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Author Topic: Very important info on A Fistful of Dynamite Special Edition!  (Read 9656 times)
The clint
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« on: February 23, 2006, 05:29:05 PM »

(This message will be a near copy of my post at IMdB, I don't want to write all of it down again).

When I heard about a year ago this film was going to be SE'd by MGM with all their Leone titles I was annoyed to have bought the old edition of A Fistful of Dynamite. That package was rather slim on the extras and pretty much everything else. A friend of mine went and bought all the SE's when the came into stores in Iceland, but as I was not willing to churn out copies of my own I borrowed the SE of a Fistful of Dynamite earlier today just for the added extra material (This was a Norwegian import which was probably uncut). The extras came on a seperate disc and were informative if rather sparse (more so than, say Paramount's Once Upon a Time in the West). There I found two short features concentrating on the various different versions of this film and the subsequent restoration of the film. This guy who superwised the restoration seemed to be very proud of his work, particularly his 5.1 remaster of the film which he spoke freely of as it provided the definite sound experiende for a film that contained only a relatively unimpressive mono soundtrack on the previous DVD incarnation. That was it. I was curious enough, both to see the much improved visuals, hear the audio remaster, and to see wheather the restoration restores controversies in line with Juan's "What about me?" line at the end.

Fine... I viewed the final scenes of the disc only to find a major flaw. The sound mix had used the wrong take of the end title music! I was a little startled and jumped to the scene before which included the oft talked about flashback scene that has so often been edited out of prints. I've seen the scene as it was presented on the local Italian disc with it's beautiful background theme (The first track on the original LP, bound to be recognised by everyone who's bothered to track it down) but when I came to that scene guess what I found out: The music was again the wrong take! This time the take was familiar, what we hear are the opening bars of a theme called "The Dead Sons" and can be heard right before John blows up the bridge. But then it is crossfaded (rather badly) into the same take of the theme used at the main title (OK, what were the sound guys smoking?). I checked more scenes, John's flashback when he kills his friend for instance. Want to hear something funny? That very same unfamiliar take of the theme used for both the end titles and the extended flashback scene is here in full glory!!!

And that's just the stuff I looked at, there are minor ones throughout that I haven't bothered to list but you get the picture, the remastered sound track on the Region 2 SE for A Fistful of Dynamite is messed up, not only in terms of constantly incorrect musical cue points but also in the quality itself. The track sounds like mono, seriously, I could discern no stereophonic seperations except on several occasions they came across very artificial and annoying more than enhancing! The sound is also very tinny in quality, you'll hear that much better with headphones on though.

Am I being entirely fair in my criticism on this recent MGM product? I'll have to give them that their picture restoration looks quite a lot better than the old edition. There is much less grain, and a lot fewer artefacts on print, it is a lot clearer and the colours are a lot more vibrant and natural than the older version, although the old edition looked nice as well. Both versions have similar aspect ratios, but they are framed slightly differently, the older has less info on the top and more on the sides and bottom.

It's a shame about the soundtrack, it really is. If only they'd kept the mono soundtrack which on the old disc sounds unfortunately very sibilant, and as a way to compensate for it they've put down the treble as well, but it's still the better choice of the two as it does feature the original correct sound mix for the film. Another mark off for this release is that even though the print itself surprisingly restored "Duck You Sucker" to the end of the film, the package has the name A Fistful of Dynamite (Another "Huh?" from me) even though there's no indication of the name in the film.

Should you buy it or not? Definitely not if you're seeking improved audio quality, but if extras and much improved video quality tempt you to buy it, at least you have my warning and reservations about the audio quality. It's also possible to seperate the audio from the video and replace it with the mono from the old disc, but if one has to go through all that trouble after having to spend money for both editions one can not be other than angry with MGM for sloppyness.

Note: Just after initially writing this post I sampled the Spanish and German language audio tracks on the disc, and even though they still contain the wrong cues for the end titles and flashback they have the correct audio for John's flashback on the train with Villega, albeit in very poor quality (sounds like the audio shifts into mono at a certain point with even less quality than the old DVD).

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2006, 09:17:00 PM »

When you say the new SE of DYS has the "wrong cues" at various points, what are you using as your standard? How do you know what the "right" cues are?

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The clint
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 06:04:17 AM »

I'm using the original DVD from MGM as a reference. It contains the original mono soundtrack in its unremastered state. It's also pretty obvious that the cues are wrong, as the same version of the title theme over and over again, as opposed to the variable versions of the original edition. Please note that the final flashback was not present on the old edition but the song for the flashback extended over the rest of the film, including the end credits, and this is not the track as heard on the remastered DVD. If you want samples I have them ripped, but I'm not sure how to make them available online.

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Banjo
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2006, 08:35:47 AM »

(This message will be a near copy of my post at IMdB, I don't want to write all of it down again).


And that's just the stuff I looked at, there are minor ones throughout that I haven't bothered to list but you get the picture, the remastered sound track on the Region 2 SE for A Fistful of Dynamite is messed up, not only in terms of constantly incorrect musical cue points but also in the quality itself. The track sounds like mono, seriously, I could discern no stereophonic seperations except on several occasions they came across very artificial and annoying more than enhancing! The sound is also very tinny in quality, you'll hear that much better with headphones on though.


I totally disagree with you about the audio surround track on the SE DYS which if played through hi-fi speakers the stereo separation is very apparent and effective  and the explosion effects are especially fantastic.However i do agree there is a problem with the treatment of Morricones music which now has an unwanted harshness to it and i've found that both SE DVDs of FOD and FAFDM suffer similarly in this respect.Funnily enough though the much criticised treatment of the gun shot sounds in the GBU SE are not evident in both FOD and FAFDM where in both DVD they sound as good as ever.
MGM should've provided the original mono soundtracks on all the SE DVDs at least for a point of reference.

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The clint
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2006, 12:33:47 PM »

I don't care about the stereo separation anyway, what I care about is seeing the film as it was meant to be seen, not with some cut & paste audio track that sounds a lot worse than the original, I guess I'm alone with this opinion then.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2006, 01:13:12 PM »

I just want to see it period any DVD version for starters, all I've ever seen is on TV and Pan & Scan.

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Tim
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2006, 10:48:14 AM »

  I'll second what cigar joe said.  At this point, I'd settle for a widescreen dvd with a trailer like the original Clint/Leone westerns, without any added extras.

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The clint
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2006, 01:02:34 PM »

It's already been released twice in the UK, is it so hard for you to import copies to the states? And if you have issues with Regions or PAL NTSC formats, I suggest you just buy multistandard machines.

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Tim
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2006, 03:06:22 PM »

  It's not hard to buy dvds from other regions, I just don't have the money to buy a multiregion dvd player.  I'm a poor college student who eats Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Ok, not that bad, but I still don't have the money to buy a new dvd player.

  I've waited this long for a DYS dvd and a multiregion dvd player, I can wait a little longer.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2006, 04:56:28 PM »

I just may have to go that route, just been putting it off, don't want to spend the extra dinero right now winter is a bit leaner than other seasons for me Embarrassed.

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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2006, 09:43:50 PM »

The Phillips DVP642 is a multi-regional PAL/NTSC DVD player that runs for only $60 in Wal-Mart and it's way better than my two other $120 DVD players.

Sheesh, it's not that hard to get DVDs from other countries. Ebay, anyone? Wink I just bought the Japanese Mercenary and Face to Face DVDs off of Ebay tonight and it was probably $35 in all counting shipping. I bought the Korean DYS DVD from a guy in NY on Ebay.

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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2006, 10:05:12 PM »

In keeping with the topic of this thread, what is the Korean DYS like?

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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2006, 06:35:17 AM »

I don't care about the stereo separation anyway, what I care about is seeing the film as it was meant to be seen
We don't know for sure that if Leone was still alive he would be against a revamp of the audio tracks.Obviously Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam were all for the stereo surround tracks on the recent Monty Python SE DVDs.

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The clint
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2006, 08:57:45 AM »

banjo, you don't seem to understand my point, we're talking about desecration of Ennio Morricone's carefully timed music, not surround remasters. Personally I like remasters if done properly (I enjoyed the Once Upon a Time in the West remaster for example) but this remaster has taken far too many liberties with the original soundtrack. It also features censored lines such as the removal of 'fuck' in at least two cases (Steiger's line "Why am I mixed up in this fucking revolution..." and Coburn's line "If they were able to get this fucking thing out of the way..." are both censored). I'll provide samples if anyone tells me how.

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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2006, 12:20:43 PM »

The Korean DVD is on the level of the original Dollars trilogy boxed set DVDs. They have two discs, the American and the Italian version. The Italian version looks like it was converted from PAL in a way that it still has that PAL-look, as if it wasn't converted to NTSC to look like NTSC. The quality of this is very great and clear to the point of being almost distracting when compared to the English language version. On the English language version there's some ugliness in certain cases, like on the original FOD/FAFDM DVDs, but it's not exactly a terrible transfer. Not as clear, grain in some instances, colors are sometimes off a little(Like on the FAFDM DVD), but don't get the impression that it's all terrible, most of it is just in the beginning and it's a decent transfer overall, but compared to the Ital. language one it's just above average.

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