Once Upon a Time in America

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bcsparker
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Once Upon a Time in America

#1 Post by bcsparker » Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:26 pm

Robert De Niro and James Woods star in Sergio Leone's award winning epic. The original director's version. This longer edition benefits from having the complete story (the short version has huge gaps) about turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants in America finding their way into lives of crime, as told in flashback by an aging Jewish gangster named Noodles (De Niro).

Special Features:

Feature-length commentary by Film Critic/Historian RICHARD SCHICKEL.
Revealing Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone documentary.
Filmographies.
Photo gallery.
Theatrical Trailer.
I've heard Schickel gives horrible commentary, but there you go...

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#2 Post by cmleidi » Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:27 pm

His commentary is typically atrocious. I was also not impressed with the print. The color is dull and there's a lot of grain.

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exte
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#3 Post by exte » Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:33 pm

This has to be the worst WB dvd from their new releases. When they cut the scene at the end of disc one, and resume much later on disc two, it's entirely unforgiveable. It's a real shame, especially when they go on and on about how much they wanted to restore it.
Last edited by exte on Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Post by bcsparker » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:56 pm

Wow, maybe this thread should be closed down. I didn't know this was such a horrible release.

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zedz
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#5 Post by zedz » Sun Mar 20, 2005 10:46 pm

Damn I just bought this (cheap, at least) and haven't watched it yet. Does anybody know if the problems are worldwide, or just with the R1 version?

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#6 Post by flambeur » Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:23 pm

Other than the cut scene problemo..a great disc..I agree
with laclustre commentary thought (bland at best)

Cheers

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#7 Post by oldsheperd » Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:08 pm

I'm not too keen on just a documentary clip from the Leone biography. They should've included the whole thing.

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exte
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#8 Post by exte » Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:02 pm

Is it available anywhere in the world as a whole? And in english?

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#9 Post by BWilson » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:05 pm

exte wrote: When they cut the scene at the end of disc one, and resume much later on disc two, it's entirely unforgiveable.
You are the first person I've heard refer to this. What's missing?

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#10 Post by flambeur » Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:31 pm

BWilson wrote:
exte wrote: When they cut the scene at the end of disc one, and resume much later on disc two, it's entirely unforgiveable.
You are the first person I've heard refer to this. What's missing?
There's nothing missing, it's just annoying. The scene is not cut it's just split between the end of disc 1 and the beginning of disc 2..they could've at least waited for the scene to end or put it on disc 2 entirely..

Theoretically, imagine "The Good Bad & Ugly" ending where they're drawing guns at each other and decide to put a few shots on Disc 1 and continue the shooting on Disc 2..dumb and dumber.

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#11 Post by bjeggert82 » Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:46 am

I always loose all respect for DeNiro's character during the rape scene. This movie has never completely worked for me for that reason.

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#12 Post by dvdane » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:17 am

There's nothing missing, it's just annoying. The scene is not cut it's just split between the end of disc 1 and the beginning of disc 2..they could've at least waited for the scene to end or put it on disc 2 entirely
I got into a huge fight with Harris about both this and the change on the Superbit "Lawrence of Arabia", because Harris is completely indifferent to the narrative of a scene and only thinks of optimal bitrate.

In the original version of "Once upon a time in America" there was no cut. The "cut" was introduced with the TV version and follows aprx 4 minutes later, as the car hit the water. Considering about 110 minute film on disc 1, the bitrate would drop 3-4%, which wouldn't be visible.

Both on "Lawrence" (SuperBit) and on "Once Upon a Time in the West" is the scene completely destroyed, as the internal action is being introduced. It is as Flambeur says,
Theoretically, imagine "The Good Bad & Ugly" ending where they're drawing guns at each other and decide to put a few shots on Disc 1 and continue the shooting on Disc 2.
I argued to Harris, that the only acceptable way to cut before a natural end or an intermission would be in a concluding scene, thus using the internal action pause as a break. But he has no respect for a film, only how it will look the best on, what he calls, "an inferior media".

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#13 Post by devlinnn » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:45 am

I always loose all respect for DeNiro's character during the rape scene. This movie has never completely worked for me for that reason.
I can understand your view, but which rape scene of the two do you mean? Not that it matters I guess.*

There is a difference for me between respecting a character's emotions and thoughts in comparison to his actions and beliefs. DeNiro plays a once ugly, thuggish gangster who looks back (or doesn't depending on your reading) with regret, loss and dread at what his actions as a young man led to. Hopefully such actions are rare amongst the viewer, but the emotions played out on screen are true to many. I loath the world DeNiro and his friends create for themselves, but that doesn't get in the way to loving the majesty, honesty and life Leone creates on screen.

(* few women I know have much time for the film due to the graphic nature of the second rape, and the admittedly cliched angel/whore concept to the female characters.)

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#14 Post by flambeur » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:03 am

I argued to Harris, that the only acceptable way to cut before a natural end or an intermission would be in a concluding scene, thus using the internal action pause as a break. But he has no respect for a film, only how it will look the best on, what he calls, "an inferior media".
Who is Harris, did he have the final input into both discs?

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#15 Post by BWilson » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:36 pm

flambeur wrote:
I argued to Harris, that the only acceptable way to cut before a natural end or an intermission would be in a concluding scene, thus using the internal action pause as a break. But he has no respect for a film, only how it will look the best on, what he calls, "an inferior media".
Who is Harris, did he have the final input into both discs?
Robert A. Harris. Film restorationist who has a column on The Digital Bits. He restored Spartacus, Vertigo, Lawrence, etc.

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#16 Post by flambeur » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:49 pm

From the horse's (Mr. Harris) mouth:

One anomaly may disturb some, while I didn't have a real problem with it, considering the alternative...

There was apparently a plan in place to divide the film with the first disc ending with the Intermission and the second picking up thereafter.

Part One is approximately 160 minutes. Had Warner encoded the discs so that 160 minutes was on disc one as planned, it would have necessitated a lowering of the bit rate. Even though printed materials lead one to believe that this is the case, it is incorrect.

Disc One ends at the two hour point, in the middle of a sequence. There is no "painless" break point in this area of the film. Disc Two begins with the end of that sequence, continues an additional forty minutes to the Intermission, and then goes on to Part Two of the film.

Although not what one might wish for in a perfect world, taking into consideration the look and textures which have been accomplished with the transfer and compression, I would have made the same decision rather than to lower quality. I firmly believe that the correct decision has been made.

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Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)

#17 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:06 am

Jack Phillips wrote:It's also important to see the films in their most complete form.
I couldn't agree more. Even Once Upon A Time In America, which is in 1:85, is best seen in the OAR.
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#18 Post by Jack Phillips » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:26 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Jack Phillips wrote:It's also important to see the films in their most complete form.
I couldn't agree more. Even Once Upon A Time In America, which is in 1:85, is best seen in the OAR.
There are rumors that that film will be getting longer as well.

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#19 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:31 pm

Jack Phillips wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Jack Phillips wrote:It's also important to see the films in their most complete form.
I couldn't agree more. Even Once Upon A Time In America, which is in 1:85, is best seen in the OAR.
There are rumors that that film will be getting longer as well.
I'd love to see the rumored 6-hour cut of the film.

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#20 Post by kieslowski_67 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:55 pm

Jack Phillips wrote:There are rumors that that film will be getting longer as well.
That was a pure rumor denied by Leone's son years ago.

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#21 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:38 pm

kieslowski_67 wrote:That was a pure rumor denied by Leone's son years ago.
Didn't Christopher Frayling debunk this in detail in his Leone book? The footage might well exist, but it hasn't been edited, dubbed or scored, and even if this were possible, the end result certainly wouldn't be any kind of Leone-approved version.

As far as I'm concerned, the definitive cut of Once Upon a Time in America is the 229-minute cut that played in Europe from the beginning. Did any other countries play the mutilated version aside from the US?

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#22 Post by Jack Phillips » Mon Jul 23, 2007 4:08 pm

There is this, from an interview with Raffaella Leone published last year:
Ed è su "C'era una volta..." che ora state lavorando, vero?

"Sì, sempre in collaborazione con Sky vogliamo recuperare quaranta minuti di scene inedite che abbiamo ritrovato: ad esempio, una parte in cui recita Louise Fletcher, premio Oscar per 'Qualcuno volò sul nido del cuculo', che nel montaggio definitivo sparì. Intendiamoci, però: non rimonteremo il film, resterà quello che fece mio padre. Ci piacerebbe però mostrare, magari in una proiezione a un festival, questi inediti così interessanti. Magari presentati e illustrati da qualcuno di grosso, tipo Quentin Tarantino".
Perhaps what is envisioned here is just presenting the material on its own, without attempting to re-integrate it into the film. But intentions change. Where money is concerned, anything that CAN be done . . . .

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Once Upon a Time in America - original intended opening

#23 Post by Person » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:57 pm

I had no idea that Leone had a different opening to Once Upon a Time in America in mind back in the early 70s. He was working with the screenwriter Robert Dillon at that time and the idea he/they thought up was used in Frankenheimer's 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974): see it here

Some clever geezer even sync'd the Morricone score to Once Upon a Time in America: see it here

Cool, eh? I'm a big fan of Frankenheimer and I have heard that 99 and 44/100% Dead, though not a great film, has some wonderful stylistic touches. I'd love for Fox to release a 2.35:1 anamorphic DVD. Does it ever show up on TV in 2.35:1?

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Re: Once Upon a Time in America - original intended opening

#24 Post by exte » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:18 am

Person wrote:I had no idea that Leone had a different opening to Once Upon a Time in America in mind back in the early 70s. He was working with the screenwriter Robert Dillon at that time and the idea he/they thought up was used in Frankenheimer's 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974): see it here

Some clever geezer even sync'd the Morricone score to Once Upon a Time in America: see it here

Cool, eh? I'm a big fan of Frankenheimer and I have heard that 99 and 44/100% Dead, though not a great film, has some wonderful stylistic touches. I'd love for Fox to release a 2.35:1 anamorphic DVD. Does it ever show up on TV in 2.35:1?
Color me impressed... I had no idea, really.

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Re: Once Upon a Time in America - original intended opening

#25 Post by Faux Hulot » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:49 pm

Person wrote:I'd love for Fox to release a 2.35:1 anamorphic DVD. Does it ever show up on TV in 2.35:1 ?
According to Filmbrain, it shows up in 'scope on the Fox Movie Channel:

Image

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