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Messages - AlistairLW

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Sergio Leone News / Re:New DVD? Yes!!
« on: April 24, 2003, 07:24:19 AM »
220' 226' 227' 229'
are all these versions actually different or are they all the same, the discrepancy on running times might be due to different methods in film and standards transfer.

Yes, that's a good point about the running time being affected by different film standards (NTSC vs PAL, for example) because of their different frame rates. Perhaps that does explain some of the discrepancies. But in addition  to that, there were multiple "cuts" of the film, with different running times. There's a good discussion of this at:

That article discusses five different versions (one of which is only a rumor). One of these runs for 3hrs 46 minutes but was cut by two minutes to 224 mins for release in the States, so that it could receive an R rating (jnstead of, presumably, an X rating). The 2 mins were cut from the second rape scene -- some people think these cuts actually improved that scene, others disagree (of course).

But other versions with times of 227 or 229 minutes are not mentioned. Maybe the article is not that authoritative after all, or maybe there's bad information on the times people quote, or maybe the different film-rates account for some of this. Amazon is still quoting 226 minutes, Warner is still saying nothing, and other sites (which seem to be  based all on the same press release) are saying 229 mins. Foreign releases are (like the full-frame, unrestored Brazilian release that has been floating around fo a while) often quote 227! We'll soon find out!

Once Upon A Time In America / Re:Debra
« on: April 14, 2003, 04:41:12 PM »
I haven't seen this movie for a while (waiting for the DVD!) but on another web site, it was pointed out that in this scene, there's a poster for the production that Debra's starring in. The poster states that Debra's character could not be altered or withered by time, and Noodles comments on this -- noting that the "part could have been written for you" (or some such comment).
At the very least, this would indicate that this was not simply an oversight by Leone. Perhaps they weren't able to make Debra look older (although later in the film, when we see her at Max's house, she does in fact look older). Or, perhaps there was some deliberate significance to retaining her youthful looks in that earlier scene. Who knows? This is a very deep movie in many ways -- perhaps that's what adds to its allure. Even if it was deliberate, I'm not sure we should worry too much about Leone might really have intended. I'm reminded of a comment that Tolkein once made, that he "cordially dislikes allegory in all its manifestations" ... "I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader [viewer] and the other in the purposed domination of the author [director]."

Sergio Leone News / Re:New DVD? Yes!!
« on: April 14, 2003, 01:28:52 PM »
Right, Amazon says 226 minutes. But several other web sites, in reporting the new release, describe it as "the 229-minute international release". Most of these web sites use the same wording for the entire new item, which may indicate they are copying it directly from some official press release. I never heard of a 229-min version before: I thought the "full" version was 226, with a slightly shorter 224-min version for the US (so that it could get an R rating, instead of X or whatever, 2 minutes where cut from the rape scene). I guess we'll just have to wait and see -- currently, the Warner Home Video site has no info on this DVD at all. In any event, I can't wait to finally get it!
FYI, several people asked about an existing DVD (with yet another different run time, at 227), which is "region free" and apparently comes with English, Portugese and Spanish soundtracks. I believe this was a Brazilian release, though whether it was official or not, I don't know. It has been available in the US through several import dealers for some time. But I never bought it, after finding out that it is a full-screen version. I can't imagine why anyone would want to watch Leone's direction mangled like that!

Sergio Leone News / Re:Restored GBU coming to theaters ... and AMC!
« on: April 14, 2003, 01:18:22 PM »
It's terrific news about the extended version of GBU on DVD. I've got the existing DVD but would gladly buy the new version when it becomes available. Although the posts said there's no plans to release the restored version on DVD, it's hard to believe anyone would go to all that trouble and expense to have Eastwood and Wallach redub the missing English soundtrack, just so they can play it a few times on cable and in some theatres. Of the "extra" scenes on the current DVD, I think the desert scene is most significant. If you watch the movie closely (and I'm sure you all have!), this scene will fill in a jarring "gap". Right before the classic scene of the runaway stage-coach arriving, there are two scenes who don't quite flow. First, there's the scene of Eastwood crapped out on the sand: in this scene, Tuco stops his horse, then gets off and starts to walk over towards Eastwood. That immediately cuts to the next scene of Eastwood rolling down the sand-dune, in which we see initially Tuco back on his horse again. I always thought this jarred (which is an odd thing to happen in a Leone film): first we see him get off his horse and start to do something (we don't know what), then the next thing we see, he's back in the saddle. The missing desert scene fits in between those two, and will make the flow more natural: we'll know what Tuco does in between getting off the horse, and the next scene where he's back on it briefly. Besides, judging from the subtitles, this is a very funny scene!

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