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Once Upon a Time in the West 35mm print scanning (interest thread)

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Hello all, I am part of the group currently scanning and restoring a unique 1966 Italian technicolor print of "the Good the Bad and the Ugly". 

In addition to that ongoing project, we have been offered a chance to purchase a 35mm German technicolor print of "Once Upon a Time in the West". The reason we think it would be worthwhile scanning this print is because we could use the 4k scans to finally reconstruct the international cut opening as intended.

The current blu ray attempts to recreate the international cut but is actually missing some shots from the opening (that would be included in this print), the blu ray cut also includes a scene that should NOT be present (Harmonica rising from the platform after being shot), and has incorrect music over the closing shot of the film. The 35mm print would be useful in verifying the rising scene should not be included and confirming the music placement at the end. Also it would a wonderful colour reference as the blu ray is too red/magenta overall.   

To clarify there are at least 5 different edits of this movie :

- Original 166 min 1968 italian cut (the content of which is unknown unless it can be researched via the oldest italian VHS)

- Original 145 min 1969 American cut (heavily edited)

- Original 165 min 1969 International cut (the version present on this print which we hope to restore)

- 1990's 177 min italian dvd "director's cut" (although this being a true "director's cut" remains a controversy, the extra footage is mostly "padding" out existing scenes 

- 2011 165 min Blu Ray "Scorsese restoration" (although it restores some of the shots in the opening featured in the international cut , it does not restore all of them.)

There is a long and crazy history to the edits/versions of this film and we firmly believe (and have research to back it up) that the version currently available to the public is incorrect and we'd like to rectify that. Using the BR as a starting point we'd fill in the gaps/amend the differences with the 35mm german cut scans. 

*edit* print has been acquired and we are hoping for some crowdfunding/financial support in order to help pay for scanning it in the U.S.

Feel free to ask any questions you'd like or P.M. me. 

there is a very long and very detailed thread on this film and the different versions posted here: 

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=10219.0

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I'd like to add this is AN EXTREMELY RARE OPPORTUNITY!!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v420/trailerparkboy/OUATIW%2001_zpsdjuinzyh.jpghttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v420/trailerparkboy/OUATIW%2002_zpsvxqv2kze.jpghttp://img.photobucket.com/albums/v420/trailerparkboy/OUATIW%2003_zps37jfbu6m.jpg

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As with anything Leone, very interested

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Sergio Leone was a master and Once Upon a Time in the West was his masterpiece. Definitely interested in seeing the European cut with the correct play-out music.

“That's impossible, even for a computer!”

 

“You don't do ‘Star Wars’ in Dobly.”

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Same here, extremely interested in this project.

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Thank you everyone for the replies and the enthusiasm! 

I have very exciting news, as of today the purchase of the print has been negotiated and finalized and the print will be shipped out this week directly to the person doing the scanning. Lil Brutto (GBU project leader) and I have split the costs of the print and the shipping. 

Cost wise I cannot reveal the exact figure we will be charged for scanning the print since we are doing so at a discounted rate from this professional. Let me just say the cost is significant, (like "rent money" significant). Other than a quick test scan to evaluate colour and condition (the results of which will be shared here), the print will remain in its boxes until we can raise enough funds to scan it, or at least put a reasonable dent in the cost of scanning. The print will be wet gate scanned at 4k with 13 stops of exposure latitude (similar to HDR). 

*edit* those who can contribute funds will get a chance to see previews of the raw reels as they are scanned. I'm hoping that will be some incentive and keep everyone up to date on the progress.

Please just let me know if you are willing to contribute anything, you don't have to decide on a dollar amount now. Once i have a list I will either pm everyone with the information or post it here. 

Thanks guys! Any questions please ask.

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So glad we were able to scrounge up sufficient funds to buy this print before it was too late. 

Individuals who donated to the GBU project sent funds to my PayPal account and I kept a tally in an Excel spreadsheet. It was pretty straightforward.

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Hi everyone, I have edited my original posts slightly (see *edit* parts).

So far we have 1 person saying they would be able to help out with the cost of the scan...

Let me just say this is one of the greatest westerns ever made and deserves to be released as Leone intended...help us make that happen.

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Oh, I am interested... you have peaked my interest.

Remember, Highlander, you’ve both still got your full measure of life. Use it well, and your future will be glorious.

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Just a quick update.

Reel 1 has been dry scanned and we have some very good news, there is :56 seconds of extra footage in the opening scene (compared to the current Paramount BLU). This is the remaining footage Paramount deleted from all its individual prints (and its master negative) two weeks after the film premiered in the U.S.A. Paramount retained the scenes they trimmed but did not keep the individual shots they removed. The Scorsese restoration restored only two of these shots. 

Very luckily, although reel 1 has a few splices, none occur in the :56 seconds we need. None of the titles occur in the :56 seconds we need. Overall, after a thorough cleaning the print should yield excellent results. 

So now we are deciding whether it is worth it to scan the entire print. There is actually evidence of digital cleaning errors in the first reel of the BLU. Meaning that Paramount's automated dirt and scratch removal process actually removed things it shouldn't have. I caught a few when going frame by frame to compare the two cuts, who knows how many others are spread throughout the film. 

The colours on the print, even uncorrected for the intended bulb colour, and from an uncleaned dry scan, (and also from a compressed MP4) look fantastic and quite different compared to the BLU. The IB has a lot more blue and yellow in its palette. 

Some comparison screens (please don't judge the sharpness, the dry scan was just done quickly as a reference, and the file was compressed for web), these are not the extra shots but shots I could compare to the blu (top IB TECH/BOTTOM BLU): 

[img]http://i.imgur.com/OmuYRfo.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i.imgur.com/M5Y01iw.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i.imgur.com/aiWeszE.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i.imgur.com/vtTu16G.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i.imgur.com/DDF3y1S.jpg[/img]

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WOW! 56 seconds more... maybe someone could think they are not a great loss if they aren't in the BD, but I think, at the contrary, it's a GREAT discover!!!

Colors: it *seems* the film has too yellow, while the BD has too little yellow... (^^,)

[spoRv] projects: released | in progress | future | homepage: blog.spoRv.com| fan preservation forum: fanres.com|

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Haven't had a chance to comment yet, but I must say this is fantastic! Those IB-preserved colors really shine through. There might be a tad too much magenta in the "dry scan," but, honestly, it looks far more accurate as-is than the undynamic, desaturated Blu-Ray.

The color timing of all Leone's films on home video have always been questionable, and it's not surprising that this would look much better. Maybe the RHV BD of A Fistful of Dollars is accurate, though I'm not sure... In any case, for any eventual preservation of Once Upon a Time in the West, I'd be wary of attempting to "naturalize" the vivid, technicolor look of the print. 

I definitely vote for scanning the whole print, a very worthwhile preservation. Even if there's no digital clean-up, it would be nice to see how Leone's films, this and GBU, looked theatrically. 

The 56 seconds is icing on the cake. It's great that we have an accurate version of how the international cut looked, at long last. 

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Wow, this is a super project! How about skipping the Blu-ray part altogether and go for a straight-out UHD

right from film?

Your pictures look super! It’s good to see bad man with bad beard stubble! However, there is a tendency for darkest shadow to be a little too Blue. I’d slightly bump up the Red and Green in the dark end – to neutralize that and to expand those very dark shadows for details to show. See how it affects the rest of the picture by letting the curve-increase taper-off at the high end. Otherwise restrict it to that low shadow range (only if it shows this way on the wet-gate scan, too, of course).


“Your love of the halflings’ leaf has clearly slowed your mind”

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Let me know how I can help. I would love to see this print in it’s entirety. It looks amazing.

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Please do not skip the Blu-Ray project. 😃

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Is there any plans to release this ‘‘monster’’?

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