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Author Topic: Siskel & Ebert At The Movies Video Review Of OUATIA Cut Version 1984  (Read 5387 times)
LITTLE BIG MAN
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« on: July 03, 2010, 12:46:52 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjzKKQuOY3U

Note the Review starts at 4.33 after their review of Streets Of Fire.

The American cut version of OUATIA opened on the 1st June 1984 at the height of the Summer movie season and (as mentioned on this video) was up against Gremlins, Star Trek: The Search For Spock which opened the same week, Ghostbusters was opening the following week!

What the hell was Alan Ladd Jnr/The Ladd Company & Warner Bros thinking?  Even the European version of OUATIA would have struggled against these more commercial summer friendly films.

Arnon Milchan (the producer) was right he should have opened it at a few selected cinemas and started a word of mouth build up for the film - probably later on that year in time for award consideration.

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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2010, 03:48:08 AM »

Thanks for the link Afro

I was always under the impression that Ebert saw the long version only some years after seeing the butchered version. A silly assumption really; obviously he had see it at Cannes. It's interesting that Siskel calls it the most anticipated movie of the year. Of course that might be only his opinion but I assume it reflects the general opinion to some extent. I assume there was good hype built but then the bad reviews and word of mouth caused the box office failure. Am I right? Maybe some of our older members (DJ, CJ, Cusser...) could clear that out a little bit?

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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 06:35:35 AM »

I was in Montana with no TV and very out of the loop around that period.

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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 08:08:41 AM »

I don't remember getting the chance to see the cut version. I was waiting for the film to come out, but then it seemed it didn't come out, and then I forgot about it, and then the uncut version became available. It's possible that in the Seattle area the cut version opened and closed so quickly that I missed seeing any trace of it.

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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2010, 09:45:41 AM »

Thanks for that. Afro

If I recall correctly, Ebert's review of OUATIA was basically a side-by-side comparison of the American and European cuts of the film. He gave the American cut one star and a full four to Leone's original version.

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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2010, 10:38:47 AM »

I remember reading an article during OUATIA’s production back in 1982 (the film was never out of the trades) the article was about how Gangster films were suddenly back in vogue in Hollywood,  they cited four films in production at the time Scarface, The Cotton Club, Johnny Dangerous & OUATIA but it was America that was getting the most buzz.  It was a big epic production and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the film due to the De Niro/Leone combo.  De Niro was probably the most acclaimed actor in Hollywood at the time coming off the back of his Oscar for Raging Bull.  Also this was being talked up as Leone’s big comeback film after more than a decade away from the screen - there was even a quote from Leone in the article stating that it would be two films, one opening Cannes & the other opening Venice.  Thousands of actors (some big names) had auditioned just for the chance to work alongside De Niro and - Leone admirers like Scorsese, Spielberg & Lucas all made trips to Italy to see him at work.

By 1983/84 however the film was starting to get some negative headlines and was looking like a troubled production – the film was now one (long) film and there was talk of the Ladd company making further cuts for its American release – the film hadn’t tested well (In the States) and they had lost money on another long film (The Right Stuff) the year before.

When the film opened at Cannes (out of competition) the film dominated the festival, the film got great reviews “the best American film of the year (LA Times)” but at the premier Leone/De Niro were signalled out for criticism from women in the audience for the films scenes of violence and rape.  De Niro refused to do any further publicity for the film after this.

Despite the good reviews for the longer version – the Ladd Company did make cuts and released a shorter version stateside, the film flopped and was panned by critics.  The irony was that the full uncut European version made money for its distributors around the world.

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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2010, 11:37:10 AM »

I remember reading an article during OUATIA’s production back in 1982 (the film was never out of the trades) the article was about how Gangster films were suddenly back in vogue in Hollywood,  they cited four films in production at the time Scarface, The Cotton Club, Johnny Dangerous & OUATIA but it was America that was getting the most buzz.  It was a big epic production and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for the film due to the De Niro/Leone combo.  De Niro was probably the most acclaimed actor in Hollywood at the time coming off the back of his Oscar for Raging Bull.  Also this was being talked up as Leone’s big comeback film after more than a decade away from the screen - there was even a quote from Leone in the article stating that it would be two films, one opening Cannes & the other opening Venice.  Thousands of actors (some big names) had auditioned just for the chance to work alongside De Niro and - Leone admirers like Scorsese, Spielberg & Lucas all made trips to Italy to see him at work.

By 1983/84 however the film was starting to get some negative headlines and was looking like a troubled production – the film was now one (long) film and there was talk of the Ladd company making further cuts for its American release – the film hadn’t tested well (In the States) and they had lost money on another long film (The Right Stuff) the year before.

When the film opened at Cannes (out of competition) the film dominated the festival, the film got great reviews “the best American film of the year (LA Times)” but at the premier Leone/De Niro were signalled out for criticism from women in the audience for the films scenes of violence and rape.  De Niro refused to do any further publicity for the film after this.

Despite the good reviews for the longer version – the Ladd Company did make cuts and released a shorter version stateside, the film flopped and was panned by critics.  The irony was that the full uncut European version made money for its distributors around the world.

Thanks for sharing this too Afro

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LITTLE BIG MAN
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2010, 01:00:48 PM »

No problem MS  Afro

Did anyone notice one of the clips Siskel & Ebert showed - the scene where the gang (apart from noodles) shoot up the car and kill Joe - the Ladd Co had obviously cut the scene of De Niro chasing one of Joe's gang in to the feather factory and shooting him  Shocked

Instead we see them shooting up the car and then De Niro walking back to the car (from the factory) - unbelievable Angry

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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2010, 05:11:43 PM »

I noticed that, but was it an edit within the film itself, or an edit by the S&E people for time reasons?

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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2010, 05:58:12 AM »

No I'm pretty sure that is an edit within the film - the distributors send the networks the film clips to run on their TV show & I'm pretty sure their (the networks) not allowed to tamper with the film clips.

A bit ironic considering Roll Eyes

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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2010, 02:28:55 PM »

Meh, two things:

1) It's a passing detail, no big deal
2) Siskel isn't incorrect - Noodles and Co. are double-crossing Joe (if not his brother)

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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 11:39:33 AM »

In Phoenix, the release of Once-America was pretty small, and it was well-known that it had been edited down.  Both are the kiss of death for films.  My brother went to see it at the theater, didn't like it, and I deliberately skipped it.  In early 1985, took a girlfriend and we went to see for the first time the just-released restored Once-America at an "art" theater, very little local press at all.  We both liked it, pretty overwhelmed; girlfriend was jewish, she liked the scenes of the 1920s, pretty accurate she said.  But she said De Niro looked Italian.  I liked the casting, those kids looked amazingly like the adult actors, especially young Max.  Young Noodles did a good job, and Jennifer Connolly was magical, like watching the young Elizabeth Taylor, you knew she would be a star with that screen presence, and her first film yet.  I watch the DVD every two years or so, the story really grows on you.

I can overlook the Treat Williams part, but he was a star back then; I never liked Elizabeth McGovern in anything.

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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2011, 11:26:09 PM »

here is Ebert's review of the film http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19840101/REVIEWS/401010365/1023

His final two sentences say it all: "The original Once Upon a Time in America gets a 4-star rating. The Shorter one is a travesty."

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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 07:49:51 AM »

In regard to Siskel, he saw OUTIA at Cannes first.  It received a ten-minute standing ovation (which he was a part of) so it was highly anticipated.  Weeks after Cannes, the Amercian studio decided to put out an edited version of the Cannes version.  Siskel basically didn't know it had been edited down until he went to see the US release of the film, only to discover it was not the great film he had seen at Cannes.  He had to review THIS VERSION of the film for his TV show because the CANNES version was only showing in EUROPE.  This is why they made it a point to tell us that it was not the same film they saw.   

This is the greatest tragedy in film history! 

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titoli
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2011, 09:14:26 AM »



Arnon Milchan (the producer) was right he should have opened it at a few selected cinemas and started a word of mouth build up for the film - probably later on that year in time for award consideration.

He forgot to present Morricone's candidacy to the Oscar, which he would have won (presumably, you can never tell with Hollywood) hands down.  I agree on the distribution strategy, but I am convinced that cuts were in order.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 09:30:41 AM by titoli » Logged

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