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Restored Cut Of Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon A Time In America' With 40 More Minutes To Premiere At Cannes Film Festival

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 18, 2012 10:18 AM
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Once Upon A Time In America

Well, we're one day away from the unveiling of the Cannes Film Festival lineup, but as usual, organizers will also highlight films from the past, and in 2012 they've landed a restoration of a film that will be adding plenty of new material for cinephiles to take in.

First announced last spring, Bologna Cinemetheque L'Immagine Ritrovata, Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation and uh, Gucci, have teamed to digitally restore Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America," adding 40 minutes of footage to the already sprawling 229 minute runtime. This brings the film back to the original 269-minute run time Leone first crafted, before it was cut down for the Cannes premiere in 1984. The director's original vision was to release the movie -- based on Harry Grey's novel -- as two separate three-hour movies. And while that didn't come to pass, Leone's 4-hour version never really got its due, having been cut and snipped to various degrees almost from the start. It first arrived in theaters stateside in a butchered 134-minute version that was taken out of Leone's hands and put the film's time-jumping, three-decade-spanning narrative in chronological order. A three-hour TV version showed up in the mid-90s and finally, there is the 229-minute version that is widely available today.

In case you haven't seen the film, it stars Robert De Niro and James Woods and a massive ensemble and tells the tale of a Prohibition-era gangster who returns to his old neighborhood three decades later. But of course, that just skims the surface; it's a film that definitely needs space to breathe and unfold, and we're glad it's finally getting the cut it deserves.

No word yet on when this version will hit DVD or BluRay but we presume that's around the corner. "Once Upon A Time In America" will screen at Cannes on May 18th.

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  • Film_Shark | April 20, 2012 5:04 AMReply

    The pacing of this film is so slow but I'd like give the restored version a chance to change my mind about it.

  • Leonardo | April 19, 2012 12:18 AMReply

    If that version appears in DVD i'm gonna have to make some coffee to watch it closely.

  • ANDOL | April 18, 2012 1:37 PMReply

    Did Deniro, Woods, and others return to do the dubbing for this version?

  • Jim | April 19, 2012 3:35 PM

    James Woods has given interviews where he mentions the master cut being this 269-minute version. So I assume that audio stems do exist.

  • StephenM | April 18, 2012 1:08 PMReply

    This is awesome. I heard about it before, but assumed since it had been so long since news broke that it must have fallen through. I am totally buying this, if and when it becomes available. One of the greatest movies ever made.

  • Huffy | April 18, 2012 11:46 AMReply

    Just picked up the Blu-ray too. If the cut delivers I may have to double-dip.

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