Compared are the Old International Version (German VHS by CIC Video)(1982)) and the uncut Restored Version (German 55th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray)
- 31 cuts, 6x alternate order of events & 2 recuts
- Length difference: 749 sec (= 12:29 min) [in PAL]
There are numerous minor jump-cuts with a length of less than 0.5 seconds plus a few shorter black screens. In order to keep it simple, none of the above will be mentioned in the following comparison.
Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas is a Hollywood classic, no doubt. On VHS re-releases, DVD and Blu-ray, a 1991 Restored Version (188 minuten PAL / 196 minuten NTSC resp. Blu-ray) has been available for quite some time now. This version was co-prduced by Steven Spielberg and Robert A. Harris and Kubrick gave his OK as well. Apparently, this Restored Version is pretty close to what Kubrick had originally in mind: Only 4 minutes regarding the Gracchus (Charles Laughton) character are considered lost. However, they are being described with set photos and partial audio track in the bonus section of the DVD/Blu-ray. In 2015, the Restored Version was scanned in 6k and the latest "55th Anniversary" Blu-ray re-release is superior to any previous release, that is for sure. But before all that, only the here compared Old International Version with a length difference of approx. 15 minutes (incl. more end credits) was available. Buyers resp. owners of this version not only had to live with the missing overture (until 03:52), intermission and entr'acte but also with several missing scenes. As one can learn from a UK version rated by the BBFC in 1989, this very same version was also released in the UK and probably in other countries, too.
It was not until the early 90s that the longer was made available. To what extent the VHS tapes from the 80s are different from the theatrical release backk in the days is impossible to determine. At least, there are a few redundant differences as a result of bad VHS tapes resp. these shots were in the theatrical release. Either way, the scenes pointed out in the following section were definately missing. And it gets worse: A theatrical re-release in the late 60s was lacking more than 20 additional minutes. Thank God this version has never gotten a release for home theaters which is why we focus on the here compared VHS version.
The Old International Version
Indeed, most of the previously missing scenes are quite interesting because it was not just censoring (allegedly, some of those were removed as a result of test screening reactions) even though most of these scenes are in fact rather controversial. The most famous scene is definately the conversation between Crassus and Antoninus with a homosexual background during which the "snails or oysters" analogy is being used. Furthermore, several battle scenes lack some brutal violence. And for some reason, alternate resp. more harmless footage has been used when Crassus kills Draba. To be more specific, the blood spatter is missing here.
As for the scene with Crassus and Antoninus, the original audio was gone and a redub was unavoidable.
Historicalwise, the Old International Version is quite an interesting case even though it is not a version I would recommend due to its zoomed aspect ratio and the numerous cuts. But thanks to restoring it in 1991, one can only find the Restored Version nowadays. Unless of course, one specifially looks for an old VHS that contains the Old International Version.
Time index refers to
Old International Version (German VHS) in PAL / 55th Anniversary Blu-ray
Missing overture in the Old International Version.
232 sec (= 3:52 min)
German Credits vs. Original Credits.
Please note: The German VHS is in fullscreen, the credits have been stretched vertically. To perfectly illustrate te issue here, screenshots have not only been made from the credits but also from the first "actual" shot. It is a shame how much gets lost by the false aspect ratio.
09:15 / 13:43-14:10
The open door slightly longer plus Batiatus enters. His servant Marcellus reports a magnificient outcome that was archieved in spite of several people who had gotten sick. Batiatus critically asks about Marcellus's fee which, according to him, has not been been determinded yet.
25:42 / 31:23-31:24
Basically, this is just one of many jump-cuts on the German VHS but since it is longer than 1 sec, it will be mentioned here: Before Spartacus puts his hand on Varinia, a smooth transition tries to cover up the fact that the previous medium long shot and said shot of Spartacus looking up (Varinia enters the scenery from the right) are actually a few frames longer each.
43:43-43:45 / 50:22-50:25
When Crassus kills Draba, the shot of the dagger in the back is actually a little longer. Curiously enough, the VHS then continues with a different and in summary longer cut to him.
Also, the subsequent shot of him pulling the dagger back out starts a bit earlier in the Restored Version.
43:48-43:50 / 50:27-50:30
Alternate footage during the next cut to Crassus.
47:32 / 54:22-54:28
When Spartacus drowns Marcellus, the beginning of the scene that shows Marcellus twitching has been removed.
49:35 / 56:38-56:42
Spartacus stabs the guy in the water one more time plus there is a pool of blood around him. Then he gets up.
72:04 / 80:18-82:03
After the conversation Batiatus and Graccus are having, the scene in which Antoninus is bathing Crassus stars destinctly earlier. Here, Crassus starts a conversation about Gods, moral principles and vices. During that conversation, Crassus also asks Antoninus if he liked oysters. The latter says he did and Crassus asks about snails but Antoninus does not like those. In this regard, Crassus wants to know if this was immoral and determines for himself that it was only a matter of taste but not a matter of morality.
101.4 sec (= 1:41 min)
72:23 / 82:23-82:35
The shot is longer and when Crassus puts on the coat passed over by Antoninus, he explains he liked both snails and oysters.
87:01 / 97:54-97:58
Jump-cut on the German VHS during the shot of Spartacus.
Actually, this shot is a little longer and there is a small intercut to Tigranes as well - right before Spartacus asks about the boats.
94:01 / 105:20-105:22
Earlier beginning of the shot when Marcus Glabrus gets up.
96:08 / 107:35-110:18
Missing intermission / entr'acte on the German VHS before Glabrus talks to the Romans.
155.6 sec (= 2:36 min)
100:51 / 115:15-115:19
Additional shot of Spartacus and Varinia. Then a smooth transition to the subsequent distance shot.
100:57 / 115:25-115:40
After said distance shot, some more footage is missing: More marching in the water.
Alternate / Recut
101:03-101:07 / 115:46-116:31
Here, a recently removed shot has been reinsterted to the German VHS, followed by a smooth transition to the marching people (now it is snow, not water).
Starting with a shot in the rain, there is more marching on the Blu-ray. At the end of the scene, there is a smooth transition to the snow footage.
Blu-ray 39.6 sec longer
101:15 / 116:40-116:45
More marching in the snow.