Comparison between the main film and the alternate cut (both included on the German Blu-ray by Subkultur).
- 2 additional scenes
- Difference: 168 sec (= 2:48 min)
OUT OF ORDER by Subkultur in two film versions
In 1982, Dutchman Dick Maas had impressively shown how to use the claustrophobic setting of an elevator in the horror genre with The Lift (of which he was also allowed to follow up with a US remake in 2001 with Down). In 1984, the exceptional Swiss director Carl Schenkel staged Abwärts (roughly translates to "downwards") with Goetz George and Hannes Jaenicke, a perfectly crafted thriller in which the tensions between 4 people escalate in a stuck elevator.
The aficionado label Subkultur took on the German cult film and since 20 January 2022 is thus not only the HD premiere available, but at the same time fortunately even a 4K Blu-ray with HDR and Dolby Vision. Exclusive bonus material is also on board and once again they have saved various material sources from archives over the years as well as lovingly restored them. As with Bloody Friday or Roots of Evil, Subkultur can offer a surprise in terms of existing versions.
While the theatrical version is available as the main film on the 4K Blu-ray and the Blu-ray, an alternate cut can be found on the Blu-ray as a bonus, which runs about 3 minutes longer and adds two scenes to the HD master in the last quarter of the film. Since the footage was only available in SD quality, the version is only put on Blu-ray as a bonus. On the UHD disc, the corresponding additional segment is individually selectable as an "alternate scene."
More details about the differences and versions
As already mentioned, there are two scenes: Gössmann, portrayed by Wolfgang Kieling, laments his woes for a longer time and Jörg (Götz George) gets a telling off from girlfriend Marion (Renée Soutendijk). One can only speculate why this material was removed, apparently already for the theatrical release. Perhaps they simply wanted to tighten things up a bit, since the dialogues come in an already relatively quiet block of scenes, shortly before the finale. Perhaps the characters' motivations are also revealed a bit too clearly here, while the rest of the film leaves some things deliberately in the dark or hinted at.
Still, both scenes fit well with Schenkel's leitmotif of human isolation and add a layer of bleakness on top. They are thus meaningful deepenings of the respective characters that definitely enhance the film. The alternate cut is thus an exciting addition for fans.
In addition, the longer fragments explain a sound error of the old DVD. There were parts of the sound of an additional scene over known footage from the theatrical version, for which other original sound is available actually. This has been corrected by Subkultur. In the report sound samples of the user DVD Schweizer are linked.
Curiously, however, it was recently noted in the German Movieside film forum that the two additional scenes were included on the old VHS from EuroVideo. The film was already available here in the longer, "alternate cut" version. Either way: With the Subkultur release, the interested party also gets the longest possible version and is in the best hands in terms of picture/sound.
The comparison material was kindly provided by Subkultur. The digipaks with 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray & soundtrack CD can be ordered from the in-house label store as Cover A and Cover B (both limited to 1000 copies).
Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical Version Blu-ray / Alternative Cut Version Blu-ray
Note: we used the German audio track for this comparison and translated the dialogs verbatim for the translation of this article. Therefore, it's possible that it may vary a little from the English dubbing in terms of wording.
Note: Both scenes take place in a rather dark scene block. The additional footage therefore fits relatively smoothly into the film's flow, despite the SD source.
65:21 / 65:21-66:21
After Jörg's "A grab in the cash register and off we go", we see the whimpering Marion again. Then Gössmann goes on about how dreary his working life is and that he was always treated badly. This thus explains why he decided to steal the money.
Gössmann: "I was 45 when I started working for him. He was the only one who took me. No other company wanted a man my age who had gone bankrupt with his own small business. I was at his mercy. I would always have to be there for him. For nights on end I sat over the books. But don't think he paid me a single penny extra for that. On the contrary. 'You're a bit slow, Gössmann,' he said. 'I'm afraid I didn't make such a good bargain with you, Gössmann.' And he always threatened to put me back on the street. And then what would I have... started? At my age?"
The familiar theatrical version then resumes with the shot of Pit swinging around in the elevator shaft. Shortly after, Jörg comments that the elevator has to get stuck today of all days.
60,4 sec (= 1:00 min)
68:21 / 69:21-71:09
The dialogue between Jörg and Marion is also much longer, although this is one shot throughout. The last thing you hear in the theatrical version is "You don't seriously think I threw that boy down up there?", then Marion goes on at length about Jörg's missteps. He would always ruin everything, and by that she says especially the way he treated her. He would always keep her down and also boast about her work. She would also have already confessed everything to the boss and gotten the promise to take Jörg's place in the company.
Marion: "You pushed him away. And now... Now he's lying down there and you're sitting here complaining about your miserable situation. You don't deserve it any other way. It's your own fault if they push you away, don't want to know anything about you anymore. Because you... you stomp on everything, you ruin everything. You pushed me away, too. You tried to keep me down at work so you could play the big man in bed. You pushed me..."
Jörg: "But you liked it then, didn't you?"
Marion: "I didn't know you well enough then, Jörg. Now I know. I've witnessed often enough how you tried to eliminate others. You brag about work that others have developed and that I have conceived and executed. That's over now. Meyers knows about it, too. He promised me definitely."
Jörg: "Slow down, slow down."
Marion: "Your time is up, Jörg. You have nothing more to say."
Jörg: "It doesn't happen that fast."
Gössmann: "Yes, yes. It goes that fast."
Marion: "He offered me your chair. And I accepted."
With the close-up on the alarm button, the familiar theatrical version is back. Jörg lights a match and looks urgently at Marion. With the additional dialog in front of it, this now seems much more threatening, of course.
107,8 sec (= 1:48 min)