Once Upon a Time in the West / C’era una volta il West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

(I love you M.E. Kay) #361

Hehe, the young LVC theory, that one’s good for a laugh!

(Yodlaf Peterson) #362

Just ordered the blu ray of the greatest film of all time :slight_smile:

(Alias) #363

For me it remains to this day the greatest film i’ve ever seen. I bought it on DVD when that lush version was released back in 05 or something. I think i watched it a couple of times and thought yeah this is the best film i’ve ever seen. But it didn’t have its full effect till i saw it in the cinema. I was walking around London with my then girlfriend and saw it was showing at the curzon in Soho the next day. (i think i was 20/21 at the time) So we went back and watched it. She complained that it was dull the whole way through. But her boredom fell upon deaf ears as i was completely mesmorised. Like the guy who said he watched it close up to gain a better apreciated of the mise en scene. I dont think (i can’t believe) its as powerfull as seeing it on the big screen! The sound effects of the first 15 mins blaring out at full volume over a silence cinema audience.
That remains to this day my favourite film and the best cinematic experience of my life.

(Andy) #364

2 people rated this as 1?? :o

(scherpschutter) #365

Our beloved forum member Silver doesn’t like it and the other one was probably joking
We’ve had terrible discussions about it, so please …

(pedro james) #366

I watched this for a third time and still cannot see what most people get excited about…not saying it was a bore but fairly slow going nothing to jump up and down about and sing halleluja praise be to thee…no way a top tenner

(Stanton) #367

There’s no need that OuTW pleases everyone. I’m extremely fascinated by it, but can easily understand everyone who thinks that it is a stupid and long-winded bore.

(pedro james) #368

In reply to Stanton…I would never say its stupid and far from it…but just damned slow going… million times better though than some of the trashy soaps they bombard us with on the TV and other channels…but its great all can express how they feel on the forum…One thing i notice is the release of films that have been in the archives for years and the forum is a good pointer for all to read before they part with the hard earned cash

(Stanton) #369

And in the slowness, which is here a very special slowness, lies a great part of the extreme fascination.

(Yodlaf Peterson) #370

(kit saginaw) #371

I agree. It’s flawless. Everything about it is spectacular.

(Stanton) #372

It seems that OuTW was rated in a full lenght version in the UK: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/AFF032818/

This version is then actually 2 min longer than the curent version, but I don’t know if it ever was released. And maybe these 2 min are only music over a black screen after the credits. But the runtime correlates with the original Italian runtime in many books.

Question to the UK members:

Who has seen the film in 69 or in the 70s in the UK theatrically? And was it then the chopped up 145 min version (according to Frayling) or the uncut 165 (or 167) min version.

(ENNIOO) #373

Viewed a print at a cinema here in the U.K in the 80’s, they used to screen alot of older films. Anyway that was the chopped up 145 min version.

(scherpschutter) #374

Stanton and I had a little exchange of thoughts (via PM) that might be interesting to others too. Here are the full texts:

Text I - Questions in relation to Once Upon a time in the West

Stanton: You wrote that you saw Once upon a Time in the West in the chopped-up version first (in cinema, I suppose). When did you see this copped-up version?
Scherpschutter: Once upon a Time in the West was released in September 1969 in Holland. It premiered in the three big cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. It arrived later in the second wave cities such as Einhoven, where I saw it. I guess it must have been October ‘69

In which country?
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.

Was it the English language version?
Yes, spaghetti westerns were always shown in the English language version in Holland and Flanders. Until a few years ago, when I bought a couple of discs in Italy (I think 2005) I had never seen a SW in Italian. Italian crime movies, gialli and Chinese chop choy (or whatever) films were also inevitably shown in an English language version.

Have you ever seen the film without the Rising Scene? When did you see the uncut cinema version for the first time (I’m not talking about the alternative cut of the Itlian DVD)?
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.

I have seen a shorter version much later in Antwerp (about '82-'83), the ‘tavern scene’ when Harmonica and Cheyenne meet for the first time wasn’t in it, but I don’t remember if the rising scene had been re-inserted

Text IIDutch cinemas

In Holland cinemas had a tight schedule in those days, preferably four showings a day:

14.00 - 16.15 (or 16.30) - 19.00 - 21.15 (or 21.30)

The first part of the programme (before the film started, consisting of the national news, international news, publicity, trailers etc.) lasted some 30 minutes, so it was difficult to press films that were longer than 90 minutes into this programme. Films running longer, were drastically cut. I remember Arizona Colt and The Good, the Bad & the Ugly were cut too). Sometimes there was an annoucement (warning): The film starts shortly after the beginning of the programme. In such a case, the news was skipped. This must have been the case for Once upon a Time in the West
(I never saw the shorter version of The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, but a cousin of mine did (he was a lttle older, and the movie had an 18 rating initially) and he said he hardly understood what was going on. They must have cut the film back to two hours (maximum) too.

Longer films were shown twice a day, at 14.00 and 20.00
There was (God only knows why) no three showings schedule

Conclusion: The version I saw (without the tavern scene) in Antwerp, must have been the 145 m version. The first version I saw, might have been even shorter. If it fitted into the above mentioned schedule, it’s impossible that it ran 145 m. I don’t remember if it was shown four or two times a day.

(JonathanCorbett) #375

Your considerations on the Rising Scene are interesting and for the most part shareable, but as far as I know the one and only Director’s cut is the 177 minutes version included in the mediocre CVC DVD, so if you want my opinion this is the version that should be adequately restored and released on Blu-ray worldwide.

(Stanton) #376

No, this 177 min version is most likely not the DC, but only a private archive copy from Sergio Leone. It was restored around 1994, but is most likely not the version which premiered in Italy in 1968.
Many people call it a DC, but probably most of them assume it only to be the DC for being the longest version.

Here is btw again the link to all the differences from this alternative version and the common Paramount DVD:

I had posted this before, but now is the description in English. There are also differences in the score, which are not listed here.

The DC is for me at the moment still the original Italian theatrical cut. This is probably only slightly different from the Paramount DVD.

(JonathanCorbett) #377

In the movie-censorship.com report we read “the Italian DVD contains another version, which was also released on Italian VHS earlier [maybe when the Director was alive] the so-called “Director’s Cut”. This Director’s Cut seems to be the first, complete version by Sergio Leone before it was edited for a worldwide release”.

The DVD specifies «This is the uncut version the Director wanted, never released in the movie houses" Among others this restoration involved Tonino Delli Colli, Ennio Morricone, Sergio Leone Production, C.S.C. and Cineteca Nazionale.

(Stanton) #378

No, he wasn’t alive. The restoration was done in the 90s. I’m not sure if this guy was knowing or only assuming that it was the DC.

The DVD specifies «[b]This is the uncut version the Director wanted[/b], never released in the movie houses" Among others this restoration involved Tonino Delli Colli, Ennio Morricone, Sergio Leone Production, C.S.C. and Cineteca Nazionale.

But this statement is another thing. And if Delli Colli was involved we must assume that the colors of the Italian DVD are the ones they wanted. (Only that imo the Paramount DVD looks better)

The question is now, why did Scorsese then not use the long version, when he made another restoration of the film for a new English print?

(Stanton) #379

From a German book 2009:

“It is controversial, if this is the from Leone intended version”

Which means that there was probably some discussion in Italy if it is true what the DVD claims. And if so I would really like to read this discussions.

Frankly said, for the most parts, all the 165 min versions work better than the long version. Imo

Apart from that tracking shot along the train before we first see CC (23:51) and the segment with the tin soldiers of Morton (at 1:25:24) all the other added pieces don’t help the film, but only make it longer.
Ohh, and the first scene. For the first 10 min the Paramount DVD is indeed comparatively fast, too fast cause it is too short. But most of the added shots and pieces of the first 10 min were already part of the German version, and I don’t want to miss them.

(ENNIOO) #380

The two extra scenes that I remember the most.