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drinkanddestroy
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« on: May 29, 2012, 04:46:25 PM »

is the GBU Blu Ray that comes as an individual disc the exact same thing that comes in "The Man With No Name Trilogy" Blu Ray set?


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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 05:04:13 PM »

Yes, it is.

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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 05:48:20 PM »

We've been discussing the restored scenes it in bits and pieces throughout various threads, most recently in the thread of the restored version of OUATIA. But I haven't seen a thread dedicated to a scene-by scene breakdown of all the restored scenes, so I will do so here:


Here are the restored scenes, off the top of my head. Please let me know whether I am missing any, or if I have included any erroneously:



1) Tuco recruits his 3 men in the cave: This is the one restored scene that was actually removed by Leone himself, after the Italian premiere. The cocksucker John Jerk from MGM put it back in the restoration, claiming that he believed it would be jarring for the viewer to see Tuco with 3 men without having an explanation for how they appeared; and justified including it cuz Leone actually did show it once -- at that Italian premiere, even thogh he removed it himself! This scene absolutely does not belong there: it is a complete waste of time and is utterly useless, and most importantly, Leone himself removed it. It should have only been included as a deleted scene. Jerk is a fucking asshole for including this scene. (I personally despise it more than most people do cuz the first time I saw this movie -- it was the first Leone movie I ever saw -- it felt way too slow, and it was around the time of the Cave scene that I almost turned the movie off. Imagine how infuriated I was when later I learned that the scene that slowed the movie down and pissed me off so much was added by a studio cocksucker who decided his opinion took precedence over Leone's!)


2) Angel eyes Visits the Confederate Fort to find out about Bill Carson's whereabouts:

IMO this is  a very important scene, and from what I have read here, even many of those who prefer the shorter version of the movie, believe that this is the one scene that absolutely belongs in the movie. Firstly, this scene explains that the reason Angel Eyes appears as the Sergeant at Betterville is cuz he found out that Carson wouild probably wind up there. Without this scene, it seems a wild coincidence that Angel Eyes suddenly appears there.
Furthermore, this scene shows the horrors of war. As Frayling discusses in the commentary, this is a nice juxtaposition of the domestic crimes of Angel Eyes, with the utter destruction of war. (Technically, this war was also a "domestic" issue, but I digress...) Though Angel Eyes would be considered a criminal and the war is a legally accepted affair, it is in fact many times more destructive, and this scene is part of this movie's challenge to the classically accepted notion of legal violence vs. illegal violence.
Finally, this is the one scene where we see a shred of humanity in Angel Eyes: he shakes his head -- ever so slightly -- upon witnessing the horrors at the fort, thus displaying how horrific these scenes are, that they could move a cold-blooded killer like Angel Eyes, a man who shows not a shred of humanity in any other scene.
Also, this scene has a beautiful version of one of Morricone' civil war themes.
So this is IMO the most important restored scene, and never should have been deleted.

3) Extended sequences involving Tuco's sadism toward Blondie in the Desert:
IMO not necessary for the narrative.
According to Frayling's commentary -- which is absolutely amazing -- Leone was upset that people said the desert scenes should be cut, for he believed that Tonino Delli Colli had filmed them so beautifully, they were worthy of the great surrealist painters!

4) Tuco and Blondie visit the Confederate bivouac at Apache Canyon, and get directions to the Mission San Antonio
IMO informs us of 3 basic things, none of which are really important:
a) that Tuco is intentionally heading to the Mission and doesn't just happen to stumble upon it coincidentally; but that's not very important, cuz, as soon as he arrives, he specifically asks for Padre Ramirez, so that tells us all we need to know about the fact that he has some specific knowledge of the Mission.
b) It gives us some geographic info about the location of the characters -- and this movie does follow a real historic timeline of events (refer to cigar joe's spectacular research on the timeline in this thread http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4191.0 )  but that's unimportant cuz we could have been informed of that with a very brief mention, that it is the "Mission San Antonio," perhaps with a simple sign above the door or something.
c) it tells us that the area is crawling with Yankee patrols, foreshadowing Tuco and Blondie's capture; but it's not very important to tell us that cuz we know that they are in a war zone; and cuz Blondie mentions they'd be crossing Confederate and Yankee lines (in the next deleted scene).
So this scene does nothing except tell us 3 unnecessary pieces of info and is therefore unnecessary for the narrative. Of course, there are many potential purposes in a Leone scene (narrative being one of the least!), but this scene doesn't have any other use, eg. cinematography, landscapes, themes, music, sound, etc. (The only thing I notice in it is that, off the top of my head, it is the only night scene in the movie, besides the early scene where Angel Eyes pays a visit to Carson's girlfriend).
So IMO, this is really an unnecessary scene.

5) Extended sequence of Blondie and Tuco after they leave the Mission San Antonio, before they are captured.

The 2 of them are looking at a map.Blondie is trying to pry info on the direction of the cemetery from Tuco -- he says "since... we'll be crossing Yankee and Confederate lines a few times, I thought you might tell me where we're going." Tuco refuses to divulging where they are heading toward, simply saying "towards $200,000; is that good enough for you?"

The only thing that may be considered important in this scene is this bit of dialogue, as Blondie is trying to pry info from Tuco about the location of the cemetery; when Tuco says "When we get there, then I'll tell you; you're not worried, are you?" And Blondie points to the dead soldiers on the side of the road, and says, "Those men aren't worried about anything anymore, are they?" So this is one more of the juxtapositions that are a theme of the movie: the pursuit of money, which men risk their life for,  while life is so perilous and can all end in an instant, at which point everything that men worries about, fought for, and pursued, is utterly meaningless.

Also, Tuco discusses the names of some of the areas he expects to be passing through, so it further establishes the locations for the movie (though ultimately, we don't know if they actually pass there, since Tuco and Blondie are captured shortly thereafter).


6)  As Angel Eyes and Blondie are sleeping, Angel Eyes's gang suddenly appears, and Blondie kills one of them


IMO this scene is not very important.

It basically accomplishes 3 things:

a) it shows how angel Eyes's gang joins them. Blondie wouldn't have agreed (as easily) to leave Betterville with Angel Eyes to find the grave along with Angel Eyes's gang, so Angel Eyes had his gang sneak up and join them on the way, when it;s too late for Blondie to back out. (Not all that important, cuz we never actually see Blondie leave Betterville with Angel Eyes alone; we just see ANgel eyes throw him the clothing and announce that they are going to look for the gold. So it is not jarring when you subsequently see Angel Eyes's gang with them; it could well be that they just met outside the camp. (Sure, it wouldn't explain why one of them is missing, but is any viewer counting the number of men in the gang?  Wink)

b) at the end of that scene, we hear a train whistle, indicating that the train that Tuco is on is nearby; this places Tuco nearby, and explains how -- after he escapes the Union train and hops another train -- he winds up in the same bombed-out town that Blondie and Angel Eyes wind up in.

c) As Frayling says, nobody ever really sleeps in a Leone movie; they only pretend to sleep, or sleep with one eye open  Wink so it's a juxtaposition of style: Blondie only pretends to sleep and therefore hear Angel Eyes's gang sneak up on them, and in the next scene of Tuco pretends to sleep so he can try to steal the gun from a sleeping Union officer on the train.

7 ) Parts of Blondie and Tuco's discussion with the Union Captain played by Aldo Guifrre

8 ) Parts of Blondie and Tuco setting up the dynamite under the Bridge

I am not sure exactly which parts of 7&8 were cut, but IMO both scenes are just fine as they are in the full version, so the full versions are better



(UPDATE: I updated this post [5/30/12, at 5:19 PM EST] to reflect the following changes: I added #7&#8, and removed the part about Angel eyes's discussion with the commandant of Betterville, which I erroneously believed was cut in the 161 min. version. [It was actually only cut from the 148 minute UK version]. Thanks to stanton for the corrections).




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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 08:57:30 PM »

Just wanted to emphasize the point that Leone's preferred version of the movie was the entire restored version minus the Cave Scene, and with a slightly longer version of the scene where Tuco is tortured. (the film of that scene was too damaged for restoration into the movie, so it was included on the dvd/BR as an extra).
UPDATE: SEE YELLOW WRITING BELOW FOR CORRECTION TO ABOVE STATEMENT RE: THE TORTURE SCENE



 Therefore, I believe that  is the "definitive version" of the movie, as in, The Sergio Leone version and the only version that should have ever been released.
Of course, everyone -- including me --has his/her own opinion of which scenes should be there and which shouldn't. And at the end of each entry in the post above, I  too mention whether I personally think the scene is important or not. But I don't want it to seem like I am justifying the deletion of any scenes; I believe the entire movie should have been released just as Leone wanted it. I am simply pointing out whether or not I would have included it if Leone had left the editing of the movie up to me.  But the fact is that The Sergio Leone Preferred Version of the movie is the definitive version and the only version that should have ever been released.

I have no problem with someone saying he believes the shorter version of the movie is better, and that when he watches it, he watch the shorter version (or the longer version and skip certain scenes, etc). But I vehemently disagree with those who say that it should never have been restored as a full movie, but only as extras/ deleted scenes in the special features. Do we want a studio to release a dvd in the version Leone intended, or in the version that one person prefers? if you prefer the 161-minute version and therefore want that to be the version released, then how can you blame John Jerk for releasing the version that he preferred?

The bottom line is that the movie should be released just as Leone wanted it (with any extra scenes, like the Cave Scene, put in the special features), and each individual viewer can forward the scenes he/she doesn't like.


UPDATE: I WAS WRONG IN MY PREVIOUS STATEMENTS ABOUT THE LONGER BEATING SCENE BEING IN ITALIAN VERSIONS OF THE MOVIE; IN FACT THE LONGER BEATING SCENE WAS SHOWN ONLY IN THE ROME PREMIERE, AND THEN REPLACED WITH THE SHORTER BEATING SCENE IN ALL THEATRICAL/DVD/BLU RAY VERSIONS. SO THE "DEFINITIVE VERSION" OF THE MOVIE, IMO, IS THE 2003 MGM VERSION MINUS THE CAVE SCENE, AND WITH THE CORRECT GUNSHOTS.
(thanks to stanton for correcting me on this point)

-----------------------

RE: the picture quality on the blu ray: I absolutely loved it; the picture is so sharp and beautiful! There is hardly any grain in the picture. If you are like me and do not like seeing grain in a movie, it is beautiful. The faces look noticeably red, but for me that is a small trade-off for the very sharp picture. I know that many of you like grain in a picture, and, I have heard criticism that they used Digital Noise Reduction. So while I love the picture quality, I know that many others disagree.

For me, Grain is another issue that "it was like this for so long, so now we consider it preferable." I mean, if video technology had been advanced enough decades ago that there was no grain, I am sure nobody would complain! But now that you are used to grain in the picture, it seems unnatural not to have grain. Well, I didn't grow up accepting grain as the norm. So for me, I look at it as a question of "what is inherently preferable," not "what am i used to?" So for me, less grain is always better. But I understand that for those of you who watched movies with grain for decades, you may feel differently about the matter.

It's an old question of where you draw the line -- till what point does a restoration cross the line from improving the original work to actually changing it? Hard to find a "right answer." The fact is that for any movie released between the 30's and 90's, the picture quality of the dvd today is far, far sharper than the original movie was. At what point does that cross the line from bringing the original top its fullest potential, to actually changing the original?

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 03:26:18 AM »

as far as grain it all depends, it may be the equivalent of say removing the brush strokes from the Mona Lisa.  Cool

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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 12:53:02 PM »

Grain is definitely a good thing and I grew up in the age of video.

As for the picture quality of the MGM blu-ray it's total garbage. If you think the MGM BD looks good, you REALLY need to see the Mondo BD:

http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/comparison.php?cID=664#auswahl

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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 02:15:03 PM »

Grain is definitely a good thing and I grew up in the age of video.

As for the picture quality of the MGM blu-ray it's total garbage. If you think the MGM BD looks good, you REALLY need to see the Mondo BD:

http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/comparison.php?cID=664#auswahl

I think it depends on what you are looking for. The picture quality is noticeably sharper than the dvd. If you are looking for the picture to look exactly as it did in 1967, and if you believe any deviation from that is a perversion of the movie, then not only is the blu ray not for you, but the special edition dvd is not for you either. The picture quality on the SE dvd is also noticeably sharper than that of the 161-minute dvd, which is very grainy and of significantly poorer quality.

Any time you see a movie trailer (eg. as an extra on a dvd), you will see that obviously the trailer is of significantly inferior picture quality to the feature. Of course they don't bother to restore trailers, so is the quality so bad because the film simply eroded over time, or because the picture quality of color movies was simply not very sharp back then (in comparison to what we have on dvd today)? I wasn't around in the 60's, but for those of you who saw GBU in theaters back then, my guess is that they will confirm that the way the movie looked in theaters back then wasn't anywhere close to the way it looks now on restored dvd. (Nevermind blu ray!). So again, it all comes back to the question of how much quality are you willing to sacrifice in favor authenticity/originality; and at what point do you cross the line from using modern technology to bring a picture's quality to its fullest potential, to actually making a revision of the original picture? I don't think there is an easy answer.

------

Eg. Last week I watched Rear Window for the first time. It is one of several Hitchcock movies whose film had eroded terribly before a MAJOR restoration was done. In the dvd's spacial features, they had a long documentary on the movie, and the last ten minute so is about the restoration. (It's great stuff!) Anyway, they showed a comparison between how the film looked before the restoration and how it looked after; and there is one nighttime scene in James Stewart's apartment where after they restored the film, I could tell that the lighting had changed significantly; in the original film, the apartment was much lighter in that scene; when they restored it, not only did they fix all the damage to the film, but they made the apartment look much darker. I can't tell you whether the restorers intended to do that, but the fact is that the lighting in the apartment is significantly different -- so much so, that it bothered even me, and I only consider myself a moderate purist (except when it comes to Leone, where I am the biggest purist in the world  Wink) I would hope that the restorers didn't do that on purpose, but the fact remains that on the dvd, the apartment is lit differently than it should be in that scene 9and probably many others as well). Should they not have restored the film but issues the dvd as a direct, unrestored transfer with all that damage and grain and lines in the film? obviously not. Could they have fixed the damage while keeping the proper lighting? I don't know. This is why restoration is such a difficult task, and it's a task that must be handles with great care and only by those with a fanatical interest in maintaining accuracy to the degree possible. And there are no right answers.

I am just thankful that we live in an age when so many old movie are being restored and almost any movie you want is available on dvd, with new ones being released every week  Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 02:27:11 PM »

But grain has nothing to do with modern or olde films. Grain is a natural element of every film stock, and filtering it out is only a concession to an ignorant audience who thinks that grain is a fault, or which thinks that a Blu with visible grain (if one watches it big enough) wasn't correctly remastered.
The same ignorant audience for which a 5.1. audio is made from a mono source. Cause "if it hasn't 5.1. sound I don't buy it".


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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 02:43:27 PM »



6) Angel Eyes and Commandant of Betterville Camp
IMO, this is a very important scene.
(Much of the information from this entry is based on Frayling's commentary):
The arguments that Angel Eyes makes to the commandant were the same arguments that Henry Wirz, the commandant of Andersonville made to justify the horrors there -- that there were not enough supplies and not enough guards, and that the only way to enforce discipline was to use brutal tactics.
(Leone chose to portray a Union POW camp because he felt that since history is written by the victors, Confederate POW concentration camps like Andersonville were the ones that became notorious to history, but the Union also ran brutal POW concentration camps. So he wanted to set the record straight and portray a Union concentration camp; hence Betterville. But it was actually based on Andersonville).
Therefore, IMO this scene definitely should have been included.





This scene is in the 161 min version.

A later part of a scene with the Union officer at the bridge is not. And a small part when they place the dynamite under the bridge

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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2012, 02:49:20 PM »

This scene is in the 161 min version.

A later part of a scene with the Union officer at the bridge is not. And a small part when they place the dynamite under the bridge

thanks for the correction. I watched Frayling's commentary a couple of weeks ago and thought he mentioned that the scene with the crippled commandant was not in teh 161 min. version. But now I remember that he may have actually said it was not in the BRITISH version (which was only 148 minutes). I will update my initial post shortly.


RE: Grain: yes, it is an element of film, but I don't see it as an objective of film. If filmmakers in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, had the ability to make movies without any grain at all, I don't think they would have intentionally included grain in the picture.
 And grain is not a necessary element of digital equipment (or if it is, then to a much lesser extent). I don't see anything wrong with upgrading a movie so that the quality is similar to digital quality; I don't see why we must seek to preserve the film look, which is of significantly poorer quality than digital.

But the fact is that, considering the available technology, those old films did have grain. So I understand why people who watched movies for all those decades with grain would resent the grain being removed from the film now; the view it, as cigar joe said, as removing abrush stroke from the Mona Lisa. Only difference is that unlike a brush stroke from the Mona Lisa which is specific and defined, I don't believe each drop of grain was inserted in the specific place for a reasob; it's just there as part of how film looked.... I recently bought the dvd of the 161 min. version of GBU; it doesn't look like any restoration or remastering or any work was done, looks basically like a straight transfer from the old film. thepicture quality IMO is far, far inferior to the restored SE dvd.

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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2012, 03:08:00 PM »

I don't see why we must seek to preserve the film look, which is of significantly poorer quality than digital.

Mainly because it isn't.

Digital film has btw also a resolution. It is called pixels instead of grain. Make a digital image big enough and you can see the pixels. Film, no matter if it is 35 mm or digital, still consists of picture points. And the theoretical resolution (=the amount of picture points) of 35 mm film is (and was already in the 60s) much higher (= more picture points = more sharpness) than the digital 2k standard which is used at the moment for digital projection.

Filtering the grain out doesn't result in a sharper picture but only in a loss of sharpness. The image becomes soft. Squishy

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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 03:15:53 PM »

Mainly because it isn't.

Digital film has btw also a resolution. It is called pixels instead of grain. Make a digital image big enough and you can see the pixels. Film, no matter if it is 35 mm or digital, still consists of picture points. And the theoretical resolution (=the amount of picture points) of 35 mm film is (and was already in the 60s) much higher (= more picture points = more sharpness) than the digital 2k standard which is used at the moment for digital projection.

Filtering the grain out doesn't result in a sharper picture but only in a loss of sharpness. The image becomes soft. Squishy

yea, all picture is made up of tiny elements, grain for film and pixels for digital. so if you blew up a digital picture enough (lowering the ratio of gigabytes to the size of the screen I guess?) then you would see pixels. But digital technology is so advanced today that you really don't see pixels for films released on dvd today (and even more so with blu ray cuz it has even more memory gigabytes of capability); so even though theoretically you would see it if it was blown up enough, the dvd's have enough capacity you really don't see the pixels, even for the biggest screens.... I don't know if I am using the correct terms; my knowledge of technical stuff is almost non-existent; all I know is what I see, and to me, the picture quality on the SE dvd is infinitely better than the one on the 161 minute dvd. One looks like you are watching an hdtv, the other like you are watching a tv from the 1980's

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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 03:49:52 PM »

As for the cuts to the theatrical version of GBU: the UK version was only 148 minutes long, so it was missing 13 minutes that were in the USA theatrical version. (I believe the following scenes were cut from the UK version):

I) The entire scene of Tuco in the gun shop

IMO this is not a very important scene; the American version would have been better off if it had cut this scene and kept the one of Angel Eyes at the Confederate fort

II) The scene with Angek Eyes and the Commandant of Betterville

III) Tuco smashing Wallace's head against the rock after he jumps from the train (for censorship reasons).


Please let me know if I am missing anything or have erroneously included anything. I am unaware whether this 148 minute version exists today in any format; my sources for these cuts are what Frayling said on the commentary; but I watched it a few weeks ago so I am sure I am missing something.

I seem to vaguely recall that he may have mentioned two additional scenes that were cut from the UK version: the one of Angel Eyes getting info from the "half-soldier" at Valverde; and the one of Angel Eyes delivering a beating to and getting info from Bill Carson's girlfriend. If anyone can confirm this for me one or or the other I'll update the posts accordingly. Gracias  Afro


One problem with all these cuts is that it reduces the role of Angel eyes even further. As it is, The Good and The Ugly have a far greater presence in the movie than The Bad, and all these cuts make it even worse. (and the further cuts in the UK version are even worse than that; it's basically The Good and The Ugly with a tiny supporting role for The Bad. Therefore, if there must be cuts, I'd have preferred no cuts for the Angel Eyes character, to make the roles somewhat closer to equal  Smiley

(And I am sure glad I live in the era of dvd's, restored and uncut movies, and little grain.... It would have been better if I could see the movies in theaters [and they do occasionally show up in theaters in special showings] and there are so few good movies being released these days, but being able to watch almost any movie I want to easily on dvd, restored and uncut, is a great privilege)



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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 03:53:58 PM »

...all I know is what I see, and to me, the picture quality on the SE dvd is infinitely better than the one on the 161 minute dvd. One looks like you are watching an hdtv, the other like you are watching a tv from the 1980's

What are your thoughts on the screenshot comparison link I posted above? Which do you think looks better? MGM or Mondo BD?

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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 04:53:46 PM »

The Italian looks "warmer" the other "colder", that is the main difference I notice.

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