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Once Upon a Time in America: Extended Director's Cut Blu-ray (Pre-order Up)
Posted June 6, 2014 03:31 AM by Webmaster
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has officially announced the Collector's Edition Blu-ray release of the Extended Director's Cut of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America. The extended version features 22-minutes of additional footage, bringing the runtime to 251 minutes, and was supervised by the film's original sound editor, Fausto Ancillai. The Extended Director's Cut makes its U.S. Blu-ray debut on September 30th.
Synopsis: Spanning four decades, Sergio Leone's final film tells the story of David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and his Jewish pals, chronicling their childhoods on New York's Lower East Side in the 1920s, through their gangster careers in the 1930s, and culminating in Noodles' 1968 return to New York from self-imposed exile, at which time he learns the truth about the fate of his friends and again confronts the nightmare of his past. Leone's film is both a criticism of gangster-film mythology and a continuation of the director's exploration of the issues of time and history, while the violence and gore that frequent the first half of the film turn into a sad elegy about wasted lives and lost love.
The new Collector's Edition contains a new 32-page book with rare photos and insightful notes that chronicle the movie's production history. The book also includes a letter written by Martin Scorsese. He noted, "At long last, materials for some of these missing sections have been found and re-inserted into the picture under the supervision of Leone's family and surviving collaborators. The work has been completed by the magnificent team at Cineteca di Bologna and L'Immagine Ritrovata, with generous funding from Gucci, and it has been wonderful to witness this enlargement of Leone's vision, step by precious step."
I bought the Italian release, unfortunately the quality of the restored footage is not at the same level of the rest of the movie, but it is very good to see the picture as close as possible to the version Leone presented at Cannes Festival... It seems it still exists something like 20 minutes (or less) more to add, but Leone's heirs cannot do it because they did not get the right to this scenes (Scorsese is helping in the negotiation...), so maybe in the future we will be able to see the full version. Fingers crossed.
I own the previous version. Can anyone that has seen the longer cut shed any light on the differences? I don't know if I can pull the trigger on this for 40 more minutes (particularly if they are unnecessary).
L'armée des ombres, I agree. Two discs is necessary for such a long film. The bit-rates will be horribly low if it's just one disc... they were already pretty darn low on the first release. Two discs is essential.
This is incredibly exciting! Regardless of whether you think this is worth rebuying or not the fact that a new cut with new INTENDED footage exists should be celebrated!
What shouldn't be celebrated is that insanely pedestrian artwork. Am I missing something? It honestly looks like artwork for a bargain bin 'Diamond Releasing' version of a Public Domain Robert DeNiro movie.
Kinda blows my mind how these decisions get made. Get half the DeNiro face didn't help sales on the first release. Lets up the ante.
Ah, the good ole days, when very nearly every single Robert De Niro film was a must-see masterpiece. He used to care so much about his craft and his body of work. It's sad, really. At least we have the classics.
I've seen the longer version. IMO it's not better. As I recall there's an inordinate amount of time spent with old man DeNiro reminiscing. It's a great movie, but the longer version was a bit boring. As with Apocalypse Now Redux, more is sometimes less.
glad i have not purchased this on blu-ray already because i would much rather have this version. I do own the 229 minute version on dvd though and loved this movie, so seeing some footage i have not seen before is something im really looking forward to.
This 251-minute cut was a restoration funded by The Film Foundation, the film preservation organization founded by Martin Scorsese, and its partner Gucci. The Extended Director's Cut, with 22-minutes of restored footage, has never been available in the United States.
Prior to the Blu-ray release, Once Upon a Time in America will have its U.S. premiere at the 2014 New York Film Festival which runs between September 26 and October 12. It will be a featured selection in the Festival's Revivals section which re-visits recently restored classics.
NYFF will screen a restored version of Leone’s final film, Once Upon a Time in America, also including never-before-seen footage, preserved by the Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation from the director’s own work print—including Louise Fletcher’s scenes, once thought lost—which comes the closest to fulfilling Leone’s panoramic vision.
This version includes 22 minutes of restored footage, never before seen in the United States. The restored footage has been returned to the film three decades after its theatrical release, deepening the characters and enlarging the work of its astonishing cast: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Tuesday Weld, Joe Pesci, Jennifer Connelly, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, and Louise Fletcher. The latter three are showcased in recovered scenes. Restoration funded by Gucci and The Film Foundation.
@skyofcrack: Warner sent a correction this morning. The studio's press site mistakenly listed it at 269 minutes last night (thus the note in the original announcement). The updated press release this morning lists it at 251, with 22 additional minutes.
OMG Finally its going see the light of day. I can't wait to see the this four hour plus cut. Pre-ordering it as soon as the option arrives.
I agree. I remember I read somewhere that when the film was released on video back in the mid 80s, Warner released both the U.S theatrical cut, and the 229 minute cut which played internationally. Within the first week the 229 minute cut was sold out.
Is the theatrical edition the much shorter version? So, definitely not the 229 minute version? I'm debating whether to sell my blu-ray, but I don't want to if I won't have access to the 229 minute version.
Also, to those saying they won't double dip, I recall when this premiered a couple years back that critics raved that it was the best version of the film. So I don't think its so much a double dip as it is the best, least compromised version of a masterpiece. A must buy.
@spf781 and LateReg: Two versions will be available - a single-disc release that features the Extended Director's Cut only, and a 2-disc Collector's Edition that includes both cuts, a book and a UV digital copy.
That also means the 251-minute cut is presented on one disc, not split across two discs...
This is a joke. Anyone with even remotely a decent sized display of 40" or above will see compression artifacts. We will have a low bit-rate 12-13 mbps (or lower) presentation of this five hour film (and of course given that a making of documentary is tossed alongside it on the same disc). Come on, WB...
@Ken Brown: Just to clarify... when you say both cuts will be included, which cut will be included with the new 251 minute Extended Director's Cut... the disastrous 139 minute US theatrical release, or the 229 minute European theatrical release that we've grown accustomed to?
In the beginning it was meant as 2 part 3 hours movie, but producers didn't want it so it became a 229 min. movie. That movie was shown in Cannes in 1984. And in America it was cut too a 2 hour movie that very same year in theaters and never got have any Oscars( at least 8) as should have been otherwise if it it shown the 229 min. print. Sergio Leone mentioned once that he wanted to have running time of about 250-265 minutes. And with this release it will be maybe closest that Sergio Leone how he wanted this MASTERPIECE too be.
COME ON DON'T USE THAT COVER, PLEASE DON'T. USE THE ORIGNAL POSTER FRONT WARNER IT IS LAZY!!!!!!!!
@spargs: that hasn't been clarified exactly, but I strongly suspect the shorter cut that will be included will be the version released on Blu-ray in 2011. That disc will probably be identical to the one people already own, thus the single-disc Extended Cut release, issued so fans aren't forced into double dipping or buying the same cut twice.
Oh Man, what a terrible artwork !! It´s a plague, most of the classic catalogue titles get ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE ARTWORKS !
such, such, such a shame. When u see the original artworks of movies like Hatari or The time machine, and when u compare them with the artworks Warner made for their blu ray releases you can just let your tears flow...
@JohnCarpenterLives - that's WB's sneaky way of having people really love the transfer, even if it's just decent. "Despite being crammed onto one disc, the transfer looks quite good" instead of "Spread across two discs with ample room to breathe, Warner's transfer is solid if not spectacular."
But wait....here comes more of the cursed video history for Leone films.
The cover art is bland but okay-to be honest if they had left it with the SEDVD/BD art it would have been fine. I assume the original 2011 BD of the 229 min version is included which is a nice gesture on WBs part. (I hadn't grabbed the BD yet in hopes of this.)
But a single disc for the even longer restored version? When the 229 min version was already cramped on one disc? HELLOOOOOOOO! I don't get why they nixed a second disc for this, if it was allowable for DVD for 229 minutes, why not here so the restoration isn't watered down?
Looks like Warners is pulling another Gone With The Wind in terms of excessive compression to cram the film on one disc. This is absolutely unacceptable and I wish Warner would take a hint from their Archive Collection line and let the film breathe.
Needless to say, no sale for me; I want to see the filmic clarity of the image and not be reminded of previous poorly-encoded disasters. Absolutely pitiful.
Warning- the blu ray link to the collectors 2 disc edition to Amazon the first 4 hours was glitzy.
I used it-13.99!! And what I ended up ordering was the single disc edition. Now the collectors link just takes you to a amazon home page whereas the single disc link goes to your cart. I hope none of you got screwed out of the 13.99 2 disc price like I did - bc 2 hours later it had jumped up 10 bucks. . By the time I realized it and got things fixed I'm paying 24.99. Then again maybe it was wrong from the get go. Did anyone get the 13.99 price for the collectors edition?
According to mike the amazon customer service guy as far as he could see the price was always 24.99.... But not according to blu ray. Com price history ....so wtf is up with that?
@Okieboysf: The listings and ASIN's are correct in our database, but for some reason visitors are being sent to the wrong page. (Thus the misleading price tracking info.) I sent a message to our admins to investigate. To be clear: the $24.99 listing on Amazon is definitely the 2-disc Collector's Edition. The $13.99 link is the 1-disc standard edition.
@kenbrown I just clicked on the collectors edition link and it sends you to the single disc 13.99 preorder - 19.99 list so all is not well...... I tried it twice .... You can tell on the amazon page because the list for the collectors Ed is 34.99 - pre-order 24.99
Check it out ... Tell me what u find
Checked this out just over a year ago on DVD, dug out my old portable DVD player and took this on a lengthy 3 hour train journey, made time pass with ease. Brilliant flick, granted I don't know how well it'll play sat in the house, I guess there's only one real way to find out.
I absolutely LOATHE how WB decides to take Black & White images and add off color tint to them. They did this for the Eastwood and Dean sets, and I could have sworn I saw it on a few other sets and regular covers. It makes them look cheap instead of classy.
They should have used a color image, or at the very least should have kept the image Black & White.