A LITTLE LOOK AT ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA - THE RESTORATION ON BLU-RAY

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by haineshisway, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,194
    Likes Received:
    5,003
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    For the record, my comments were not aimed at you.
    RAH
     
  2. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    I think a reasonable expectation is that the color of the film proper should be correct. It is on the previous Blu-ray and it most certainly is not here. If the work for draining the color was done post-scan, then at least they can fix this. Whether they will or not is anyone's guess. The bad picture quality is being blamed on compression - my point was is that you could spread this over five discs and it wouldn't matter - wrong is wrong. The only decent release of this movie that I want to see is one in which the color is what Mr. Leone and Mr. Delli Colli wanted and had in the release prints, which were stunning. For now, the previous Blu-ray, even though not optimal in any number of OTHER ways, is the only choice for the correct color. Color never seems to bother people - it's all about shadow detail (horrible here - no contrast at all), and blacks (no blacks here) and DNR and EE and all that other stuff. Those things get people up in arms - but give them a transfer with completely incorrect color and they don't care or don't know enough to care, but for me that's worse than all the other stuff put together.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,194
    Likes Received:
    5,003
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Reminds me of J.M. Barrie's definition of a woman's "charm" from The Admirable Crichton (1903)

    "Oh, it's... it's sort of a bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don't need anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter what else you have."

    Same thing with most of the elements of a film print or transfer, inclusive of color. Have great resolution? Shadow detail? Black levels?

    Don't have correct color, the rest is wasted.

    RAH
     
  4. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    957
    Likes Received:
    31
    "Regarding picture quality, I think it depends what your expectations are, how critical an eye you have and what TV you are going to watch it on"
    Well this should look like the best BRs on any TV ,It looks better than what 1080p can offer
    "The other scenes look a bit yellowish to me. In some of the dark scenes the brightness has been turned up but this doesn't help since there's no meaningful detail in the shadows. There's sometimes a lack of contrast, poor blacks and if you pause the movie artifacts and extraneous items are clearly visible. It looks grainy on some LCD TVs but may look slightly better on Plasmas and LED TVs."
    ,ad
    If this is true the transfer is crap! that's not how the film should look, This film has great sharpness and rich blacks and shouldn't look grainy at all
     
  5. chris1234

    chris1234 Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    8
    The original poster is of course completely correct regarding the incorrect colors:
    Direct captures from the new Blu-ray and the 229 min BD from 2011, but resized to keep file size to a minimum:
    Not very appetising apples
    New BD
    229 min BD
    New BD
    229 min BD
    New BD
    229 min BD
    New BD
    229 min BD
    New BD
    229 min BD
    New BD
    229 min BD
    A comparison of part of a 1920 x 1080 frame from the New BD (left) and the 229 min BD (right). The dimensions of these extracts have not been altered.
    Arguably Noodles' face and the grass in the new BD (left) have more detail than the corresponding items in the 229 min BD (right). If a respectful transfer were done using 2 BDs, it would improve matters but it's unlikely that it would solve all the defects.
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    And there you have it - a side by side lesson in correct color for this film. Yes, of course the apple should be red, not brown/orange. And yes, a blue sky rather than a green sky - what a concept. I'm really happy you posted these because if people cannot see what a travesty this is, color-wise, then they should not be watching color films. :)
    And before anyone says "The older Blu-ray's colors look pumped up - that would be a big no. The color is perfect and is exactly the color timing of the theatrical prints.
     
  7. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    David
    I don't think anyone said the new Blu-ray had correct colors. However you can't say the original is correct either. Again, it looks too video and not film. The red looks tacked on (see DeNiro scarf in the first pic, it looks photoshoped onto the image). Both transfers are botched, and if you're happy with the original Blu-disc, I guess you will accept any original film to have it's color sheme destroyed (as Mad Max 2 for example was) as long as the fleshtones are natural and there is additional picture detail.

    There is a tint on the new disc. It may not be the correct tint as intended, but the film had originaly a tint and is not supposed to look naturalistic with clear blu skies. It's the same thing as You Only Live Twice where the original UE removed the style and made the film look "natural", when it was never supposed to be that way. The new disc may be bad, but at least, it look stylised. All Leone filmed are visually stylised. They're not supposed to look like they would do if you went to the same locations to take some snapshots with your iPhone.

    The cemetery comparison pretty much sums it. All the style is gone on the original disc.
     
  8. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2000
    Messages:
    2,579
    Likes Received:
    714
    None of the two look correct, seems the new version has more texture but the colors seem off quite a bit more than the other version.
    How about both cuts with seamless branching spread over two discs with a higher bitrate and without the grain/DNR/compression issues of both existing versions. Plus I'd like to see the color to be correct and can only imagine it to be correct somewhere in between the two versions and probably closer to the previous one. Everyone having a reddish face all the time however looks quite odd as does the white on the cemetary building that looks very much magenta,i.e. deficient in green.
     
  9. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    However, I CAN say the original Warners Blu-ray is correct, color-wise, because - it is. Whether the disc looks like video or film is irrelevant to its color. You seem to just ignore my points - the main one of which is that I know this film like the back of my hand, saw it MANY times during its original release in both long and short versions, and owned a gorgeous 35mm LPP (low-fade) print of it which had color like the Warners Blu-ray in the caps above. Please tell us your experience with this film - how many times did you see it during its original release. How many times on video (aside from the VHS trailer)? With all due respect, you keep making posts that aren't based on anything other than what you "think" this film is supposed to look like. What was stylized in this film was the look of the footage from the PAST, not the present. The present had all its colors just as they are in the caps from the Warners Blu-ray. The childhood sequences were designed in browns - just look at the buildings and the costumes. But the photography always had bold reds and golds. The scene of Deborah dancing is completely colorless in the new version - in the original it's brownish because that's the design, but has a color scale within that. There is no sky in any Leone film that is green, sorry. Sky is blue or, if cloudy, cloudy and blue, or, if gray, gray, but green? No. Leone was stylish, yes, but he was very color specific. He had that fire engine painted RED not brown/orange. That was the point in that scene - for the fire engine's red to stand out, and the blood on the pavement, too.
    We're just going around in circles. There is no opinion involved in my posts, just fact. Yours are all based on your personal thoughts and, seemingly, wants. The caps above tell the entire story and it should be obvious to anyone which color is right.
     
  10. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    The flesh tones are correct in the first Blu-ray - that's what they looked like. The cemetery shot has correct color everywhere, including the building. As I've said, color is not what someone thinks it should be - color is absolute, and if one knows the film intimately, then one can comment with absolutes. There's no in-between - one has right color (the original Blu has many OTHER problems, but those are separate issues) and one has putrid wrong color and needs to be fixed.
     
  11. alter filmnarr

    alter filmnarr Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    17
    Real Name:
    Gerhard
    Hmmm...I follow the discussion now since the first sreenshots arrived in a german Forum.
    My experience with that movie? I saw it for the first time in Paris and fell deeply in love with it. I worked in that time as a theater manager and projectionist in Vienna. My encounter in Paris was a few months before it was shown in Vienna. The Manager of the distribution of the movie (who was also my boss and owner off the cinema chain) told me that there willl be a "cut version" of the movie, because NOBODY wants to see 4 hours anymore (!). I was shocked and angry at the same time and told him, that this is an unforgiveable mistake for me.
    But luckily Mr. Leone could force the European distributors to show either the unaltered version or NONE at all.
    Luckily I had the honour to show this masterpiece for more than 3 months in a full house!! My boss came after 6 weeks or so, shook my hand and said "You were right!". I was sooo proud ;-)
    This for information about my experience with that movie.
    Personally I am spoiled with BOTH BD's (I own both now, but did not watch the extended cut yet ).
    For ME the WARNER BD is just a little bit too reddish - sorry, Mr.Kimmel - I respect Your opinion VERY HIGHLY and watch out for all Your reviews in Your blog.
    The WARNER BD is not bad (colourwise), but I believe to remember a more "sepia" look in the "older" sequences. Also for me the WARNER comes a little bit too "realistic" not enough "dreamy" as I remember.
    BUT I even less like the new version - there seems to be no difference between the different ages - everything yellow. That's also for sure not what I remember.
    Mr.Kimmel: You owned a print of the movie. That makes You for sure an expert! But can You imagine, that European and US prints were different in one or another way?
    I'm sure, that I will not like the colour scheme of the new disc very much - but I'm also confident, that also what I see on the WARNER BD is a little bit different from what I remember.
    And yes my front projector (PLANAR 8150 - now RUNCO) is well calibrated ;-)
     
  12. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    I suppose there could be some difference in color, but Mr. Leone would have signed off on the US version - it should have all come from the same timings, but there can be small variables in release prints for sure. All I can say with a certainty is that the print I had resembles the Warners original Blu almost exactly.
     
  13. alter filmnarr

    alter filmnarr Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    17
    Real Name:
    Gerhard
    And at the end that makes sense, because it is sure, that the master from the WARNER BD has US origins.
    To be honest, I do not REALLY believe, that Mr. Leone watched the prints of different countries to "sign" them.
    And that's makes me ask, why the US print should be the only correct one? Not to mention, that the movie was not so well treated at all in US during that time...
    But all speculations at the end. I'm also very SCEPTICAL about the new version - here I'm with You. But how could the Leone family and Mr. Scorsese get such a result? Very strange...
    At the end - YES, the WARNER is much more similar to what I remember, but I MISS something too (maybe my youth ;-)?)
     
  14. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    957
    Likes Received:
    31
    I saw the cut US Print and didn't realize how great the print was till I saw the Long version,and don't think anyone should use
    the US version as the correct version
     
  15. chris1234

    chris1234 Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    8
    haineshisway is right about the colors. Filming of the movie began in June 1982 and there were of course no digital effects, filters or CGI. Different film processing techniques were used to differentiate the three time periods. The mausoleum scene is set in 1968 which for the film makers is "our own times", i.e. the present, and for this period they did not want to adjust the colors except for making deeper blacks, more luminous whites and reinforcing the contrast.
    Sergio Leone: Delli Colli is very good; he created fabulous photography for Once Upon a Time in America, he managed to capture the atmosphere of three different periods. Thanks to RN, Delli Colli could play with the different eras, the twenties with the children; 1933 with pastel colors; finally our own times with sequences set in 1968. RN is a well-known Technicolor process that's a little more expensive but can help you obtain much deeper blacks and much more luminous whites.
    Tonino Delli Colli: In Once Upon a Time in America we differentiated between three periods. For 1923, a sepia print that recalls the photos of that period. For 1930 we tried to keep the image as neutral as possible, a kind of metallic black-and-white, cold approach to the gangster films of that epoch. For 1968 no special effect. We used a little Rn, a special bath patented by Technicolor Italiana, which made the blacks more velvety, added brilliance to everything and reinforced the contrasts.
    The mausoleum of John W "bet-a-million" Gates at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is that white
    and whenever I've visited Spring Lake the house has been white and the sky blue
     
  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    3,140
    Likes Received:
    2,138
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Bruce
    Deep blacks, forced contrast - exactly what the Warners Blu-ray replicates. The childhood footage is exactly what he says in this interview above, the 30s prohibition stuff is exactly what he says - neutral save for the color red, which is always vivid in those scenes. And, of course, the different look for the 1960s with that kind of color - blues, greens, reds, all vivid. There was no orange/yellow cast to anything, and most importantly, the three eras looked DIFFERENT, as they do in the original Warners Blu and in the print I owned. There is no difference in anything in the new transfer - it is all the same - no contrast, no color, milky blacks. The End. :)
    Many thanks for the quotes.
     
  17. alter filmnarr

    alter filmnarr Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    17
    Real Name:
    Gerhard
    ...last words: You convinced me (as did the SC before). I WILL NOT open the new BD and send it back to Italy. Yellow all over the movie is FOR SURE wrong :(
     
  18. chris1234

    chris1234 Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    8
    My final thoughts.
    I don't regret purchasing the new BD in the slightest but I'm struggling to find positive things to say about it. The Italians seem to prefer the Italian audio and dubbing on the new BD to WB's 229 min BD.
    In 1984 Sergio Leone was expressing reluctance about the cuts he was forced to make to his 270 minute movie but by 1988 he quite liked and may have even preferred the 229 minute version. Possibly he was putting a brave face on it or was resigned to the situation.
    For several years I have thought that both versions should be available and applauded Andrea Leone's efforts to purchase the rights and restore a version which he thought was dear to his father's heart. Unfortunately the quality of the new scenes is poor and, whilst it's said that the 4K restoration of the other scenes is excellent, they do not look good on the new BD. Moreover there are less than 21 minutes of additional scenes making a total running time of 250 mins 56 seconds which falls quite a bit short of Sergio Leone's original version.
    I'm sure that Tonino Delli Colli's original film did not look like this:
    Direct captures from 39:00 Chapter 5 - Noodles watching Young Deborah dancing - parts of 1920 x 1080 frames which have not been enlarged or decreased:
    Both BDs have compression problems but there are hints that the 4K restoration may include slightly better detail. It may be compression artifacts in the new BD or a slight blurring in WB's 229 min BD but, for example, the brickwork in the house at Spring Lake in the New BD (left) has slightly more detail than the corresponding item in the 229 min BD (right):
    A minor point but all the letters above the entrance to the mausoleum are now visible:
    It looks like the 4K restoration has been taken from whole frames of the negative conserved in the vaults of Twentieth Century Fox. There is extra detail at the sides:
    New BD
    229 min BD
    Looking towards the future, Gustavo van Peteghem of Andrea Leone Films has acknowledged that he has received many emails of disappointment from fans with regard to the Blu-ray and he confirms that they will take the necessary measures as soon as possible.
    Hopefully at some future date we will get to see the sympathetic and respectful transfer that this movie deserves.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,194
    Likes Received:
    5,003
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    I cannot imagine that there would be different approved answer prints for different countries.

    There should be a single approved print, with timing followed precisely by Technicolor Rome, London and Hollywood. I would presume that there would have been multiple fully timed IPs for use in each lab, with resultant dupes struck as needed, and matched to a supplied release print from Rome. This tracking of color, density and black levels should have been all the more controlled, as ENR was involved.

    A pity Mr. Delli Colli is no longer with us, or all questions might be answered.

    RAH
     
  20. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    957
    Likes Received:
    31
    The Problem is I don't think Warner's cares about this film ,Their big releases come in Boxes or Book design cases,They look at it,like the Mission,They don't see big sales and its not
    really a Warner film classic,So its one step above a Archive release to them,Maybe this time it will get better treatment
     

Share This Page