“Once Upon a Time in the West” Blu-ray


(Stanton) #1

It seems the OuTW Blu ray is on its way:

http://forum.blu-ray.com/blu-ray-movies-north-america/167266-once-upon-time-west-may-31-2011-a-10.html

It will include 2 versions:

The Old Paramount DVD version now in HD

And the Sorsese restoration which will be 39 sec longer.

Unfortunately the restored version also contains the Harmonica Rissing scene, which shouldn’t be there. It brings a little damage to the narrative brillance of the 3 long opening scnens which introduces the 4 main characters


(Yodlaf Peterson) #2

Mine is in transit, hopefully it will arrive monday.


(scherpschutter) #3

As far as I can see, no reason to buy a Blu-ray player

These are only screenshots, but I see no improvement over the DVD : too heavily filtered, too bright, blue skies turning white etc. Maybe the sound will be an improvement, but I’m afraid they’ll offer the same old 5.1 nonsense.
I’ll wait until they have the disc in the library overhere, and then watch it on a lazy wednesday afternoon


(ENNIOO) #4

Wish the library I visit would stock such releases.


(Sundance) #5

Yeah I’m with scerpschutter, looks too filtered and some details seem to be gone because of the contrast or whatever. I’m disappointed right now but I’m waiting on my own copy to arrive though, seeing it in motion might make it a bit better.

The grain doesn’t quite look like I think it should but maybe that’s just me:


I would have expected it to look more like these (for some reason the left side is not so grainy as right?! look at the sky for example):

Both were shot in techniscope I think which is very grainy.

Then again not knowing how the shots were taken and if by someone who knows what theyre doing, they might not accurately represent the quality (and it will obviously look a bit different when moving).

But in the end I figure most will like it. And it isn’t nowhere near the catastrophe which is MGM GBU Blu-Ray.


(Stanton) #6

I have compared an old TV version recorded on VHS, and if the counter of my VHS Recorder does not lie, the German theatrical version runs 1 min and 8 sec longer than the Paramount DVD for the first scene.

So if the Restored version runs only 39 sec longer, and still includes the Rising scene, it still ain’t what I call the DC anyway.


(scherpschutter) #7

[quote=“Stanton, post:6, topic:2733”]I have compared an old TV version recorded on VHS, and if the counter of my VHS Recorder does not lie, the German theatrical version runs 1 min and 8 sec longer than the Paramount DVD for the first scene.

So if the Restored version runs only 39 sec longer, and still includes the Rising scene, it still ain’t what I call the DC anyway.[/quote]

That’s probably the first scene of the Italian edit, it runs a bit longer.

I think there’s no such thing as a director’s cut, at least not one specific director’s cut: there were several edits, one for the Italian market and at least one for the international market. And then there was this chopped-up version, that had the scene with Harmonica waking up (if I’m not mistaken). Wouldn’t surprise me if there were more alternative cuts. Like I’ve said before: I prefer the shorter, international cut (Paramount DVD). I don’t like some of the shots used for the Italian edit. On the other hand I don’t mind if this ‘Harmonica rising scene’ is integrated. We probably must try to get used to alternative versions in the case of films with the stature of Once upon a Time in the West. In literature it’s not uncommon that all kind of variations of chapters or entire parts of a novel are published. There are at least twenty different versions of War & Peace (some differ a lot, others only a little), and none can be called a writer’s cut.


(ENNIOO) #8

Alternate on the versions I view. Probably when I view next there will be another version / cut.


(Stanton) #9

No, the longer Italian version adds another 30 sec for this scene.

The Paramount definitely is shorter than it should be. It doesn’t destroy the scene, and if you haven’t watched it for a longer time you probaly won’t realise it, but if you know what it is missing you are a bit disappointed.

Some beautiful shots are missing.


(Stanton) #10

I think there is a DC, and that’s the old theatrical version as released e.g. in Italy, France and Germany.

The English version was first cut for about 25 min, and then got a now necessary extra scene. That’s the short so called Harmonica Rising scene, which the chopped up version needed, cause the later long scene at the desert store, which reveals that Harmonica was only wounded, was completely taken out.

And it seems when the film was restored in the USA this now unnecessary scene was kept. And it seems that the shortening of the first scene wasn’t restored, and there is still the wrong closing music, which changes without any sense from the America theme to the Cheyenne theme.


(Stanton) #11

What is wrong with the Rising scene?

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 CC 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.
I always liked this way of telling a story very much, and some of the power of this moment at the desert store is destroyed when we directly after 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.

OK, unlike a missing scene, I can simply skip it while watching the DVD, but still the film is better without this short scene.


(scherpschutter) #12

Makes sense.

I actually saw the film in '69, the chopped-up version with this short scene, and I was blown away by the movie, even if (due to the cuts) it was a bit hard to follow. I don’t think I knew at that stage who Charles Bronson was. I had not seen many movies in cinema, maybe 10-15, and I guess most actors were new to me (except for Henry Fonda). I’m not sure about Claudia, she was not as well-known as BB for example.


(John Welles) #13

Actually, it would be more accurate to say there are twenty different translations of War and Peace, because, after all, the Russian version is the source of all these versions.


(scherpschutter) #14

Yes, but I mean Russian versions. The novel was published in chapters in a magazine first and Tolstoy reworked the material several times before publishing it as the novel War & Peace. He then reworked entire chapters for new editions, and continued doing so after his publisher had told him that he wouldn’t accept any new changes. New versions of chapters (or entire parts) were published after his death, and some elements have made it to later versions (for example to correct mistakes Tolstoy had made initially). And then there are the translations. In Dutch there are two different translations: they go back to different versions. There’s also the problem that part of the book was written in French, not Russian (Tolstoy was bilingual and often wrote in French); most translations - in English, Dutch etc. - translate these parts but there are versions that leave the French texts intact. Again other versions use the Russian translation Tolstoy made himself of these parts (for later editions of the novel), but his ‘translations’ differ a lot from the original French texts, the’re again more a rewriting.

Similar problems exist in relation to other autors such as Dostojevski, Dickens, Stendhal, James Joyce or Nabokov. There is no ‘writer’s cut’ of Lolita or Ulysses. Nabokov had censorship problems and he too was an author who kept changing his texts; He often wrote them in Russian first, and then made an English or French version (he wrote in three different languages). Joyce deliberately misspelled words (for instance apologuise instead of apologize - the character apologized with a ‘guise’) and editors changed those things against his will. Some say this was one of the reasons he wrote Finnigan’s Wake in a language nobody could read: like this nobody could ‘correct’ his text.

I’m quite sure such things happen during production or post-production of a movie too. I mentioned the different shots that were used in the international and Italian edit of Once upon a Time in the West.


(Stanton) #15

But only in the longer version. I think there are no different shots between the European theatrical version and the Paramount disc. At least none I know of.


(John Welles) #16

@ scherpshutter:

I’m sorry that I should be so presumptuous to think I spotted an error you’ve made! However, isn’t it Finnegans Wake, with no apostrophe, another example of Joyce deliberately misspelling words?


(scherpschutter) #17

[quote=“John Welles, post:16, topic:2733”]@ scherpshutter:

I’m sorry that I should be so presumptuous to think I spotted an error you’ve made! However, isn’t it Finnegans Wake, with no apostrophe, another example of Joyce deliberately misspelling words?[/quote]

“My wrist are wrusty rubbing the Mouldaw stains. And the Dneepers of wet and the Gangres of sin in it.”

You’re absolutely wright, and how wrought was my wrong!


(Stanton) #18

Wright is wrong


(scherpschutter) #19

Yes, and rong two


(Stanton) #20

But Joe Wright is wright. Hanna is a blasterpiece.