Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Duck, You Sucker => Topic started by: The clint on February 23, 2006, 05:29:05 PM

Title: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: The clint on February 23, 2006, 05:29:05 PM
(This message will be a near copy of my post at IMdB, I don't want to write all of it down again).

When I heard about a year ago this film was going to be SE'd by MGM with all their Leone titles I was annoyed to have bought the old edition of A Fistful of Dynamite. That package was rather slim on the extras and pretty much everything else. A friend of mine went and bought all the SE's when the came into stores in Iceland, but as I was not willing to churn out copies of my own I borrowed the SE of a Fistful of Dynamite earlier today just for the added extra material (This was a Norwegian import which was probably uncut). The extras came on a seperate disc and were informative if rather sparse (more so than, say Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West). There I found two short features concentrating on the various different versions of this film and the subsequent restoration of the film. This guy who superwised the restoration seemed to be very proud of his work, particularly his 5.1 remaster of the film which he spoke freely of as it provided the definite sound experiende for a film that contained only a relatively unimpressive mono soundtrack on the previous DVD incarnation. That was it. I was curious enough, both to see the much improved visuals, hear the audio remaster, and to see wheather the restoration restores controversies in line with Juan's "What about me?" line at the end.

Fine... I viewed the final scenes of the disc only to find a major flaw. The sound mix had used the wrong take of the end title music! I was a little startled and jumped to the scene before which included the oft talked about flashback scene that has so often been edited out of prints. I've seen the scene as it was presented on the local Italian disc with it's beautiful background theme (The first track on the original LP, bound to be recognised by everyone who's bothered to track it down) but when I came to that scene guess what I found out: The music was again the wrong take! This time the take was familiar, what we hear are the opening bars of a theme called "The Dead Sons" and can be heard right before John blows up the bridge. But then it is crossfaded (rather badly) into the same take of the theme used at the main title (OK, what were the sound guys smoking?). I checked more scenes, John's flashback when he kills his friend for instance. Want to hear something funny? That very same unfamiliar take of the theme used for both the end titles and the extended flashback scene is here in full glory!!!

And that's just the stuff I looked at, there are minor ones throughout that I haven't bothered to list but you get the picture, the remastered sound track on the Region 2 SE for A Fistful of Dynamite is messed up, not only in terms of constantly incorrect musical cue points but also in the quality itself. The track sounds like mono, seriously, I could discern no stereophonic seperations except on several occasions they came across very artificial and annoying more than enhancing! The sound is also very tinny in quality, you'll hear that much better with headphones on though.

Am I being entirely fair in my criticism on this recent MGM product? I'll have to give them that their picture restoration looks quite a lot better than the old edition. There is much less grain, and a lot fewer artefacts on print, it is a lot clearer and the colours are a lot more vibrant and natural than the older version, although the old edition looked nice as well. Both versions have similar aspect ratios, but they are framed slightly differently, the older has less info on the top and more on the sides and bottom.

It's a shame about the soundtrack, it really is. If only they'd kept the mono soundtrack which on the old disc sounds unfortunately very sibilant, and as a way to compensate for it they've put down the treble as well, but it's still the better choice of the two as it does feature the original correct sound mix for the film. Another mark off for this release is that even though the print itself surprisingly restored "Duck You Sucker" to the end of the film, the package has the name A Fistful of Dynamite (Another "Huh?" from me) even though there's no indication of the name in the film.

Should you buy it or not? Definitely not if you're seeking improved audio quality, but if extras and much improved video quality tempt you to buy it, at least you have my warning and reservations about the audio quality. It's also possible to seperate the audio from the video and replace it with the mono from the old disc, but if one has to go through all that trouble after having to spend money for both editions one can not be other than angry with MGM for sloppyness.

Note: Just after initially writing this post I sampled the Spanish and German language audio tracks on the disc, and even though they still contain the wrong cues for the end titles and flashback they have the correct audio for John's flashback on the train with Villega, albeit in very poor quality (sounds like the audio shifts into mono at a certain point with even less quality than the old DVD).
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: dave jenkins on February 23, 2006, 09:17:00 PM
When you say the new SE of DYS has the "wrong cues" at various points, what are you using as your standard? How do you know what the "right" cues are?
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: The clint on February 24, 2006, 06:04:17 AM
I'm using the original DVD from MGM as a reference. It contains the original mono soundtrack in its unremastered state. It's also pretty obvious that the cues are wrong, as the same version of the title theme over and over again, as opposed to the variable versions of the original edition. Please note that the final flashback was not present on the old edition but the song for the flashback extended over the rest of the film, including the end credits, and this is not the track as heard on the remastered DVD. If you want samples I have them ripped, but I'm not sure how to make them available online.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on February 25, 2006, 08:35:47 AM
(This message will be a near copy of my post at IMdB, I don't want to write all of it down again).


And that's just the stuff I looked at, there are minor ones throughout that I haven't bothered to list but you get the picture, the remastered sound track on the Region 2 SE for A Fistful of Dynamite is messed up, not only in terms of constantly incorrect musical cue points but also in the quality itself. The track sounds like mono, seriously, I could discern no stereophonic seperations except on several occasions they came across very artificial and annoying more than enhancing! The sound is also very tinny in quality, you'll hear that much better with headphones on though.


I totally disagree with you about the audio surround track on the SE DYS which if played through hi-fi speakers the stereo separation is very apparent and effective  and the explosion effects are especially fantastic.However i do agree there is a problem with the treatment of Morricones music which now has an unwanted harshness to it and i've found that both SE DVDs of FOD and FAFDM suffer similarly in this respect.Funnily enough though the much criticised treatment of the gun shot sounds in the GBU SE are not evident in both FOD and FAFDM where in both DVD they sound as good as ever.
MGM should've provided the original mono soundtracks on all the SE DVDs at least for a point of reference.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: The clint on February 26, 2006, 12:33:47 PM
I don't care about the stereo separation anyway, what I care about is seeing the film as it was meant to be seen, not with some cut & paste audio track that sounds a lot worse than the original, I guess I'm alone with this opinion then.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: cigar joe on February 26, 2006, 01:13:12 PM
I just want to see it period any DVD version for starters, all I've ever seen is on TV and Pan & Scan.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Tim on March 01, 2006, 10:48:14 AM
  I'll second what cigar joe said.  At this point, I'd settle for a widescreen dvd with a trailer like the original Clint/Leone westerns, without any added extras.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: The clint on March 01, 2006, 01:02:34 PM
It's already been released twice in the UK, is it so hard for you to import copies to the states? And if you have issues with Regions or PAL NTSC formats, I suggest you just buy multistandard machines.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Tim on March 01, 2006, 03:06:22 PM
  It's not hard to buy dvds from other regions, I just don't have the money to buy a multiregion dvd player.  I'm a poor college student who eats Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Ok, not that bad, but I still don't have the money to buy a new dvd player.

  I've waited this long for a DYS dvd and a multiregion dvd player, I can wait a little longer.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: cigar joe on March 01, 2006, 04:56:28 PM
I just may have to go that route, just been putting it off, don't want to spend the extra dinero right now winter is a bit leaner than other seasons for me :-[.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Poggle on March 01, 2006, 09:43:50 PM
The Phillips DVP642 is a multi-regional PAL/NTSC DVD player that runs for only $60 in Wal-Mart and it's way better than my two other $120 DVD players.

Sheesh, it's not that hard to get DVDs from other countries. Ebay, anyone? ;) I just bought the Japanese Mercenary and Face to Face DVDs off of Ebay tonight and it was probably $35 in all counting shipping. I bought the Korean DYS DVD from a guy in NY on Ebay.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: dave jenkins on March 01, 2006, 10:05:12 PM
In keeping with the topic of this thread, what is the Korean DYS like?
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on March 02, 2006, 06:35:17 AM
I don't care about the stereo separation anyway, what I care about is seeing the film as it was meant to be seen
We don't know for sure that if Leone was still alive he would be against a revamp of the audio tracks.Obviously Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam were all for the stereo surround tracks on the recent Monty Python SE DVDs.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: The clint on March 02, 2006, 08:57:45 AM
banjo, you don't seem to understand my point, we're talking about desecration of Ennio Morricone's carefully timed music, not surround remasters. Personally I like remasters if done properly (I enjoyed the Once Upon a Time in the West remaster for example) but this remaster has taken far too many liberties with the original soundtrack. It also features censored lines such as the removal of 'fuck' in at least two cases (Steiger's line "Why am I mixed up in this fucking revolution..." and Coburn's line "If they were able to get this fucking thing out of the way..." are both censored). I'll provide samples if anyone tells me how.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Poggle on March 02, 2006, 12:20:43 PM
The Korean DVD is on the level of the original Dollars trilogy boxed set DVDs. They have two discs, the American and the Italian version. The Italian version looks like it was converted from PAL in a way that it still has that PAL-look, as if it wasn't converted to NTSC to look like NTSC. The quality of this is very great and clear to the point of being almost distracting when compared to the English language version. On the English language version there's some ugliness in certain cases, like on the original FOD/FAFDM DVDs, but it's not exactly a terrible transfer. Not as clear, grain in some instances, colors are sometimes off a little(Like on the FAFDM DVD), but don't get the impression that it's all terrible, most of it is just in the beginning and it's a decent transfer overall, but compared to the Ital. language one it's just above average.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: dave jenkins on March 02, 2006, 05:04:57 PM
It also features censored lines such as the removal of '******' in at least two cases (Steiger's line "Why am I mixed up in this fucking revolution..." and Coburn's line "If they were able to get this fucking thing out of the way..." are both censored). I'll provide samples if anyone tells me how.
Also, the new DYS has Malory telling Juan, on the other side a wall and about to throw a stick of dynamite, "Duck, you sucker." On the US laserdisc from 1996 he says, "Short fuse."

I don't know which version is right. I think The clint has established the fact that there are problems with the new version of DYS, but I'm not certain the old MGM DVD is the standard by which all versions should be measured. There may be several versions of the film, with various soundtracks out there, and it may be years before we can sort out what the definitive audio of the English dub should be.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on March 03, 2006, 09:19:21 AM
banjo, you don't seem to understand my point, we're talking about desecration of Ennio Morricone's carefully timed music, not surround remasters.
I take your point The Clint.I should've read your thread more carefully  but i've quite often heard folk say that only the original audio track should be on these SE DVD's as this was how it was intended to be heard.Fair enough but i like to have both!
I'll take your word for it about all the various anomalies as i haven't studied the DVD hard enough to notice but the new harsh tone of Morricones soundtrack is without question unsatisfactory-whoever's responsible for this is obviously not a fan!
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Sundance on March 03, 2006, 11:29:56 AM
OFF TOPIC ;)

I just bought the Japanese Mercenary and Face to Face DVDs off of Ebay tonight and it was probably $35 in all counting shipping.

I think you meant to say you bought bootleg copies of the japanese discs of Mercenary and Face to Face? ;)  ;D (unless you of course were extremely lucky... as bootlegs are pretty much all ebay has to offer)

Sorry, but I had to.  :P


Anyways, the japanese discs cost $40-50 as new, and the Mercenary disc is the only available official widescreen uncut english language version... and has been completely out of print for almost one year already. I doubt you can find it under $50 anywhere (good luck even finding one somewhere... jap amazon actually has two but the prices are around $70-80 I think and the sellers wont ship outside Japan) unless the seller is really stupid.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Craig on March 07, 2006, 06:30:52 PM
OFF TOPIC ;)

I think you meant to say you bought bootleg copies of the japanese discs of Mercenary and Face to Face? ;)  ;D (unless you of course were extremely lucky... as bootlegs are pretty much all ebay has to offer)

Sorry, but I had to.  :P


Anyways, the japanese discs cost $40-50 as new, and the Mercenary disc is the only available official widescreen uncut english language version... and has been completely out of print for almost one year already. I doubt you can find it under $50 anywhere (good luck even finding one somewhere... jap amazon actually has two but the prices are around $70-80 I think and the sellers wont ship outside Japan) unless the seller is really stupid.

I got my Japanese Mercanary DVD a few weeks ago off of ebay at about ~$20 US.

I doesn't seem like a bootleg to me. How can I tell?
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Sundance on March 07, 2006, 07:16:57 PM
I got my Japanese Mercanary DVD a few weeks ago off of ebay at about ~$20 US.

I doesn't seem like a bootleg to me. How can I tell?

Well, I'm sorry to say but I'd think yours is a bootleg, just based on what I read from your thread... As you say you have only a region 1 player. The Stingray disc of Mercenary (and I think all japanese discs) is supposed to be region 2 only (I haven't got it myself so I can't say for sure, but all jap discs I have are region 2 only and one of them is from the same series [legend of gunmen box] from Stingray).
The review here http://www.10kbullets.com/reviews/mercenary.htm says it's Region 2, as does the online shop www.xploitedcinema.com .

One thing to check is the color of the data side of the disc. Atleast most of the burned DVDR discs are purple colored, while pressed original discs are silvery or maybe some might be gold (I'm not sure but I think I have seen some).

I somehow doubt there would be perfect copies of these discs available in Ebay but everything's possible. Atleast some years ago (don't know the current situation) Ebay had almost perfect copies of certain Criterion releases (John Woo's The Killer and Hard Boiled atleast). The discs apparently had almost perfect looking covers and disc art and they were pressed discs with correct colored data side. I think there was somekind of very small color mistake done, maybe intentionally or not, with the disc art... can't remember exact details anymore. But basically they were so well done that you couldn't know the difference without knowing what to look for.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: dave jenkins on March 07, 2006, 08:16:47 PM
Also there are a couple of interesting extras included with authentic packaging: a glossy b&w of Franco Nero (on the back of the chapters list) and one of those old-style 3-D effect cards that combines the cover art with a 4-month calendar highlighting the release dates of other Stingray SWs. Of course, if you buy a used copy of the disc you may not get these things anyway....
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Craig on March 07, 2006, 08:48:22 PM
Yeah, you're probably right about it being a bootleg. It does have a blueish tinge to the DVD, and there were no inserts. The DVD itself has a pressed image, it's not to usually cheap bootleg sticker.

The bootlegger did a great job though, the packaging looks great and the quality of the DVD is excellent. As long as the quality and packaging are comparable to the real thing, I guess that I really don't care if it's a bootleg or not--especially if it's $20 or more less than the original.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on March 09, 2006, 03:37:41 AM
Well, I'm sorry to say but I'd think yours is a bootleg, just based on what I read from your thread... As you say you have only a region 1 player. The Stingray disc of Mercenary (and I think all japanese discs) is supposed to be region 2 only (I haven't got it myself so I can't say for sure, but all jap discs I have are region 2 only and one of them is from the same series [legend of gunmen box] from Stingray).
I have a multi-regional dvd player and a Region 2 only player.I get most of my DVDs from Amazon so i doubt if any are bootlegs but out of the many Region 1 discs i've bought so far to my surprise there's only four that won't play on the Region 2 player and i guess this maybe because ther isn't an encoded block on the discs that do play.Just a couple of weeks ago i bought the Region 1 Criterion Life of Brian DVD off Amazon and it plays on the Region 2 player no problem!
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on March 10, 2006, 05:25:39 AM
We've just received the Season 3 Kung Fu box set from Amazon USA.This immaculately packaged DVD set(theres just no way this can be a bootleg) is NTSC on Region 1 but again it plays on both my Panasonic Region 2 recorder and player.You'd have thought of all people Warner Brothers would encode the discs to make them unplayable outside the USA and Canada,and i'm beginning to take all this "Region" business with a pinch of salt!
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Sundance on March 10, 2006, 11:51:46 AM
We've just received the Season 3 Kung Fu box set from Amazon USA.This immaculately packaged DVD set(theres just no way this can be a bootleg) is NTSC on Region 1 but again it plays on both my Panasonic Region 2 recorder and player.You'd have thought of all people Warner Brothers would encode the discs to make them unplayable outside the USA and Canada,and i'm beginning to take all this "Region" business with a pinch of salt!


Well I'm thinking it's your player that's screwed up. ;D ;)

EDIT: Ah damn, I'll edit the whole thing. ;D

I don't know about the Kung Fu set much, but DVDfile's review mentions the disc to be region 1, but I'm not sure if they ever even check the region codings themselves. Other reviews mention nothing about the coding. Season 1 is said to have region 1 coding by DVDBeaver which I'd think would know their stuff.

And as you said as well, Warner should be one to include region coding in their discs. But who knows... maybe some companies are finally thinking that region coding is not needed.

Concerning your first message, most if not all Criterions are region 0 though, as are Anchor Bay's spaghetti westerns (except maybe for one, can't remember for sure), and probably a whole lot of other more cult stuff from many companies. Then again Koch Media from Germany (and X-Rated I think) are always region 2, as are the japanese spaghetti discs.

My own Sony standalone player can play all regions... if I enter a region 1 disc it changes the player's region coding into 1, if I put region 4 disc the region changes to 4. The player wasn't like this when I bought it, but the multiregional functionality was coded into the programming of the player, I just needed a good enough remote to active it (the player even displayed a "SUCCESS" message when I had enabled the multiregional coding).

Someone might wonder why the player just isn't in region 0 all the time. I guess the people at Sony were wise and encoded it like it is.... as if I have understood correctly if I'd put an R1 RCE encoded disc into region 0 drive it wouldn't play... because those discs check if they can play the disc in more than one region and if they can then the disc doesn't play.
Title: Re: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!
Post by: Banjo on March 11, 2006, 06:13:18 AM
Well I'm thinking it's your player that's screwed up.
Unfortunately not because 3 of the 4 it won't play are the Region 1 DVDs of GBU,UOATITW and Companeros.
The other Region 1 discs my Region 2 player will play are Strangers Gundown and Today We Kill,Tommorow You Die-both on VCI Entertainment and Run Man Run on Blue Underground.Theres a handful of other SW dvds i've bought from Amazon where they state these are Region 1 but theres nothing to indicate this on the sleeves so i guess these are maybe Region 0 despite what Amazon says.
I've got the first two Kung Fu season box sets on Region 2 and i got fed up with the wait for Season 3 which is why i bought the Region 1 set from Amazon and i was expecting this only to be playable on my cheap Yakumo multi-region player.
    Oh yeau i recently got the complete Python first series of 4 dvds(NTSC,Region 1 but not Criterion) and these play ok too!!