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1  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: July 05, 2012, 11:04:20 AM
Bailey wants to be killed by Noodles at the end.  He knows he has to die so he would rather have Noodles do it.  First, he has guilt over how he treated Noodles and secondly, he figures Noodles would want to do it as revenge.  We find out that Noodles doesn't want to kill Bailey, (and Noodles never calls him Max, and says that he had a friend once, as if "Max", his friend died many years ago. )
2  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: May 31, 2012, 07:23:37 AM
The Noodles and Max flashback scene was in the original version shown at Cannes in 1984.  it was restored with the first DVD release.  It was mostly violent scenes that were cut from the Cannes version.  I don't know why they had cut the flashback.  I think the scene will work better with the other restored scenes, especially Treat Williams.   
3  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Negatives? on: May 23, 2012, 09:23:07 AM
How is it that the negatives were destroyed?   AND, why were the working prints so poorly stored?   This was 1980's and they knew how to take care of film by then.
This was also SERGIO LEONE and everyone knew how devastated he was by the butchered AMerican version, so why didn't they take better are of it?
The pictures look terrible, so I wonder if they make the rest of the film look terrible so it would match it...   Poor Sergio.
4  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Fletcher Scene on: May 19, 2012, 07:32:10 AM
Leone: "I prefer is this one, that bit of reclusiveness is just what I like about it.”  I saw the scene with Louise Fletcher.  It only answered very obvious things.  Sergio created his masterpiece by being to forced to whittle it down to the utmost important scenes.  And it give it that "reclusiveness" or sense of mystery that keeps us intrigued and using our brain throughout the movie.  Also, I dislike the razor-sharp focus of the new scenes.
5  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: May 19, 2012, 07:31:40 AM
Leone: "I prefer is this one, that bit of reclusiveness is just what I like about it.”  I saw the scene with Louise Fletcher.  It only answered very obvious things.  Sergio created his masterpiece by being to forced to whittle it down to the utmost important scenes.  And it give it that "reclusiveness" or sense of mystery that keeps us intrigued and using our brain throughout the movie.  Also, I dislike the razor-sharp focus of the new scenes.
6  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: April 12, 2012, 11:39:35 AM
I think I will go insane if the new director's cut of OUATIA is at Cannes this May.  (the first time, they stood and applauded for 15 minutes!)
This is a life-long dream come true!  I must see it on the big screen!
The screen I saw it on in Chicago no longer exists.  They chopped up that old great theatre.  Anyway, I wonder if Ennio has written any new themes for the film.
There would have to be a new soundtrack released, right?  Please keep me up to date!   
7  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: March 24, 2011, 11:47:39 PM
 "There will be new and complex editing."    I wonder how different it will be.  I have seen hundreds of films.  nothing blew me away the way OUTIA did in Chicago in 1984.  It's so damned exciting, I can hardly stand it! 
8  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: NEW DIRECTORS CUT on: March 12, 2011, 10:12:00 PM
OMG!   I am on the OUTIA wavelength.  What else would possess me to check this board out today!  My dream will finally come true!
9  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re: Siskel & Ebert At The Movies Video Review Of OUATIA Cut Version 1984 on: February 13, 2011, 07:49:51 AM
In regard to Siskel, he saw OUTIA at Cannes first.  It received a ten-minute standing ovation (which he was a part of) so it was highly anticipated.  Weeks after Cannes, the Amercian studio decided to put out an edited version of the Cannes version.  Siskel basically didn't know it had been edited down until he went to see the US release of the film, only to discover it was not the great film he had seen at Cannes.  He had to review THIS VERSION of the film for his TV show because the CANNES version was only showing in EUROPE.  This is why they made it a point to tell us that it was not the same film they saw.   

This is the greatest tragedy in film history! 
10  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / In Sergio's Words on: February 13, 2011, 07:32:50 AM
"The only authentic things in his story were the childhood episodes. So, I said to myself that from the moment that imagination takes precedence over reality, to the point that the author believes he has created something new with the most common of stereotypes that is when we are really at the heart of myth. And at that instant, I understood the need to make a film about this idea ... I had found the right direction. It should be a tribute to film noir and an homage to cinema."
11  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Amazing video on set of OUTIA! on: February 13, 2011, 07:20:19 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0p5f8K147Y&feature=related Smiley
12  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / I saw the Brilliant Director's cut in Chicago-1984 on: January 23, 2010, 11:41:52 PM
OUATIA is the greatest film ever made.  If not for the film company that destroyed his masterpiece, it might be recognized today as one of the best ever.  I saw this film 3 or 4 times in the movie theatre when the original cut was released.  It was astonishing.  It was epic, grand, detailed, mysterious and deeply human.  I have never felt the power of this film since.  It was nothing like movies today.  This one grabbed a hold of you and got under your skin.  Although it was a violent and tragic gangster story, it was filled with humanity, humor, and emotion.  The amazing flashback configuration was engaging and exciting, not confusing.  The score was perfectly matched to the feeling of the various periods in the film.  Not surprisingly, it is considered Morricone's best.  The music is full of mystery, romance melancholy, and regret.  How did such a gorgeous score work with a violent and dark movie of this nature?  I believe the answer is in the human experience.  Leone and Morricone gave the movie as a gift to humanity.  Gene Siskel's original review in the Chicago Tribune 1984 was titled "Time and Memory" (90% sure - I still have it somewhere).  The construction of the film is genius with all the Time periods of Noodle's life, going back and forth just like the human mind remembers different times in our lives.  The main character, Noodles is haunted by a life filled with regret, lost opportunities, and a life lived without love.  This is what Morricone captures; the longing for love.  Looking back at one’s life (they also use the song “Yesterday” in the first ten minutes of the film) with only bits and pieces of memories, it all feels nostalgic and sad as memories are just a hint of the Life experiences lived.  Each memory, a reminder that life is a finite experience.  Morricone captures this regret, this sadness perfectly.  The first time I saw it I was simply blown away by sheer greatness.  The second I saw it I was overwhelmed by the artistry of the film and the deep, complex emotion in every scene.   The third time I saw it, I knew it well enough to just sit and enjoy it, and enjoy it, I did.  OUATIA is a work of art.  It was meant to be seen and experienced several times like a great painting or sculpture.  It was also meant to be seen on a BIG canvas, surrounded with sound.  THIS is the way I saw Once Upon A Time In America in 1984.  The first time I saw it alone, then with a movie buff friend, then with two friends with limited artistic sensibilities.  It sure would be great to see the two-part, 6-hour original concept, but that will probably never be.  I will be happy if I get to see the restored 30-40 minutes as Sergio intended, after the 6-hour idea was dropped.  Although they tried to recognize him and the score last year, Morricone will never be compensated for the omission of his great score from Oscar consideration.  This movie would be in the top ten of all American movies if it had been released, unedited by the American studio.  James Woods joked that someone from the “Police Academy” movies re-edited this masterpiece.  This studio and Leone's inexperienced producer robbed this masterpiece of its greatness and rightful place in cinematic history.  

Oh, as for the smile at the end, here is my take.  This great film works on many levels and so this is just one of my explanations, taking the movie at face value.  

The movie is centered around Noodle's great betrayal of friend, Max.  Sergio book ends the movie with the scene in the opium den the day after the betrayal.  DeNiro has the newspaper at his side as he begins to get high...then, we begin the flashbacks and flash forwards and the fleshing out of his childhood, adulthood.  After this bookend of a beginning, and the summary of the betrayal incident, the story is told from the perspective of the present-day Noodles in 1968 (now about 70 years old) as he proceeds to uncover this elusive mystery.  We get to see the true story of his life and we get to experience Noodle’s redemption, knowing now that he tried to save his friends lives and when presented with the opportunity for revenge, he chooses not to.  Whatever happens to Max is not essential to the story (The sequence from the appearance of the garbage truck to the passing of the young adults partying and crashing their booze bottles is Leone’s commentary on the state of politics and corruption.  As one corrupt politician dies, the system is still in full swing as another generation carries on the torch of booze and partying (and more corruption) all to the tune of “God Bless America”).  In one direction he sees how his life could have ended and the other direction he sees how his life began.  Noodles’ last look is one of a question mark expression as the young adults’ car fades from sight.  He sees the irony of it all, the realities of the story of America.  And now, he is done with the mystery.  Now relieved of this burden, he can actually die in peace.  Leone uses the bookend technique to poetically show what Noodles’ was feeling at the beginning of the movie and what he is now feeling, having been released from the false-guilt that plagued him for decades.  Maybe not quite as strong as the drug-induced euphoria, but representative of the vindication and freedom he has attained at last.
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