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noodles_leone
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« Reply #315 on: May 19, 2012, 12:13:47 PM »

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

http://notesofafilmfanatic.com/

Great article Mat! I'm not so sure about the "The common perception among fans that Leone assembled a 270-minute cut back in 1984 is a myth." part (since the common perception among fans (probably depending on what you call "fan") seems more to be "I WANT TO SEE THE 270min director's cut!!!!"), but once again, great great article with lots of insights. I had lost track of what the deleted scenes are and what the players said about it at the time. Thanks!

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« Reply #316 on: May 19, 2012, 05:17:18 PM »

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 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIuLFIm2mQQ

Awesome - thanks! And great article too  Afro

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« Reply #317 on: May 19, 2012, 05:53:24 PM »

So, the re-inserted footage is all of inferior quality to the surrounding elements, and we get a noticeable drop in image quality every time we move from the standard cut to the newly-added scenes? That being the case, I would have preferred to have the scenes as extras and not as re-inserted footage.

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« Reply #318 on: May 19, 2012, 06:09:48 PM »

From this comment it sounds like a re-run of the GBU "restoration," adding scenes that aren't strictly essential to the film because they exist.
Not an apt comparison. The scenes (except for the one in the grotto) were all Sergio-approved and always existed in the Italian cut. So the scenes weren't actualy "added" back in, just the new audio for the scenes that were never originally dubbed in English.

However, the fact that the Grotto Scene was taken out of the Italian cut by Sergio himself is by itself a powerful argument that it should not be in the film.

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« Reply #319 on: May 19, 2012, 06:11:23 PM »

Morricone looks amazing! I guess he's going to live forever.

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« Reply #320 on: May 19, 2012, 10:33:10 PM »

Matt - Thanks for your great article yesterday.

I really should avoid knowing anything about the new scenes and wait until I see the restored movie in theaters or dvd. But I sure don't have that kind of self-control, so now that I've read all about the new scenes (and seen some clips already) I will give some preliminary thoughts about each of the restored scenes, though of course, I am reserving final judgment until I actually see the entire restored movie.

Here goes:


--------------------------------------------------------
CEMETERY SCENE WITH LOUISE FLETCHER AND LIMO, AND LIMO BLOWING UP OUTSIDE BAILEY ESTATE


The parts with Louise Fletcher are good. The explanation about the construction of the mausoleum and the recording of Cockeye's tune was definitely helpful; it's one of the elements in the movie that -- while it certainly works as is -- probably could have used a but more explaining, and this helps. Fletcher's performance is perfect (as expected), and the added part about her trying to sell Noodles a plot in the cemetery is very good; it enhances the themes passage of time, and how this is all a dance of death, etc.

As for the part with the limo tailing Noodles, who then sees it blow up outside the Bailey mansion (before watching it on the newscast at Fat Moe's): One the one hand, maybe it tells you a bit too clearly that Bailey is involved with Noodles's return? In the 229-minute version, that part isn't yet that clear at that point, and I am not so sure that showing all that is necessary. But on the other hand, perhaps it is good that we see the limo following Noodles and then blowing up; it explains why Noodles is following this story on tv. In the 229-minute version, it just cuts from the car in the river to Noodles watching this broadcast, with no explanation as to why he cares about it. Once we know that he has seen the car following blown up, we know why he is following the story, and why Fat Moe asks him "Did you know those guys?" I suppose that it works as is, cuz Fat Moe knew that Noodles knew union guys back in the day. But once we see the limo following him, it clearly establishes that this Bailey story has something to do with why he is back (earlier than we knew it in the 229-minute version), and this newscast about the Bailey story seems more relevant to us, and doesn't seem like it comes out of nowhere


-------------------------------
EXTENDED "SWIMMING" SCENE AFTER CAR PLUNGES INTO RIVER
This scene is nice: though not necessary for the narrative, it serves as a counterpart to a similar scene with the boys in the river as youngsters, and it is a further depiction of the friendship between Max and Noodles.

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

NOODLES'S CONVERSATION WITH THE CHAUFFEUR

This is definitely good. While not in any way essential for the narrative, it is a nice bit explaining how the Jewish community despised Jewish gangsters (which is mentioned in The Hoods; and also distinguishes this movie from The Godfather, which I am sure was very important for Leone); and also discusses how in Noodles's mind, the choice was to become a gangster and get rich, or go to school and take the straight path and hope that one day perhaps you will be able to make a half-decent living. That point, about gangsters justifying the choices they made, has been made in so many movies involving gangsters that come from poor backgrounds (an early scene in The Public Enemy comes to mind as just one example, where the young Cagney says of his older brother, "he's going to school... he's learning how to be poor!), and in that sense is another piece of the homage that OUATIA is to gangster movies.


----------------------------------------
NOODLES'S MEETING WITH EVE

These scenes are extremely important. the fact that Eve just seems to show up out of nowhere, and is obviously so close to Noodles that she is there when they are discussing the Federal reserve job, is one of the most glaring problems with the narrative in the 229-minute version. So it is great that they added these scenes in.

I am just not sure why they did not include ALL the scenes with Eve? In the scenes that are restored, Noodles and Eve just have that one night together, where Noodles passes out before anything happens, and the he find the note she leaves him in the morning, saying THANK YOU, signed, Deborah. But that's all. Next time you see her, she is on the beach with them, as they are talking about the Federal reserve job. That is MUCH better, but not as good as if they'd have restored all of Eve's scenes:

What actually happens is this: Noodles initially notices Eve's great cleavage, and then brings her back to his hotel, in the restored scenes.... In unrestored scenes we see that on his way out of the hospital after leaving Jimmy, Noodles is in the elevator and sees girl with this great cleavage -- it is Eve, who is visiting the hospital. He then makes up to meet her again, and they go to his hotel room, where he gives her this gift of a bunch of large-cupped bras, and then Noodles finds out that... Eve is actually flat and  wears falsies! (This scene appears in The Hoods, btw).
 Then Max and Carol walk into the room and invite them down to Florida.

I think they should have restored ALL of these scenes, because: Max is always interfering with Noodles's love life: as a kid, he interrupts their making out, then when Noodles gets out of prison and he meets Deborah at the speakeasy, Max calls Noodles into the side room to discus business with Frankie and Joe. (Both times she teases him, "Go on Noodles, your mother's calling you!") In the scenes with Eve, Max interrupts him for (what he thinks is) vacation not business, but still, the point is that Noodles is a romantic, and he basically has to choose between Max and his love life. Furthermore, on the first night Noodles met Eve, he was just using her as a substitute for Deborah; in the later scene, we actually see them becoming close as a couple.

So the restored scenes with Eve are IMO the most important of all the restored scenes, though I wish they had actually restored them all. But at least restoring the ones they did explains how eve came into the picture, and therefore that is great news.

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

DEBORAH IN RESTAURANT BEFORE SHE GETS ON TRAIN


Well, it's 35 seconds, and once they are doing the restoration, why not? But it doesn't seem to be all that important for the narrative.

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

ELDERLY DEBORAH PERFORMS SHAKESPEARE, AS NOODLES WATCHES

Elizabeth McGovern didn't think this scene was appropriate, and that it just slows down the action (She also doesn't seem that confident that she was able to do Shakespeare well, so who knows if the reason she is happy the scene was cut from the 229-minute version is cuz she didn't give a good performance in that scene?  Wink)

I think it is helpful to make a break between Noodles's meeting the elderly Carol at the Bailey Foundation's rest home, and him meeting Deborah at her dressing room. In the 229-minute version, it seems as if the theater is in the same place; we just see Carol talking to Noodles and then it goes straight to Noodles in her dressing room. So I like this scene if, for nothing else, separating the scene in Carol's rest home with the scene in Deborah's dressing room, which were NOT in the same building.

I just don't understand why they wouldn't restore the scene of Noodles watching Deborah perform in 1933 before their date; while it may not be important for the narrative, wouldn't it be nice as a "counterpart" or contrast" to the scene of Deborah performing 35 years later?

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

THE ELDERLY JIMMY O'DONNEL AND BAILEY TALK IN BAILEY'S STUDY

I don't think there is anything that would not be understood without this scene, unless you want to get into the "moral" aspect of it, how O'Donnell avoided mistakes, but Max screwed up, etc. So it is not necessary strictly from a narrative point of view, but it may bring out some of the movie's themes (which are certainly more important than the narrative in a Leone movie!)

Actually, I wonder whether this may weaken the meeting between Noodles and Bailey? In the 229-minute version, we have no idea what is going to be said at that meeting; only then do we find out that Bailey brought Noodles back to kill him. But when we see the scene with O'Donnell telling Bailey to kill himself, I wonder if that may be bad for two reasons: a) when Bailey announces that he wants to die, it is not shocking anymore; and b) if Bailey has been planning his death all along -- bringing Noodles back for it -- then why the special mention of it by O'Donnell? In other words, isn't O'Donnell's mention of Bailey having to die meant to be a surprise? if it turns out that bailey had been planning it all along anyway, then what is the big deal? That O'Donnell is saying it has to be TONIGHT? Well Bailey had already invited Noodles to the party, so he intended it to be that night anyway, no? I just do not see what this does.

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




« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 05:41:59 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #321 on: May 19, 2012, 10:52:00 PM »

3 more thoughts on the restored version:

1) Of the scenes that were NOT restored, the two that bother me most (in addition to the ones with Eve and Deborah's performance that I mentioned in the previous post) are:

     A) the ones with Bugsy's arrest -- that explains why he wants to kill the gang, and why the gang takes over his job; and
      B) some of the ones with elderly Carol -- some of the elderly Carol's dialogue discusses a wrong version of Eve's death, and is therefore inconsistent with Eve's death as portrayed in the opening scene. But i wonder if they could have at least kept some of it in, like the part when Noodles first goes to the rest home. That would explain more of how he came to meet Carol, and The Bailey Foundation, rather than having it appear out of nowhere as it does now. If it is possible to include some more of the scenes with Carol without including the parts where she says Eve killed herself, then they should have. (I am not sure if those parts where Carol has an alternate version of Eve's death were shot before they wrote the opening scene showing Eve's death; or if perhaps it is meant to be there, showing that Carol doesn't know wtf she is talking about; after all, she was wrong about Max's death too! Or if perhaps it is meant to question the opening scene's truth, and therefore make the point that we never know wtf is going on?!)

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


2) My general feeling is that you want to include any possible additional scenes you can get your hands on, unless you know Leone did not want it there. (Like the Tuco in the Cave scene, which Leone himself removed and Cocksucker John Jerk of MGM put back; that never should have been anything other than an extra feature on the dvd). The more we can see that Leone wanted, the better.

Of course, even if Leone had indeed been allowed to make a version as long as he wanted, we do not know with 100% certainty what footage he would have kept. But I think I can say with confidence that the restored version is closer to what Leone would have ideally wanted than the 229-minute version.

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

3) The picture quality looks awful on the clips we have seen: the color is terrible. everything looks very dark, kind of like those color videos of World War 2 fMGM chose not to restore the full-length Tuco Beating Scene in GBU due to the picture's poor quality; I just watched that clip, and it is FAR better than the quality of the restored scenes of OUATIA that I have seen in these clips).

Whether or not you prefer the restored version of the movie, the fact is that if the quality of the restored scenes on the dvd will indeed be noticeably different than the rest of the movie, then I don't know if fans will ever be able to consider the restored version  to be "the definitive version." In your mind, it has to flow seamlessly and blend into a single piece in order to have a chance of actually being considered "a version of OUATIA" rather than just  "a version of OUATIA plus a few added scenes." i mean, if they were to actually like 50 minutes or so, then it's enough that it would be considered part of the movie; those scenes would be like 1/6 of the movie, so it wouldn't be as jarring when those scenes come on, cuz it would be more often. But as it is now, with these restored scenes being less than 1/10 of the movie, it will be too jarring when they come on here and there to ever consider them a real part of one movie. So if on the dvd, the quality of the restored scenes will never be better than what it looks like on those few clips that have been posted to Youtube, and no new scenes will ever be added, then I think you can probably ever forget about this ever actually being considered a legitimate single "version" of the movie; rather, it'll just be, "the 229-minute  version plus a few added scenes."

« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 05:43:56 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #322 on: May 20, 2012, 08:17:47 AM »

Not an apt comparison. The scenes (except for the one in the grotto) were all Sergio-approved and always existed in the Italian cut. So the scenes weren't actualy "added" back in, just the new audio for the scenes that were never originally dubbed in English.

However, the fact that the Grotto Scene was taken out of the Italian cut by Sergio himself is by itself a powerful argument that it should not be in the film.

Perhaps you're right in making that distinction. Let me put it this way: is the English GBU missing anything in its 161 minute version?

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« Reply #323 on: May 20, 2012, 09:33:02 AM »

Perhaps you're right in making that distinction. Let me put it this way: is the English GBU missing anything in its 161 minute version?

It depends what you mean by "missing." As for the narrative, let's say nothing is missing. (IMO the Angel Eyes at the fort scene is the only part that is essential, but you think that is not essential, and I will concede that point momentarily for the sake of argument).

But especially in a Leone movie, narrative is not everything. It's the cinematography, the way scenes are shot, the editing, the music, the themes of the movie, the pace, a piece of satire, etc. (Eg. even if you deleted the entire Ecstacy of Gold sequence and the entire Triello sequence except the last 5 seconds of each, you could also make the argument that the narrative is not harmed in the slightest way -- yet those are probably the 2 most important scenes in the movie, and also in cinema history).

A few examples from the deleted scenes in GBU: the Angel Eyes at the fort scene A) has a beautiful versio of Morricone's civil war theme, and puts a little humanity in even an SOB like Angel Eyes; you see that even he is shocked by the carnage. I just watched Frayling's commentary again yesterday (it is simply amazing) and during that scene, he mentioned a reference to a Charlie Chaplin movie where a mass murderer says at his trial that yes he killed, but nothing like Roosevelt and Stalin. So as evil as Angel Eyes is, it is nothing compared to the brutalities of war. The deleted scene of Blondie and Tuco traveling in the coach after leaving the Mission San Antonio has some dialogue about the corpses not being worried about anything; again, some themes of the civil war. The deleted scene between Angel Eyes and the commandant of Union camp has Angel Eyes making some of the very same arguments in defending his brutality as the head of Andersonville did when he was brought to trial -- we were understaffed and underfunded, brutality was necessary to keep order.

So it depends what you mean when you ask whether that version is "missing." Even if it does not harm the narrative one iota, Leone's scenes have much more than just narrative, and the scenes are mostly enjoyable to watch. And while I think a couple of the added scenes are still useless, the fact is that several of them are important; and I will take the extra 16 minutes even if it means that 8 of those  minutes will be useless.

Furthermore, I think the 161 minute version is missing simply cuz it is not Leone's preferred version. Nobody is perfect including Leone, and any one of us has every right to disagree with him on anything, so of course you may believe the 161-minute version is preferable. But especially in the hands of a Master like Leone, I believe that it is inherently deficient if it is not his preferred version, unless there is something so glaringly terrible in there, (like if he had chosen to keep the Cave scene in there, then I would say yes, it is better without that scene. But the fact that he voluntarily deleted the Cave Scene, the Socorro Scene, and the Harmonica Rising Scene from OUATITW, shows that he is being honest in editing, and putting in what he believes is best for the movie, and not just pushing for all of his material to be used). IMO there is certainly enough to be gained from those extra scenes  that make it worthwhile to have them in there. I am certainly happy that we have the version of GBU that Leone wanted us to see.



« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 09:37:45 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #324 on: May 20, 2012, 09:37:57 AM »

Quote
narrative is not everything.

Except the added scenes mainly serve narrative, or at least explanatory purposes. Only the cuts to the desert scene are strictly non-functional.

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« Reply #325 on: May 20, 2012, 09:41:34 AM »

Except the added scenes mainly serve narrative, or at least explanatory purposes. Only the cuts to the desert scene are strictly non-functional.

As i discussed in the post above, the scenes with Angel Eyes at the Fort, Blondie & Tuco traveling after they leave the Mission, and Angel Eyes speaking to the commandant of Betterville, all serve important functions related to themes (and in some cases, musical themes) about the Civil War.

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« Reply #326 on: May 20, 2012, 09:43:07 AM »

Themes already present in the shorter version.

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« Reply #327 on: May 20, 2012, 10:00:13 AM »

Themes already present in the shorter version.

the shorter version does not have Angel Eyes witnessing -- and being saddened by -- the destructiveness of war, nor does it him excusing the brutality to the commandant.

btw, maybe you should copy the posts from this thread and the other OUATIA thread and post them all in a single new thread in the GBU Board? (I don't know how to do it, but i am sure you do). I don't wanna clog up the OUATIA board with discussion about GBU.

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« Reply #328 on: May 20, 2012, 10:05:33 AM »

I will happily concede that the GBU restoration is (aside from the grotto scene) closer to Leone's vision, though that's not my main point. I think the discussion here is at least loosely germane to the general topic, no need for a new thread.

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« Reply #329 on: May 20, 2012, 10:19:12 AM »

I will happily concede that the GBU restoration is (aside from the grotto scene) closer to Leone's vision, though that's not my main point. I think the discussion here is at least loosely germane to the general topic, no need for a new thread.

So I think we can agree on this:

Groggy's Preferred Version: old dvd (with 161 minute feature, other scenes as special features)

Sergio Leone's Preferred Version: new dvd, minus the Cave Scene

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