Original Version
Release: May 17, 2018 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: DaxRider123 - external link: IMDB
This is a comparison between the US Cut called "Forever, My Love" and the uncut version of "Sissi". Both are included on the "Sissi Collection"-Blu-ray boxset released by Film Movement.

In 1955, Ernst Marischka directed "Sissi", a movie based on the novel of the same name written by Marie Blank-Eisman. The movie was a huge success with audiences and thus received two sequels. In Germany, the movies are usually broadcasted on TV every Christmas. For main acctress Romy Schneider, the role was a blessing and a curse. The portrayel of Sissi started her career, yet she was never able to shake the image of the emperess off. Even Karlheinz Böhm tried to succeed in changing his image by playing the role of a voyeuristic serial killer in "Peeping Tom".

In the first movie, archduchess Sophie plans to marry her son - young emperor Franz Joseph - to his cousin Helene. Helene's mother Ludovika plans to travel to Bad Ischl, where they plan to announce the enagement during a ball. As a disguise - in order not to get Ludovika's husband Max to get to know of the plans - Helene's sister Sissi is supposed to travel along. By accident, Sissi runs into Franz during a fishing trip. Franz immediately falls in love with her, not realizing that she is his cousin. He invites her to a hunting trip and tells her about the engagement to Helene that is about to be announced. Sissi runs away because she does not want to interfere with the plans. When Franz eventually meets Sissi again during the ball, he realizes that he is in love and officially announces that he will be engaged to her. From now on, Sissi is unsure about her situation. On the one hand, she is in love with Franz, on the other hand she is sad that Helene was disgraced in public, since Franz does not love her back. Once Sissi gets to know, that Helene has another suitor - the prince of Thurn and Taxis - she is happy again and from then on, there is no more problem regarding the wedding with Franz.

In the direct sequel "Sissi: The Young Empress" Sissi misses her hometown and the life on castle Schoenbrunn more and more. Additionally, the country goes through tremendous changes, since they might have to face war with the neighboring country Hungary. On a ball in honor of the Hungarian elite, there is an affront when Sophie rejects the Hungarian count Gyula Andrássy an audience. Sissi is able to calm the situation down by chosing him during the ladies' choice and talking to the count. Surprisingly enough, she loses consciousness during this and the doctor tells her that she is pregnant. After birth, Sophie wants to raise the kid, since she thinks that Sissi is too childish to do that and that she is to busy, being the empress. Sissi flees to her parents and Franz follows her. The two of them reconnect during a short vacation in Tyrol. Back in Vienna, the conflict is still unresolved and Sissi again threatens to leave the city. Ludovika travels to Vienna to calm her sister down who finally relents and gives Sissi back her child. Franz and Sissi travel to Hungary where they are crowned King and Queen.

In "Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress", the final entry in the series, Sissi happily lives with her daughter in the Hungarian village Gödöllo. She is close with count Andrássy, resulting in a rumor of them having an affair. During a ball, Sissi is able to win over count Batthyani, an enemy of the Austrian monarchy. When Andrássy admits to be in love with Sissi, she tells him that he is nothing but a friend to her. In order to get away from the situation, Sissi travels to Vienna and runs into Franz halway who planned to pick her up. They decide to go on a short vacation. Sissi is in horrible pain and her personal doctor Seeburger examines her. He detects a major illness of the lungs and advises her to move to an area with a different climate. Sophie talks to Franz about a possible new wife, yet Franz thinks that such thoughts are inhuman. Sissi is brought to the Madeira Island to get well. Her mother Ludovika supports her physically and mentally and finally, Sissi gets well again. In Lombardo-Venetia the emperors are provoked by the fact that the aristocrats send their employees to the opera, wearing expensive clothing. Additionally, the musicians perform Verdi's "Va, pensiero". Sissi is able to defuse the situation. During a rally in Venice, however, the people at first dismiss the emperors. Yet, when Sissi is reunited with her daughter on the Piazza San Marco, the people get happy and yell "Viva la Mamma".

Film Movement released a special Blu-ray Set on 31st October 2017 which includes the movies "Sissi", "Sissi: The Young Empress", "Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress" as well as "Victoria in Dover". In the bonus material you can find a feature about Romy Schneider called "From Romy to Sissi", a documentary called "Sissi's Great-Grandson at the Movies" that features one of Sissi's heirs watching the movie, as well as the US Cut called "Forever, My Love". For the latter, the studio had cut all three movies together. For that they apparently used an old theatrical print, including the Paramount logo at the beginning. In comparison to the restored image of the HD you will quickly realize, how much they have acutally softened the image. Sometimes you might even get the impression that Sissi is a saint. The version of "Forever, My Love" is not perfect and has issues regarding contrast and color. The overall condition is surprisingly well though - there are no damages or film tears.

As was mentioned before, "Forever, My Love" is a compilation of all three Sissi movies. If you take a look at the runtime of the individual movies("Sissi" 102 minutes, "Sissi: The Young Empress" 107 minutes, "Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress" 109 minutes) and compare these numbers to the overall runtime of the US Version (145 minutes) it is becoming clear, that a lot of scenes had been cut.

For "Sissi", roughly half the movie was cut out. Among other things, US-viewers were missing out on Major Böckl, who suspects Sissi to be an assassin, as well as a lot of footage showing Sissi's family. In a later part of the movie, there is a sequence of a servant entering Sophie's room and closing the door. The scene is four seconds long and already missing in the German version on the Blu-ray. Most likely it got cut due to a film tear.

Things are getting more interesting with Sissi: The Young Empress. For the US-cut, the producers apparently got their hands on an alternative version of the movie. As far as we can tell, it consists entirely of alternative scenes. Overall, this does not really alter the plot, since the structure of the story is still the same - despite the alternative footage. Sometimes, scenes run a little longer, sometimes they are shorter or arranged differently. Oftentimes they used different image sections. Still, it is verys surprising that such an alternative cut exists.
It is most striking to see that the second act of the flick, when Sissi flees to her parents and Franz follows her and has a short vacation with his wife, was taken out. After all - that's 30 minutes that were taken out back to back.

The final movie Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress is based on the German cut. Among other things, they cut out the entire subplot of Ludwig marrying an actress who then becomes royal and finally is introduced to Ludwig's parents. Additionally, Böckl making approaches to Sissi were taken out. At the same time, however, they cut some of the sequences of Sissi and Franz spending a vacation in part two back into the plot of the third movie. After all, thematically they also fit here. Towards the end when Sissi fights her disease, the movie uses alternative footage until the sequence when they are welcomed in front of the opera house. It seems as if this was an entire reel of alternative material. It is unclear whether this one was sent to the USA on purpose for this alternative cut.

Despite the drastic cuts, "Forever, My Love" works surprisingly well if you can forgive some continuity errors. Fans of the series might find an interesting gem which is worth seeing for the alternative footage in part two and three alone.

Runtime:

Sissi: 105:48 min.
Sissi: The Young Empress: 105:51 min.
Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress: 108:49 min.
Forever, My Love: 145:20 Min.
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[00:00:16][01:32:00]

The German Version starts with the opening credits.



Sissi rides in front of a group of hunters. Along with Gyula she takes a wrong turn and thus is separated from the group. The two of them decide to take a break druning which Sissi says that she is very happy in Hungary. She loves the feeling of freedom which reminds her of Possenhofen. Additionally, she has her daughter for herself here.



The riders discuss who was there first. Sissi wants to reconcile with count Batthyani who momentarily is not at good terms with the emperor and asks Gyula if they could meet at his castle. A gypsy comes to them and reads from Sissi's hand. The gypsy woman says that Sissi will have two more kids. Gyula gives her some money for the positive message. Once they left, the gypsy says that she does not want to switch places with Sissi. The latter helps a woman who is being beat up by her husband in a gypsy camp. It seems to be a misunderstanding - the woman purs a bucket of water in Sissi's face. The empress is happy that Franz does not have to see her like this.



German Version: 9:35 min.


[00:09:56][01:32:05]

The German Version cuts to Franz and Sophie who is unhappy since she more and more often has the feeling to be nothing but the evil stepmother. Sophie says that she has bad news for Franz.



German Version: 34 sec.


[00:10:45][01:32:19]

Sophie asks if Franz thinks it is justified for Sissi to be surrounded by revolutionaries - after all, she tries to become friends with count Batthyani. Franz understands that Batthyani does not want to break his oath. Sophie only wants to tell him what she would have loved to keep a secret.



German Version: 38 sec.


[00:12:30][01:33:27]

The US Version now shows scenes of Sissi during the hunt.



In the German Version we see a servant who announces Ludovika and Helen. Franz is happy about this surprising visit. Sophie tells her sister that Sissi is not in Vienna but in Hungary.



Sissi visits her daughter who was just playing.



Sophie is wondering why Helene is not married, yet Ludovika replies that she constantly turns suitors down. Ludovika has bad news for Sophie: Ludovika's son Ludwig wants to marry actress Henriette Mendel which Sophie does not like at all, since Franz then would be related with her. She says that Max should talk to him again.



Max asks Ludwig not to marry, however, Ludwig replies that they are already married for two years. Helene knew about it, thus Max feels betrayed by his children. Then Max gets to know that Ludwig also has a daughter and immediately is introduced to her. Max now has the difficult task to tell his wife about all this.



US Version: 1:48 min.
German Version: 4:53 min.


[00:17:33][01:35:24]

The letter was translated for the US Version.



US Version: 15 sec.
German Version: 15 sec.


[00:17:52][01:35:43]

Franz adds a last sentence in the letter.



US Version: 10 sec.
German Version: 10 sec.


[00:18:18][01:36:10]

The US Version shows the castle in Hungary which had already been shown in the German Version.



Max comes to Helene and immediately asks her why she kept secrets from him. Ludovika enters the room and wonders why Max had come. Max says that Ludwig promised him not to marry Miss Mendel since he is not able to. Ludovika is relieved. She tells Max that Sissi is in Hungary.



US Version: 7 sec.
German Version: 2:04 min.


[00:20:46][01:36:41]

Sissi plays with her daughter a little longer.



German Version: 4 sec.


[00:21:12][01:37:03]

The US Version cuts to the ball.



Sissi says goodbye to her daughter and then goes to the sideroom. Sissi looks forward to the ball. She gets to know that colonel Böckl learns the Hungarian language and calls for him.



Then we see Margit who plans a birthday party for Böckl. He is happy about it. Böckl admits that besides Margit there is another woman that he is in love with. Margit naturally is enraged. She knows that he talks about the queen. Böckl is called in for the queen.



Böckl goes to Sissi and has to tell her what a "Mulachat" is. The parrot steals one of Böckl's gloves yet he is able to get it back.



During the feast, Gyula announces that the queen will come. Batthyani wants to leave the castle, yet Sissi already comes through the door. Gyula introduces Sissi to his guests. Sissi is happy to get to know Batthyani who - after at first denying it - kisses her hand. Sissi wants them to be friends. Then they go over to their table. Batthyani stays behind.



Max wants to talk to Franz' father, yet Ludovika has a sympathetic ear for Max. Franz comes in with Helene and says that they should go to the park. Max stays behind with Franz' father.



Franz and Helene go outside. Max tells Franz Karl, that he would like an actress to become royal. Franz Karl at first wonders if Max has an affair, yet then he gets to know about Ludwig. They wonder, which title of nobility Mendel woud receive and then think, it might be Wallersee.



Franz and Helene walk on, while there is some more dancing at the ball. Franz asks why Helene is not married yet - and seems to strike a nerve. She is still hurt from being rejected by him, since she was and still is in love with him. She runs away.



In Hungary Sissi talks to Batthyani and wants to overcome their differences. Sissi wands to bring peace to the country and hopes to find an ally in him. Batthyani says that now that he knows Sissi, he can trust her. Gyula comes over and asks for a dance. Batthyani goes back to his friend and says that there finally is a human being in this imperial dynasty. Sissi tries to stand up yet falls back immediately. She admits that she is in pain since the last hunting.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 14:58 min.


[00:36:17][01:37:10]

The handmaiden looks for Sissi who went outside with Gyula.



German Version: 24 sec.


[00:40:12][01:40:30]

The US Version cuts from Böckl to Sissi.



In the German Version the dance finishes and Margit goes over to Böckl and tells him that he has to leave. Margit and Böckl start to cry.



Sissi asks the countess if she likes Gödöllo as much as she does. The countess says yes.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 1:04 min.


[00:42:15][01:41:30]

The ducks are shown longer. Then Sissi and her daughter ride past some cows.



German Version: 12 sec.


[00:43:04][01:42:08]

Sissi wants to eat something. Böckl runs into the restaurant.



German Version: 25 sec.


[00:45:17][01:43:55]

Sissi and Franz sit down. He says that he has a lot of work to do and did not get much sleep due to the ball last night. Sissi looks forward to see her family again - only to find out, that they have already left.



German Version: 36 sec.


[00:46:11][01:44:14]

Franz looks sad. He tells Sissi that Helene does not have a husband.



German Version: 28 sec.


[00:47:33][01:45:08]

The US Version fades out, followed by the scenes of Franz and Sissi in Tyrol (from part 2). Sissi and Franz are climbing a mountain, eat something and Sissi cleans the shoes.



In the German Version Ludovika spots a kid in the garden and asks Max if he knows whose child it is. Meanwhile, Helene gets Ludwig and his wife. They go down the stairs. Ludwig introduces his wife and daughter. Ludovika is surprised yet max immediately says that Mendel now is royal. Ludovika cannot be mad.



US Version: 5:01 min.
German Version: 2:46 min.


[00:51:25][01:51:16]

The US Version fades to the next scene.



Sissi and Franz are shown longer in the German Version.



Sophie says that she wants to talk to doctor Seeburger after the council.



Meanwhile, Franz gets to know that the relations to Venetia are at stake. Franz asks after Sissi and says that it is in his interest to avoid a new war.



Sissi is anxious since so many doctors look after her, yet she has no information about her illness. She realizes, that something is wrong with her since the same part of her body aches again and again.



Doctor Seeburger tells Sophie that Sissi has a lung-illness and that his professors recommend her to move to a place with a different climate immediately. Hopes for a cure are small. Sissi does not know about it. Sophie wonders how she is supposed to tell Franz about it.



The kids play on a meadow. The postman brings Ludovika a letter. She runs to Max and tells him that Sissi is very sick.



Sissi lies in her bed. The countess comes into the room. Then, the US Version continues.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 4:03 min.


[00:56:02][01:51:50]

In the US Version we now see the scene of Franz aksing after Sissi. This scene had already been included in the German Version.



US Version: 25 sec.


[00:57:17][01:53:30]

The countess brings the child upstairs.



German Version: 5 sec.


[00:57:45][01:53:52]

Colonel Böckl tells the guards in the corridor to leave.



Sissi has to sit down because she feels weak.



German Version: 30 sec.


[01:01:33][01:57:11]

Franz turns to the side.



German Version: 3 sec.


[01:01:37][01:57:13]

Sophie says that Franz should solely think about his dynasty and his house. Sophie says that she should not renounce his throne because of her.



German Version: 17 sec.


[01:03:17][01:58:36]

Sissi is shown earlier when she comes through the door.



German Version: 8 sec.


[01:03:31][01:58:41]

Sissi walks to Franz.



German Version: 8 sec.


[01:03:41][01:58:43]

Sissi is shown earlier when she walks to Franz.



German Version: 5 sec.


[01:07:52][02:02:49]

Ludovika tells Helene that she wants to go to Sissi to support her.



Doctor Seeburger tells Franz, that Sissi's condition has not changed.



German Version: 48 sec.


[01:09:41][02:03:51]

The countess says that everything will be good again. Sissi tells her about the positive message of the gypsy and thinks about all the times she had been happy in her life.



German Version: 36 sec.


[01:12:03][02:05:37]

The US Version cuts to the three women walking.



Ludovika talks about the bourgeoise women who forgot their illnesses during all the work and thus got healthy again. She recommends to take a lot more walks. Then we see the three women walking at the beach followed by them walking up the stairs earlier.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 54 sec.
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