Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: BGMurphy2012 on June 15, 2012, 12:31:43 PM



Title: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: BGMurphy2012 on June 15, 2012, 12:31:43 PM
I am one of what I assume is a large group of people who have never seen the first version of this film shown in America, the shorter version cut to be purely chronological and usually blamed on The Ladd Company.  Do any of my fellow OUATIA fanatics know where I could buy, rent, or borrow a copy of that version, either by streaming it or on a DVD?

Thanks very much. 


BGM

(Btw, I can't wait to see the latest iteration and I love this Board!)




Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Cusser on June 16, 2012, 12:44:08 PM
I believe the "full version" was actually first shown in USA, but only in NY and Los Angeles, maybe Chicago.  My brother soon after saw the shortened chronological version here in Phoenix, didn't like at all.  He said don't bother.

How can a film about memories not be in flashback style????  Anyway, I didn't see this until early 1985 at an art theater in Tempe (Valley Art).  The currently-available DVD has several scenes in it that were not in that 1985-restored version. 

Paramount also restored Once/West in 1985, saw that at the same place.  They passed out a sheet that detailed the additional scenes at the theater.  I had scene Once/West first run in 1969, and I did notice most of the additions (such as Harmonica lying wounded at the train station).


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 16, 2012, 08:08:13 PM
why would anyone want to see this butchered bastard child of a movie?

Just knowing that a copy of it ay exist in the cellar of some movie studio makes my skin crawl. I hope that no copy exists and nobody will ever see it again


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 16, 2012, 08:40:07 PM
Curiosity


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: stanton on June 17, 2012, 01:57:45 AM
I had scene Once/West first run in 1969, and I did notice most of the additions (such as Harmonica lying wounded at the train station).

Are you sure?

Cause according to the detailed Video Warchdog article (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=10564.0) this scene was not part of the 1969 145 min version, and first appeared in the 16 mm prints of the then slightly altered 145 min version in late 1970.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 17, 2012, 04:05:47 AM
Curiosity

if your wife cut off your manhood and then you were fortunate enough to have doctors surgically restore it -- completely to its previous beauty, so that there is no scar or anything whatsoever to remind you that you were chopped --   would you want to have a picture of the chopped you; cuz after all it did happen to be moment in your life so you feel you should have some record of it, just for curiosity's sake? Or, would you want no evidence whatsoever to exist of the travesty of that moment in time when you had less than a complete manhood, and live the rest of your life without any record at all of that travesty?


Well  my feelings about OUATIA are about equal to my feelings about my manhood. And I definitely choose the latter option.

While I am sure that some copy exists deep in the bowels of some archive somewhere, I really, really, really hope that it never gets out anywhere, and that nobody ever sees it in all the future of the world. If I knew there was one copy in existence somewhere, I would steal it and burn it just so it never gets out anywhere. And if I was imprisoned in solitary confinement for the rest of my life and was left with nothing at all except a video of that piece of shit (I won't even acknowledge it enough to call it a "version of OUATIA") , I'd smash it to pieces and prefer to sit there staring at the wall for the next 50 years rather than ever seeing that piece of shit.


 BGMurphy 2012: Please don't take the wrong way  ;) Welcome to these boards, it's always nice to have new members and I am sure you will have a great time here and add a lot to the conversation, but I have to respectfully wish you nothing but complete failure in your quest in finding this video  ;)


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: MatViola on June 17, 2012, 07:05:32 AM
if your wife cut off your manhood and then you were fortunate enough to have doctors surgically restore it -- completely to its previous beauty, so that there is no scar or anything whatsoever to remind you that you were chopped --   would you want to have a picture of the chopped you






Well, my manhood is way too long and its flashback structure is confusing, so it would be a vast improvement if my girlfriend cut it down to size and rearranged it into chronological order.

Mat


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: PowerRR on June 17, 2012, 07:20:49 AM
I WANT TO SEE IT TOO.

It's not like Leone would be rolling in his grave if I watched it. Because I've seen his cut. And I love it. It makes no difference whether or not I see the American cut at this point besides out of curiosity of how much someone else ruined a movie.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 08:06:09 AM
if your wife cut off your manhood and then you were fortunate enough to have doctors surgically restore it -- completely to its previous beauty, so that there is no scar or anything whatsoever to remind you that you were chopped --   would you want to have a picture of the chopped you; cuz after all it did happen to be moment in your life so you feel you should have some record of it, just for curiosity's sake? Or, would you want no evidence whatsoever to exist of the travesty of that moment in time when you had less than a complete manhood, and live the rest of your life without any record at all of that travesty?

Well  my feelings about OUATIA are about equal to my feelings about my manhood. And I definitely choose the latter option.

It would be more like if you had a choice of regrowing your dick or remain a castrati, which so far as I know isn't possible.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 08:06:59 AM
I WANT TO SEE IT TOO.

It's not like Leone would be rolling in his grave if I watched it. Because I've seen his cut. And I love it. It makes no difference whether or not I see the American cut at this point besides out of curiosity of how much someone else ruined a movie.

Yeah and there's something to be said also for keeping it intact, just for the sake of film history.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 17, 2012, 08:15:40 AM
Yeah and there's something to be said also for keeping it intact, just for the sake of film history.

there's a question of what is considered legitimate. all legitimate versions, yes, keep intact, for the sake of keeping records of history. but what we are talking about is such a bastard,  -- it is not a "version of OUATIA" -- I don't want it recorded for posterity in any way.

happily, I don't think any of you will ever get to see it  :P


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 08:28:24 AM
You can't pretend something didn't happen by ignoring it. If nothing else it would Exhibit A in the case against clueless studios. Pretending it doesn't exist is intellectually vacuous.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: MatViola on June 17, 2012, 08:47:59 AM


happily, I don't think any of you will ever get to see it  :P

I've already seen it. It does have curiosity value.

By the way, there's at least one person in the world who prefers the short version: Mary Corliss. In a Film Comment article from 1984 she wrote, "...under Ladd's instructions, an editor named Zach Staenburg reshaped Leone's mesmerizing, intermittently powerful botch of a movie into a 145-minute film that is within shooting distance of masterpiece."

Should we put her on our death list?

Mat



Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: dave jenkins on June 17, 2012, 12:54:16 PM
Mary Corliss? Richard Corliss was bad enough, you mean to say that he let his wife do reviews when he himself couldn't be bothered? Ignore the whole family.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: MatViola on June 17, 2012, 03:23:41 PM
Oh, I almost forgot, there's also Leonard Maltin. His video guide gives the short version 3 stars and says it's "well worth watching." There you have it, it's official: the short version rules!

Looks like d&d will have to see it now.

Mat


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: PowerRR on June 17, 2012, 04:04:54 PM
The Holocaust sucked too (in my opinion) but there's still museums for it.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 07:00:46 PM
The Holocaust sucked too (in my opinion) but there's still museums for it.

That's at least as valid an analogy as castration.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Cusser on June 17, 2012, 09:56:15 PM
Are you sure?

Cause according to the detailed Video Warchdog article (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=10564.0) this scene was not part of the 1969 145 min version, and first appeared in the 16 mm prints of the then slightly altered 145 min version in late 1970.

Here's what I wrote:
"Paramount also restored Once/West in 1985, saw that at the same place.  They passed out a sheet that detailed the additional scenes at the theater.  I had scene Once/West first run in 1969, and I did notice most of the additions (such as Harmonica lying wounded at the train station)."
I meant that in 1985 I noticed most of the additions.  In 1969 they did NOT show Harmonica wounded at the train station.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: BGMurphy2012 on June 18, 2012, 04:08:35 PM
Thanks for the many responses to my inquiry.  Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to point me to a source for the 139 minute version, and most seem happy about it!

I am undeterred in my pursuit to find a copy of the Ladd Company version, however.  I am anxious to see the deletions and differences to the better/Leone version.  I wonder, for instance, if the editor of the shortened version was attempting to track The Hoods more closely than Leone wound up doing.  For those that have seen the Ladd version, do you recall if it was released on VHS or DVD, or both?  Looking at Amazon, E-Bay, and Albiris, there does not appear to be any copies of the Ladd version available.  Also, many of the listings for sale omit the length of the version, which for those of us focused on this issue, makes those listings useless.

On a totally unrelated note, by coincidence, my daughter lives on Washington Street in Brooklyn, NY, and looks at the iconic picture of the Manhattan Bridge from the OUATIA VHS/DVD cover everyday.  People frequently stand in the middle of the street with their cameras taking shots of the amazing view.

Thanks again.


BGM



Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 18, 2012, 05:19:35 PM
This might be it. Emphasis on "might."

http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Once-Upon-Time-America-VHS-/3114896 (http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Once-Upon-Time-America-VHS-/3114896)


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2012, 05:44:10 PM
Thanks for the many responses to my inquiry.  Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to point me to a source for the 139 minute version, and most seem happy about it!

I am undeterred in my pursuit to find a copy of the Ladd Company version, however.  I am anxious to see the deletions and differences to the better/Leone version.  I wonder, for instance, if the editor of the shortened version was attempting to track The Hoods more closely than Leone wound up doing.  For those that have seen the Ladd version, do you recall if it was released on VHS or DVD, or both?  Looking at Amazon, E-Bay, and Albiris, there does not appear to be any copies of the Ladd version available.  Also, many of the listings for sale omit the length of the version, which for those of us focused on this issue, makes those listings useless.

On a totally unrelated note, by coincidence, my daughter lives on Washington Street in Brooklyn, NY, and looks at the iconic picture of the Manhattan Bridge from the OUATIA VHS/DVD cover everyday.  People frequently stand in the middle of the street with their cameras taking shots of the amazing view.

Thanks again.


BGM




according to wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_upon_a_time_in_america#Abridgments

"This shortened version, while briefly on VHS in the 1980's, is in little demand and almost impossible to find. However, Encore used to air this version during 2009."

I think that "tracking The Hoods more closely" is the last thing The Ladd Company cared about. (If it did, it would have completely removed the 1968 scenes, none of which appear in The Hoods!)


Groggy -- that eBay link you provided has no available products; it's a just a page created for anyone that wants to sell it, but there's no one selling it.

And thankfully so.

If you're ever successful in finding it, let me know that I lost. Just knowing that a copy is floating around would drive me insane


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: MatViola on June 18, 2012, 06:37:54 PM
I saw the short version sometime in the 90s. I think it was on AMC, but I can't be sure. Because I was already so familiar with the long version, watching the short one made for an odd viewing experience, right from the first scene, which (if memory serves) shows young Deborah dancing "among the brooms and the empties" as the opening credits roll.

No idea where you might find it today. Perhaps Mary Corliss has a VHS copy.

Mat


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Groggy on June 18, 2012, 06:46:56 PM
AMC likes to show a three hour cut from time to time.


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2012, 07:53:56 PM
AMC likes to show a three hour cut from time to time.

i saw that on the wikipedia page. they say that "version" also has no flashbacks.

so BGMurphy2012, if you wanna see a bastardized "version" of OUATIA, the AMC one will have to suffice.

(I wouldn't know cuz I never watch AMC. They hardly ever play movies anymore; it's mostly tv shows and infomercials. When they do show a movie, it's always in 1.78:1, no matter what the movie's proper aspect ratio is. And with the commercials... fugghedaboutit. it's utterly useless. I just stick with TCM all day and night  :))


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Vnisanian2001 on August 02, 2012, 12:29:01 PM
This might be it. Emphasis on "might."

http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Once-Upon-Time-America-VHS-/3114896 (http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Once-Upon-Time-America-VHS-/3114896)

Hi, this is my first post here.

Actually, if you look at the boxart, it says "The original motion picture, as shown at the New York Film Festival." Also, the movie is split into two tapes. I don't think this would be the case at all, if it was the 139 minute version. Martin Scorsese even said that America eventually got to see the longer version,  later that same year in 1984, four months after the initial American release. The 1984 New York Film Festival was in October.

Finally, I could have sworn that when this movie first came out on VHS, WHV offered consumers the choice of either the short or longer versions.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ONCE-UPON-A-TIME-IN-AMERICA-VHS-VIDEO-1983-CLAMSHELL-CASE-2-TAPE-SET-/380457663144?pt=VHS&hash=item58950b3aa8



Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: rot66 on December 25, 2012, 03:13:49 PM
I have a Warner US VHS of this that I got in a trade back before the first DVD came out.

Really it wasn't as bad as I feared, but that could be because I knew the long version so well that my brain added in the missing parts automatically...
There is nothing there that is not in the long version.

Anyway, although an orignal, the VHS was in such a bad condition that when I played it it almost killed my VCR  (picture was great but the weels hardly turned around). And that was some 15-17 years ago so I don't think I will attemt to play it again now.

I'd love to find a DL of it though, as I like to have anything I can find of this movie.



Tor


Title: Re: Finding The "First Version"
Post by: Martin K on January 19, 2014, 06:11:04 AM
I WANT TO SEE IT TOO.

It's not like Leone would be rolling in his grave if I watched it. Because I've seen his cut. And I love it. It makes no difference whether or not I see the American cut at this point besides out of curiosity of how much someone else ruined a movie.

I agree. I would also like to see it. Whish a BluRay would come with the new version, the original european cut, plus the butchered US version.