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Messages - MatViola

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Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 21, 2012, 03:55:52 PM »
Okay, I think I'm about to make d&d's day. I found the following article (in French) which has some very interesting info, including a quote from Scorsese saying he knew Leone wanted these 20 minutes added back in. It also mentions the possibility of adding another 20 minutes to it in the near future. Alas, the article also talks a little about the graininess of the footage (though the translation isn't so good).

Here's the link:

Here's the translation:

Announced for many months with varying lengths of time, assembly of novel Once Upon a Time in America was projected with great fanfare as part of Cannes Classics including the presence of Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern and Jennifer Connelly ( who made his film debut at 13 years for this film).

Sergio Leone's film, restored by the Cinematheque of Bologna, has been discovered for the first time in a version of 4:13. So it's 24 minutes that were uncovered novel with a careful integration even if unable to work on the material of the first generation makes it perfectly detectable new sequences. Blame it on a grain, a calibration and a definition necessarily different mounting film that we know.

Very active in this restaurant since it is its foundation, The Film Foundation, which funded the transaction through the generous donation of $ 2 million from the fashion house Gucci, Martin Scorsese told our colleagues in the World: "In the case of Once Upon a Time in America, I know that Leone wanted those twenty minutes are restored. "

We are thus dealing with the version closest to the present time - Scorsese mentioned the possibility in the near future to add another twenty minutes - of what is now called the director's cut of Once Upon a Time in America. If, again, the visual changes between the sequences is detrimental to the aesthetic harmony of the work, it is undeniable that some of the new scenes provide insight essential to the story.

If the appearance of Louise Fletcher, so far only credited in the credits, as director of the cemetery, was far more the media's failure, it is far from that was most lacking in the story. Unlike the character of Eve, the prostitute Noodles (De Niro) meets in a bar, after raping Deborah (Elizabeth McGovern) in the car. A long sequence vital to discover the dismay of Noodles, regretting his act in a night of love almost pathetic when he tries to imagine Deborah instead of Eve - he even gives his name. Right after, we also discover Deborah have a coffee before catching his train, with his face still shocked by the tragic event happened. A tragedy of the two characters who suffer in their own way and the drama that gives meaning to the much heavier exchanged brief look on the station platform.

In the final moments of the film, we discover a scene now essential to understand the impossible situation in which there is the Secretary of State Bailey (thus verily Max played by James Woods). The footage shows James Conway (Treat Williams) forcing Bailey to sign papers making him almost lose everything and suggesting starting to end his days to avoid scandal unborn awaited his appearance in court. The desire to end Max and by the hand of his old friend, is so much more understandable. And the scene to show that the big winner in history is the character of Conway, obvious metaphor for an America where workers control anyone, holds the real power.

Among other additions, less vital to the enrichment of the story, we remain skeptical about lengthening the sequence where the dips Noodles car into the sea showing his friends worried about not seeing him rise to the surface. It is not known whether the sequence was originally intended to hear what the actors were saying, but then rise in the state, only the music of Morricone is present and the minutes are not the most successful.

The sequence of discussion between Noodles and his driver (played by the producer, Arnon Milchan) before they go out to dinner with Deborah, can show a big difference in perspective on life between the two men and a rising tensions that will resonate in the driver's reaction when he condemns rape by her boss.

Finally, the reunion between Noodles and Deborah are now preceded by a scene where we see Noodles discover the actress on stage in the process of interpreting the role of Cleopatra.

The discovery of this new version of Once Upon a Time in America, was in any event, a highlight of the festival. And especially the opportunity to realize, if any were needed, how the last movie of Sergio Leone is a monumental work and may be the best film to be screened at the festival this year. When you think that the reception was lukewarm at its first presentation in May 1984.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 21, 2012, 08:11:44 AM »
On Twitter I asked the guy who wrote that glowing review on Indiewire, Simon Abrams, if there was a discernible difference in the visual quality of the new scenes or if they were seamlessly integrated and he said, "discernible, for sure."

Not good.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Fletcher Scene
« on: May 21, 2012, 05:24:16 AM »
He probably lived not long enough to do so.

But he consciously decided not to do so. Sure, it's possible that he might have changed his mind later (say, in the afterlife), but that's just speculation. I'm going with the evidence we have, which tells us that ultimately Leone preferred the 229-minute version.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Fletcher Scene
« on: May 21, 2012, 04:49:52 AM »
Problem with Leone's statements is that he changed his opinions very often, and you can never be sure if he said what he meant or if he only said what he thought to be opportune. And that his statements are too often contradictory.

Apparently, his children inherited that same trait, considering Raffaella first said the film would "stay what my father did."

Anyway, not only do we have Leone's word on the subject, we also have his actions - or inaction, as the case may be. Even in 1984 there were reports that Leone was planning to release the longer version to Italian TV. But he never did. He decided against it. You'd think if those additional scenes were really important to him that he would have taken the opportunity then to reinsert them. But he didn't. I think that's significant.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Fletcher Scene
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:28:52 PM »
they just wanted to do the scenes separately, like a "special feature," without actually showing a version of the film with those scenes included?

Yeah, then flash forward a couple of years and all of a sudden the plan was to reinsert the scenes into the existing version and declare it the "director's cut." Why did they change their minds? Who knows? Did they find a passage from Leone's secret diary confirming that he was just putting on a brave face? Did Leone's ghost appear and encourage them to go forth with a full restoration?

I'd really like to hear more about this from the Leone family.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Fletcher Scene
« on: May 20, 2012, 07:18:58 PM »
Of course I have no way of knowing the truth; but if Leone had truly felt that the 229MV was better than a longer one, then do you think his children would have made it their life's work to see that additional footage was released?


When all this was first announced a few years ago, Raffaella said, ““In collaboration with Sky we want to restore forty minutes of new scenes that we have found. Mind you, we will not reassemble the film; it will stay what my father did. We’d love to show, however, perhaps in a screening at a festival, this interesting footage.”

So, originally the plan was not to reinsert the footage. It was going to "stay what my father did."


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 20, 2012, 11:18:20 AM »
Just in case anyone's gonna be in France in September:

"Once Upon a Time in America back in theaters. Carlotta Films will release the new version, extended and restored, the masterpiece by Sergio Leone in French theaters in September."

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Fletcher Scene
« on: May 20, 2012, 06:53:56 AM »
I think this is precisely what Leone meant when he said, "The other perhaps explained things more clearly and it could have been done on TV in two or three parts. But the version that I prefer is this one, that bit of reclusiveness is just what I like about it.”


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 19, 2012, 10:20:32 AM »
Thanks! I know what you mean. I've been watching the 229-minute version for over twenty years, so I suspect this version is going to take some getting used to. Did you see this in the comments section -

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 19, 2012, 09:47:03 AM »
But I wonder if the scene of Noodles following Deborah in the train station is in there.

Yes, it is. I've got the breakdown of the scenes here:

Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 17, 2012, 08:51:08 AM »
There's a cut scene in which Noodles catches a glimpse of Deborah sitting at a table in the train station and then follows her along the track (before she leaves for Hollywood). I remember reading that Leone was very fond of this sequence. I thought it was mentioned in Frayling's book, but I can't find it. Anyone have the reference?


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 07, 2012, 10:53:17 AM »
Once - my comments had not a whit to do with running times. My only concern is whether the new footage, however much there is, had already been edited. Leone's comment explicitly states it never was.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 06, 2012, 10:32:28 AM »
We really need someone to get in touch with someone IN THE KNOW and find out what's going?

Was there anyone more in the know than Leone?

"Then there is the very long one that has never been edited and which lasts fifty minutes longer."

 Straight from the lion's mouth, so to speak.


Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT
« on: May 06, 2012, 05:42:22 AM »
There could be a misunderstanding on "that has never been edited".  My best guess is that Sergio Leone did a 270 minute version which had sound and was very roughly put together (edited). It may have had several bits that needed further editing to produce a final cut such as the mismatch of the number plates and Carol's scenes in the nursing home.  This may partly explain why we are only getting a further 25 minutes.   

I hope you’re right, Once. Were that true I’d feel slightly better about this restoration. But I have my doubts. When Leone says the footage “has never been edited” I’m not sure what else he could mean other than that the footage has never been edited. And Leone’s children didn’t say they found a “270 minute cut” or a “four-and-a-half hour cut.” They said they found 40 minutes of additional footage. When this was all first announced a few years ago, Raffaella said, “we want to restore forty minutes of new scenes that we have found. Mind you, we will not reassemble the film; it will stay what my father did.”

The common perception that Leone actually assembled a 270 minute cut might be a myth. Once upon a time, in 1984 to be exact, Leone planned to edit the 50 minutes into the 229 version at a later date, but he never got around to doing it.

At least that’s what it sounds like to me.


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