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The Sissi Collection - including US and Original Version



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Sissi

Comparison:

  • US Version (Forever, My Love)
  • Uncut Original Version
Release: May 15, 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.
[00:00:00][00:00:00]

The US Version begins with alternative opening credits.



The German Version shows the original credits.



Sissi's father Max went fishing and just caught something. A crowd of kids run over and the youngest is allowed to hold the fishing rod. However, the fish is pulling the fishing line so heavily, that the boy ends up falling into the water. Child and fishing rod are pulled out of the water and then everybody gets ready for breakfast.



The kids run to the table to eat their sausages. The mother complains that the kids have no manners - something they probably got from Max. Hans, a friend of Max, shows up and talks about some news from Vienna. There apparently are rumors of Sophie being married - yet the husband is still unknown. Both of them chink whine glasses.



From outside we can hear Sissi coming back from riding horses. After the horse is taken care of, Sissi also looks out for the other animals.



In the meantime, the mother receives a letter from Vienna. She calls for her daughter Helene and tells her, that the people in Ischl are waiting for her. Helene is supposed to become Empress of Austria. From outside, Sissi shouts that she wants to go hunting. The mother decides to take Sissi with her to Ischl as a disguise. The travel is supposed to look like a harmless trip.



US Version: 01:32 min.
German Version: 13:10 min.


[00:16:32][00:04:39]

US Version:

Here, we see Max' castle, followed by a shot of Sissi who comes back from horseriding. She takes care of the animals.



Finally, we see Sissi's mother receiving the latter and planning the trip to Ischl.



German Version:

Sissi goes hunting with her father. Both are happy that they have each other.



US Version: 4:13 min.
German Version: 1:14 min.


[00:19:16][00:10:20]

The US Version fades from Franz to Ischl.



German Version:

The kids are playing. Max comes in and watches them. He asks his wife what Sophie had written. The wife responds that she was invited to Franz Josef's birthday party and that she wants to take her daughters with her. Sissi hears that and is happy that she can come along.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 2:15 min.


[00:22:38][00:11:21]

The US Version cuts to Major Böckl.



German Version:

Sophie shakes her head after the major left.



Sissi wants to give the horses some water and in the process wets her dress. Her mother yells at her for doing so.



Sophie arrives in a carriage and greets the guests along with Karl Ludwig. Sophie wants to keep Sissi away from the societal get-togethers, since Sissi seems a little too childish. Sissi goes for a walk with Karl Ludwig. He tells her about an engagement and that she should invite her father oer, since there are quite a few interesting hunting areas in and around Ischl. Sissi likes the idea and says that she wants to telegraph him.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 2:39 min.


[00:27:04][00:13:10]

Sissi knocks at the door, since she wants to go fishing. This makes her mother mad.



German Version: 13 sec.


[00:27:38][00:13:31]

Major Böckl is shown earlier when he watches Sissi.



German Version: 1 sec.


[00:27:42][00:13:34]

Major Böckl watches Sissi longer when she walks over the roof.



German Version: 15 sec.


[00:28:04][00:13:42]

The US Version now shows a shot of Major Böckl that had already been included in the German Version.



In the German Version we instead see Sissi getting off the roof while Major Böckl watches her.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 9 sec.


[00:28:15][00:13:45]

The US Version shows another shot of Major Böckl that had been included prior in the German Version. Then the movie cuts to Sissi at the lake.



In the German Version Major Böckl watches Sissi asking somebody for the telegraph office. The Major questions the man and gets to know where Sissi is heading to. The latter gets a telegraph out to her father and tells him to bring his hunting rifles. Since Sissi has no money to pay for the telegraph, she leaves behind a ring as deposit. Major Böckl demands to see the massage and suspects that they might plan an assassination.



Sissi walks to the river.



US Version: 4 sec.
German Version: 5:02 min.


[00:34:01][00:14:33]

We see Sissi fishing, followed by a cut to Major Böckl.



German Version: 7 sec.


[00:36:48][00:17:13]

The US Version fades to the next scene of Sissi and Franz taking a walk.



Sissi and Franz are shown longer.



In the German Version, Sophie talks to her husband and their guests. A servant says that Franz' carriage is arriving. Sophie and her companions walk to the balcony. One of the soldiers says that Franz is walking around with a woman he does not know. This is why the carriage is empty.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 1:50 min.


[00:40:08][00:18:44]

Franz and Major Böckl talk for awhile about the weather so that Sissi can escape.



German Version: 21 sec.


[00:41:27][00:19:43]

Servant Vroni enters the room and asks if Sissi slept well. The latter responds that she only dreamt. Vroni asks how the emperor might have changed. Sissi answers that she had met him already.



Franz enters the room and greets his parents. His mother tells him that his aunt and Helene have come to celebrate his birthday with him. He also greets them and says that Helene became very pretty. The mother apologizes for Max' absence.



Then we see Max playing bowling. Hans appears and reads the telegram which says that he should show up and bring the rifles. Max responds that he is busy and will not travel to Ischl. Then he throws the ball and chinks glasses with his friends.



German Version: 3:42 min.


[00:45:47][00:20:21]

The US Version fades to Sissi on the mountain.



In the German Version, Sophie asks what Franz thinks about Helene. He finds her pretty. In the meantime, Sissi's mother asks Helene what she thinks about Franz. She likes him. Sophie says that Helene already knows about the engagement. Once they get to know each other better, Franz will surely fall in love with her. Franz apologizes and leaves, since he wants to go hunting.



Then we see Franz and his companions on the mountain. He says that he wants to go on on his own. Then we see Sissi.



US Version: 1 sec.
German Version: 1:46 min.


[00:48:00][00:20:46]

Sissi and Franz are shown longer.



Major Böckl is shocked that the emperor went on with the hunting on his own, since now, nobody is looking out for him. Then he tells Sophie about what he saw an Franz' meeting with Sissi. He says that he does not know the woman and has to tell that she got away because the emperor held him back. Sophie does not like what she hears.



Sissi and Franz watch two deer.



German Version: 1:57 min.


[00:51:26][00:22:17]

We see one of the animals when Franz loads his rifle and aims it.



German Version: 24 sec.


[00:57:09][00:27:36]

We do not see Sissi running away once Franz told her that he will be engaged with Helene.



German Version: 6 sec.