This is a comparison between the cut UK DVD released by Mediumrare and the export version included on the Dutch VHS released by Polygram.
- 6 cuts
- Difference in time (excluding logos): 403.6 sec (= 6:44 min)
The patchy action flick Slaughter in San Francisco was shot in 1974 in Hongkong and directed by Lo Wei (known for directing the first few Bruce Lee flicks). More well-known than the director is actor Chuck Norris - it is his second role in a Golden Harvest movie as the main bad guy after The Way of the Dragon. While the latter movie is mainly promoted with Bruce Lee, "Slaughter in San Francisco" is in general promoted with Chuck Norris on movie posters worldwide. Even though he again plays a rather minor role, he portrays his character as an over the top cocky gangster boss with the creative name Chuck Slaughter.
Regarding the releases, this is a rather complicated case that we will explain with the most important worldwide releases. Overall, there are two main versions, one for the Asian market and one for an international release. Especially digitally there are just very few releases. There are DVDs in Germany and the UK - yet those are based on the export version with additional cuts (see version 3 and 4).
1. Asian Original Version
Runtime: 101:41 min on the HK-VCD (PAL)
Runtime: 83:28 min on the Dutch VHS (PAL)
Runtime: 80:32 min on the German DVD (PAL)
Runtime: 77:43 min on the UK-DVD (PAL)
As was mentioned before, this is a special case. It is unclear whether this patchwork-version was made especially for this DVD release or if it had already been released before. The main goal seemed to be the ability to offer the English soundtrack. At several points in the movie, the plot follows the original version. Only Slaughter's first meeting with Don follows earlier just as in the export versin.
Unfortunately, this first meeting had been cut: The conversation inside the car had been taken out for whatever reason - even though it is included in all other versions. The same goes for the training sequence which had been shown earlier in previous international releases. The UK DVD entirely misses out on it. Both scenes not only include more screentime for the alleged "main character" of the movie, yet are also highly entertaining due to their trashy portrayal of a cocky character.
Some more minor things were taken out as well. None of these cuts are necessary or logical, yet nothing of importance is missing in the end.
Runtimes are listed as follows:
UK DVD [PAL] / Export Version [PAL]
The Dutch VHS is close to fullscreen. In order to show the original image format, we took all screenshots from the Hongkong-VCD.
Additional logos at the beginning of the UK DVD.
+ 51.6 sec
The opening credits are different.
The UK DVD is similar to the HK-VCD, however, does not include the latter's song and lyrics. All other extensions of this sequence are missing, too. Additionally, the DVD uses the alternative title "Yellow Faced Tiger" (which is the title of the song we hear in the original version, even though the HK-VCD names the flick "Slaughter in San Francisco").
10:31-10:36 / 09:40-09:45
Parts of a shot of Diane were postponed. In this way, there is an interruption of the shot of the bad guys jumping out of the truck.
Accordingly, the Dutch-VHS tape appears to be more dynamic.
No difference in time.
17:08 / 16:17-16:25
After Don and Sumner gave each other signals (and before we see Chuck Slaughter for a first time in the export version to intimidate Don) there is a short scene of the two of them inside a bar. Sumner asks how the job as a waiter is holding up and Don answers that he gets quite a few tips.
18:28 / 17:45-21:04
After Don said that Slaugher is "just a jerk", one of the sidekicks comes back and says that the boss wants to talk to him. Don refuses to do so at first, gets intimidated and his boss advises him to follow the order.
As a result, Don drives to an outdoor meeting. He gets in the car next to Slaughter who offers him 5000 dollars a month for supporting the gangster; also, he promises that Don would get his job at the police station back. Don does not want to agree immediately and asks a few critical questions. During the process Slaughter - among other things - says that there are two kinds of people: Some that follow orders and some that die. Don bursts out a one-liner, leaves the car and gets to know that he has time until friday morning (7 a.m.) to think about the offer.
199 sec (= 3:19 min)
30:18 / 32:54-34:55
After the corrupt cop threatened Chu, there is a missing scene with Don. Throughtfully, he picks his police hat up while Sumner's wife cries in the background. He smiles at their kid. In the original version, the scene goes on and Sumner's wife makes critical remarks. While this is not included in the export version anyway, the UK DVD also misses out on Don drinking a beer on the cemetary.
During the cemetary scene, there is another extension. Maybe the producers of the UK DVD thought that there was just too much to cut out so they decided to take the entire two minutes out, that previously had been included in the export version.
121.3 sec (= 2:01 min)
34:45 / 39:22-40:36
On the Dutch VHS (respectively the export version) now follows a training sequence. Chuck Slaughter is shown half an hour earlier than in the original ersion.
The UK-DVD, however, entirely misses out on the sequence. Thus, we do not see Slaughter doing a few tricks and kicking in wooden planks. His students watch him in awe. Then he sits down, lights a cigarette and one of Slaughter's bad guys tells the students to go and do their training. We never get to know, why he does not tell them that himself. Still, the students do as they told.
73.2 sec (= 1:13 min)
48:03-48:08 / 53:54-53:58
For this part, we again have to take a look at the general differences of exort and original version. The original at first shows a few more shots of the lawyer in the car, followed by another shot to the jail. Then we see the car in the parking lot.
The export version (and thus also the Dutch VHS) re-uses a driving sequence instead of the parking lot scene.
The UK-DVD instead includes the same cut as the export version, yet uses the parking lot sequence as the original version.
UK DVD 0.4 sec longer
49:19-49:21 / 55:09
Minor cut during two sequences on the Dutch VHS.
+ 1,9 sec
58:24 / 64:12-64:14
A shot that had been included in the original version 17 seconds ago was taken out in the export version and replaced by another shot of him in the same perspective. The UK DVD misses out on this jumpcut-edit and instead we just see two short shots of said perspective.
The end credits on the UK DVD are taken exclusively from the export version (and are not a mix of English and Chinese as the opening credits).
Subsequently there are a few title cards.