Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: The clint on June 25, 2006, 08:55:54 AM

Title: US 139 minute version
Post by: The clint on June 25, 2006, 08:55:54 AM
How is it possble to cut a film from 229 minutes to 139 minutes and release it!? That adds up to 90 minutes being cut! Does anyone have anyone know what long sections were missing in this version?
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: The Peacemaker on June 25, 2006, 02:02:47 PM
How is it possble to cut a film from 229 minutes to 139 minutes and release it!? That adds up to 90 minutes being cut! Does anyone have anyone know what long sections were missing in this version?

Well, the chopped-up version shown in US theaters in 1984 was missing the two rape scenes, a few other scenes, and was put in chronological order which as we all know makes the film incomprehensible. Not only that, the end with the garbage truck and the smile in the opium den was removed completely! They replaced it with Noodles walking out of Senator Bailey's office and cuts with the sound of a gunshot ( God forbid if a movie gets too cerebral   ::)  ) 

With the new director's cut, we got back everything missing from 1984 ( the version showed at the Cannes film festival where it was critically praised ).

But, Leone shot another 20 minutes of film that he deleted himself due to financial pressure. He still felt those scenes were necessary. They include a black hearse following Noodles in the cemetary in 1968, Jimmy O'Donnell meeting Max at Secretary Bailey's party where he is struck by Max ( " you wouldn't hurt an old cripple now would you? " ), and more scenes with Noodles' girlfriend Eve.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Tim on August 07, 2006, 10:46:36 AM
Quote
and was put in chronological order which as we all know makes the film incomprehensible.

  You'd think it be the other way around, wouldn't you?  ;)
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: cigar joe on August 07, 2006, 03:09:22 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Dude With No Name on October 19, 2006, 12:41:29 PM
Well, the chopped-up version shown in US theaters in 1984 was missing the two rape scenes, a few other scenes, and was put in chronological order which as we all know makes the film incomprehensible. Not only that, the end with the garbage truck and the smile in the opium den was removed completely! They replaced it with Noodles walking out of Senator Bailey's office and cuts with the sound of a gunshot ( God forbid if a movie gets too cerebral   ::)  ) 

With the new director's cut, we got back everything missing from 1984 ( the version showed at the Cannes film festival where it was critically praised ).

But, Leone shot another 20 minutes of film that he deleted himself due to financial pressure. He still felt those scenes were necessary. They include a black hearse following Noodles in the cemetary in 1968, Jimmy O'Donnell meeting Max at Secretary Bailey's party where he is struck by Max ( " you wouldn't hurt an old cripple now would you? " ), and more scenes with Noodles' girlfriend Eve.

I wouldn't want to watch that version. Especially in chronological order, that'd really take away from the film.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Sanjuro on October 19, 2006, 01:00:35 PM
In the documentary, "Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone", Milchan is saying he will add the lost 30 minutes back into the film. Has this been added to the DVD? Or is it still missing?
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: mike7162 on October 19, 2006, 08:36:25 PM
I wouldn't want to watch that version. Especially in chronological order, that'd really take away from the film.

I've seen that hacked up version now and again on broadcast tv, and my bile rises every time I watch it.
If that additional 30 minutes is added, I hope it's not jimmy-rigged into the film like GBU - OUTIA is too exqusite a film for that.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: dave jenkins on October 21, 2006, 08:31:30 AM

If that additional 30 minutes is added, I hope it's not jimmy-rigged into the film like GBU - OUTIA is too exqusite a film for that.
What could you be referring to? The restored English-language version of the film simply follows the Italian cut (except for the extra Gotto sequence). There is no "jimmy-rigging" involved (unless you're talking about the dubbing . . .)
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: The Peacemaker on October 21, 2006, 01:09:09 PM
What could you be referring to? The restored English-language version of the film simply follows the Italian cut (except for the extra Gotto sequence). There is no "jimmy-rigging" involved (unless you're talking about the dubbing . . .)

I think he means that he would prefer to see the deleted scenes seperately on the special features menu and not thrown into the movie.

And I do agree with dude, the added scenes in GBU feel tacked-on ( except the scene when Angel Eyes visits the fort ).
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Jupa on January 22, 2007, 10:07:44 AM
What could you be referring to? The restored English-language version of the film simply follows the Italian cut (except for the extra Gotto sequence). There is no "jimmy-rigging" involved (unless you're talking about the dubbing . . .)

Absolutely: the restored version is great (even dubbing). And even the Grotto sequence was in the Roman premiere (but was cut from the later Italian release version).
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Groggy on January 24, 2007, 05:16:49 PM
Uh, if some 90 minutes were cut out of the movie I think more than "a few scenes" were excised.  ::)
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Jupa on January 29, 2007, 07:19:31 AM
You're right. It was butchered (is that a verb?).
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: bdsproductions on June 03, 2007, 03:24:43 AM
Technically, it was edited down from over six hours.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: dave in milwaukee on July 14, 2007, 12:29:43 AM
Well, the chopped-up version shown in US theaters in 1984 was missing the two rape scenes, a few other scenes, and was put in chronological order which as we all know makes the film incomprehensible. Not only that, the end with the garbage truck and the smile in the opium den was removed completely! They replaced it with Noodles walking out of Senator Bailey's office and cuts with the sound of a gunshot ( God forbid if a movie gets too cerebral   ::)  ) 

With the new director's cut, we got back everything missing from 1984 ( the version showed at the Cannes film festival where it was critically praised ).

But, Leone ****** another 20 minutes of film that he deleted himself due to financial pressure. He still felt those scenes were necessary. They include a black hearse following Noodles in the cemetary in 1968, Jimmy O'Donnell meeting Max at Secretary Bailey's party where he is struck by Max ( " you wouldn't hurt an old cripple now would you? " ), and more scenes with Noodles' girlfriend Eve.

Are those extra 20 minutes available anywhere? I especially want to see more of Eve--especially because she has such a brief appearance in the film and I've always been totally smitten with the stunningly beautiful actress, Darlanne Fluegel, who played her. Every time I see the film I want to personally kill that slimebag who shoots her in the opening scene (I definitely did not shed a tear when Noodles shoots the bastard's sidekick in the head in the freight elevator scene a few minutes later).

Eve's character is developed a little more in the book, The Hoods. Noodles was still obsessed with Deborah (whose name is "Dolores" in the book), even though he now knows he has lost her forever. Although he is a big-time ladies' man, they were all unfulfilling one-night stands. Then he meets Eve, falls in love with her, and she moves in with him. (If she looked anything like her character in the movie, I don't blame him!)   

P.S.--It's beyond me why Darlanne Fluegel never made it big in the movies. The only role I remember her being in, after OUATIA, was that of  the long-suffering cop's wife (to Dennis Farina) in the late 1980s TV series "Crime Story." (Dennis's character on that show was a real schmuck--I definitely would've quit the force, or done whatever else was necessary, in order to stay married to HER!) 
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: dave jenkins on July 14, 2007, 09:03:04 AM
P.S.--It's beyond me why Darlanne Fluegel never made it big in the movies. The only role I remember her being in, after OUATIA, was that of  the long-suffering cop's wife (to Dennis Farina) in the late 1980s TV series "Crime Story." (Dennis's character on that show was a real schmuck--I definitely would've quit the force, or done whatever else was necessary, in order to stay married to HER!) 
I always remember her from Battle Beyond the Stars. She looked good in that futuristic jumpsuit.

Just looked at her bio at imdb and found that her career consists of B-movies and a lot of TV. In addition to the Crime Story appearances, she did 3 Hunters and 5 Wiseguys.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: mal247 on July 15, 2007, 04:41:48 AM
Eve has always been one of my favorites - amazing eyes and if Noodles could only have gotten over his obsession with Deborah - oh well I don't suppose we can choose who we fall in love with.  Eve was the sort of woman who would stand in front of loaded gun and be more concerned with what was happening with Noodles than her own safety.

Would have passed Sonny's "3 great women" test in A Bronx Tale.

Pity the hilarious falsies episode in the book and screenplay never made it into the film.

Was she the one who uttered the words "Does your species have kissing?" in Battle Beyond the Stars?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcjDJ0SdOjs&mode=related&search=

Quite a few appearances:

Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996) (V) Dr. Bridget Thorne
Come Die with Me: A Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Mystery (1994) (TV) Pat Chambers
Relative Fear (1994) Linda Pratman
Scanner Cop (1994) Dr. Joan Alden
Slaughter of the Innocents (1994) Susan Broderick
Breaking Point/Double Suspicion (1993) Dana Preston/Molly Carpenter
Pet Sematary II (1992) Renee Hallow
Hunter (3 episodes, 1984-1991)
    - A Snitch'll Break Your Heart (1990) TV Episode Off. Joanne Molenski
    - Return of White Cloud (1989) TV Episode Off. Joanne Molenski
    - Pilot (1984) TV Episode Off. Joanne Molenski
Wiseguy (5 episodes, 1990)
    - Meltdown (1990) TV Episode Lacey
    - Let Them Eat Cake (1990) TV Episode Lacey
    - Hello Buckwheat (1990) TV Episode Lacey
    - His Master's Voice (1990) TV Episode Lacey
    - A One Horse Town (1990) TV Episode Lacey
Fatal Sky/No Cause for Alarm/Project Alien (1990) Phyllis 'Bird' McNamara
Lock Up (1989) Melissa
Freeway (1988) Sarah 'Sunny' Harper
Bulletproof (1988) Devon Shepard
Deadly Stranger/Border Heat (1988) Peggy Martin
Crime Story (4 episodes, 1986-1987)
    - Blast from the Past (1987) TV Episode Julie Torello
    - Ground Zero (1987) TV Episode Julie Torello
    - The St. Louis Book of Blues (1986) TV Episode Julie Torello
    - Pilot #1 (1986) TV Episode Julie Torello
Tough Guys (1986) Skye
Crime Story (1986) (TV) Julie Torello
Running Scared (1986) Anna Costanzo
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1 episode, 1986)
    - Enough Rope for Two (1986) TV Episode Zoe
The Twilight Zone (segment "Gramma") (1 episode, 1986)
    - Gramma/Personal Demons/Cold Reading (1986) TV Episode Mother (segment "Gramma")
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) Ruth Lanier
MacGyver (1 episode, 1985)
    - Pilot (1985) TV Episode Barbara Spencer
Concrete Beat (1984) (TV) Stephanie
Once Upon a Time in America (1984) (as Darlanne Fleugel) Eve
The Last Fight (1983) Sally
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) Nanelia
Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) Lulu

Great woman  :)
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Banjo on December 13, 2008, 09:28:58 AM
Not only that, the end with the garbage truck and the smile in the opium den was removed completely! They replaced it with Noodles walking out of Senator Bailey's office and cuts with the sound of a gunshot ( God forbid if a movie gets too cerebral   ::)  ) 


So glad to read this about the gunshot ending as i picked up a book today,THE FILMS OF ROBERT DE NIRO by Douglas Brode,who also mentions the gunshot ending and i wasn't sure whether to believe him.

Think i'll leave that butchered version well alone.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: dave jenkins on December 14, 2008, 02:05:02 PM
It occurred to me recently that the reason SL cast Darlanne Fluegel (a near unknown) in the first place was due to her passing resemblance to Karen Steele--who of course is featured in The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960).

And isn't it interesting that SL, like Budd Boetticher, followed up his string of Westerns with a gangster film . . . ?
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: ShortFuse on January 04, 2009, 07:40:27 PM
I think the 229 minute cut is the perfect version of the film. I wouldn't want it to be any longer. But what a strange place to have an intermission.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: Novecento on May 30, 2009, 07:58:12 AM
How 85 Minutes Disappeared, Once Upon a Time
Alex Abramovich

New York Times. June 8, 2003

''ONCE Upon a Time in America'' is the kind of movie where the telephone is allowed to ring 24
times and characters take 63 seconds to stir a cup of coffee. Which is also to say that it's a Sergio
Leone movie -- ambitious, operatic and, some would say, interminable. In fact, at 229 minutes, the
film is 49 minutes longer than Leone's 1966 masterpiece, ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly''
(which is showing at Film Forum in a restored, three-hour cut).

Like Leone's spaghetti westerns, ''Once Upon a Time in America'' (1984) is something of an
international echo chamber -- an Italian film about Jewish gangsters, mostly set on New York's
Lower East Side and filmed in Miami, Montreal, Paris, Venice, Rome and Williamsburg,
Brooklyn. (Asked why he cast so many Italians in a movie about Jews, Leone is said to have
replied, ''Jews, Italians, there is no difference.'') But Leone's fascination with American archetypes
came back to haunt him as the work -- arguably his finest -- fell victim to the oldest of Hollywood
cliches, and the director lost control over his own film.

Nineteen years after the theatrical release, a butchered, 144-minute cut of ''Once Upon a Time in
America'' still crops up on late-night television; it's the only version many Americans have ever
seen. This makes a loving restoration of Leone's cut all the more desirable, and while the DVD
that comes out on Tuesday isn't exactly packed with extras, the quality of the transfer (which took
more than a year to produce) is everything Leone fans could hope for (Warner Home Video; two
discs, $26.99).

Despite its length (or, perhaps, because of it), Leone's cut demanded, and rewarded, repeated
viewings: it was his most carefully made and densely textured film. It moved gracefully between
three time periods (1922, 1933 and 1968) and built toward a flurry of last-minute revelations.
Interviewed by telephone from Los Angeles, James Woods, who stars in the film alongside
Robert De Niro, said: ''It was actually a movie. Not a merchandising opportunity. It was like doing
'Lawrence of Arabia.' A huge movie. Impossible to explain how big it was.''

Big enough for Gerard Depardieu to offer to learn English to play the role eventually given to Mr.
Woods, and (according to Christopher Frayling's excellent biography, ''Sergio Leone: Something
to Do With Death'') for Norman Mailer to lock himself in a Rome hotel room for three weeks,
consume several bottles of whiskey and emerge with an early, unusable stab at a screenplay.
Leone spent 16 years making the film, passing up an invitation to direct ''The Godfather.'' The
project took a tremendous toll on his health. And yet, at first, the effort seemed justified.

Mr. Woods said that when ''Once Upon a Time in America'' was shown at the 1984 Cannes Film
Festival, it received a 10-minute standing ovation. But the first American screening, which took
place in Boston on a cold winter's night, was a disaster. The producer, Arnon Milchan, recalls that
the audience waited, in the snow, for over an hour. Five minutes into the screening, the projector
broke. More than 100 people did not return from the intermission. That night, Leone's North
American distributor canceled a second screening, invoked a clause in the director's contract and
had the film re-edited. ''The Ladd Company panicked,'' Mr. Milchan said by telephone from Paris.
''They changed the movie to a linear story, and cut an hour and a half. The movie that was released
in the United States had nothing to do with the movie we made.''

The problem wasn't merely that ''Once Upon a Time in America'' had been shortened. Forced into
the chronological narrative Leone had consciously avoided, the film made very little sense.
Characters appeared out of nowhere, and disappeared at random. Clues to the film's carefully
constructed mystery went missing; plot lines floated in and out of focus. Bursts of violence went
unexplained, and ambiguities were smoothed over. Even the ending was changed. ''I was too
young to know how to defend it,'' Mr. Milchan said.

Mr. Woods said: ''I watched about 20 minutes of it and walked out. It was just too heartbreaking.
I mean, they even cut in the middle of a measure of music! I could not believe it. It's funny how
this business works: you can be so on top of the world, or so behind the eight ball. But this was
like being at the finish line in the Olympics, and tripping over your own feet. All they had to do is
take it and put it in the theaters, and the rest was going to be history. Release it in one theater,
uncut, and see what happens! It could not have been worse than what they did.''

The film, which cost more than $30 million to make, grossed just $2.5 million during its theatrical
release. Vincent Canby's review in The New York Times suggested that it had ''been edited with a
roulette wheel.'' Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker, ''I don't believe I've ever seen a worse case
of mutilation.''

Mr. Woods said: ''They dumped it on the market. It died in a day.'' He added, ''It was like
watching somebody cut the arms and legs off your child.''

Leone died of a heart attack at 67, at home in Rome in 1989 (while watching a 1958 Susan
Hayward film called ''I Want to Live!''). After ''Once Upon a Time,'' he never made another movie.
''It killed him,'' Mr. Woods says. ''I don't think he ever recovered. It just decimated him. It was a
terrible, terrible, crushing defeat.''

The DVD is a posthumous victory. Transferred directly from the original negatives, it has a depth
and clarity missing from the VHS version currently available. Ennio Morricone's score is remixed
in stereo -- it's practically a character unto itself -- and Richard Schickel, who reviews movies for
Time magazine, provides the obligatory commentary. A very slight caveat: the intermission comes
not between the discs, where it belongs, but during the second disc.

The extras aren't much to speak of: a trailer, a filmography and a handful of still photographs
from the set. Also included is a 20-minute segment of an hourlong documentary made for British
television in 1999, ''Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone,'' which features some of the film's cast, a
few of its many screenwriters and members of Mr. Leone's family. The interviews are wonderful,
but it would have been nice to see the entire documentary.

That said, the reissue goes a long way toward rewriting a dark chapter in the history of 80's
cinema. A theatrical release would go even further -- more than most films, ''Once Upon a Time''
deserves to be seen on the big screen. But even a small one can't quite disguise the grandeur of
Leone's achievement, or diminish the pleasures it affords.
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: uncknown on May 30, 2009, 03:13:26 PM
the dvd box may say "stereo' but it's in mono :'(
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: noodles_leone on May 31, 2009, 05:16:15 AM
the dvd box may say "stereo' but it's in mono :'(

Which is the original format (mono), isn't it?
Title: Re: US 139 minute version
Post by: uncknown on May 31, 2009, 11:17:59 AM
Which is the original format (mono), isn't it?

yes.
the article claimed the music was re-mixed in stereo and the dvd says it is in  5.1 sound
not!