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Question: Which is the best cut of OUATITW?
Italian "restoration" 175m
International version 165m
European "Director's Cut" 164m

Author Topic: Best Version? Vote!  (Read 4630 times)
dave jenkins
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« on: May 12, 2009, 05:47:02 PM »

Only recently have I learned what's what (thanks to stanton). The 175m version, apparently, didn't exist until someone put it together in the 1990-92 time frame. The International version is the one we have on R1 DVD now. Both the Italian restoration and the International version include Harmonica's rising from the dead scene. The European "Director's Cut" is essentially the International version with the rising from the dead scene not included. This was the version shown in Germany and France upon initial release, the only one of the three that can be said to have been "director approved." The International version was created from the U.S. release (which included the rising from the dead scene, but not the trading post scene) with the trading post scene put back in. The rising from the dead scene was originally left on the cutting room floor by Leone, but reinserted into the American release only because without the trading post scene Harmonica's fate wasn't clear. With the trading post scene back in, the case can be made that the rising from the dead scene is redundant, interferes with the flow of events, and should be cut out--as it is in the European (non-Italian) version. Well, what do you think?

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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 04:49:11 AM »

I like Harmonica "Rising from the Dead" scene, it reinforces the "Something to do with Death" mythological take on the film which I lean towards anyway.

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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 05:26:28 AM »

But Harmonica's mythological status isn't harmed without this scene. On the contrary, it works even better when he suddenly appears alive out of the dark (and into the light) in the trading post.

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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 05:56:15 AM »

The Italian restoration version has in fact 177 min after the Pal speed up is added.

The "rising scene" lasts for 1:38 min on my DVD. It wasn't in the German and French version (164 or maybe 165 min, and I think it also wasn't in the original Italian release version. As I have never heard any complaints about this version I consider it as the Director's Cut.

As the Paramount DVD is in the first long scene at the railway station about one min shorter than this DC, both versions have a nearly identical lenght. If there aren't any more differences between these 2, the Paramount would be about half a minute longer thanks to the "rising scene".

I still have no confirmed information where the long Italian version is sourced from, or how Sergio Leone was involved in it. 

« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 05:58:13 AM by stanton » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 06:47:41 AM »

But Harmonica's mythological status isn't harmed without this scene. On the contrary, it works even better when he suddenly appears alive out of the dark (and into the light) in the trading post.
That's how I see it, too. I've never totally bought the "Harmonica is a ghost" -theories but removal of the recovery scene sure would advocate that way of thinking.

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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 11:29:09 AM »

hmmm interesting....

The 175m version, apparently, didn't exist until someone put it together in the 1990-92 time frame.

I love the extra shots you get in this one. I particularly remember liking the different shots of Jill leaving in the buggy after she first arrives at the station. However, while interesting pieces of Leone footage, there is a good argument simply to include them as extras. This is particularly the case if Leone had originally cut them.

The International version is the one we have on R1 DVD now. Both the Italian restoration and the International version include Harmonica's rising from the dead scene. The European "Director's Cut" is essentially the International version with the rising from the dead scene not included. This was the version shown in Germany and France upon initial release, the only one of the three that can be said to have been "director approved."

If Leone did not want to show Harmonica getting up, then here again there is a good argument to include it (in the full Italian restored version rather than the abbreviated International one) as an extra.


Nevertheless, having said all that, I still love seeing movies in the longest versions possible so I also really appreciate the non-Leone approved (if that is indeed the case) Italian restoration. However, it should be noted that some of the scenes (like the Jill one above) are actually different shots replacing, rather than adding to, alternative footage in the other versions.

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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 11:59:06 AM »

Ideally, then, we should have a home video release that offers us all 3 versions of the film.

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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2009, 04:28:41 PM »

Quote
But Harmonica's mythological status isn't harmed without this scene. On the contrary, it works even better when he suddenly appears alive out of the dark (and into the light) in the trading post.

No not really, because you have a lot of Nimrods claiming that all Harmonica received was a flesh wound.  Showing his rising from the dead there is no mistake about it.

But some of this version of events doesn't make any sense, If we go with the scenario that Leone inserted it for the American release that would mean he sort of signed off on the incredible mess that it originally was. Why even go to the trouble of inserting that particular scene when the rest of it was incomprehensible?Huh

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 04:29:43 AM »

At the moment I go with the 175 minute version but I'd have to see the third option before I can make a real decision.

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 10:30:36 AM »

I've stopped worrying about what version of OUATITW I'm watching a long time ago, but this seems the best answer:

Ideally, then, we should have a home video release that offers us all 3 versions of the film.

Of course, it is questionable how many people outside the US would buy the new ''three in one, plus specials'' Blu-ray perversion. For a price that is hard even to imagine, let alone pay.

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 10:37:27 AM »

Anyway, my nickel on the 175 minutes version.

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 02:03:59 PM »

any version that has the correct music track at the end of the film- Jill's America played out in full!

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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 07:22:09 AM »

any version that has the correct music track at the end of the film- Jill's America played out in full!

I love the extra shots you get in this one. I particularly remember liking the different shots of Jill leaving in the buggy after she first arrives at the station. However, while interesting pieces of Leone footage, there is a good argument simply to include them as extras. This is particularly the case if Leone had originally cut them.

Nevertheless, having said all that, I still love seeing movies in the longest versions possible so I also really appreciate the non-Leone approved (if that is indeed the case) Italian restoration. However, it should be noted that some of the scenes (like the Jill one above) are actually different shots replacing, rather than adding to, alternative footage in the other versions.

I just posted this over in the thread about the 175min version: "I have not fully compared the two all the way through but my "versione alternativa" appears to be the same as the Paramount release except it has the different browner hue to it (nicely restored) and most significantly has the correct end music with Jill's America played out in full  Smiley. This means that my memories of different shots/angles in my Italian version seem to be mistaken and that I have not seen any of the different takes in the 175min version. I guess I must just appreciate different things about the movie every time I watch it because I certainly remember seeing new shots of Jill in the buggy which, when I compare the two DVDs now, are identical."

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