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Sacco and Vanzetti

original title: Sacco e Vanzetti

Comparison:

  • US Version
  • Original Version
Release: Sep 19, 2020 - Author: GKnoess - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

"Here's to you, Nicola and Bart. Rest forever here in our hearts. The last and final moment is yours. That agony is your triumph!"

This legendary song by Joan Baez and Ennio Morricone runs like a common thread through the 1971 premiere of the film Sacco and Vanzetti by director Giuliano Montaldo, who made his first headline with the cinematic treatment of the real US justice scandal from the 1920's after four rather light films (including Grand Slam and The Fifth Day of Peace). The film, starring Gian Maria Volonté (For a Fistful of Dollars), Milo O'Shea (Barbarella), William Prince (Family Plot), Cyril James Cusack (The Jackal) and Geoffrey Keen (including Secretary of Defense Grey from For Your Eyes Only), was a big hit at the box office and attracted international attention.

Sacco and Vanzetti deals with the judicial scandal surrounding the conviction and execution of two Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, which is still used in American legal education today. Both workers were active in the socialist and anarchist movement, which at the time was classified in the U.S. as an anti-democratic and subversive organization. Nationwide raids, arrests and deportations by the state were the result. When trying to pick up a vehicle to secure propaganda material, both of them ended up in a police checkpoint. Because they were carrying (unloaded) firearms, they were arrested and linked to a robbery-murder that had taken place a few weeks earlier.

In the subsequent trial, it becomes clear that they do not stand a chance of a fair trial because of their origin and political views. Exonerating evidence is rejected on formal grounds, exonerating witnesses are rejected because of their Italian origin. The racist prosecutor puts such pressure on witnesses for the prosecution that they identify Sacco and Vanzetti as perpetrators without a doubt in court, despite their doubts. Even the judge takes sides, since he personally rejects the defense attorney of Sacco and Vanzetti on the basis of his appearance and does not allow any doubt about the correctness of the statements of the prosecutor, who was previously the Attorney General. He rejects an appeal because he believes that the exonerating evidence presented by the defense counsel degrades the reputation of the senior police officer, who has since died. In the end, Sacco and Vanzetti were sentenced to death in the electric chair and executed purely on circumstantial evidence.

Sacco and Vanzetti - A film and its effect on its real-life protagonists' legacy

The creation and release of Sacco and Vanzetti must be seen in the context of that time. At the end of the 1960's, the Vietnam War was at its height. The USA suffered bitter defeats. Leftist demonstrations for peace and against war took place all over the world. The American president Lyndon B. Johnson continued to implement the containment policy pursued by the US since World War II to contain global communism, while the peace movement became increasingly popular. An attitude towards life for which the two Italians Sacco and Vanzetti were executed some fifty years earlier.

In a certain sense, the film also contributed to the fact that Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were (much too) late to receive justice. Six years after the release of the film and the renewed public discussion of the case, the governor of Massachusetts publicly rehabilitated Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti posthumously fifty years after their execution. The basic theme of the film, which deals with racist prejudice and discrimination and an unneutral judiciary that also uses unfair methods to try to achieve "success", is as relevant today as it was in the past. In some EU member states, top judges are again being appointed according to their political views, and several cases of racially motivated police violence became known in the US in 2019 and 2020.

The US version defuses some aspects of Sanco and Vanzetti

Several internet sites point out that all communist statements in the US version of the film have been deliberately removed or defused. Moreover, the word "anarchist" has been consistently replaced by the word "radical". In order to verify this, the US-DVD of VCI HomeVideo was used for comparison to the original Italian DVD. It turned out that these entries are incorrect. Correct is that in several places, "anarchists" actually became "radicals". But this change was by no means consistent. As an example, reference is made to Vanzetti's interrogation by prosecutor Katzman at (US) 18:50.

However, changes were made in other places. For example, Sacco's fears for his family were defused and his wife's screentime was also significantly reduced. Both things are a pity, since actor Riccardo Cucciolla was honored as best actor at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival for his intense performance as Nicola Sacco, who was gradually shattered by his imprisonment and trial (a fact that is also expressly referred to in the US opening credits), and Rosanna Fratello, who played Sacco's wife Rosa, was also honored by the Association of Italian Film Journalists as best up-and-coming actress. The changes are minimal, but have an impact on the development of the characters. Due to the very good image quality and the available English soundtrack, the Italian Blu-ray by Ripley's Home Video is currently the only alternative for everyone who wants to enjoy and/or view the film in its entirety.

49 cuts and changes = approx. 2 minutes and 11 sec

Important for the readability of this report: Since the US DVD is available in NTSC format (24 fps), whereas the Italian version is in PAL format (25 fps), the runtimes of the individual scenes are not directly comparable. They are only for orientation purposes. Runtime Italian version (Ital.): 119:42 minutes (PAL), converted to NTSC 124:41 minutes / Runtime US theatrical version (US): 122:30 minutes (NTSC)

The only downside is that the image format of the Italian version is slightly reduced at the sides compared to the US version and (mostly insignificant) details are missing.

Image detail of the Italian version:



Image detail of the US version:



US 0:00 to 0:35
Only the US version has informational boards about the historical background. According to this, Attorney General Palmer, together with an "army" of federal agents and other helpers, had simultaneous raids carried out in 33 American cities against the headquarters of radical or anarchist groups. Windows were smashed, property was destroyed and everyone who resisted was beaten. On the East Coast, most of the raids took place in Massachusetts and New York. Strangers were led through the streets of Boston and New York to Deer Island and Ellis Island to be deported.
35 Sec




US 0:35 to 6:34
Ital. 0:00 to 05:54

The picture in the US version is grainy during the raid and the interrogation to get the character of a newsreel.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 02:31
Ital. 01:51

Only in the US version: From the background, a policeman shouts "Get this junk out of here!" during the raid in which pictures and writings of Karl Marx are thrown onto the street. This "police" evaluation of the found material is missing in the original version.
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Screen for orientation:



US 02:35
Ital. 01:55

Before the policemen beat up the Marxist, someone yells "Hey you! Outside!" in the US version.
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Screen for orientation:




US 02:42
Ital. 02:00

A policeman yells „Get your hands up!“ offscreen.
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US 02:47
Ital. 02:05

In the US version, another policeman orders "All out" from the background.
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Screen for orientation:




US 02:50
Ital. 02:09

When the Marxist is pressed against the wall, an offscreen policeman yells „Over there!“ in the US version.
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US 02:51
Ital. 02:11

When Vanzetti asks his comrade Sacco to run away quickly, the US version translates this with burned-in subtitles.
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Italian versionUS version




US 03:38 to 03:56
Ital. 02:58 to 03:14

While the front pages of the newspapers are displayed, the headlines are translated into Italian by permanently burned-in subtitles.
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Italian versionUS version




US 04:10 to 06:32
Ital. 03:28 to 05:43

The credits are designed differently in both versions. The Italian credits are easy to read, while the US credits are partly indecipherable due to the white text on a white background. It should be noted in passing that the function of the dialog director was not important in the Italian version and the dialog director of the US dubbing is therefore not listed. The same applies to the American production assistants.
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Italian versionUS version




US 06:23
Ital. 05:34

After the anarchist Andrea Salcedo was beaten against the wall by the policemen and slipped on the floor, he left a trail of blood on the wall. This can only be guessed at through the distortion of the image in the US version. However, this is probably not a deliberate defusing, but rather a side effect of the filter.
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Italian versionUS version




US 06:32 to 06:44
Ital. 05:44 to 05:54

When the anarchist Andrea Salcedo falls out of the window, the US version of the image is sepia, as a transition to the subsequent color film. The Italian version, on the other hand, remains in black and white to preserve the documentary style.
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Italian versionUS version




US 06:51
Ital. 05:59

In the US version, the prosecutor says „I don’t understand. And if you even could doubt it was a radicals pattern so far.“ In the Italian version, however, he speaks of anarchists.
No time difference

Screen for orientation:




US 17:36
Ital. 16:20

In the lineup, Sacco anxiously asks Vanzetti in Italian what the police are up to. In the US version, his question is translated by burned-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 18:19
Ital. 17:01

When the two of them have to turn back to the wall, Vanzetti answers his comrade in Italian that the police just want to intimidate them. Here, too, the answer was translated in the US version by hardcoded subtitles.
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Italian versionUS version





US 26:54
Ital. 25:15

The witness states that he was standing about five or six yards away from the event. In the Italian version, however, it is five or six
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US 27:35
Ital. 25:55

The second witness also states that he had been standing at the window about five or six yards away from the event. In the Italian version, however, he says that there were four or five yards.
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US 29:30
Ital. 27:46

The fourth witness says that he stepped out of the pool hall door about fifteen feet from the getaway car. In the Italian version, however, it is about six meters.
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US 30:46
Ital. 28:57

The witness states that she was standing about 20 yards away from the getaway car. In the Italian version, however, it is 20 yards.
No time difference

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US 35:18
Ital. 33:21

Dr. Moore, a lawyer, reminds the witness that the car passed her about 20 yards away. In the Italian version it is about 20 yards.
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US 35:58
Ital. 33:57

The lawyer informs the witness that the spectator, whose tie color she could not recognize, is sitting just 15 yards away from her. In the Italian version, however, the figure is 15 yards.
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Screen for orientation:




US 37:52
Ital. 35:48

The attorney asks the witness if it is correct that he saw the bandits' parked car eight yards away from him. In the Italian version, however, the figure is eight yards.
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Screen for orientation:




US 42:09 to 42:26
Ital. 39:53 to 40:10

When Sacco and Vanzetti are led out of the courtroom by the police officers, Vanzetti speaks to Sacco in Italian and makes it clear to him that a politically motivated trial is being held against them and that under no circumstances should they rely solely on witness statements. Sacco should pull himself together, he says, because the mob is waiting for them at the exit. In the US version, the monologue is translated by burned-in subtitles.
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Italian versionUS version




US 43:01 to 43:11
Ital. 40:46 to 40:55

Only in the Italian version does Sacco's wife desperately call for her son Dante and ask him to answer her. In the US version, the shouts are not heard, so it remains incomprehensible why she turns around so abruptly and looks around frantically after talking to her husband. In the US version, the cut also gives the impression that Sacco, who constantly looks back, is worried about the trial and his wife, although in this shot he was actually afraid for his son.
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Bilder Screen for orientation:




US 43:12
Ital. 40:55 to 41:02

Sacco's wife runs through the crowd looking for her son Dante. She finds him and a man helps her to bring the boy back.
-7 sec




US 45:50
Ital. 43:31

The headline of the New York Times was translated into Italian in the Italian version by means of permanently burned-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 45:53
Ital. 43:38

The governor angrily speaks of the "trial against two radicals". In the Italian version, however, he calls them "anarchists".
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Screen for orientation:




US 47:54 to 48:02
Ital. 45:33 to 45:41

The image fades over in a flashback to the view of the changing room in the factory where Sacco works. He changes his clothes. In the Italian version, Sacco's lawyer continues to argue in court. He explains that on the day of the robbery, the workers had not even been given permission to leave the factory grounds. This essential information, which calls into question the judge's later decision, is completely withheld from the viewer of the U.S. version, as only ambient sounds can be heard.
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Screen for orientation:




US 49:38
Ital. 47:11

When Sacco auditions in the flashback at the Italian consulate in South Boston and the consul tells him that the photos of his family he has submitted are too large for the entry visas, the dialogue in the US version is translated into English with burned-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 53:19
Ital. 50:42

In a flashback, we see Vanzetti setting off in the early morning to the center with his fishing and talking to neighbors and customers. In the US version, the dialogues were translated into English by means of permanently burned-in subtitles.
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Italian versionUS version




US 57:34
Ital. 54:46

The explanations of the public prosecutor in the off begin later in the US version. The content of the remarks differs from the Italian version and is less intense.
US version: "We have to face the truth. These Italy's These Polands, Puertoricans, Chileans ... It's sad to think of their supreme efforts to put down rules in a superior society. Trying to adjust to our way of life... to our way of thinking."

Italian version (translated): We must face the truth. They are uncivilized, these Italians, Greeks , Poles, Puerto Ricans, Chileans. It really hurts to see their efforts to radicalize themselves in a superior society. They try to take over our way of living and thinking.
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Screen for orientation:




US 64:46
Ital. 61:42 to 61:44

After Sacco shouted that he had fled military service to Mexico because he was an anarchist, there is a visible cut in the US version. In the Italian version, the camera lingers briefly on Sacco and in the background one hears cheering shouts from the audience. The picture cuts to prosecutor Katzman.
-2 sec




US 64:46 to 64:49
Ital. 61:44 to 61:45

When prosecutor Katzman Sacco asks what he means by his exclamation, one sees him from the front in the Italian version. In the US version, you see Sacco sitting on the witness stand instead. Katzman can only be seen from behind. The US version is slightly longer here.
2 sec


Italian versionUS version




US 70:54
Ital. 67:35 to 67:35

In the Italian version, the mounted police push the demonstrators back off the street for a few frames longer.
-1 sec




US 75:25 to 75:27
Ital. 71:55 to 71:59

In the Italian version, the vigil in front of the prison can be seen longer. The US version only sets in when the spotlight already dazzles the crowd.
-2 sec




US 76:18
Ital. 72:48

When Sacco desperately talks to himself in his cell, the US version of the monologue is translated into English by burned-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version



US 79:01
Ital. 75:27 to 77:11

The reporter and the patron of the Committee for the Rescue of Sacco and Vanzetti still look out of the window together at the demonstrators who were dispersed by the police.



Change of scene: Sacco has a visit from his wife Rosa and his son. They are allowed to talk to each other, separated by a grid. Rosa tells him that his lawyer Dr. Moore has been assisted by the lawyer Thompson. They will appeal. She herself has the hope that everything will soon be fine again. Sacco looks into her eyes and tells her how beautiful she is and how he loves her. He asks her to come even closer to the gate. He tells her that he cannot live without her. When he asks Rosa if she can remember a certain night, Rosa interrupts him and reassures him that he will soon be free. Sacco doesn't let himself be interrupted and tells her that he has to think about her all the time. The best thing about America is that they met.



Rosa answers him that everyone is impressed by the discussion he has initiated. On the radio, he says. Even the newspapers would report about it. They would distribute leaflets with the photo of Vanzetti and him. People would demonstrate. Sacco shook his head and said, "No! Rosa is startled and backs away from the bars. She wants to know from her husband what happened. Sacco asks her if Moore asked her to talk to him. Rosa is still frightened and wants to know from Sacco why he says that. Sacco is thinking. He reminds Rosa that they actually wanted to go back to Italy. And now he is in prison. He wants to know why. Rosa tries to calm him down and asks him not to say such things.



Sacco turns to his son Dante and calls him to come to him. The boy, however, stops at some distance from the bars and looks at his father motionlessly. Sacco continues to call out to him and asks him if he frightens him. The boy looks at the ground. Sacco desperately shouts at him to see if he is ashamed of his father, who is said to be a thief and murderer. Sacco gets upset and shouts at his son, who has taken refuge in his mother's arms, to leave the room. The guards seize Sacco and lead him out of the room. As he is led away, he shouts angrily that he wishes them all dead.



-104 sec


US 79:48
Ital. 77:51

When the fellow inmate notes on the newspaper that he knows who actually committed the robbery, the Italian version of the confession is translated into Italian with subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 80:02
Ital. 78:05

When Sacco screams in despair in his cell, his exclamations are translated into English in the US version by means of burnt-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 90:09
Ital. 87:46 to 87:47

The marching-up of the committee members begins somewhat earlier in the Italian version.
-1 sec




US 91:16
Ital. 88:56 to 88:58

The US version lacks the shot of the wives of Sacco and Vanzetti, who were watching the propaganda film in the hall of the committee building.
-2 sec




US 91:56
Ital. 89:36 to 89:41

The US version lacks the renewed shot of the wives of Sacco and Vanzetti, who clap and are moved to tears after the screening of the propaganda film.
-5 sec




US 110:27
Ital. 107:22 to 107:22

Vanzetti's wife Virgina runs out of the visiting room for even longer while her husband looks after her.
-1 sec




US 110:32 to 110:42
Ital. 107:29 to 107:37

Alternative material in both versions: In the US version, after Virginia's departure, Vanzetti looks stoically through the bars without further reaction before shaking his head slightly. A part of the following dialogue is superimposed on the scene to shorten the following scene. In the Italian version, he tries to follow his wife with his gaze and shows considerably more emotion. We also see how the door to the prison warden's office opens and Vanzetti, accompanied by a guard, enters the office. In spite of everything, the US version here runs a few seconds longer because of the longer shot of the stoic-looking Vanzetti.
2 sec


Italian versionUS version




US 115:28
Ital. 112:12

When Sacco reads the newspaper headline in his cell, telling him that the plea for clemency for Sacco and Vanzetti was rejected by Governor Fuller, the Italian version of the paper is translated into Italian by means of burnt-in subtitles.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 115:50
Ital. 112:34 to 113:19

After the shot of Vanzetti's in the prison cell faded, the US version lacks original footage of the street protests against the governor's decision to reject Vanzetti's plea for clemency. One can see how the police disperse the protesters and beat them with clubs. By removing this material, Joan Baez' and Ennio Morricone's song "The ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti", which is playing in the background, is significantly shortened in the US version.
-45 sec





US 115:52 to 120:25
Ital. 113:19 to 117:42

The scene block, which begins when the executioner enters the prison building and ends with Vanzetti's death in the electric chair, was shot in black and white, analogous to the raid at the beginning of the film. While the image in the Italian version is clear and sharp, in the US version it was grainy filtered to preserve the character of archive material. The inserted original footage of the protests was also filtered accordingly.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version




US 119:56
Ital. 117:12

The most significant falsification of the dubbing. While the US version has Vanzetti say "I am innocent!" to the spectators in the execution chamber, he shouts "Viva la anarchia!" in the Italian version.
No time difference

Screen for orientation:



US 120:28 to 122:30
Ital. 117:46 to 119:42

The credits differ in both versions. In the US version, the functions are shown in English, whereas in the Italian version they are shown in Italian.
No time difference


Italian versionUS version