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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "C'era una volta il West" or "Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod" or "Il etait une fois dans l'ouest" or "Vestens hårde halse")

directed by Sergio Leone
Italy/USA 1968

Sergio Leone's masterpiece. In ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Leone pulls together all the themes, characterizations, visuals, humor, and musical experiments of the three "Dollars" films and comes up with a true epic western. It is a stunning, operatic film of breadth, detail, and stature that deserves to be considered among the greatest westerns ever made. Although the original release in America was a severely edited version (Paramount wanted to cram an extra show in every night to sell more popcorn), the film was re-released, uncut, in 1984. (The videotape version is also uncut.) ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST's credit sequence is perhaps one of the most famous in cinema history. It unfolds slowly, deliberately, as Leone lingers on the strange behavior of Frank's (Fonda) three hired killers (two of whom are Jack Elam and Woody Strode in unforgettable cameos) who await the arrival of a train carrying "the Man" (Bronson), a stranger who has asked for an audience with Frank. The perfectly realized details--water dripping on Strode's bald head, Elam trying to shoo a pesky fly, and the third gang member cracking his knuckles--brings the scene immediately to life and create an almost unbearable sense of anticipation. It doesn't let up from there.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 21st, 1968 - Italy

Reviews          More Reviews         DVD Reviews


Recommended Reading for Western Genre Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


Comparison:

 

Cine Video Corp.  (Italy) Region 2- PAL vs. Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC vs.  Paramount (UK) - Region 2 - PAL vs.  Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Big thanks to Bram Blijleven for the CVC captures and big thanks to Ole Kofoed for all the Paramount DVD Screen Caps!

 

1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

 

Distribution

CVC (Italy)

Region 2 - PAL

Paramount

Region 1  - NTSC

Paramount (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Paramount
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:50:00 (4% PAL speedup) 2:45:10 2:38:25 (4% PAL speedup) 2:45:24 (Theatrical) + 2:46:01 (restored)
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.34 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.60 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,259,085,088 bytes

Feature: 37,658,929,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.90 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Region 2- PAL (CVC)

 

Bitrate:

Region 1

 

Bitrate:

 

Region 2

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian DD 1.0 English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0 mono, French DD 2.0 mono..

English Dolby Digital 5.1, German DD 2.0 mono, French DD 2.0 mono, Spanish DD 2.0 mono.

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2786 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2786 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles None English, English Closed Captions or none. The documentaries is also subtitled in French. English, English for the hearing impaired, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch or none. All extras are subtitled English, English (SDH), French, Portuguese, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

 

Edition Details:

• Interviews with Sergio Leone and Claudio Cardinale

DVD Release Date: ?
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Sir Christopher Frayling, John Carpenter, Alex Cox, Sheldon Hall, John Milius and Claudia Cardinale.
• An Opera of Violence (28:49).
• The Wages of Sin (19:36).
• Something to Do with Death (18:16).
• Railroad: Revolutionizing the West (6:21).
• Locations Then & Now (Stills) (4:41)
• Production Stills (5:16).
• Cast Profiles of Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson and Gabriele Ferzetti.
• Original US Trailer (2:52).

DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Sir Christopher Frayling, John Carpenter, Alex Cox, Sheldon Hall, John Milius and Claudia Cardinale (Subtitled in English, French, German and Spanish).
• An Opera of Violence (28:49).
• The Wages of Sin (19:36).
• Something to Do with Death (18:16).
• Railroad: Revolutionizing the West (6:21).
• Locations Then & Now (Stills) (4:41).
• Production Stills (5:16).
• Cast Profiles of Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson and Gabriele Ferzetti.
• Original US Trailer (2:52).

DVD Release Date: October 6, 2003

Fold-out in slipc
ase

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Paramount
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 44,259,085,088 bytes

Feature: 37,658,929,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 24.90 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary with Sir Christopher Frayling, John Carpenter, Alex Cox, Sheldon Hall, John Milius and Claudia Cardinale.
• An Opera of Violence (28:49).
• The Wages of Sin (19:36).
• Something to Do with Death (18:16).
• Railroad: Revolutionizing the West (6:21).
• Locations Then & Now (Stills) (4:41).
• Production Gallery (5:16).
• Cast Profiles of Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson and Gabriele Ferzetti.
• Original US Trailer (2:52).

Blu-ray Release Date:
May 31st, 2011
Standard
Blu-ray case in cardboard sleeve

Chapters 33

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray - May 11': Comments coming soon! Firstly, I had some difficulty getting a few of the captures with the exact frame due to a permanent time-bar on pauses, but some are exact. The new Paramount dual-layered Blu-ray offers both the 2:45:24 Theatrical cut and the 2:46:01 'restored' cut of Once Upon a Time in the West. These two cuts are seamlessly branched so the quality is exactly the same in the parallel scenes. My fear was that the image would appear too glossy but I am satisfied - grain is there - a shade blotchy by the overall picture quality is significantly richer. I'll put this down to more adept contrast. Skin tones seem warmer. The DVDs looks green now compared to the Blu-ray which may be slightly blue. The trademark Leone close-ups are tight and pleasing. The scope achieves a much grander scale (epic landscapes) and visually in-motion this is an impressive film to see it 1080P.

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2786 kbps does an excellent job of utilizing Ennio Morricone score's 'marriage' with the film. The film has plenty of subtlety tucked into the effects (squeaky windmills, cracking knuckles etc.) and there is some notable aggression. The depth was never floor rattling but I enjoyed the uncompressed audio - hearing it's superiority over the last DVD I watched. There are optional subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is coded Region FREE.

NOTE: Thanks to Daniel in email "I was reading the comparison piece about Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon A Time In The West' on your website and I think you have missed an interesting difference between the new Blu-ray version and the original DVD.

In 1984, the restorationists, confused as to why the Finale music lasted 4 seconds longer than the negative solved the music synchronization problem by replacing the last 74 seconds of the correct exit music with the last 70 seconds of the tonally inappropriate Cheyenne's Theme. This alters the whole operatic sweep of the ending. I know there is a story about how Leone played Morricone's the music on set and choreographed the camera movements to the music in order to get the maximum emotional fusion of the two elements. Whether he did this on the final scene I don't know, but watching the scene with the two conflicting music cues is as different as night and day.

In the new issue of Video Watchdog, Tim Lucas's editorial cited the new 'Once Upon A Time In The West' Blu-ray as one of the key releases of the past year and noted that it does indeed fix the music mishap that flawed the original DVD release. Your comparison review doesn't note this, and not having the Blu-ray, I have no way of confirming whether this is accurate or not, but I thought the information might be of interest to you nevertheless
."

Extras duplicate the last DVD package - which means about an hour's worth of excellent featurettes on production with input from many directly involved and the wonderful commentary is still there with Sir Christopher Frayling, John Carpenter, Alex Cox, Sheldon Hall, John Milius and Claudia Cardinale. The commentary does not have the optional subtitles that the Special Edition DVD does.

Every time I see this I judge it as the quintessential 'Spaghetti Western'. I never seem to tire of the languid pace always teeming with 'foreboding' and atmosphere. Characterizations are a strong part of the film - everyone is so good. Once Upon A Time in the West  is truly a film to just sit back and soak-in. I don't think you have to be a western fan to appreciate it - this is pure cinema in many respects. I much-waited for Blu-ray takes advantage of the format to offer both cuts on the same disc - as well as all the excellent extras accessible on one BD. This is being offered at a great price - don't hesitate!

***

ON THE DVDS: NOTE: Addition: we are working on why the CVC Italian 'Restored" version is longer. Definitely there is some color manipulation and I think it may be on the part of both. The Paramounts both look too red for my eye. The CVC is not as sharp. We see the Paramount DVDs are slightly cropped on the top edge. 

From IMdb: The Italian DVD as an extended version of the movie. Running time 171 mins (standard version use in other countries running time are between 155 to 165 mns). The principal differences are the opening sequence, who is much longer (look at Jack Elem game with the fly), and the closing too (the panoramic shoot is complete before the titles C'ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST appear). Another missing scene, who as disappear from all the European edit, is in it: after the station scene, Harmonica take his arm because he has a terrible pain in it, and return on his horse.

So there we have it, the Italian version is longer, a little washed out and has Italian audio and no English subs.

NOTE: Differences in Italian Extended version (Thanks Jayson Kennedy!) CLICK HERE.

Only minor differences in the Paramounts - the picture looks great on both releases, but the Region 1 is slightly sharper (almost negligible). The R1 has the original English mono soundtrack which is not included on the R2, but the new DD 5.1 remix is done extremely well. Paramount have done a bit more with the packaging on the R2. Great work by Paramount! 

 - Ole Kofoed.

 


Menus

(CVC - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs.  - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


NOTE: CVC DVD (Italian extended version) has a different end sequence (see title above):

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM


 


1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) CVC - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

4) Paramount - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

3) Paramount - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

 

   

 

Distribution

CVC (Italy)

Region 2 - PAL

Paramount

Region 1  - NTSC

Paramount (UK)
Region 2 - PAL
Paramount
Region FREE -
Blu-ray





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Gary Tooze