The movie La Reine Margot's cut history is exceptionally interesting.
The movie was released to theaters in 1994 at first in France, then in Germany and finally in the US. Of course, it was released in other countries as well, but these three are especially important. The French Theatrical Version of this ambitioned movie disappointed many critics and the audience and was therefore no success. Especially the drastical violence scenes were too much for many viewers and the complex history is hard to understand by people who do not know the historical context of it.
The German Theatrical Version, which was released a few months later, was recut in some scenes and shortened in others – not because of censoring but in order to avoid the criticism the French Version received. The characters now were easier to get, but the whole story was still pretty complex. The German TV station ARD was already planning something as well. A Long Version for the TV broadcast, which was even a bit longer than the French Theatrical Version.
Miramax was responsible for the release in the US, a company that made itself a lot of enemies for cutting European and Asian movies when importing them to the states. It seemed the Weinstein brothers always thought they knew better what the movie should look like, and this was no exception. Many critics in France were horrified by the American ignorance. Besides some plot streamlining it seemed especially important that the romantic component of the movie was underlined. A scene, which was supposed to show Margot's and La Mole's love more clearly, was added. It can neither be found in the French nor in the German version.
This picture with the two in a red cape also was part of the advertising campaign in the US, whereas Margot in her blood-stained dress was used in Europe. When the focus was redirected to the love story, the violence scenes were reduced in turn. The US Theatrical Version was censored heavily.
However, some of the critics in France even preferred the US version with emphasis on the love story and less violence. The movie was then rereleased in this version in French cinemas. The company was able to make a bit more money out of it, but of course it did not become a blockbuster now.
On the French VHS and DVD, the US version was released as well, in later versions even with the note "Version inédite", which should actually symbolize the original version. In Germany, both the Theatrical Version and the Long Version (though rarely) could be seen on TV. On the other hand, only the Theatrical Version could be bought on VHS and DVD.
In the year 2007, a fifth version was released on DVD, the Director's Cut. We cannot say to what extent it differs from the original French version because the latter was never released on DVD. However, the violent scenes are featured completely. Some plot scenes are probably missing, because the running time is shorter than the one of the original version.The scene with Margot and La Mole is included as well.
In Germany, the Long Version was released on DVD in 2007. And on this DVD, the Long Version also features the scene with Margot and La Mole, although it was not originally included in this version.
This is the comparison between the Director's Cut and the Long Version on the DVD by Capelight Pictures. Some scenes are still missing in the Long Version, but they are not really relevant. Some intersting scenes are missing in the Director's Cut, especially when Margot's brothers attack her. Some other scenes that could be seen in the French Theatrical Version are missing as well.
0:00 (Alternative Scene)
The opening credits are different, but in both versions in French.
LV: 162s | DF: 130s
LV: 4:16 | DC: 3:44 (Alternative Scene)
Coconnas undresses longer in the LV, whereas in the DC he can be seen a bit longer before falling onto the bed.
LV: 7,5s | DC: 1,5s
LV: 4:41 | DC: 4:03 (Additional scene in the LV)
La Mole and Coconnas argue about which religion is the right one.
LV: 32:16 | DC: 31:00 (Alternative Scene)
Before Margot and Charlotte go through the streets in order to look for a man for Margot, Charlotte can be seen standing in the door longer. The DC shows Margot instead, but not quite as long.
LV: 5s | DC: 1s
LV: 46:38 | DC: 45:23 (Additional scene in the LV)
The captives are being taken from Henri's lodgings down the stairs.
LV: 51:04 | DC: 49:33 (Additional scene in the LV)
La Mole talks to Coligny. He tries to convince him to flee together. However, Coligny sees his doom approaching and just sends the children away with La Mole. They also briefly talk about La Mole'S father.
LV: 51:41 | DC: 49:44 (zusätzliche Szene im DC)
Coligny can be seen a bit longer due to continuity reasons.
LV: 63:49 | DC: 61:54 (Additional scene in the LV)
The camera tracks through the alley and shows more corpses.
LV: 64:50 | DC: 62:41 (Additional scene in the LV)
More shots of the mass grave.
LV: 71:53 | DC: 69:39 (Additional scene in the LV)
La Mole and Coconnas are at the grave digger's. La Mole is already on his feet again, but Coconnas is still unconscious. La Mole wants to leave and kisses Coconnas on his forehead when he wakes up and wonders why he sees La Mole again.
LV: 74:00 | DC: 70:58 (Additional scene in the LV)
La Mole arrives in Amsterdam to meet the Huguenots, who are planning an uprising.
LV: 77:29 | DC: 74:12 (Alternative Scene)
Due to continuity reasons, a different shot of Catherine at the psychic can be seen, In the DC, she leaves, whereas she stays in the Long Version.
LV: 8,s | DC: 5,5s
LV: 77:37 | DC: 74:18 (Additional scene in the LV)
The psychic confirms again that Henri will live and reign. Cathrine says "Never". When the psychic says that Jesus also had survived although Herodes had all the jewish children killed, Cathrine notices the book about falconry, which the psychic bought from La Mole.
Afterwards, Cathrine can be seen with her favorite son Anjoa, who is angry because he is supposed to go the Poland, although he'd rather stay at the court. He says his mother was intrigating and planning not to make him king while he was away. She calms him down by saying that she wants him to reign.
LV: 83:57 | DC: 78:56 (Additional scene in the LV)
Henri kisses Charlotte between her legs.
LV: 87:09 | DC: 81:51 (Additional scene in the LV)
Henri is sad after Charlotte died. Margot tries to comfort him, the LV shows more of that.
LV: 90:45 | DC: 85:04 (Additional scene in the LV)
Coconnas' wounds have healed and he is fooling around with Henriette, Margot's friend, in bed. To La Mole's surprise, he is now living with her. Henriette does not seem to be that happy about the relationship though. Obviously, he is only interested in her body.
LV: 93:00 | DC: 86:49 (Additional scene in the LV)
Coconnas is cooking something for La Mole. When he talks about the massacre, he says that the others in the Louvre would forget it soon, but he will not. (Due to continuity reasons, the LV features a shot which is longer by 0,5s.)
LV: 102:07 | DC: 95:30 (Additional scene in the LV)
Charles can be seen hunting again. He is obviously having fun.
LV: 114:22 | DC: 107:29 (zusätzliche Szene im DC)
Margot is lying on the ground longer, La Mole is sitting next to her.
LV: 124:29 | DC: 117:41 (Additional scene in the LV)
Charles is talking badly about his brother Anjou, who is now king of Poland. Jestingly, he offers Navarre to his other brother Alencon, because Henri does not need it anymore, being Charles' best friend.
LV: 125:02 | DC: 118:02 (Additional scene in the LV)
Margot is walking through the crowd longer, Anjou notices her.
LV: 125:36 | DC: 118:27 (Additional scene in the LV)
Anjou is talking to Henri longer.
LV: 126:14 | DC: 119:02 (Additional scene in the LV)
Guise is dragging Margot longer into the other room.
LV: 126:18 | DC: 119:03 (Additional scene in the LV)
After Anjou pulled his siter into the other room, Guise says that this was his (Anjou) last evening and that he was now doing what he wants.
LV: 126:34 | DC: 119:14 (Additional scene in the LV)
Margot is being dragged around longer. Alencon alludes that her brother Charles is having sex with her.
LV: 126:46 | DC: 119:24 (Additional scene in the LV)
Anjou and Alencon drag her sister Margot around because they want to see her scar, especially bitemarks she got from men during intercourse, one of them Anjou. Nancay pulling Charles away from Margot cannot be seen in the DC.
LV: 127:04 | DC: 119:36 (Additional scene in the LV)
Guise, auch ein ehemaliger Geliebter, packt sie und ruft "Auf die Knie. Zwingt sie auf die Knie".
LV: 127:18 | DC: 119:44 (Additional scene in the LV)
Margot's statement that sex with La Mole was not sin but an act of faith was removed.
LV: 127:36 | DC: 119:54 (Additional scene in the LV)
Whereas it looks in the DC as if Anjou and Alencon would only drag their sister around, the LV shows that Anjou actually wants to rape her while Guise and Alencon are holding her. Margot tries to defend herself and insults her brothers.
When Anjou violently enters Margot, she is moaning with pain. In the same moment, Charles get's a stroke and falls to the ground.
LV: 140:27 | DC: 132:16 (Additional scene in the LV)
When La Mole and Coconna are getting caught by Guise's men, a scene is missing in which La Mole gets the chance to duel his father's murderer.
LV: 147:10 | DC: 137:19 (Additional scene in the LV)
Nancay tells Cathrine that Anjou is not far away.
LV: 158:43 | DC: 148:30 (Additional scene in the DC)
La Mole's head can be seen clearer.