A comprehensive catalogue of perversions
My full comparison between the Severin Films DVD release of Perversion Story, culled from a French print, and my VHS dupe, sourced from a US print, is now available to be viewed here. I suppose it goes without saying that this document is riddled with SPOILERS. The results are, as they say, quite eye-opening. In total, the Severin DVD includes 4 minutes and 29 seconds of footage not found on the VHS dupe, but at the same time is missing 10 minutes and 11 seconds that can be found on the VHS dupe (give or take a few seconds here and there due to missing frames, slightly more abrupt scene transitions, and my own fallibility).
Again, I must reiterate that I’m somewhat disappointed that Severin elected to go with this sexed-up French cut rather than the more narrative-driven English variant. Both cuts are, I suppose, legitimate, and without access to the 99-minute Italian version (which may, in fact, contain yet more material not found in either English or French prints), it’s really difficult to get an overall impression of Fulci’s intentions. That said, I really struggle to imagine him intending to throw away the material between Jean Sorel and Elsa Martinelli, the dogged investigation of Inspector Wald (John Ireland), the growing despair of the crucial character of Benjamin (Riccardo Cucciolla), or Arthur’s (George Rigaud) summation of the truth behind the supposed death of Susan Dumurrier. The French cut has its merits, but few if any of the additional scenes and scene extensions that it includes are particularly relevant to the narrative. In comparison, the narrative moments lost in the French cut give it a more fractured feel, at times making it more difficult to follow the mystery.
Personally, I’d like to hear from someone at Severin Films to get some idea of why the French cut was selected for release. Was it the only version available to them? Or did they purposefully elect to discard narrative coherence in favour of sex?