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1486  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Italian CVC 175 minute version, original or latter day tinkering? on: June 03, 2009, 10:29:24 AM
Then, Novecento, how long is your version,?

The place I bought it from has it incorrectly listed as 175min. I've just checked the back of the case which says 160min ca. and this is what it runs as on my player (i.e. roughly the same as the Paramount PAL release give or take about a minute).

And is the "Harmonica rising scene in it?

Yes, it seems essentially to be the same as the Paramount version except that the credits are different, the color is different and the end music is correct.

I've just had a thought.... I wonder how this Italian DVD (released 2007 with remastered audio and video) compares to the Scorsese restoration that was being done in Italy and is doing the circuits? Could they be the same??
1487  General Information / Film Locations / Re: OUATIA locations on: June 03, 2009, 09:25:22 AM
Really nice location photos guys  Afro

I'm only 3 hours from NY (I live down in DC) so next time I'm there I'll try to visit some of those places personally. Might have to twist my wife's arm a bit tho...

Do you both live in NY or were you just visiting together?
1488  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Best Version? Vote! on: June 03, 2009, 07:22:09 AM
any version that has the correct music track at the end of the film- Jill's America played out in full!

I love the extra shots you get in this one. I particularly remember liking the different shots of Jill leaving in the buggy after she first arrives at the station. However, while interesting pieces of Leone footage, there is a good argument simply to include them as extras. This is particularly the case if Leone had originally cut them.

Nevertheless, having said all that, I still love seeing movies in the longest versions possible so I also really appreciate the non-Leone approved (if that is indeed the case) Italian restoration. However, it should be noted that some of the scenes (like the Jill one above) are actually different shots replacing, rather than adding to, alternative footage in the other versions.

I just posted this over in the thread about the 175min version: "I have not fully compared the two all the way through but my "versione alternativa" appears to be the same as the Paramount release except it has the different browner hue to it (nicely restored) and most significantly has the correct end music with Jill's America played out in full  Smiley. This means that my memories of different shots/angles in my Italian version seem to be mistaken and that I have not seen any of the different takes in the 175min version. I guess I must just appreciate different things about the movie every time I watch it because I certainly remember seeing new shots of Jill in the buggy which, when I compare the two DVDs now, are identical."
1489  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Italian CVC 175 minute version, original or latter day tinkering? on: June 03, 2009, 07:13:42 AM
Mine is definitely not the the boot version by this Leonenut guy, which only adds a few sec. from the US DVD to the long cut. But the cover of mine was a different one. But it's hard to believe that there are now 2 different "long" cuts out in Italy.

Ok, I've figured this out I think. I have not fully compared the two all the way through but my "versione alternativa" appears to be the same as the Paramount release except it has the different browner hue to it (nicely restored) and most significantly has the correct end music with Jill's America played out in full  Smiley.

This means that my memories of different shots/angles in my Italian version seem to be mistaken and that I have not seen any of the different takes in the 175min version. I guess I must just appreciate  different things about the movie every time I watch it because I certainly remember seeing new shots of Jill in the buggy which, when I compare the two DVDs now, are identical.
1490  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Italian CVC 175 minute version, original or latter day tinkering? on: June 02, 2009, 02:43:02 PM
No, the CVC is the 1990-92 restoration by Claver Salizzato. In addition it has at least Harmonica raising after the gunfight at Cattle Corner. Not sure about other scenes.

Just checked. It is definitely not included on my Italian DVD

Right, I am assuming that my DVD of  the "versione alternativa" is the same "versione integrale" restored by Salizzato. This means that the Morton chess piece scene comes from elsewhere.

There is a supposedly complete version of the movie, by a guy going under the name of Leonenut, that can be accessed here: http://fanedit.org/341/.
The following two claims are made: "Includes all the extended Italian scenes & shots"; "includes some unique shots from the shorter version too".

I will post some more information on how this compares to Salizatto's version once I have watched it.
1491  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Italian CVC 175 minute version, original or latter day tinkering? on: June 01, 2009, 06:27:21 PM
Watch again. It's at 1:30:30

Just checked. It is definitely not included on my Italian DVD
1492  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / Re: Bogdanovich on: June 01, 2009, 05:54:05 PM
Would be interesting to hear Bogdanovichs thoughts on this project. Perhaps on the rumoured upcoming MGM special edition dvd?

Here's his original 1973 article in New York Magazine:

Two Beeg Green Eyes
1493  General Information / General Discussion / Viktor B. Shklovsky "C'era una volta" on: June 01, 2009, 12:44:17 PM
Accidentally came across this. Given the name of the book, it's funny how the guy who translated it is called "Sergio Leone"

Main Title:                    Cʾera una volta [di] Viktor B. Shklovsky. Traduzione e note di Sergio Leone.
Published/Created:        Milano: A. Mondadori. 1968
Description:                 255 p. 20 cm.
1494  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / Re: New French Restoration on: May 31, 2009, 07:26:42 PM
No more information other than what I already translated I'm afraid. But, yes it did play on the 6th day (jour 6) at Cannes this year in this newly restored format.

Maybe an internet search could provide more details...
1495  General Information / General Discussion / Re: Conversations avec Sergio Leone on: May 31, 2009, 07:59:17 AM
This is what, according to Cinema Retro's John Exshaw, Giancarlo Santi remembers:

Very interesting... that tends to agree with Leone & Simsolo's version of the events
1496  General Information / Sergio Leone News / Re: Once Upon a Times'...showing at BFI in July on: May 30, 2009, 01:33:12 PM
If only I were still living in England....
1497  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / Re: New French Restoration on: May 30, 2009, 01:14:06 PM
This part is also interesting although it's a pain to translate:

« Savoir filmer les femmes » n'est pas à prendre au pied de la lettre, où l'on voit le maçon, mais comme expression sensible. Il n'y à (presque) pas de femme dans Giù la testa, mais une telle façon de filmer le regard de James Coburn.

'Knowing how to film women' is not to take it all literally, where one sees the fundamentals, but as a sensitive expression. There are (almost) no women in Giu La Testa, but a certain way of filming the look of James Coburn.


Also, Noodles-Leone, is a livre-somme like a definitive/complete work or something?
1498  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / Re: New French Restoration on: May 30, 2009, 12:55:07 PM
He basically talks about his feelings on the movie and then says a bit about filming woman and the lack of them in Giu La Testa . Here's a translation of the relevant section (pending correction by Noodles-Leone):

Comme l'a écrit Giré dans son livre somme sur le western européen, Giù la testa est comme un bon vin, il vieillit bien. Chaque vision supplémentaire révèle de nouvelles saveurs. La version proposée ici était une restauration de la cinémathèque de Bologne, présentée par son directeur Gian Luca Farinelli accompagné des deux filles du maître dont on commémore, faut-il le rappeler le vingtième anniversaire de la disparition. Ses filles aussi sont très réussies. Quand j'étais jeune, les films de Leone étaient souvent repris en salle l'été. Ceux qui pensent le connaître parce qu'ils ont vu la belle édition DVD, même sur un joli home cinéma, ceux-là doivent absolument faire l'expérience de la salle. Il n'y a que là que se déploie toute la beauté de l'œuvre portée par les « Sean, Sean, Sean... » d'Ennio Morricone que vous fredonnerez toute la soirée et sans doute au delà. C'est Carlotta qui devrait assurer en France la ressortie salle du film et peut être une nouvelle édition DVD. Quien sabe ?

As it is written by Giré in his 'livre-somme' on the European Western, Giù la Testa is like a good wine, it ages well. Each supplementary viewing reveals some new flavors. The version offered here is a restoration by the Bologne film library presented by its director Gian Luca Farinelli accompanied by the two daughters of the master of whom we commemorate, it is necessary to recall it, on the 20th anniversary of his death. His daughters are also very accomplished. When I was young, the films of Leone were often re-screened in cinemas in the summer. Those who think they know it because they have seen the beautiful DVD edition, even on a nice home cinema, those people should definitely partake in the experience in the cinema. It is only there that is deployed the beauty of the work carried by the “Sean, Sean Sean” of Ennio Morricone that you hum the whole evening and without doubt beyond then. It is Carlotta who should ensure in France the cinematic re-release and perhaps a new DVD edition. Quien sabe?
1499  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: US 139 minute version on: May 30, 2009, 08:58:12 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.
1500  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / New French Restoration on: May 30, 2009, 08:33:09 AM
Cannes 2009 - jour 6

Ne me parle pas de révolution

D'entrée, je savais que ce serait le meilleur film du festival. Une nouvelle fois, Giù la testa (Il était une fois...la révolution), réalisé par Sergio Leone en 1971 a été à la hauteur. C'est un film que j'ai découvert vers 10 ans dans la salle du quartier où j'habitais à Paris et j'ai été marqué à vie. Les nombreuses scènes d'exécution par fusillade m'avaient, et continuent de m'impressionner. Je me rends compte aujourd'hui qu'elles sont traitées par Leone comme les scènes de duel dans ses films précédent, un rituel mis en scène avec force détails et où le temps est comme suspendu. Que Leone leur ait donné cette place dans ce film là en dit assez long sur son état d'esprit du moment. C'est un film au destin chaotique. Au départ, Leone devait seulement le produire. Il envisage comme réalisateur Peter Bogdanovich mais ça se passe mal. Il rêve de Sam Peckinpah. Il y a finalement complot et il se retrouve aux commandes du film une semaine avant le début du tournage. C'est pourtant le film dans lequel il semble avoir mis le plus de lui-même, loin des jeux de la trilogie du dollar et de la superbe mécanique lyrique de C'éra une volta il west (Il était une fois dans l'ouest - 1968), loin du rêve étrange et pénétrant de C'era una volta in America (Il était une fois en Amérique - 1984).

Giù la testa s'ouvre sur le jet d'urine du péon-bandido Juan qui pisse contre un tronc d'arbre sur une colonie de fourmis. Vision assez rare si l'on y pense. Le repas dans la diligence, le sandwich de Juan, la tranche de citron de John, l'œuf gobé par Gunther Reza, c'est aussi un film de grande bouffe, ancré dans l'humain, dans ce qu'il a de plus animal. Mais aussi dans ce qu'il porte de rêves et d'espoirs brisés, tout ce que l'on peut lire dans le regard de John, les yeux magnifiques de James Coburn. Politique, épique, poétique, violent, drôle, déchirant, nostalgique, picaresque, sarcastique, c'est un film où Leone remplace pour une fois les citations cinéphiles par des notations personnelles comme les souvenirs de l'époque fasciste (Gunther Reza et les fosses Ardéatines) où son sentiment politique en pleines années de plomb avec la fameuse tirade de Juan à John.

Comme l'a écrit Giré dans son livre somme sur le western européen, Giù la testa est comme un bon vin, il vieillit bien. Chaque vision supplémentaire révèle de nouvelles saveurs. La version proposée ici était une restauration de la cinémathèque de Bologne, présentée par son directeur Gian Luca Farinelli accompagné des deux filles du maître dont on commémore, faut-il le rappeler le vingtième anniversaire de la disparition. Ses filles aussi sont très réussies. Quand j'étais jeune, les films de Leone étaient souvent repris en salle l'été. Ceux qui pensent le connaître parce qu'ils ont vu la belle édition DVD, même sur un joli home cinéma, ceux-là doivent absolument faire l'expérience de la salle. Il n'y a que là que se déploie toute la beauté de l'œuvre portée par les « Sean, Sean, Sean... » d'Ennio Morricone que vous fredonnerez toute la soirée et sans doute au delà. C'est Carlotta qui devrait assurer en France la ressortie salle du film et peut être une nouvelle édition DVD. Quien sabe ?

Le soir, j'ai diné avec des amis dont un journaliste à La Marseillaise. La conversation a roulé sur deux noms : Tarantino et Michael Haneke qui présentait ce jeudi Das Weisse Band (Le ruban blanc). C'est là que j'ai creusé l'idée que Cannes cette année avait organisé la confrontation brillante de deux conceptions opposées du cinéma. Comme je m'enflammait pour la scène où Mélanie Laurent se prépare pour la soirée dans Inglorious Basterds, je fis perfidement remarquer que Haneke ne savait pas filmer les femmes. « Il s'en moque, ce n'est pas son problème » me rétorqua le journaliste. C'est juste, mais c'est le mien. Haneke a fait jouer Huppert, Binoche, Noémie Watts, Aissa Maiga et Nathalie Richard, mais vous pouvez courir pour trouver un plan où elle sont belles. Je veux dire par là où l'on trouve de la beauté dans le regard du metteur en scène, de l'empathie, de l'amour pour son personnage. On cite souvent Bergman à propos du cinéaste autrichien, mais si dur que soit, disons Viskningar och rop (Cris et chuchotements - 1972), on trouve toujours cette beauté, cette sensibilité, cette sensualité dans la façon dont Bergman filme Harriet Andersson ou Liv Ullmann. Il est piquant de remarquer que l'une des scènes emblématiques d 'Antichrist de Lars von Trier est une auto-mutilation vaginale opérée par le personnage joué par Charlotte Gainsbourg, à rapprocher de celle effectuée, jute avant de diner, par le personnage joué par Isabelle Huppert dans La pianiste, film de Haneke. Faut-il voir dans le prix d'interprétation l'expression d'une solidarité ? Von Trier n'est pas un tendre non plus. Il a fait d'Emily Watson, Bjork et Nicole Kidman des figures de martyre et n'oublions jamais qu'il est celui qui fit aboyer Deneuve. Il y a un monde entre sa Kidman et celle de Kubrick, pourtant pas réputé comme émotif. Que mes lecteurs et surtout mes lectrices ne se méprennent pas. « Savoir filmer les femmes » n'est pas à prendre au pied de la lettre, où l'on voit le maçon, mais comme expression sensible. Il n'y à (presque) pas de femme dans Giù la testa, mais une telle façon de filmer le regard de James Coburn.

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