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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #360 on: May 21, 2012, 05:19:39 PM »

Mat,

thanks for your awesome work.

here is how I understand it, and let me know if I am wrong:

RE: the 24 minutes that were added: Scorcese knew that Leone preferred that the movie have those 24 minutes.
And there are an additional 20 minutes that may be added soon as well, for a total of about 45 extra minutes, right?

Then the question is, why were those additional 20 minutes not added in already? Is it because they weren't found? Too damaged for restoration? Scorcese wasn't sure if Leone wanted them in? Scorcese thinks that 4:13 is a decent length, but 4:35 is too long?

I just hope that when the dvd is released, it includes all the footage that they have and are able to restore. I would really hate it if after all this, they release a dvd that has this 4:13 version, with another 20 minutes of scenes in the Special Features section of the dvd. (Fan edits, anyone?  Wink) I just hope they release it ALL, once and for all!


(p.s. another advantage that releasing all the material would have is this: if a very small portion of the movie is of bad picture quality, it is jarring and there is little chance that it can be viewed of as a single film; rather, it will be viewed of like its just some "deleted scenes" or something. But if a significant chunk of the movie has the poor quality, it may actually have the paradoxical affect of making it all easier to accept. if less than 1/10 of a movie is bad quality, you don't consider it part of the movie. But if 45 minutes -- ie. a full 1/6 of the movie -- is of poor quality, that is a very significant amount of footage; it is hard to mentally consider so much material as "deleted scenes." 24 minutes can be considered "deleted scenes"; 45 minutes is a part of the movie; that's too long to be considered "deleted scenes."So IMO, the longer the new material is, the easier it is to accept this restored version as being a single version of the movie, as opposed to merely being some "deleted scenes."  I guess I am focusing here on the subconscious. Who knows.....  Wink

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« Reply #361 on: May 21, 2012, 06:27:43 PM »

Still, they should have been supplied as extras on a new DVD/Blu-ray, not re-integrated into the film.

They might use seamless branching like the OUTITW blu-ray.

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« Reply #362 on: May 21, 2012, 06:36:16 PM »

With all this talk of film preservation, there is one point I have to make that is not really related but I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I feel it is at least somewhat related. Here goes:

It is great that with the advent of dvd's and widescreen tv's, movies are now generally being released in their original aspect ratio.

But what really irks me is that usually when I watch a dvd for a movie whose original AR is 1.85:1, the picture fills up the entire screen of my hdtv. Since hdtv's have a 1.78:1 AR, this means that they are chopping a bit off the sides of the picture! I know, the difference between 1.78:1 and 1.85:1 is very little; we "only" lose 4% off the sides. So 2% off the right side and 2% off the left side seems to be no big deal (and it is certainly far better than pan and scanning, which completely destroyed a widescreen movie). But it just irks me why then studios do this. Showing the full picture of a 1.85:1 movie on a 1.78:1 tv requires putting TINY black bars on top and bottom of the screen -- just a small fraction the size of the very large black bars that we are happy to live with horizontally for 2.35:1 movies, and vertically for 4:3 movies. If we are happy to live with the huge black bars for letterboxed or pillarboxd movies, then why do they think we wouldn't be happy living with tiny horizontal bars for 1.85:1 movies?

I think anybody here would prefer the full picture + tiny horizontal black lines, rather than filling the screen at the cost of having 2% of the picture chopped on each side. But I guess they care about mainstream idiots more than real fans like us.

What makes this even worse is that the studios should have learned their lesson by this point: how over time, formats of viewing technology continuously change; and that changing the original features of a movie for the sake of "accommodating" a particular time period can lead to permanently screwing up a work of art.

For example, what if in 20 years from now, the AR for tv's change to 2:1. For movies that were released in 1.85:1 but the dvd's in 1.78:1, will they have preserved the original theatrical aspect ratio for future home viewing formats? What will they do now  to accommodate these theoretical 2:1 tv's -- will they say, "the difference is too big, we can't cut that much to fill the screen; rather, we will live with the black bars on the sides"? or will they say, "let's just cut a bit off the top and bottom to fill the 2:1 screen"! Will they use the real 1.85:1 version as the reference print, or will these butchered 1.78:1 dvd's become the reference print?


Bottom line: home viewing in general these days is amazing (especially compared to what we had just a few years ago ; no choice except pan and scanned VHS's). With new dvd's and blu rays being released every day, mostly in original AR's, we have great access and it's wonderful. I am very thankful for that, and I know that if the worst problem we ever have is having 2% chopped off each side of 1.85:1 movies, we'll be in good shape. But I still think it is wrong; studios should have learned by now to follow a simple rule in all situations: JUST KEEP THE PICTURE AS RELEASED; WE ALWAYS WANT TO SEE THE FULL PICTURE THAT WAS SHOT, SO KEEP IT IN EXACTLY THE INTENDED ASPECT RATIO, AND WE WILL HAPPILY ACCEPT THE BLACK BARS THAT COME ALONG WITH IT. JUST KEEP THE MOVIE IN THE EXACT ASPECT RATIO IN WHICH IT WAS INTENDED, PERIOD!


Actually they usually (but not always) open the image up slightly from 1.85 to 1.78 so you are actually getting a little more information top and bottom on the DVD/BD release.

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« Reply #363 on: May 21, 2012, 06:51:11 PM »

d&d,

I don't know any more than you do. I'm sure we're talking about the same 40 minutes as before, but why it wasn't already restored, I can't say. I'm sure that if Scorsese "knows" that Leone wanted to restore the first 20 minutes, he must also "know" that Leone wanted to restore the other 20 minutes. Otherwise, he wouldn't be thinking about adding it back in. Maybe the footage is more degraded and it's going to take longer to restore it. Who knows?

But I'd like to ask Scorsese how he "knows" Leone wanted it restored. Does he "know" what Leone himself said about it in 1988? Can someone get Marty on the phone please?

Mat   

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« Reply #364 on: May 21, 2012, 07:11:00 PM »

Actually they usually (but not always) open the image up slightly from 1.85 to 1.78 so you are actually getting a little more information top and bottom on the DVD/BD release.

so you are saying that when a movie is released in theaters at 1.85:1 but the dvd is 1.78:1, it is because they ADD more on top and bottom rather than removing from the sides?

Why would they not show the full picture in theaters?

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« Reply #365 on: May 21, 2012, 07:25:31 PM »

d&d,

I don't know any more than you do. I'm sure we're talking about the same 40 minutes as before, but why it wasn't already restored, I can't say. I'm sure that if Scorsese "knows" that Leone wanted to restore the first 20 minutes, he must also "know" that Leone wanted to restore the other 20 minutes. Otherwise, he wouldn't be thinking about adding it back in. Maybe the footage is more degraded and it's going to take longer to restore it. Who knows?

But I'd like to ask Scorsese how he "knows" Leone wanted it restored. Does he "know" what Leone himself said about it in 1988? Can someone get Marty on the phone please?

Mat   

Well Frayling says that Leone very reluctantly cut these 45-50 minutes, which he called "significant material." And I am sure that Scorcese spoke to many people originally involved with the making/editing of the movie, who probably confirmed this.

yes, you have the statement that Leone made a while later that the 229MV is the best version. But I am sure many people involved said that Leone really wanted those 45-50 minutes in. Who knows what Leone would say if he were alive today. But I think it is pretty safe to say that during the time of the movie's release, Leone really wanted those 45-50 minutes in. (Although in the very same paragraph, Frayling says that Leone's preferred version was between 4:10 -- 4:25; so somewhere, Frayling got his math wrong; 3:49 + 45-50 minutes = 4:34 -- 4:39, not 4:10 -- 4:25). Either way, I think Leone preferred that these scenes be included. Besides, even if we had no way of knowing Leone's opinion on the matter, I am still happy they are doing this restoration: let them put back whatever they can find, and then let each fan decide what to consider as his definitive version.

------

So we know that according to Frayling "Leone had 10 hours of usable footage in the can." I don't know what "usable footage" means; I can't imagine that it means enough footage to actually release a 10-hour movie; I mean, how many more elements could there be to this story?Huh But he did have thoughts of releasing a 2-part movie, so I think there is enough footage for something like a 6 hour movie (he only cut it down to the 4 and a half hour version, and finally the 3:49 version, once he realized it was only going to be a single movie, and not two parts). I'd love to get my hands on all 6 hours of footage. I mean, how much more could there be to this story? Does Noodles meet Max in hell, and God tells them that as atonement for their sins, their souls are forced to return to Earth? Do Old Deborah and Old Carol start having a lesbian affair (actually there is no such thing as "elderly Deborah"  Wink) From the shooting script that we have, all I hve seen are those scenes that would comprise the extra 50 minutes (Frayling lists those scenes, and they match up to basically the rest of the shooting script). I have no idea what material there is that would equal 6 hours. Though I'd sure love to find out, if it exists  Wink

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« Reply #366 on: May 21, 2012, 07:35:15 PM »

d&d,

Now you're just getting downright greedy.  Evil

Mat

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« Reply #367 on: May 21, 2012, 07:55:02 PM »

d&d,

Now you're just getting downright greedy.  Evil

Mat

when it comes to Leone, I certainly am  Smiley

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« Reply #368 on: May 22, 2012, 04:35:56 AM »

Still, they should have been supplied as extras on a new DVD/Blu-ray, not re-integrated into the film.
They wouldn't have got funding to do so if that's all they were doing. They needed to added them back as a so called "Director's Cut" in order to get the movie into cinemas to recoup the cost. They did a similar thing with Close Encounters and Alien.

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« Reply #369 on: May 22, 2012, 04:44:03 AM »

Actually they usually (but not always) open the image up slightly from 1.85 to 1.78 so you are actually getting a little more information top and bottom on the DVD/BD release.
Correct!

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« Reply #370 on: May 22, 2012, 05:13:19 AM »

Another interesting article:

http://www.forgottensilver.net/2012/05/21/il-etait-une-fois-en-amerique-la-restauration-du-film/


Between wanting to honor the memory of Sergio Leone by providing mounting Once Upon a Time in America as he had designed, and the technical constraints of such a project, there is a gap that is sometimes difficult cross. In announcing nearly two years will give 40 minutes in the editing of the film to finally do make that 25, the Leone family seems to have encountered some technical problems.
The preferred mounting of Leone lasted over four hours, Scorsese explains in the press kit. "He had to make cuts douloureus itself, to bring the film to 3:49 in 1984. But finally, today, some sections missing equipment was located and reinserted into the film under the supervision of the Leone family and colleagues still with us. "
So it seems that everything could not be found or exploited, making this new assembly version closer to the intentions of the director, but not assemble hoped two years ago. Indeed, Scorsese does not hide his desire to return one day, in the interview given last Saturday in Le Monde: "There we found the twenty minutes that I hope to add another twenty minutes later. When you really like a director, you want to see everything in a film. You want, for example, watch twenty minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey-cut editing, even if it's Stanley Kubrick himself withdrew them. In the case of Once Upon a Time in America, I know that Leone wanted those twenty minutes are restored. "
One could of course call for opportunism, a common process to marketing, but Scorsese is one of the few to show interest in preserving works and it would make him a mock trial.

Gian Luca Farinelli, director of the Cinematheque of Bologna, already responsible for the magnificent restoration of the trilogy of the Man with No Name (unfortunately reserved for the Italian market) explains how they did it to reinstate the deleted scenes: "The images and early end cut scenes have allowed us to determine their exact position before they are cut and the new assembly is 4 hours 15 minutes. "

"The restoration and reassembly of the film are made in Italy," explains Davide Pozzi, director of the laboratory found the image (Immagine The Ritrovata). "Today, the film negative and other elements are kept in Los Angeles in the vaults of 20th Century Fox. The negative was scanned at 4K Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI and files were then recovered by our laboratory where a full digital restoration was the height, frame by frame. Phase longer and delicate restoration of this is undoubtedly the color correction, to recreate the atmosphere of soot and smoke from the 20s and 30s, and the colder the late '60s. As reference, we used the positive copy belonging to Martin Scorsese and is held at MoMA in New York. We also benefited from the experience and memories of many people who worked with Sergio Leone on the wire. The main challenge was the desire to reinstate the deleted scenes by Leone. A research group has worked for many months to this task. Special thanks to Franco Ferrini, one of the writer who gave us the shooting script, which was our main reference for the inclusion of deleted scenes, and the executive producer Claudio Mancini, editors and Alessandro Patrizia Ceresani Baragli, and Sergio Leone's assistant, Fausto Ancillai. These scenes were also considered lost. And technically, the homogéinité of these scenes was our biggest problem, because the negatives of these scenes no longer exist. The only material available were positive copies that were very poorly preserved. More difficult still, these copies were fired without any particular care because it was working copies for sound editors and assistant editors. Images in these coils were severely damaged, not only because of poor preservation conditions but also by their use as a working copy.

It is obviously still many gray areas on the elements found and restored, and the press sometimes tends to contradict the absence of details. As might be expected, the presentation in Cannes is the height in a certain indifference, as too often with the wonders presented in Cannes Classics but hopefully learn more in a future operation of this circuit, starting in June at its second showing at the festival in Bologna. We will return.

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« Reply #371 on: May 22, 2012, 05:55:29 AM »

Cool find.
The guy in the first comment said that DeNiro looked very moved. Which is cool, because DeNiro is not someone who shows his feeling offscreen.

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« Reply #372 on: May 22, 2012, 06:52:06 AM »

They wouldn't have got funding to do so if that's all they were doing. They needed to added them back as a so called "Director's Cut" in order to get the movie into cinemas to recoup the cost. They did a similar thing with Close Encounters and Alien.
It isn't a question of recouping costs, it's a matter of creating a new property that generates revenues now and into the future. In the case of OUATIA, we are now 28 years into the life of its copyright. Copyright laws vary from country to country, of course, but I don't think there is anyplace where copyright is granted in perpetuity. Copyrights always expire. Rights holders are therefore happy when a new property is created that effectively extends the life of their copyright. The new "Restoration" cut or whatever they're going to call it is going to have a copyright life that begins in 2012.

It is naive to think that the 229 minute version will always be available to us. Anyone who has watched what Beatrice Welles has been up to with her father's films knows that rights holders can suppress earlier versions of a film in favor of a later "restoration." In our future world of streaming video, when DVD players are no longer being manufactured, the version of a film that you will be able to watch is the one the rights holders will have chosen for you.

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« Reply #373 on: May 22, 2012, 07:43:47 AM »

Scorsese Interview:

http://www.lemonde.fr/festival-de-cannes/article/2012/05/18/il-etait-une-fois-sergio-leone-et-martin-scorsese_1702964_766360.html


Save movies from the ravages of time ... The Film Foundation, the body created by Martin Scorsese in 1990, a new survivor has to his credit: after, among others, The Red Shoes, Michael Powell and The Leopard by Luchino Visconti, now the American director moved at the bedside of Once Upon a Time in America. For this reason, clôturait Sergio Leone, in 1984, opened with his trilogy Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) and Once upon a time the revolution (1971). Long by 3 h 49, the story of two Jewish gangsters is a funeral elegy that owes as much to Proust and La Recherche du temps perdu at the Hollywood tradition. This was the last film by Sergio Leone, who died in 1989. The restored print, loaded with twenty minutes of deleted scenes, was selected at Cannes Classics, a program created in 2004 with old films and masterpieces of film history. On this occasion, Martin Scorsese returns to his meeting with Italian filmmaker, this masterly work, which deals with the end of the world - the America of Prohibition - and marks the end of a kind, one of the great epics the cinema.

When did you meet Sergio Leone for the first time?

It was at Cannes in 1976, during a dinner at the Oasis, the year when Taxi Driver was competing. There was Costa-Gavras, Sergio Leone, both members of the jury, I, Robert De Niro, Paul Schrader, the screenwriter of Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster, Michael and Julia Phillips, producers of the film. Paul Schrader had toasted Leone to thank him for having toured with Once Upon a Time in the West one of the greatest westerns in cinematic history. We had arrived two days earlier in Cannes and depression we had earned. Tennessee Williams, the jury foreman, told the press he did not like at all Taxi Driver, he was too violent. At dinner, Sergio Leone and Costa-Gavras told us they liked the film. We thought Taxi Driver could still win a prize, perhaps for his screenplay, or its actors. But it took the Palme d'Or! And that is thanks to Sergio Leone.

How has your relationship with him?

I lived partly in Rome between 1978 and 1981. I saw him regularly. Particularly at a luncheon at his home December 31, 1979. I met his wife, his family, met the set designer Dante Ferretti, with whom I will work later on The Age of Innocence, Casino, Kundun, Gangs of New York, Aviator and Hugo Cabret. He knew how much I loved Once Upon a Time in the West, he gave me his copy of the film. It is this copy that I projected in 1980 Film Festival in New York. It was the first time I spoke publicly about the crucial issue of the preservation of films, and more specifically the question of color, which happens if the coils are not kept properly. When Sergio Leone came to New York, I offered to come to dinner with my parents who still lived on the Lower East Side in a building without elevator. We went with Elio Petri (the director of The Working Class Goes to Heaven, Golden Palm at Cannes in 1972). He especially liked the Sicilian cooking from my mother, very different from Roman cuisine to which he was accustomed. And my mother was sensitive to his knife and fork!

At that time I was working on The King of Comedy with Robert De Niro. The film was produced by Arnon Milchan - would become the producer of Once Upon a Time in America. Leone had turned over ten years since it was once the revolution, and De Niro had not seen any of his films. As I still had a copy of Once Upon a Time in the West, he asked me if I could plan for De Niro. The latter discovered the film at the Museum of Modern Art, and he immediately accepted the role of the Jewish gangster.

What was your first impression face Once Upon a Time in America?

The film was released in the U.S. version of slaughtered 2 h 15, when that of Leone, released in Europe, lasted 3 hours 49. De Niro had organized a screening of the original Museum of Modern Art for my parents and friends and me. We were all impressed with the quality of images and saddened by the situation of the 1980s no longer allowed to produce such a work. Moreover, the film has nothing reported at the box office. I remember being struck by the accuracy of staging. Details of the sound and movement of actors. The sound triggers the memory. This is a very literary process, particularly in the opening sequence with the phone ringing that never ends.

How have you seen the first films of Sergio Leone?

I admit I was baffled by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. French and English critics placed very high American westerns, those of Howard Hawks and John Ford in mind. And for a kid's Lower East Side like me, prone to asthma attacks, the horizons of the western addition corresponded to a specifically American. Suddenly, an Italian westerns, Sergio Leone signed ... I did not know what to think. When I saw Once Upon a Time in the West, I did not understand it either. Its slow me destabilized. There I had to revisit the film two years later on television to understand that Western did not need American roots. I got to his images, his music.

Leone did not fall as in the tradition of Western theatrical tradition in Italy is that of opera. He had his own way to deal with the archetypes of the genre. As in the commedia dell'arte with Harlequin, Punchinello, his characters wear masks, these masks and hide many others. This is actually a Russian doll. In Once Upon a Time in the West, each character reveals a different face in the course of history. Once Upon a Time in America has a comparable system. The film is constructed like a dream within another dream. It no longer relies on the archetypes of Hollywood cinema criminal, but on the codes of a myth, that of America in the 1930s, when it goes from anarchy to order.

Before making his westerns, Leone had signed epic films, The Last Days of Pompeii, The Colossus of Rhodes. He often told me jokingly that his great inspiration was ... Homer! His love of mythology into a passion for the myth of America. For him, the films of John Ford was a variant of classical myths. I think he felt that his films were slices of American history, like chapters in a textbook. In jest, he was fond of saying that He was once in America should have been entitled Once upon a time a certain type of cinéma.Le film takes place in the neighborhood of the Lower East Side, New York, where you grew up. This is one of the last to be filmed there.

The Lower East Side was a Jewish neighborhood and also Italian. The two communities lived side by side. My father found his own childhood. It was not that of a gangster, of course, but he recognized buildings, driveways, the street life. The scene where the kid prefers to eat his cake rather than giving it to the girl to sleep with her ... Personally, I had a problem with the last shot, the one with Robert De Niro lying in an opium den, which begins to smile. I did not understand, but my father, he had everything seized. He was very touched by the film and I could not understand why.

Maybe he grabbed the lead character in this film is not as Robert De Niro that death is omnipresent?

Absolutely. He was already old and it got him. How De Niro is disguised as old man, his approach: it is clear that the next step is death. The film is a long elegy. It is as if Leone had foreseen that this would be his last film. This may explain his side hieratic. We learned the death of Leone the first day of filming of Goodfellas. I had seen for the last time at the Venice Film Festival in 1988 at the screening of The Last Temptation of Christ. He was very emaciated, he asked me news of my parents.


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« Reply #374 on: May 22, 2012, 07:44:31 AM »

Continued:

What is the twenty extra minutes added to the restored version of Once Upon a Time in America presented in Cannes, May 18?

I think, very often, there is a difference between the original film and one that the director wanted. The original version depends on the producer, censorship too. I am always very curious to see the vision of the director. There we found the twenty minutes that I hope to add another twenty minutes later. When you really like a director, you want to see everything in a film. You want, for example, watch twenty minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey-cut editing, even if it's Stanley Kubrick himself withdrew them. In the case of Once Upon a Time in America, I know that Leone wanted those twenty minutes are restored.

Can we discern the influence of Sergio Leone in your film?

I worked as editor on Shutter Island when I participated in the restoration of Once Upon a Time in the West. By dint of seeing the same scenes, to check color calibration, I found myself crying because I was so moved by the faces of the actors in close-up, by the movements of the camera, the simplicity of the dialogues. The faces are filmed as landscapes, in planes very close. The same thing happened with Once Upon a Time in America. I think we see the influence of Sergio Leone in Taxi Driver. My film is rather claustrophobic, but the framing is "Leone".

Gangs of New York is heavily influenced by Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. The boy who opens the door and discovered the city covered with snow in my film is an evocation of the boy's early Upon a Time in the West who fled the farm when he heard shots fire and is killed. The camera moves around a circular comedian, so typical of Leone, are among the effects that I have fully integrated. In my mind, Gangs of New York should have lasted five hours. Finally, we made the film we were able to do with the budget we had ... I believe that the days when you could do these great epic movies is over. That's probably why I've done for Boardwalk Empire television. The series draws heavily from Once Upon a Time in America. We are in the third season and already we are talking about a film of 42 hours. I have not done any. But I oversaw the whole.

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