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Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street: 123 minute director's cut rediscovered

The director's cut of Samuel Fuller's contribution to the German crime series "TATORT" - Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street - has recently been rediscovered as part of the artist's estate. This 123 minute version of the movie features many additional scenes in comparison to the already known European versions (98 resp. 86 minutes).

Press photo of the US movie version: Actor in carnival costume.

In December 2011 the Munich film maker and DVD producer Rober Fischer examined a 16 mm copy of Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street in Los Angeles, together with Sam's widow Christa Fuller, their daughter Samantha and film historian Janet Bergstrom. Already the opening credits, showing all actors and crew members in carnival costumes, revealed the rediscovery of a little treasure to the attendees. At the end of the movie they knew for certain that they had just seen the 123 minute director's cut of the movie.

"This is the version that Sam Fuller regarded as the only valid one", Fischer states. "All other versions are based on this one and constitute rough abridgements, lacking a lot of Sam's ingenious concept which blasts the conventional crime movie genre. Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street is great postmodern cinema; as straightforward, ambitious and revolutionary as the best of its director and far ahead of its time. This original version has only been screened in a few American cinemas at the end of 1973 and was virtually considered lost afterwards. In Europe, this version has never been screened."

Masquerade in the opening credits: Christa Lang
Actor Anton Diffring
Director of photography Jerzy Lipman
Writer and director Samuel Fuller
Additional scene: Spindell with Sandy
Scene in a soccer stadium
Embedded film still with Humphrey Bogart
Kressin meets a girl friend

The good news continue: By now, Fischer has been able to locate a pristine 35 mm copy of this long version in a Los Angeles film archive. A DVD and Blu-ray release hopefully remains a matter of time only. For this purpose Fischer has plans to produce a documentary addressing the background of this extraordinary movie. Christa Fuller-Lang, Hans C. Blumenberg and Joachim von Mengershausen have already been approached as possible participants for this documentary.

In 2003, the US label Fantoma had already announced a DVD release of 'Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street', which has never been realized though. It remains vague which version of the movie they intended to release. That Fantoma release would have included an audio commentary by Christa Fuller-Lang and behind-the-scenes stills. The screenshots pictured above origin from the newly rediscovered 16 mm copy. Thanks to Christa Fuller-Lang and Robert Fischer for the permission to publish them.

Movie poster USA
Movie poster Colombia
intended DVD-Cover 2003
Timo Bredehöft


- Fischer, R.: Fiction Factory. http://www.fictionfactoryfilm.de/

- Fuller, S.; Lang Fuller, C.; Rudes, J. H.: A Third Face. My Tale of Writing, Fighting and Filmmaking. Knopf, New York 2002.


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