Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America"
August 25, 2012 4:03 PM Subscribe
Once Upon A Time In America [auto-play audio] is the last of a string of films about the past and future of a country [Sergio Leone] knew first and best from the B-movies and yellowing paperbacks America sent abroad. For this 1984 swan song, Leone broke a directing hiatus that stretched back a decade, and turned away from Westerns toward another quintessentially American genre. His fantasia of gangland themes and images barely works by the standards of a gangster film, but succeeds brilliantly by those of epic poetry.
posted by Egg Shen (19 comments total)
22 users marked this as a favorite
- Keith Phipps [all links may contain spoilers]
After an ill-fated test screening, Leone's 229 minute cut was edited by the studio into a chronological 139 minute version - of which Pauline Kael wrote "I don't believe I've ever seen a worse case of mutilation."
This year at the Cannes Film Festival, a digitally restored 245 minute version was screened. Martin Scorsese and Leone's children are working to obtain rights to additional footage in order to assemble a 270 minute edit. Notes of a Film Fanatic reviews the new material and argues that only the 229 minute version should be considered the "director's cut"