HUGE UPDATE: I just won the Warner Bros. rental-only pre-cert VHS from 1983 at auction, so it looks like I will be able to include the UK theatrical version in addition to the US theatrical and uncut versions I had already planned to include.
That’s what the on-disc screenshot comparison is for, I guess, but I’ll probably show a sneak preview of what to expect as soon as I am able to.
After further comparison, I’ve decided the CBS/Fox laserdisc is the better color source to use than the MGM/UA laserdisc, which, if its videocassette counterpart is anything to go by, looks closer to the MGM Blu-ray, whereas the CBS/Fox laserdisc looks closer to Sergio Leone’s intentions.
Something I just noticed due to having too much free time on my hands on a slow Wednesday: the CBS/Fox laserdisc is similar to the Kino Lorber Blu-ray, only it’s somewhat more on the blue side and (typical of prints used for home video in the '80s) higher-contrast.
ETA: It’s apparently the exact same print 20th Century-Fox Video had used for their rental-only release a mere three years earlier. At some point, I’ll see how it compares with the print(s) MGM/UA issued in the late '80s/early '90s.
My current guesses in regards to the reels:
There are five reels.
The break between Reel 1 and Reel 2 is between Esteban and Joe meeting for the first time and the arrival of the cavalry into San Miguel.
The break between Reel 2 and Reel 3 is between Joe warning the Rojos about the supposedly escaped soldiers and the Baxters racing to the cemetery before the Rojos show up.
The break between Reel 3 and Reel 4 is between Joe shooting up the small house and some nearby Rojos reacting.
The break between Reel 4 and Reel 5 is between the initial explosion of the Baxter mansion and Ramon signaling for the wine barrels to be brought over to use as fuel for the fire.
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.
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.
Yes, and also the Streamline logo as well, while you’re at it!
…I see what you did there. You see, the difference between you and me, Mr. Poopa Loopa, is that I choose to restore projects that are NOT impossible to restore. Just improbable, given the numbers.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
I’ll have to double check later and get back to this thread.
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.
The one I had grabbed about a year or two ago from Mega. I can’t remember who restored that one, but I can remember those missing frames like I rewatched it yesterday.
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.
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
A New Kind of Hero
A Few Weeks in Spain
Not Ready for Primetime
The Network Prologue (1080p24)
Trailers from Hell
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.
I’d be happy to contribute a few, but (if RU.08 and ChewieLewis are to be believed) that’s all you can ever hope to count on from me! 😉
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.
- 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)
- 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)