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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Great!

Now just to get some better artwork!


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:28 pm 

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Damn. Leone likes faces.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 6:33 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:04 am
Damn, that's some heavy DNR.

Having said this, prints have never looked spectacular, due to going through the Techniscope optical process.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 7:15 am 
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You're worried about the DNR? It didn't seem that bad to me, maybe I was distracted by the colour balance. Look at the cash shot, each new edition strips a little more green from the money. Or were greenbacks not greenbacks then?


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 7:30 am 
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There's plenty of grain visible even in those framegrabs.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 9:41 am 
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I can still see the pores in Bronson's face; unlike the CVC edition.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:08 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:04 am
MichaelB wrote:
There's plenty of grain visible even in those framegrabs.

There's the vague soft-focus impression of grain, not the nice, sharp, clean grain that you'd get from an untouched scan of the original negative (remember that this was shot in Techniscope, so the grain structure should be very obvious, like two 16mm frames side by side). I do wonder if they went back to the original negative, though. OUATIA was similarly soft, it may be a problem with the source materials.

Compare the shot of Monument Valley to The Searchers to see how weak the image really is. It's a pity.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:07 am 

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Nothing wrote:
Compare the shot of Monument Valley to The Searchers to see how weak the image really is. It's a pity.

I'll do that, but VistaVision filled more millimeters than Techniscope so The Searchers will have the advantage. On the other hand, The Searchers has color timing issues, whereas Once Upon a Time In the West doesn't, judging by the frame captures. I am knocked out by how good the 16mm area of Techniscope looks.

All of Ned Price's restorations of Warner Brothers' classic color films are oversaturated with yellow. He has yellow on the brain. What he did to The Searchers is a crime, like changing the color pallet of a Van Gogh just because he thinks it will look better some other way. Ford stipulated emphasizing the inherent red of the landscape and the sunsets to Hoch for dramatic reasons, but Price drained the ruddiness out of Monument Valley and out of the sunsets. He did the same thing to She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and the Ultimate Edition of Gone With the Wind among other titles. I understand Gone With the Wind has since been corrected in a later Blu-ray release, although I haven't caught up with it as yet. But The Searchers restoration, for all it gains in clarity and framing, it loses in misguided color manipulation.


Last edited by Richard--W on Mon May 23, 2011 11:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:31 am 
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aox wrote:
Great!

Now just to get some better artwork!

I actually love the artwork for this edition. The one for the 2003 DVD was so random and generic. I know it's an impression from an actual still in the movie, but it looks like it could have come from anywhere.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:37 am 
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flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I actually love the artwork for this edition. The one for the 2003 DVD was so random and generic. I know it's an impression from an actual still in the movie, but it looks like it could have come from anywhere.

It looks much more generic movie poster style, to me- cramming all the famous people in without regard for whether their poses make any sense or not next to one another.

I also wish more catalog blu releases would have new features- I'd kill for a Frayling solo commentary, since his contributions are heavily crowded out by idiots like Milius and interesting-but-not-good-at-commentary people like Carpenter, both of whom would be better served by a separate piece in which they could share their thoughts. Given what Warner has said, though, I'm guessing the money for a bunch of new features isn't always there.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 10:14 pm 
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bluray.com

pretty much perfect


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:15 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:04 am
Okay, so the "Restored Version" is quite bizarre. In essence, 'they' (Scorsese?) have cherry-picked some of the longeurs from the Italian version (eg. a couple of extra shots of Elam with the fly; some unconvincing mugging from Elam before Bronson appears) whilst ignoring others (eg. the longer dolly in as Cardinale disembarks from the train; the mashed up music over the final flashback) and retaining the shorter English language titles. As such, it's hard to argue that these minor changes (c.+30s) are damaging exactly, but they certainly don't add anything and imho the Theatrical Cut remains the one to watch.

Incidentally, I'm not entirely taken with the grading of the BD - theres too much of a bias towards red/yellow imho - although the increase in resolution still makes it preferable to the DVD overall.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:07 am 
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Do anyone know if they restored the Arcade Fire song at the film's climax?


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:58 am 
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About the various versions of OUTW.

The film was released in Europe in a 164 - 165 min version. I have never read anything from Leone which could indicate that this was not the version which he wanted to release, and up to this day I say that this is the DC.
There are 3 differences to the Paramount DVD, which uses an English master instead of an Italian one:
1. It does rightfully not include the short superfluous scene of Harmonica nursing himself after the railway station shoot-out.
2. The long first scene at the railway station is about a min longer.
3. The closing music is up to the end the Jill/America theme, and does not change for the last 80 sec to the Cheyenne theme.

The US version was originally cut down to 144 min (but completely dubbed) and later on restored to a 165 min runtime with the above mentioned differences. For this short version the 90 sec scene after the shoot-out was inserted, which was necessary because the later (also very long) scene at the desert store (in which Harmonica returns and we see that he was only wounded in the first scene) was completely cut out.
It seems that for the restored version this short scene was retained. Which is a pity cause the film loses a little bit of its brilliance.
And it seems also a min of the first scene was cut out (maybe to make it a little bit faster) and not restored.
And it seems for unknown reasons the closing music was also changed, unless this was doen for the DVD only. The US Giu la testa DVD contains also some segments with an altered score.

In 1995 a guy named Claver Salizzato presented a restored 12 min longer version with a runtime of now 177 min. It does include the short scene of Harmonica nursing himself, and has otherwise only a lot of small bits which made already existing scenes slightly longer (e.g. the 1st scene runs for another 30 sec). The scene with CC in the bathtub has some alternative shots and the only bit of new dialogue (one sentence). But a small scene near the ending is now missing.
I still don't know from where this longer version has surfaced, and how "official" it is, but it is so far the only version released in Italy on DVD. I have read that it was a version found in the archives of Leone, something like a private copy. But that is not sure, and until today I don't think that this longer version is the DC. And I have never read anything about this version being the DC.

If the Scorsese restoration version does still contain the short scene with Harmonica and is only 39 sec longer (instead of 68 sec), than it is still not the European version of OUTW.
And for that not the real thing.

But, of course, in all of these versions (except the 144 min cut) OuTW is an absolute masterpiece.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 12:48 am 

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Lighthouse wrote:
1. It does rightfully not include the short superfluous scene of Harmonica nursing himself after the railway station shoot-out... It seems that for the restored version this short scene was retained. Which is a pity cause the film loses a little bit of its brilliance.

This is an incorrect rumour that may have been started by Scorsese - who has clearly since recanted, given that the scene remains in his restored version of the film. The fact is that the Bronson scene serves a necessary purpose with or without the reststop scene. Without it, he would get shot and then just re-appear out of nowhere, prompting all sorts of questions and speculations that would distract from the narrative thrust of the film. As I understand it, this scene was shot late in the day to replace NOT the reststop scene but, rather, a scripted but UNFILMED sequence in which three deputies attempt to arrest Bronson whilst he is being tended to by a doctor.

The fact is that all international 35mm prints, videos, DVDs and TV screenings of the film that I have ever seen - including 35mm screenings of archive prints in London and Paris, the 80s television version, the 90s VHS release and including also the previous Paramount DVD release - feature EXACTLY the same 165m cut of the film, which includes the scene of Bronson picking himself up after the shootout and the Cheyenne music at the end. There is nothing to suggest to me that this is not the final director's cut of the film, released to the world in May 1969.

The source of much of this confusion is that the ITALIAN version of the film, released five months earlier in December 1968, is indeed a few minutes longer. Most of the additional running time is due to the end credits, which don't appear until the final shot of the film has concluded, however a few small bits of extra footage are seen here and there. One's first instinct, perhaps, is to consider this longer Italian Version the director's cut - however, there is no commercial reason for the cuts to the internationl version: they are not cuts for censorship, nor do they significantly alter the length of the film. What the cuts do achieve is that they tighten the film a touch, removing a few loose moments and unnecessary longeurs + the editing and mixing of the final flashback is strengthened. In other words, it seems pretty clear that these were final creative tweaks made by Leone himself between Dec 1968 an May 1969 (similar to Kubrick's trimming of 2001 after the premiere, or Romero's final theatrical release version of Dawn of the Dead). And indeed this is the explanation accepted by Christopher Frayling.

So... if it's the Italian Version of the film that you're after then you're right, Scorsese's 166m restoration doesn't re-instate all of the trims - only a few 'choice' moments, seemingly arbitrarily, based perhaps on Scorsese's own instincts. If you want the full Italian cut therefore, you'll have to buy the Italian DVD. HOWEVER: Leone's final director's cut of the film IS included on the Bluray - this being the Theatrical Version, the very same cut that has been distributed in Europe and throughout the world for decades.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:31 am 
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I wasn't talking about the 177 min version, which didn't appear before 1995.

I'm talking about the version which was released in Italy, France and Germany theatrically, and this one does not include the so called Harmonica Rising scene. I have seen it 15 times in cinema without this scene, I have an Italian book by Oreste de Fornari which says that it was cut out before the film premiered, and there is a French member of another forum who also says that this scene was not part of the French version. And he never saw this scene before the 90s.
Frayling also claims in his Spaghetti Westerns book from 1981 that this scene was cut from the Italian print, but then reinserted for the 144 min cut cause of the missing trade post scene.

OUTW doesn't need this short scene, but I don't like it mainly because it destroys some of the narrative brilliance oft the long and slow beginning of the film.

The scene with the 3 deputies was most likely shot. Photos of this scene exist and Harmonica bears the wounds from this fight on his face in the middle section of the film. But this scene was set after the trading post scene anyway.

And to say it again, the German theatrical version is for the first scene up to the shoot-out more than a minute longer than the Paramount DVD, and the 177 min version adds another half minute.


Last edited by Lighthouse on Mon May 30, 2011 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 9:23 am 
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I'm still confused about the differences between the two cuts on this disk (I don't own it yet and can't find Frayling's email online to ask him)...
The Digital Bits wrote:
You should know, at this point, that the Blu-ray includes BOTH the original, 165-minute American theatrical release AND the restored, 166-minute Italian cut of the film. The former cut alone was included on the previous DVD release in the States, so the Italian cut is new here. For those who haven't seen it before, it features an added scene where we're first introduced to the character of Cheyenne at a way-side livery and inn, along with a brief scene at the end of the film involving the same character.

AV Forums Review wrote:
Once Upon a Time in the West, like many of director Sergio Leone’s works, was heavily cut to cater for ADD audiences in the States, abbreviated by about half an hour minutes to remove a fair number of dialogue scenes, and ‘slow bits’. International audiences received much longer versions, but even the longest of these were still missing a few minutes of footage from the original 175 minute Italian ‘Director’s Cut’. And the edition presented here on this release is basically the longest International Cut available, dubbed here the ‘Restored Version’. It’s the most complete (166 minute) English-language version available – I don’t think that there are any longer prints available which include anything other than the Italian audio.

Now, the confusing thing is that there is the option to play two versions on this disc – the ‘Theatrical Version’ and the aforementioned ‘Restored Version’. Fans would be forgiven for assuming that ‘restored’ meant that they finally had access to the 175 minute version, and that the theatrical cut was the one we’d all been used to. Instead, both of the versions included on this release are nearly identical in runtime. There’s only about 40 seconds’ difference between the two – both represent the longest English-language cut, but, at the time, there were a couple of brief shots which included an actor who was blacklisted in Hollywood at the time – and so they had to be removed. He’s a non-entity, an insignificant character who has just a couple of minor lines, but, for the restored version, they’ve seamlessly re-integrated the shots.

It’s a shame because, not only do we not get the longest version available (justifiably because of language restrictions, but it is still a shame that we don’t have the technology to create new audio for these scenes), but we also don’t get any of the previously available shorter cuts for comparison (the Special Collector’s Edition SD-DVD sported an even shorter 159-minute cut). I would think that it’s fairly universally accepted that the 140 minute US cut is completely redundant, so there’s no love lost in not including that in this package, but some fans might argue that it would have been nice to have the alternative 159-minute International Cut included here for a truer comparison (which, most notably, did not include the moment where Harmonica gets up after being shot, and which therefore implied some kind of otherworldly power in his appearance later on - a nice touch which Leone was begged to change because the studios feared that audiences would walk out after seeing Bronson get shot, and not get up). Honestly, I don’t really mind as we do technically still get the definitive English-language edition, but to offer a so-called ‘restored’ and ‘theatrical’ version, only for fans to find out that the two are almost indiscernibly different, is just a big tease. They should have just released it as one version – or given us a completely different alternative
So which is it? Is the restored version as Nothing said: a slightly tightened up cut with longer end credits; exactly the same but with some dialogue by a blacklisted actor (?) as said in the AVForum review or - does it feature the inn scene and the ending with Cheyenne dying (which I thought were included in the theatrical cut on this disk...) as said by the Digital Bits....


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:02 am 

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No, no, the 165m international theatrical cut is the tightest version of the film (the final director's cut) not the 166m 'restored cut', which didn't exist until a couple of years ago and should more accurately be called 'the Scorsese cut'. Meanwhile, the AV Forums Review is blindly clinging onto the idea that the Italian Cut (the only version with longer end credits) is the preferred version just because it's longer (clearly they haven't seen it, as they seem to think it contains Italian-only dialogue scenes, which it doesn't), whilst The Digital Bits are just on another planet altogether... Do e-mail Frayling if you wish, I have no doubt he'll confirm.

Re: the blacklist, btw, this is yet another example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing... Lionel Stander is the actor they are refering to - the barman in the wayside scene. He was cut from the US theatrical version - but it is the international theatrical version that is present on the BD. Mickey Knox was blacklisted too, btw, so it's debatable whether the scene was cut because of Stander or simply to reduce the running time, the latter seems more likely, especially as Stander's name remained in the credits.

I think a lot of the confusion arises out of Paramounts failure to indicate that it is the international theatrical cut included on the disc, not the original US theatrical cut (although the 165m international cut WAS later released theatrically in the States too, just to confuse things a little more :D )


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:04 am 
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Thanks for clearing that up - too much conflicting information out there confusing the hell out of everyone. And Paramount's misidentification of the international theatrical cut as the "original US theatrical cut" has definitely added to the confusion.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:13 am 

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And yet, Paramount aren't entirely wrong either - the film did premiere in New York in the 165m version but was then trimmed for wider release... :)


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:42 pm 
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And this is what an Italian from the Sergio Leone Web Board replies to another member who wrongly thinks that the 177 min Italian DVD (170 min Pal lenght) is the original Italian release version:

"The version I saw repeatedly in the theatres in Italy starting from 1969 were not this long. The "rising from the dead" I first saw it when the Director's cut version was first released in the mid '90's. I'm pretty sure it wasn't even in the version which was first televised in the late '80's. Can't be accurate about this, but I think I remember well."

And in France this scene was also unknown until the mid 90s:

" ...
The US DVD as also, as well as the missing footage (for example the plateform is missing tons of small bits edited out for pacing by the americans, but that were not re-inserted in the US DVD which was supposely uncut) also as some kind of strange placing of music especially on the end, which is not the original film. I say it's a kind of curiosity, but not Leone true cut since it's been reconstructed without actual, thorough, claim-proof knowledge of what the Leone version was.

Here in France, we never saw Harmonica rising from the plateform until the DVD (or was is originally on the US LD ?) was released. The movie was a huge hit here, because it was shipped to theaters basically uncut ..."

It was also an incredible hit here in Germany in the uncut version, in fact the 3rd most successful film since 1968. which means it sold more tickets than any Harry Potter, than any LotR, than any Spielberg film.
Of course the short Rising scene wouldn't have changed this surprising success. I also saw this scene for the first time via the longer Italian version in the mid-90s.


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 3:39 am 

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It's a very short sequence, so it's quite possible that these folks have misremembered. And this quote:
Unidentified Frenchman wrote:
the plateform is missing tons of small bits edited out for pacing by the americans

hardly fills one with confidence. Firstly, 10-15s can hardly be escribed as "tons" of material (now included in the 'Restored Cut' on the BD if anyone cares to see it). Secondly, why would "the Americans" cut these 10s out of the film for "pacing"? What is the difference, in any commercial sense, between a 165m and 170m version of the film? It just doesn't compute. WHEREAS one can see an obvious artistic reason for the removal of these few seconds - some rather excessive, comical mugging from Elam that mars the atmosphere of the scene.

Having said this, this does I suppose raise the possibility of YET ANOTHER cut, an alternate European version that was dubbed into other languages, perhaps based on the earlier Italian version, with the 165m cut then being the original English Language version of the film, as premiered in NY in May 1969 and then in the United Kingdom... This still being the best and final version imho.


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 5:14 am 
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No, these guys have seen the film again and again, and you don't misremember such a difference. I think there is not such a thing like an international version, there was the original Italian version and this should have been used in all the other countries. If there are shorter versions, than these are all derived from this original Italian version.

And the difference is not 15 sec but 68 sec, and that's quite a lot for the first 11 min, just before Bronson first appears. and if Scorsese restored for unknown reasons only 39 sec of this, than this is a missed chance. No problem if you prefer the English version, but if you have seen OuTW for decades with this 68 sec, you miss them. And there is more in this 68 sec like a bit more of Elam mugging. There are some beautiful shots amongst them of all 3 of the killers. And if you have seen OuTW for decades without the Harmonica Rising scene, then one is (maybe) really disappointed to have this scene now in.

The reason why I think that this scene makes the film a little bit worse: Well, it destroys some of the narrative brilliance of the beginning, which consists of 3 very long scenes which introduces us to the 4 main characters. Imagine you see the film for the first time, and even better see it for the first time in 1969, when Bronson was only a less known actor in smaller roles, not much better known than Strode and Elam.

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 always liked this way of telling a story very, very much, and some of the power of this moment at the desert store, and some of the brilliance of the whole first 40 min is destroyed when we directly after the shoot-out see Harmonica waking up and nursing himself. That's like having 2001 without the so called match cut from the falling bone to the spaceship. Or let's say having a bridging scene in-between, or an insert which tells us that the film now switches in the year 2001. It doesn't damage the film, but it destroys one magic idea. And believe me, if people think that it is brilliant to tell OuTW like I have described it, than these people are disappointed to have a new scene which destroys a brilliant idea.

OK, unlike a missing scene, I can simply skip it while watching the DVD, but still the film is better without this short scene.
It obviously depends on how one has seen the film for the first time.


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:45 am 
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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?


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:15 am 
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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?
The Theatrical Cut. As Nothing put it (thanks by the way), the restored version was never shown in a cinema, nor was Leone involved in the edit. 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.


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