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Gold Standard Collection #1: A Fistful of Dollars

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Coming September 2019, the long-anticipated restoration that started it all:

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS

In the up to nine to ten months I am dedicating to this project, I will work a magic I have deliberately held back for a long time, so I could show the world these things take a long time to plan, let alone complete.

My general timetable is as follows:

  • December 2018: the preparation of the footage.
  • January 2019: the assembly of the footage, and most of the planned audio tracks.
  • February 2019: the initial test of the seamless branching for Blu-ray.
  • March 2019: the assembly of the special features.
  • April 2019: subtitles.
  • May 2019: artwork.

Stay tuned for updates, when and as they come. Not to sound overconfident in myself, of course, but as a wise man once said, disorganization is the first step towards ruin. Now that I am soon to have everything I need to start, I have set the above timetable for myself and won’t make the same mistakes I made at a certain other site.

SOURCES

  • Ripley’s Home Video Blu-ray (top-quality, uncropped source for most of the video, and original Italian mono)
  • Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray (top-quality English opening and closing titles, original English mono, and certain special features)
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Blu-ray (English 5.1, Spanish [Latino] mono, and most special features)
  • Tobis Blu-ray (both German tracks and certain special features)
  • Indiana Gilles repack (restored French mono)
  • Internet Archive (Spanish [Castellano] mono)
  • CBS/Fox Video laserdisc (color reference)
  • Twentieth Century-Fox Video rental-only VHS (reference for cutting the PG-rated theatrical version)
  • Sergio Leone: Cinema, Cinema DVD (special feature)
  • The Pink Panther Vol. 2 Blu-ray (short subject for the original American release in 1967)
  • Roland and Rattfink Blu-ray (short subject for the Dollar Double Bill re-release in 1969)
  • Sheriff Hoot Kloot Blu-ray (preliminary source for United Artists logo)
  • The Only Game in Town VHS (color and fading reference for recreated MPAA M card)
  • Carrie Magnetic Video laserdisc (color reference for United Artists logo)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • The CBS/Fox Company (rental-only VHS release I’ll be using as a guide for making the PG-rated theatrical version, and color reference)
  • Indiana Gilles (restored French mono track)
  • Kino Lorber and L’Immagine Ritrovata (high-quality English-language opening and closing titles)
  • Ripley’s Home Video (2007 restoration, on which I’ll largely be basing this)
  • Terburg (leader provider for the reels I’ll be making of the PG-rated theatrical version during December’s preparatory stage)
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As things stand, the preliminary list of special features, which I plan to gather together come March, shall be as follows:

Commentaries by Sir Christopher Frayling and Tim Lucas
The Christopher Frayling Archives
Sergio Leone: Cinema, Cinema
Marisol: Sergio Leone’s Madonna in the West (1080p24)
An interview with Ennio Morricone
The Restoration
A New Kind of Hero
A Few Weeks in Spain
Tre Voci
Not Ready for Primetime
The Network Prologue (1080p24)
Location Comparisons
Trailers from Hell
Original Outtakes
A Fistful of Pictures
Promoting A Fistful of Dollars
On the Set
Pink Panic, starring The Pink Panther (I’m assuming this was the short subject that played with the film during its initial theatrical run in the United States)
The Deadwood Thunderball, starring Roland and Rattfink
Rawhide: Incident of the Black Sheep
10 radio spots
Original theatrical trailer(s) (1080p24)
Double Dollar Bill trailer
Trailers for For a Few Dollars More and Reservoir Dogs (both 1080p24)

The above list is not final; whatever is on this list at the end of March will be the final list of special features. This post will be updated as I finalize the details thereof.

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In addition to the above, I might create some special features of my own, including a visual essay on the production of the film in the style of “The Making of a Film Classic” by Bob Carringer from the Criterion laser videodisc of Citizen Kane, an on-disc screenshot comparison, and maybe even a commentary track recorded by yours truly about the film and the unexpectedly hellishly arduous planning process for the restoration.

The initial layout will be a brace of BD-50s, with the full Scope picture on one disc and a 4:3 pan-and-scan version on the other. Most special features will be exclusive to one disc or the other, exceptions including the commentary tracks, the network prologue, and Not Ready for Primetime. Audio will be in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish (Castilian and Mexican). Maybe even Japanese as well, if I can find a better track than that used for the 6-part print on Nico Nico Douga. But at any rate, all audio tracks will be monaural, save for a bonus English 5.1 track (the default will be mono). The PG-rated theatrical cut released in 1967 by United Artists and the original uncut R-rated version will both be available on each disc, optionally preceded by the network prologue. Additional cut inclusion pending.

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Acknowledgements are now up, and will be added as I can think of people or entities to acknowledge for making this restoration possible as I go along.

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Then why did I put a timetable up there? The point being, for the last two years I was a complete noob when it comes to restoration. I failed to understand at the time that when they want something done, they want it done NOW. The purpose of the timetable is to give a general idea of what to expect from me in the coming months.

Oh, and welcome to the Reel 1 Preview Club. Work on the first reel should start on Monday, by my estimate.

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TiddySprinklesPimpBillion said:

This seems as though it’s vaporware.

Can you call something vaporware that was announced three days ago and has a set a time table for release months from now…?

a trolling bantha

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Yeah, well, frankly it’s definitely not good for either side of this debate to cry wolf. For one thing, I might get spooked badly enough to screw up the project accidentally, which would only embolden those in the “vaporware” camp and prove their point, which is NOT something I would appreciate.

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Mate please don’t be passive-aggressive. Fanres is an official sister-forum to OT. Sure do things on your own timeline - as I myself do - but by announcing 180+ “planned projects” all at once you are surely provoking people’s patience aren’t you? If you want to do things in your own time I’d suggest don’t announce almost 200 projects you plan to complete. I don’t know anyone that completed that many projects. I’d suggest you jettison the announcement threads of all your planned projects and just take it one at a time.

No one is trying to prove you right or wrong, you’re your own man.

V

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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I don’t need your help, I’m just… FRUSTRATED by the pressures being pressed on me both inside and outside the fan restoration community at the same freaking time. If I’m being a passhole aggresshole, as a certain misandrist cult in the Pretty Cure fandom likes to put it, it’s precisely because I let those pressures get to me and flipped out as a result. God, I miss the early days when people like Mozart weren’t considered suspect on the grounds that they had so many ideas they didn’t know what to do with them. And frankly, those announcement threads you mention are simply a repository for my ideas, I don’t know if or when I’ll be doing all of them, but I know one thing for certain: that you can expect me to have AFOD ready by its 55th anniversary this September.

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Charles Threepio said:

I’m just… FRUSTRATED by the pressures being pressed on me both inside and outside the fan restoration community at the same freaking time.

dude, you had made a gazillion threads on fanres announcing a gazillion projects and had little or nothing done. when people there got tired of you announcing like a broken torrent tracker, they took you for a troll and deleted all but one of your threads. then you managed to get that one locked also. yet, you continue the same thing here. believe me, I got nothing personally against you, but it seems to me you spend more time writing threads to explain what you’re going to do than actually taking the time to do it. the only one pressuring you is YOU.

You really only need to hang mean bastards,
but mean bastards you need to hang.

John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth

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Good Christ, let’s stop wasting time discussing whether or not my projects will ever come to fruition so I can actually work on them…

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Charles Threepio said:

I don’t need your help, I’m just… FRUSTRATED by the pressures being pressed on me both inside and outside the fan restoration community at the same freaking time. If I’m being a passhole aggresshole, as a certain misandrist cult in the Pretty Cure fandom likes to put it, it’s precisely because I let those pressures get to me and flipped out as a result.

All you’re doing is directly insulting and disrespecting my friends, including some who defended you for months. They were happy to accommodate you there, the only thing the admins wanted is that you don’t spam the forum with dozens of vapourware threads. Surely that’s not unreasonable on their part. Compromising is part of the normal human experience, but most people don’t get all irate about a compromise they’re unhappy with. Your comparison to Mozart is interesting, but he never announced a bunch of symphonies that would take him 2,500 months to complete. Do you think people would have taken him seriously if he did?

If you want to insult my friends and behave in an indignant way, that’s fine by me. They’re big boys I doubt any of them care. But you are not doing yourself any favours with your self-indulgent malarkey. What you should be doing, in my humble opinion, is working on a way to better handle criticism. Because at the moment it’s a total disaster whenever you encounter it. Your current strategy of escalation and aggression is just not working well for you. This is a discussion forum - if you want to discuss your ideas with people to flesh them out that’s great.

And frankly, those announcement threads you mention are simply a repository for my ideas, I don’t know if or when I’ll be doing all of them, but I know one thing for certain: that you can expect me to have AFOD ready by its 55th anniversary this September.

They’re your threads. You put your “ideas” under the headings “Planned projects”. If they’re not really planned projects but just ideas, then why not put them under the heading “Project ideas”? And above that you have the headings “Projects in progress” and above that the headings “Released projects”. How is anyone supposed to work out that your “planned projects” are just “ideas” when you’ve gone out of your way to make it look like they are all going to move up the ladder to completion?

You have so far announced 278 “Planned projects” here on OT. If this first project - AFOD - will take you 9 months, which is by no means an unrealistic timetable, then I’d say there’s pretty little chance for most of your other 277 projects to ever get done. If they ever do most of us will be long dead. Which sounds a bit selfish, so I should say I’d be happy for our descendants in 8 or 9 generations time to enjoy them, it’s just I don’t know why they all need to be announced now so far in advance of eventual completion.

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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Well, take it to PM, dammit, because I have little patience for detractors who have nothing better to do to me than clog up my project threads any time I announce them—and considering this is my first real project thread I can expect nothing but beligerence from either side to turn pre-production on anything I touch into a trainwreck. And you wonder WHY I “directly insult and disrespect” you. Once I become as experienced as you lot, do you expect me to haze any and all noobs in a similarly insulting fashion? Just consider THAT as I work hard over the next week on a first reel preview I shouldn’t even be treating you to…

ETA: I apologize for that outburst. I simply hate having to put up with grief and nothing but from the word go, which harshly lowers my expectations on what I’ll be able to turn out. At any rate, the fact that I got off to a bad start over the past couple of years makes me wonder if I’m really cut out for restoration work. But enough about that. We’ll find out for sure come September.

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Due to the amount of negative attention this thread got, in the future I will not make any more threads until WELL AFTER the projects they concern are released. I’m truly sorry it had to come to this; now even my defenders won’t know what I’m gonna get up to after AFOD is complete.

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Charles Threepio said:


and considering this is my first real project thread I can expect nothing but beligerence from either side to turn pre-production on anything I touch into a trainwreck. …

You destroyed any beligerence about one year ago, when you did exactly the same thing you do here:
Announcing a list of projects, said something about a planned time schedule, thrown that time schedule away…announced another time schedule…
After that and your behavior, I personally think the German airport BER is more likely to be opened and finished, before you even get anything into any preview status, that shows your work.
Not a half backed, aspect ratio desaster you had once as a preview, with some kind of internet downloaded Anime episode and movie trailer “DVD preview” that not only showed that you do not care about what you present, nor about any tried help.
How can you even expect to be taken serious when coming up with the same nonsense again?

So, why are you insulting, wwoth word and behavior the ones doing hard work in their project?

"I kill Gandalf." - Igor, Dork Tower

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Screw it. I’m not about to dignify your insults with any further responses, which only waste my time and yours. If you want to keep on being an asshole even after I produce 100 releases, be my guest. Just don’t expect any freebies from me after I show you my preview reel showing the first 20~ minutes of AFOD.

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As a wise man from Moronica once said: “Learn to walk before you run.” If this release looks rather slow-paced, wait until I release several more after this one before 2021. The pace will increase gradually as I go along, and eventually I will be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. But for now, I’m sticking with low-budget movies.

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As I said, I think you need a better way to deal with criticism. We all get criticism, me, poita, everyone. But you’re manufacturing your own misadventure with the way you are currently dealing with yours. I’m trying to help, I’m not insulting you at all am I? Just please think about working on a better strategy that’s all I’m asking. Respect goes both ways - you get as much as you give.

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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Finally, something in this thread I want to hear (i.e. something that comes across as more constructive and less combative).

Anyway, if my MGM/UA laserdisc doesn’t come in as scheduled on Monday, I’ll use my CBS/Fox laserdisc as my color reference at first, including for the preview reel. When I send it in, feel free to scream at me about any color inaccuracies or for including the wrong head leader at the start or foot leader at the end. God knows I’m gonna need it…

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With all of these posts, I’m not clear at all on what you’re specifically restoring. Why is this “restoration” going to be preferable to the German disc? I know that “For A Few Dollars More” and “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”, you have to pick a release based on what compromise bothers you the least, but what’s being fixed here? It sounds as if it’s more than just the comprehensive bonus features (which sounds like a great package), just not sure what it is.

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It’s basically a combination of the video from the Italian Blu-ray (which IMHO looks slightly better than the German Blu-ray in terms of picture quality from what I’ve read) and the opening and closing titles and mono track of the Kino Lorber Blu-ray—in other words, basically a definitive edition for the Anglosphere.

As for colors, I’m tentatively planning to use the letterboxed MGM/UA laserdisc as a color reference of sorts, in order to produce a quality transfer which further improves on the Italian Blu-ray and goes miles past the MGM and Kino Lorber Blu-rays (ESPECIALLY the former, which strays farther from director Sergio Leone’s intentions, let alone what videophiles expect from a good old low-budget Italowestern, than even the excessively yellow-looking Kino Lorber Blu-ray). I might even produce a 10-bit HDR version, depending on the capabilities of the current freeware programs. If things go well enough, and the freeware becomes capable enough, eventually I’ll even do a 4K UHD ISO using said 10-bit HDR version.

But for now, I’ll stick with bog-standard 8-bit SDR HD, and do the best I can manage with that.

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the Italian Blu-ray (which IMHO looks slightly better than the German Blu-ray in terms of picture quality from what I’ve read)

I heard about that after I’d already bought the German, and it sounded “slight” enough for my needs.

Anyway, that makes more sense now. Good luck!

[BTW: your initial post says “September 2018” where I think you mean 2019.]

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Ah! Thanks for catching that! No wonder I got yelled at by others earlier…

BTW I’m considering putting a DePatie-Freleng short or two. I’m definitely including whichever Pink Panther short played with this film in its original 1967 US run, and I might even include a short subject from the 1969 Dollar Double Bill re-release.