Nattevagten (1994) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film is a rather unusual piece of cinema trivia. The director, Ole Bornedal, made two nearly-identical movies with the same title only two years apart. The only significant difference was that the second version was in English, the first in Danish.

This is the first (Danish) version, the second is called Nightwatch. Read the review of Nightwatch for a basic summary, since they are essentially the same movie. 

The comparison:

1. Several scenes are shot-for-shot, line-for-line, identical. An example would be the lengthy scene between the outgoing night watchman and the new night watchman, or the scene where the night watchman's girlfriend stumbles on the hooker's murder scene.

2. Several other scenes are the same line-by-line, but have been re-shot to alter the nudity or Danish references.

a. One scene in Nattevagten involved two guys making a bet involving a sort of high-level game of Truth or Dare, in which the first guy to refuse a challenge would have to marry his girlfriend. The first challenge took place in a bar, followed by an outdoor scene in which the friends discussed the masturbatory habits of "Hands" Christian Andersen. The English language remake replaced the outdoor scene with a discussion in a car, in which no masturbatory habits were discussed, Danish or otherwise.

b. Another scene in Nattevagten involved male and female full-frontal nudity. This was replaced with a fully-dressed version with the same dialogue.

c. However, Ewan McGregor did do frontal nudity in a bathtub scene. That scene was in the Danish version, but without the light saber. 


Sofie Grabol showed her buns and her pubic area in a bedroom scene. Her breasts were visible underneath a semi-transparent nightie.

Mika Heilmann was naked as a corpse, including a frontal

Rikke Louise Andersson was naked from behind. Her character was dead at the time.

Nicolaj Waldau did a full-frontal scene in bed, talking with Grabol.

 3. Two scenes were cut in the shorter English-language version. 

a. The young watchman and his girlfriend make love in the morgue. This curious scene was essential for the development of a plot element including his semen. (The real murderer framed him, but knew that he did not place that sperm there, therefore ...... )

b. The Danish movie ends with a double wedding. This scene was cut entirely from the English version.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Nice transfer, but no meaningful features

DVD info - English version.

  • 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, also with no significant features

4. On balance, the sets are a little brighter and more clinical in the Danish version, grungier in the English version.

And that's about it for the differences. There are long stretches where the English sub-titles in the Danish version are identical to the English script, verbatim.

I guess that remaking the film seemed like a good idea at the time. No less a film luminary than Steven Soderbergh worked on the revised English screenplay. The remake languished in the can for two years before they released it, so I guess the idea didn't seem as good after they actually did it. 

Frankly, I like the Danish version with English subtitles better than the English version. It's kinkier, more charming, more natural. 

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Solid genre picture. Reading the sub-titles doesn't seem to detract from the flow of the film.

Return to the Movie House home page