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Old 06-11-2003, 00:15   #1
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Once Upon A Time In The West R2 - DVD Times Review

I've reviewed the R2 release of "Once Upon A Time In The West" for DVD Times.

You can read the review here
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Old 06-11-2003, 11:51   #2
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"The film is bathed in an awareness of mortality and of the inevitability of history" - something to do with death indeed.

Superb review Mike; can't wait for my R1 copy (I want mono sound). This movie, chopped, panned and scanned as it was, blew me away the first time I saw it, did for me again when I saw the restored cut on TV - the prospect of the DVD presentation is truly mouth-watering.

Ford, Mann and Hawkes - there's three aces for you (to paraphrase Capt. Nathan Brittles). Leone and Peckinpah surely make it a full house.

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Old 06-11-2003, 12:06   #3
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i still cant believe Dario Argent co wrote this.
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Old 06-11-2003, 12:40   #4
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According to Frayling, who actually did what with the screenplay and treatment is, er, in some dispute. It was a collaberative effort, of that there is no doubt.

Frayling says: "...Dario Argento subsequently claimed that this aspect of the opening sequence (the fly on Jack Elam's face) as his idea; and further that he had a hand in the 'screenplay' rather than just the initial treatment. This still infuriates (Sergio) Donati, who observes that Argento couldn't say with certainty what colour the cover of the screenplay was, because he never set eyes on it..."

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Old 06-11-2003, 12:56   #5
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My R1 copy has shipped from DVDsoon this morning. I have never seen it and am anticipating it very highly. I will save your review until I have seen it Mike, I love reading a good review of a film I have just seen.
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Old 06-11-2003, 13:21   #6
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Excellent review, Mike.

It's funny that it took an Italian to breathe new life into an American art form yet when he presents them with his masterpiece the American don't get it.

I'm kind of biting my lip until Kill Bill: Volume 2 comes out but I personally - please don't crucify me! - think Quentin Tarantino (with Kill Bill) has done the same for Martial Arts movies that Sergio Leone (with OUATITW) did for Westerns.

EDIT: Just checked Playusa my R1 copy shipped yesterday!

EDIT2: Yeah I meant new life
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Old 06-11-2003, 14:26   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Garry Cowell
It's funny that it took an Italian to breath life into an American art form...
I'll take that quote if it's amended to 'new life' Garry The western was far from dead at that time, it just needed, and got, a kick in the backside.

Quote:
Originally posted by Garry Cowell
...yet when he presents them with his masterpiece the American don't get it.
Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid anyone?

They didn't get TGTB&TU or OUATIA either, levelling much the same criticism; too slow, too long, too many close-ups, too much dialogue, yadda, yadda, yadda...but to be fair they didn't 'get it' in many places on first release.

Ironically it grossed less in Italy than TGTB&TU, and was only a mega-hit in France, where they adored it. Those cheese-eating surrender monkies really do like movies don't they?

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Old 06-11-2003, 15:46   #8
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I knew about the Americans not getting (and by 'not getting' I mean box-office, not critically) OUATIA and GLT/DYS/FOD but I thought the 'Dollars' trilogy made more money than gawd in the US. :confused:
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Old 06-11-2003, 16:12   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Garry Cowell
I knew about the Americans not getting (and by 'not getting' I mean box-office, not critically) OUATIA and GLT/DYS/FOD but I thought the 'Dollars' trilogy made more money than gawd in the US. :confused:
Sorry, Garry, I was mixing comments about box office results with critical acclaim (and studio insisted cuts); the critics in the main, as you know, savaged FOD, FAFDM and TGTB&TU; but they grossed $3.5m, $5m & $6m respectively (ironically in Italy it was, according to Frayling, $4.6m, $5m & $4.3m).

BTW, I seem to recall that on release here in the UK, we didn't 'get it' first time around, either critically or at the box office.

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Old 15-12-2004, 02:41   #10
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I've finally ordered the R1 from dvdsoon (for less than £5! whoo!).
I've gone for the R1 as the purist in me needs the mono track
Aesthetically I'm sure I'll be be ****** off with the bilingual packaging and the fact that the UK release comes (does it still?) in a yummy digipack with a nice booklet!
Have I made the right choice? (and yeah yeah, I know it's the film that's important etc!) but still...
oh and is there any kind of insert in the R1? A chapter insert at all?

btw, I've only ever seen the opening train station scene of this film! I've never really been into Westerns but since absolutely loving every second of "Deadwood" and also catching "A fistful of dollars" on telly last night (and really enjoying it!) I felt compelled to look into this film!
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Old 15-12-2004, 08:18   #11
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Hope you enjoy it Richie.
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Old 15-12-2004, 09:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie
I've finally ordered the R1 from dvdsoon (for less than £5! whoo!).
I've gone for the R1 as the purist in me needs the mono track
Aesthetically I'm sure I'll be be ****** off with the bilingual packaging and the fact that the UK release comes (does it still?) in a yummy digipack with a nice booklet!
Have I made the right choice? (and yeah yeah, I know it's the film that's important etc!) but still...
oh and is there any kind of insert in the R1? A chapter insert at all?

btw, I've only ever seen the opening train station scene of this film! I've never really been into Westerns but since absolutely loving every second of "Deadwood" and also catching "A fistful of dollars" on telly last night (and really enjoying it!) I felt compelled to look into this film!
No booklet, just a simple insert (but everything you wanted to know about the film - but were afraid to ask - is on the disc anyway). As for the bilingual packaging just comfort yourself with the fact that this is a film the French loved first so having C'era una volta il West on the cover is really quite fitting. And it's far more durable than the cardboard digi. You will love the film. Trust me.

Have to agree with you about Deadwood BTW...
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Old 15-12-2004, 09:29   #13
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Moving to Classic Forum.
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Old 15-12-2004, 10:28   #14
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Seriously one of the best films ever made IMO. The 5.1 upmix is respectful enough, not the richochets zinging from channel to channel that you might expect.
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Old 15-12-2004, 10:56   #15
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But it shouldn't be there in the first place. Remixing is just as bad as colourisation and is only to be tolerated if the Mono mix is also present.
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Old 15-12-2004, 11:04   #16
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I have the R1 and the mono mix is fantastic, it booms.
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Old 15-12-2004, 11:09   #17
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Morricones score with in the upmix

plus the picture quality is absolutely amazing

Did anyone notice a high pitched whine coming from the centre channel at various points throughout the movie ? I have only watched it once, so maybe it was my speakers.
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Old 15-12-2004, 11:46   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
But it shouldn't be there in the first place. Remixing is just as bad as colourisation and is only to be tolerated if the Mono mix is also present.
If it takes a 5.1 mix to get a new audience to 'discover' the film then I'm all for it, yes the mono track is excellent (huge soundstage).

And considering the film's age the print and transfer are miraculous.
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Old 15-12-2004, 11:50   #19
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I have less problems with a decent remix but as Mike says (a la the R1 of The Osterman Weekend) the mono should be there too... I'd like that choice, please.
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Old 15-12-2004, 12:06   #20
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oh sorry I didn't realise the R2 didn't have a mono track, that is very poor.
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