Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

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aox
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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#101 Post by aox » Tue May 31, 2011 10:52 am

Thanks, Peacock. :cheers

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#102 Post by Lighthouse » Tue May 31, 2011 4:43 pm

aox wrote:Just a quick question, and not to stick my toes into this heated debate, but out of the two cuts presented on the new R1 BD, which one is closest to the proper cut and the one to show classes/or people who haven't seen the film?

It surely is a debate, but not a heated one.
Peacock wrote:Leone created the Italian cut, then a few months later trimmed some little bits for pacing reasons and released the Theatrical Cut included on this disk. The 'Restored' cut takes a few seconds of the shots/extensions of shots, exclusive to the Italian cut, the bits Scorsese thought were more important to keep in, and created a sort of hybrid between the Italian cut, and Leone's final cut - the Theatrical version. Why... remains a mystery.
But yeah, the theatrical cut therefore is the one worth seeing.
Where did you get this information from that Leone trimmed the Italian cut and presented a few months later an international cut? I never found in any of the books I have read something like this.


Here's btw a link which shows very detailed (and with screen-shots) all the differences between the long Italian version and the English version on the Paramount disc:

http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=4208" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nothing really spectacular in it, nothing really necessary, but worth viewing for people who have watched the film more than once. Some alternate shots, one short shot missing (at 2:30:15) and the only piece which brings something new at 1:25:24 with a lenght of 38 sec.

And I for my part would choose of course the restored version as it is basically the same as the other version on the DVD, but seems to add a few of the missing sec of the first scene.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#103 Post by feihong » Tue May 31, 2011 6:27 pm

Lighthouse wrote:The film starts with 3 men waiting for more than 10 min at a railway station for a train. With the train comes a 4th man who shoots these 3 down, but is himself gunned down in a way that we must assume all 4 are dead. This is followed directly by another long scene which introduces McBain and his 3 children, who all got killed at the end of the scene. And the only thing that connects these 2 scenes is a name.
Then another rough cut and another long scene starts which introduces Jill and later in the desert store Cheyenne, and then now nearly 25 min after the first shoot-out it is revealed in a magnificent way that Harmonica is still alive.
And this magnificent scene when the creepy harmonica music comes from the shadows, and Harmonica is then brought into light by the swung lamp, this magnificent scene is much more brilliant if haven't seen Harmonica rising, and we were for 25 irritated what really had happened at the end of the first scene. And I don't need any more for an explanation than the short glimpse of Cheyenne at the bullet hole in Harmonica's clothes.
I've been watching the restored version for too long, I guess, and I didn't think of how interesting it is without Harmonica recovering from the gunshot wounds. His reappearance, as Lighthouse describes it, is not only surprising, it takes the narrative into mythological territory. Because then when he reappears in the tavern, we have seen him die already, and then appear again out of the dark, like a phantom. Then his role is recast as a mythological character; he becomes a supernatural force of story, instead of a character crying out for psychological explanation. If Harmonica is in fact an "avenging angel," then the intensely arbitrary way he moves through the film, advancing plot as he sees fit, directing the principal characters and providing them motivation, has tremendous resonance.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#104 Post by Lighthouse » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:58 am

No, no, no, what I have written has nothing to do with this strange idea that Harmonica is "in fact a ghost", which he ain't imo.
I can understand that his phantom like appearances can lead some people to interprete the film that way, but the mere fact that he got wounded is reason enough for me that I never cared for this theory, and OUTW is too earthy as a film to have a ghost as protagonist.
Frankly said of all the different people with whom I watched OUTW in the last 30 years, there was never one who had thought that Harmonica is a ghost, phantom, an avenger resurrected from the dead or whatever.
But it is still an interesting discussion.

But the idea is not that he got killed in the first scene, but that the audience is for a long time irritated what had happened in that first scene, and what function it has for the rest of the film, and for its story, which slowly begins to develop in the first 40 min.

To skip the Rising scene is narratively brilliant, but is hasn't any importance for the film's content for me.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#105 Post by Nothing » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:12 am

Lighthouse wrote:Where did you get this information from that Leone trimmed the Italian cut and presented a few months later an international cut? I never found in any of the books I have read something like this.
Christopher Frayling made the argument online shortly prior to the US DVD release (there may possibly be some mention of this on DVD Savant's website). Back in 2002-3, there was some pressure to restore the additional material from the Italian cut, which had already been released on DVD in Italy - similar to the dreadful 'restored' version of TGTBATU - but Frayling wisely vetoed the idea. His view was perhaps controversial at the time (as the article you link to demonstrates), but once one gets over the idea that longer automaticaly = better, it really is the logical explanation. We know that Leone was still working on the film during those five months, supervising the English dub and delivering the final version of the film to Paramount (Leone may be Italian but this was an American studio funded picture at the end of the day). Most directors in a situation like that would be tempted to make a few small tweaks and trims - whereas there would be no commercial reason for making such a small adjustment to the running time. And ultimately the most convincing evidence - as that 'censorship' article ironically demonstrates - is that all of the trims work to tighten the film in a positive manner (the reason, one assumes, that Scorsese and. Co. ultimately decided to leave most of this extra footage on the cutting room floor for their restoration).

Having said all this, I too would have prefered to see the full Italian Version on the BD in place of the so-called 'Restored Version', simply for completeness sake, although it's really a minor oversight.
feihong wrote:when he reappears in the tavern, we have seen him die already, and then appear again out of the dark, like a phantom. Then his role is recast as a mythological character; he becomes a supernatural force of story, instead of a character crying out for psychological explanation.
If this was Leone's intention, he wouldn't have shot the scene included in the international cut of the film (or scripted the longer scene this was designed to replace).

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#106 Post by Lighthouse » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:36 pm

Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:Where did you get this information from that Leone trimmed the Italian cut and presented a few months later an international cut? I never found in any of the books I have read something like this.
Christopher Frayling made the argument online shortly prior to the US DVD release (there may possibly be some mention of this on DVD Savant's website). Back in 2002-3, there was some pressure to restore the additional material from the Italian cut, which had already been released on DVD in Italy - similar to the dreadful 'restored' version of TGTBATU - but Frayling wisely vetoed the idea. His view was perhaps controversial at the time (as the article you link to demonstrates), but once one gets over the idea that longer automaticaly = better, it really is the logical explanation. We know that Leone was still working on the film during those five months, supervising the English dub and delivering the final version of the film to Paramount (Leone may be Italian but this was an American studio funded picture at the end of the day). Most directors in a situation like that would be tempted to make a few small tweaks and trims - whereas there would be no commercial reason for making such a small adjustment to the running time. And ultimately the most convincing evidence - as that 'censorship' article ironically demonstrates - is that all of the trims work to tighten the film in a positive manner (the reason, one assumes, that Scorsese and. Co. ultimately decided to leave most of this extra footage on the cutting room floor for their restoration).
Don't misunderstand me.
I don't want this long version to replace the shorter version. I don't think that this long version is better than the short one. So I only would like to have it as bonus on a DVD or BR, but still I think the 165 min version should remain the main version.

I also don't think that longer is always better.
Well sometimes is, sometimes is not. It depends and will in the end remain a matter of taste. Related to Leone e.g. I would kick out the cave scene from The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, but I think to restore the final flashback to Giu la testa was a good idea (even if the film suffers from already being too long).

But I want the 68 sec back in the OuTW, because they belong there imo, and I want the Rising scene out, because I don't think it belongs there. And because of the reasons I mentioned in my above posts.
That's the perfect version for me, and it is in fact about 25 sec shorter than the Paramount DVD.

And I think (but I'm not absolutely sure) that this is the original Italian release version, and as I never have heard any complaints about this version, it is imo the real DC. If Leone really had himself cut the English version for whatever reasons, the Italian version is still the one to go for.
And I don't like the idea that this obscure alternative 177 min version has in Italy substituted the theatrical version.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#107 Post by Nothing » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:51 pm

Lighthouse wrote:But I want the 68 sec back in the OuTW, because they belong there imo, and I want the Rising scene out, because I don't think it belongs there.
Which 68s, though? And it is odd, don't you think, that this European variant has never turned up on home video, not in Italy or anywhere else. If someone could produce a video copy of any kind it would go a long way to backing up the story (although the May '69 US premiere / UK theatrical version is still the final director's cut, imho). I mean, I suspect this version DID exist, as you say - because Scorsese was also adamant at one point that the 'Rising scene' shouldn't be included - and yet he, and the Restoration Team, ultimately left the scene intact, which says something I think. This scene comes at the beginning of a reel, if I recall; isn't it possible that it just got cut out of some of the prints by accident?

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#108 Post by Lighthouse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:12 am

Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:But I want the 68 sec back in the OuTW, because they belong there imo, and I want the Rising scene out, because I don't think it belongs there.
Which 68s, though? And it is odd, don't you think, that this European variant has never turned up on home video, not in Italy or anywhere else. If someone could produce a video copy of any kind it would go a long way to backing up the story (although the May '69 US premiere / UK theatrical version is still the final director's cut, imho). I mean, I suspect this version DID exist, as you say - because Scorsese was also adamant at one point that the 'Rising scene' shouldn't be included - and yet he, and the Restoration Team, ultimately left the scene intact, which says something I think. This scene comes at the beginning of a reel, if I recall; isn't it possible that it just got cut out of some of the prints by accident?
No, no accident. I have said it all in my above posts, but now again.

The German theatrical version runs 68 sec longer for the first scene (the long Italian version adds another 32 sec), and it never included the Rising scene. Instead there is a direct cut after the shoot-out to the shotgun of McBain which then blazes.And I like this cut, which correspondends with the cut from Frank's shooting pistol to the screaming of the incoming train between scene 2 and 3. This German version was released several times on VHS and is still shown on German TV (but since 1998 alternating with a dubbed German version of the long version). I have retained an older TV recording.
And this Rising scene was also never included in the French and Italian version shown in cinema, TV or on VHS up to the mid 90s when this alternative long version surfaced. Here's another quote from the Sergio Leone Web Board:

Question: So does anyone know, whether the 175 (actually 177) minute version was the one that premiered in Italy in 1968 or not?
Answer from an Italian member: No, the CVC is the 1990-92 restoration by Claver Salizzato. In addition it has at least Harmonica raising after the gunfight at Cattle Corner. Not sure about other scenes.

Which indicates that this Italian member had also never seen this scene before, just like the Italian member and a French fan I mentioned in an earlier post. Ohh, and there seems to be an article in a magazine called Video Watchdog, which gives a probably detailed overview why this scene shouldn't be in.

So far I think that this short scene was most likely only used in the English version (and then in the long version). And I assume that all the other European versions also included the 68 sec for the first scene. But that I don't know for sure.

The problem is still that there is a lot of assuming. For example the given runtimes for the Italian theatrical version in several books about Leone are not identical. So I know a lot about the German version, and have read several things about other language versions, and it is still an unfinished puzzle. Many people claim things, which are more assuming than knowing. I think the long version is labelled by many as DC only because it is a restored version and it is a longer version (every longer version of any film seems to become automatically the DC in the eyes of many).

Well, if Scorsese's aim was really to restore the original European version, I really would like to know for what reasons he kept the Rising scene.
Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:Where did you get this information from that Leone trimmed the Italian cut and presented a few months later an international cut? I never found in any of the books I have read something like this.
Christopher Frayling made the argument online shortly prior to the US DVD release (there may possibly be some mention of this on DVD Savant's website). Back in 2002-3, there was some pressure to restore the additional material from the Italian cut, which had already been released on DVD in Italy - similar to the dreadful 'restored' version of TGTBATU - but Frayling wisely vetoed the idea. His view was perhaps controversial at the time (as the article you link to demonstrates), but once one gets over the idea that longer automaticaly = better, it really is the logical explanation. We know that Leone was still working on the film during those five months, supervising the English dub and delivering the final version of the film to Paramount (Leone may be Italian but this was an American studio funded picture at the end of the day). Most directors in a situation like that would be tempted to make a few small tweaks and trims - whereas there would be no commercial reason for making such a small adjustment to the running time. And ultimately the most convincing evidence - as that 'censorship' article ironically demonstrates - is that all of the trims work to tighten the film in a positive manner (the reason, one assumes, that Scorsese and. Co. ultimately decided to leave most of this extra footage on the cutting room floor for their restoration).
I have also thought a little bit more about this. If Leone had really done some more fine cutting after the Italian release, then why he hadn't released this "superior" version also in Germany and France?

I agree with you that the 165 min versions are tighter and slightly better paced than the 177 min version. The additional sec to many scenes mostly only make the film longer. But I don't agree about this for the first scene. The mentioned missing 68 sec don't make the first scene tighter, but only shorter imo. And there is no more "mugging" of Elam, but the majority of the added bits shows us more from Strode and Mulloch. In this case I would even prefer the long version to the Paramount version (100 sec longer) All in all I still assume that the explanation for these missing 68 sec is that they were only cut out for the English version to make this long scene faster (maybe for a probably impatient audience).

And don't you think that the film is more daring and narratively more intelligent without the Rising scene?

In his Spaghetti Westerns book Frayling assumes that "It was filmed in the first place, probably because Leone had not yet decided how to strike a balance between making the story too obvious or too elliptical for his audience." My guess, too.
Last edited by Lighthouse on Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#109 Post by Nothing » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:28 am

Lighthouse wrote:I still assume that the explanation for these missing 68 sec is that they were only cut out for the English version to make this long scene faster (maybe for a probably impatient audience).
But you're basing this on what? There's no evidence anywhere to suggest that Leone didn't have full creative control over the final 165m cut of the film.
Lighthouse wrote:And don't you think that the film is more daring and narratively more intelligent without the Rising scene?
No, not really...
Lighthouse wrote:If Leone had really done some more fine cutting after the Italian release, then why he hadn't released this "superior" version also in Germany and France?
Well, firstly, we've still seen no tangible evidence online (eg. VHS excerpts/scan of the box with the running time, etc) that this alternate European version exists. But assuming that it does, the answer would be quite simple:

The film was funded by Paramount, it was an American studio picture with American actors, so the English language version of the film would have been considered the definitive version by the producers - and, as such, it is hard to believe that Leone would not have been involved. One presumes that the English language dialogue, featuring Fonda, Bronson, Robards, et al. would have been recorded and edited between Dec '68 and May '69 - and again it's very hard to believe that Leone wasn't party to this, including also the titling, which is fancier on the English version than the Italian version (and, of course, the titling occurs over the opening scene, which is where you're saying the 68s comes from, no?)... Resulting in the final English language version that premiered in May '69. In other European territories, on the other hand, France and Germany included, the film would have been dubbed and re-titled simultaneously and without the input of the original actors - and almost certainly without Leone's input either (it would be extremely unusual for a director to be involved in local versioning for foreign markets). So, to keep to their schedule, it's quite possible, indeed probable, that most if not all of the non-English language dubs of the film were based on the earlier Italian cut, whilst Leone was still tightening up the final director's cut of the film for the US.
Lighthouse wrote:Well, if Scorsese's aim was really to restore the original European version, I really would like to know for what reasons he kept the Rising scene.
Agreed on this. It is a pity that no extras pertaining to the restoration were included on the BD.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#110 Post by Lighthouse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:15 pm

Even if Paramount gave money, and got for this the rights to release the film internationally (the German distibutor is also Paramount), it is an Italian production, produced by Leone's own company, written in Italian by Italians and in all books an Itlian only film. Unlike the first 2 dollar films which are oficially co-productions between Italy, Spain and Germany.
And for that it is the Italain version which counts, and that one did not include the Rising scene.

Here's just another quote about the Rising being no part of the Italian version, again from an Italian from the Sergio Leone Web Board, and from today:

"Can't help thinking about an old Leone interview in Diego Gabutti's "C'era una volta in America" (page 37) , when he talks about OUTITW: "People very often ask me whether my personal print of the movie contains scenes which had not been added in the final theatrical release" he said grinning "You see? It's like everybody wants me to add a little piece to it..!"

But I think the definite answer about missing scenes in OUTITW is in Franco Ferrini's book "L'antiwestern e il caso Leone" published in 1971. There is a part of an interview with Leone dedicated to cuts and missing scenes of all his westerns, and concerning OUTITW Leone says (page 42): "The scene with the laundry owner's wife and the sheriff is missing, another one in the barbershop, which was particularly funny" The interviewer then asks about the massacre scene (Morton's train) and Leone says: "No, that one I left out on purpose, it was more important to show the result rather than how it happened".

On page 43 Ferrini writes: "It should be kept in mind that Leone's personal print is slightly longer than the theatrical release. It has two scenes which were not added. The first one showing Harmonica rising after being wounded at the train station. This scene was not in the original script and we publish now the description based on Leone's personal print. The second one is about Brett McBains hunting scene with his son Timmy; it's much longer and detailed compared to the commercial release.

As Ferrini had access to Leone's personal copy of the movie, I guess it is reliable. Incidentally, the book contains the original full script for DYS, as well as the script of the missing footage of OUTITW."
Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:If Leone had really done some more fine cutting after the Italian release, then why he hadn't released this "superior" version also in Germany and France?
Well, firstly, we've still seen no tangible evidence online (eg. VHS excerpts/scan of the box with the running time, etc) that this alternate European version exists.
Believe me, these versions exist.
Nothing wrote:But assuming that it does, the answer would be quite simple:

The film was funded by Paramount, it was an American studio picture with American actors, so the English language version of the film would have been considered the definitive version by the producers - and, as such, it is hard to believe that Leone would not have been involved. One presumes that the English language dialogue, featuring Fonda, Bronson, Robards, et al. would have been recorded and edited between Dec '68 and May '69 - and again it's very hard to believe that Leone wasn't party to this, including also the titling, which is fancier on the English version than the Italian version (and, of course, the titling occurs over the opening scene, which is where you're saying the 68s comes from, no?)... Resulting in the final English language version that premiered in May '69. In other European territories, on the other hand, France and Germany included, the film would have been dubbed and re-titled simultaneously and without the input of the original actors - and almost certainly without Leone's input either (it would be extremely unusual for a director to be involved in local versioning for foreign markets). So, to keep to their schedule, it's quite possible, indeed probable, that most if not all of the non-English language dubs of the film were based on the earlier Italian cut, whilst Leone was still tightening up the final director's cut of the film for the US.
And for me it is still hard to imagine that Leone made a "superior" version, but didn't care to release this "superior" version in his home country and other important European countries Especially as OUTW was released there after it was released in the US and in the UK. I still think that there was only one version from which all shorter versions were derived.

What if the 1st scene was simply made shorter for the 144 min version, and the Rising scene was exclusively added for this short version, and later when the 165 min version was restored they simply kept the Rising scene, only because it was there, and they simply forgot to restore the first scene?

But we are both now only speculating. And if Leone cared so much for the English release, why was it in the nedbutchered

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#111 Post by Nothing » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:01 am

Lighthouse wrote:it is an Italian production, produced by Leone's own company, written in Italian by Italians and in all books an Itlian only film... it is the Italain version which counts
By this rationale, we should reject the US BD entirely, since it doesn't include the Italian audio track...

Whereas, imho, the film was financed by Paramount and that makes it a studio picture, whether or not Leone produced most of the film in Italy, and it is of course also set in the United States, and I therefore see Mickey Knox's dialogue and the voice performances of Fonda, Robards and Bronson as an integral element - from which it logically follows that the 165m English language version that premiered in 1969 is the final cut.
Lighthouse wrote:for me it is still hard to imagine that Leone made a "superior" verision, but didn't care to release this "superior" version in his home country and other important European countries Especially as OUTW was released there after it was released in the US and in the UK. I still think that there was only one version from which all shorter versions were derived.
The film had already been released in Italy, so what was he supposed to do? And, as I already pointed out, it takes time to dub and re-title a film, and a director is rarely involved in foreign versioning, so it's not at all unlikely that the French and German versions would have followe the earlier Italian cut. As for this:
Lighthouse wrote:What if the 1st scene was simply made shorter for the 144 min version, and the Rising scene was exclusively added for this short version, and later when the 165 min version was restored they simply kept the Rising scene, only because it was there, and they simply forgot to restore the first scene?
I've seen an archived UK release print (the shortened 144m cut was never shown outside the US) and it is identical to the current version, so no... And in any case, this quote that you unearthed surely settles it:
Ferrini wrote:Leone's personal print [shows] Harmonica rising after being wounded at the train station
Presumably this settled it for Scorsese and Co. too.
Lighthouse wrote:The scene with the laundry owner's wife and the sheriff is missing, another one in the barbershop, which was particularly funny... [Morton killing Frank's men] I left out on purpose, it was more important to show the result rather than how it happened.
In Frayling's Something to Do With Death, he explains that these two scenes had been shot but that Leone cut these and other scenes from the script midshoot - and transferred key dialogue into scenes that were yet to be shot - as he was afraid that the film was going to play too long. Imho, if there is one major flaw in the film it is the structural problems that resulted from this last-minute tinkering, although some good things did also result (Cheyenne's "whittling on a piece of wood" line originated from the barbershop scene, apparently).
Last edited by Nothing on Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#112 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:35 am

I know that these scenes were never part of any version, but only written in the script, and partly shot. And I'm glad that none of these further 8 scenes (as described extensively and with dialogues in Fraylings Spaghetti Westerns books) never made it the final cut.
Except for the one with Fonda in the barber shop. This one I imagine to be a great scene. And I would love to having it made in the film.
Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:it is an Italian production, produced by Leone's own company, written in Italian by Italians and in all books an Itlian only film... it is the Italain version which counts
By this rationale, we should reject the US BD entirely, since it doesn't include the Italian audio track...

Whereas, imho, the film was financed by Paramount and that makes it a studio picture, whether or not Leone produced most of the film in Italy, and it is of course also set in the United States, and I therefore see Mickey Knox's dialogue and the voice performances of Fonda, Robards and Bronson as an integral element - from which it logically follows that the 165m English language version that premiered in 1965 is the final cut.
That's your opinion, surely not mine. And I think that the Italians will have also a very different view of it. ;)

The BR is not useles for people who watch OUTW always in English, and the differenes between the three 165 min versions we now have are, as I said in my first post, not that great, at least they do not harm the film considerably. (Still the Rising scene is a very disapointing addition for me).
But that the Paramount versions don't have the Italian audio is indeed a great loss for me. I have most of the other Spaghetti Westerns (and there are more of them which very good) on my DVDs with Italian audio and subs translated from the Italian version (which is often enough very different from the German dub), and I often watch them in Italian with subs. Even if it seems a bit strange at the beginning to watch a film set in the west in Italian. But I'm used to watch weterns in German anyway.
Lighthouse wrote:for me it is still hard to imagine that Leone made a "superior" verision, but didn't care to release this "superior" version in his home country and other important European countries Especially as OUTW was released there after it was released in the US and in the UK. I still think that there was only one version from which all shorter versions were derived.
The film had already been released in Italy, so what was he supposed to do? And, as I already pointed out, it takes time to dub and re-title a film, and a director is rarely involved in foreign versioning, so it's not at all unlikely that the French and German versions would have followe the earlier Italian cut. As for this:
Lighthouse wrote:What if the 1st scene was simply made shorter for the 144 min version, and the Rising scene was exclusively added for this short version, and later when the 165 min version was restored they simply kept the Rising scene, only because it was there, and they simply forgot to restore the first scene?
I've seen an archived UK release print (the shortened 144m cut was never shown outside the US) and it is identical to the current version, so no...
According to all my books the UK version was also cut down to 144 min.

At the moment I still assume that the only differences between the original Italian release version (apart form the different score for the last min) are the missing 68 sec in the first scene and the adding of the Rising scene.

Whoever made this, for whatever reasons, and at whatever time, and even if Leone had made it himself, it has the smell of making a difficult film (slightly) more accessible for a supposedly less patient audience.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#113 Post by Nothing » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:13 am

Lighthouse wrote:That's your opinion, surely not mine. And I think that the Italians will have also a very different view of it. ;)
And yet 'the Italians' were involved in the restoration and they don't seem to be complaining (the restored version is still closest to the final English language cut, and the titles and soundtrack are in English). Anyway, since they didn't finance the picture they really don't have a leg to stand on... And this is what differentiates OUATITW from 'most other Spaghetti Westerns', which were mostly cheap knock-offs made for the Italian market, without major American stars. And then on Duck You Sucker! we have Rod Steiger insisting that the (English) dialogue be recorded direct on set. I don't think there's any serious disagreement about any of Leone's last three films being English language (just as, say, Lars von Trier shoots his films in English to work with American actors and reach a larger audience today).
Lighthouse wrote:it has the smell of making a difficult film (slightly) more accessible for a supposedly less patient audience.
Here we go again... The 144m cut was an (unsuccessful) attempt to make the film more accessible, or at least to crowbar in more showings in a day, but there's nothing to suggest any tampering with the final 165m US premiere version.
Lighthouse wrote:According to all my books the UK version was also cut down to 144 min.
No. I sense this may open up a whole new can of worms, but the 1969 UK release version was 167m6s in length, as was the 1982 re-release. The 2000 re-issue was 165m12s. However, I'm positive that before 2000 I more than once saw a print with an AA Certificate at the head and there was no variation whatsoever... My suggestion is that this additional length may possibly relate to music running on over black after the end credits, which I do also seem to recall from these earlier screenings. I wonder if someone at the BFI could look at one of these olders prints and check (I believe they have at least one in their archive...)

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#114 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:57 am

Are you from England? At least Frayling (a Brit) gives in all his books the UK runtime with 145 min?

These runtimes are quite interesting, but I think the release version in the UK was still the cut one. In his book of 1981 Frayling mentions the scenes as cut out.

The longer runtimes may indeed come from music over black screen. The Italian runtimes are also given in different books with 167 or 168 min, but I read never anything about additional material. Sometimes there is an intermission with intermission music which is then also counted. The runtime for My Name is Nobody is also given with 118 min, but all the DVDs which are (supposed to be) uncut are only 116 min. At least runtimes of Italian films are are often very tricky. You never can be sure.
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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#115 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:36 pm

Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:That's your opinion, surely not mine. And I think that the Italians will have also a very different view of it.
And yet 'the Italians' were involved in the restoration and they don't seem to be complaining (the restored version is still closest to the final English language cut, and the titles and soundtrack are in English). Anyway, since they didn't finance the picture they really don't have a leg to stand on... And this is what differentiates OUATITW from 'most other Spaghetti Westerns', which were mostly cheap knock-offs made for the Italian market, without major American stars. And then on Duck You Sucker! we have Rod Steiger insisting that the (English) dialogue be recorded direct on set. I don't think there's any serious disagreement about any of Leone's last three films being English language (just as, say, Lars von Trier shoots his films in English to work with American actors and reach a larger audience today).
I don't think so. There also German films which were shot in English to make them more accessible for the english market, but they are still German films. and are the James Bond films now no longer British because UA or meanwhile MGM gave the money?
Apart from Steiger's scenes, maybe nothing in Giu la testa was shot with sound.

The Italians dubbed their films no matter who acted in them. Even Italian actors were often dubbed by others for the Italian language versions. (Franco Nero for example)

I don't see any reasons that Leone's films are not mainly Italian films. There style is Italian too.
Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:it has the smell of making a difficult film (slightly) more accessible for a supposedly less patient audience.
Here we go again... The 144m cut was an (unsuccessful) attempt to make the film more accessible, or at least to crowbar in more showings in a day, but there's nothing to suggest any tampering with the final 165m US premiere version.
I only said that it has the smell, that doesn't mean that it was that way. Whatever the reasons were, making a slow scene faster and adding a scene which makes the whole long beginning less iritating, things like these are mostly a commercial concession. But either way, that doesn't hurt the film very much, while the cutting of the 4 important scenes does destroy the rhythm of the film and the structure. Of course.

Btw I would be very interested where you have this information from that Leone worked on the film after it was released in Italy. I have never read anything like this. Maybe he only supervised the dubbing. I'm sure too that he was probably more interested to have success in the homeland of the western, than in the rest of Europe. If you could remember where you got that information of Frayling I would appreciate it.
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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#116 Post by rohmerin » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:38 pm

I've read somewhere that Leone did not speak English at all, so I doubt he has directed the dubbing.
In France it was re-released again (with Once upon a time in America too,Paris cinema scene, the envy of the world. I really envy Parisians.
If British cut the film, imagine Franco and the tijeras of the censorship.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#117 Post by rohmerin » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:47 pm

Franco Nero was dubbed in Italy! An actor from near Parma ! I had to go and read that is real at the Italian wikipedia. !!!

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#118 Post by Lighthouse » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:49 pm

rohmerin wrote:I've read somewhere that Leone did not speak English at all, so I doubt he has directed the dubbing.
Not directed, but maybe still supervised the dubbing.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#119 Post by aox » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Lighthouse wrote:
rohmerin wrote:I've read somewhere that Leone did not speak English at all, so I doubt he has directed the dubbing.
Not directed, but maybe still supervised the dubbing.
If he doesn't speak the language and is unfamiliar with the nuances of the language, what could 'supervise' possibly mean?

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#120 Post by rohmerin » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:12 pm

Ken Loach doesn't speak Spanish and he has directed in Land and freedom and Carla's song several of the best acting in Spanish I've seen. May be they have got a 6th sense.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#121 Post by aox » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:30 pm

rohmerin wrote:Ken Loach doesn't speak Spanish and he has directed in Land and freedom and Carla's song several of the best acting in Spanish I've seen. May be they have got a 6th sense.
OK, neato! But what does Loach have to do with Leone's language skills and supervision of dubbing? I am obviously dumber than you and will need you to lay this all out for me.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#122 Post by Nothing » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:56 pm

Lighthouse wrote:Are you from England? At least Frayling (a Brit) gives in all his books the UK runtime with 145 min? These runtimes are quite interesting, but I think the release version in the UK was still the cut one. In his book of 1981 Frayling mentions the scenes as cut out.
From the UK, yes. BBFC Certification is a legal requirement for a film to be screened to the public in the UK, a film cannot then be cut or altered in any way - meaning that these runtimes are incontestable. However, in 1981, BBFC records were not available to the public, this is presumably how Frayling made this mistake in his earlier book.
Lighthouse wrote:are the James Bond films now no longer British because UA or meanwhile MGM gave the money?
I could go along with that interpretation, yes. Most see a very certifiable difference between a studio-funded "British" film (eg. Harry Potter) and a genuinely British production. And you must surely acknowledge the difference between a cheap spaghetti aimed at the Italian market and a Paramount-funded tentpole starring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Jason Robards...

The suggestion that Leone was involved prior to the US premiere came from Frayling online, as I mentioned. Also, and I have to say this, one would need to be a little insane to think otherwise... That any director would receive a large budget from a US studio and then repay that by refusing to help prepare the film for its US premiere and release... It's pretty-much unthinkable. The idea that Leone couldn't contribute to the dubbing because he didn't speak the language is also rather silly - regardless of the words (of which he would have had an Italian transcript), there is still a great deal to be directed in terms of tone, speed and inflection. Also, the lead actors would almost certainly have expected, if not demanded, his presence.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#123 Post by Lighthouse » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:59 am

Nothing wrote:
Lighthouse wrote:Are you from England? At least Frayling (a Brit) gives in all his books the UK runtime with 145 min? These runtimes are quite interesting, but I think the release version in the UK was still the cut one. In his book of 1981 Frayling mentions the scenes as cut out.
From the UK, yes. BBFC Certification is a legal requirement for a film to be screened to the public in the UK, a film cannot then be cut or altered in any way - meaning that these runtimes are incontestable. However, in 1981, BBFC records were not available to the public, this is presumably how Frayling made this mistake in his earlier book.
I'm sure here you are definitely wrong. Frayling has surely seen the film in the cinema, so that he knew the film was cut. He gives a detailed description of the scenes missing from the English cut.
But I will ask a Brit I know who surely has seen it also back in the 70s.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#124 Post by Nothing » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:06 am

Lighthouse wrote:I'm sure here you are definitely wrong. Frayling has surely seen the film in the cinema, so that he knew the film was cut. He gives a detailed description of the scenes missing from the English cut. But I will ask a Brit I know who surely has seen it also back in the 70s.
The BBFC records show that the 144m cut of Once Upon a Time in the West has never been certified in the United Kingom, therefore it would have been illegal to ever screen this version in the United Kingdom. There can be no question.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

#125 Post by Lighthouse » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:51 am

Some further information from an admirer from the Netherlands, where also the English language version (with subs) was shown:
Once upon a Time in the West was released in September 1969 in Holland.

I saw the chopped-up version in the Chicago Theater, Eindhoven, Holland. I’m pretty sure the Harmonica rising scene was in it, because I missed the scene when I saw the uncut version for the first time.
The full length version was released in Holland in 1975 or 1976, I can’t find the exact year, but it must have been one of these two. I had a weekend job in a cinema in Eindhoven were it was shown. The rising scene was not in it.

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