Friday, June 24, 2016

Unseen footage from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Part 4)

In 2014 a private collector purchased and shipped an original 35mm print from Italy in order to examine the colour.

Once the print was scanned, it was discovered to be a one of a kind treasure, with new footage and differences not present in ANY home video release (worldwide).

Multiple sources were checked against the print, 8mm films released in the 70's, multiple vhs and pal copies from around the world dating all the way back to the early 80's. The new footage and in some cases new audio from this particular print simply doesn't exist anywhere else, even on other vintage 35mm Italian prints.

The differences discovered so far on a preliminary examination are as follows:

1. Extra footage (3 new closeup shots) in the early scene where Angel Eyes visits the farmer (see Part 1)
2. A fragment of a scripted deleted scene at the end of a reel
3. The complete beating scene (including portions that were damaged on the print MGM used as their reference and included as a bonus feature on DVD and BLU)
4. Various music cue and sound effect differences.
5. Longer character titles in the final scene.

Presented below is the deleted scene fragment which finished the 3rd reel, along with what's left of the start of the 4th reel where the music cues are different on this print (perhaps because of where the music was placed during the deleted scene). Since the fragment was at the tail of the reel (the most wear and tear on prints occur at the heads and tails of reels, since thats where they are handled the most), it was torn and is missing some frames. The start of the 4th reel was heavily damaged and incomplete, it's unknown if the deleted scene continued there at one time but it is possible. Something to note is that the deleted scene begins with a optical dissolve, the fact that an optical dissolve was printed and incorporated most likely means the scene was only dropped at the last minute. 

The deleted scene was part of the desert sequence, and this fragment is only the first 15 seconds or so of the scene. Although the action differs from the script, the presence of the bones (seen nowhere else in the existing desert scenes) point towards this being the beginning of the scene. The scene as written in the Italian script went as follows: (thanks to author Peter Hanley for the information):

Blondie is now seen in the distance. His steps are heavy and sluggish. The heat has worn Blondie down. Nevertheless, he seems to have noticed that Tuco has fallen into a light sleep under his sunshade . . . Blondie looks around as if he is searching for something. About 10 meters in front of him is a white, gnawed animal skeleton. Blondie’s eyes appear to be hypnotized by this sight. He encroaches towards the skeleton. Close-up: Blondie’s hand appears in the frame and he grasps a club-like bone. The camera zooms on to Tuco, who suddenly turns, grabs his revolver and fires a shot. The bone flies out of Blondie’s hand and Tuco threatens him saying, “Don’t try that again. Now, get going!” Blondie sets off again.

The music cue at the start of the 4th reel on this print (for the "boot scene") differs from all known Italian releases, dating back as far as 1980's vhs, which all used the same "Italian mono" mix.

The mix referenced in the video clip below is the 2014 English mono mix prepared by Chase audio, which uses music and sound effects sourced from the Italian mono mix. The music portion that leads into the boot scene on the Italian mono mix and 2014 MGM English mono mix is a "drone" music not available on any (official or bootleg) soundtrack release.

The 2002 American 5.1 mix (present on all American home video releases since) is unique in that it used the music present on the music and effects track for the "boot scene" instead of the "drone" music. The music used on the 5.1 mix during the boot scene is repeated from earlier in the desert sequence. The 5.1 music track (in this scene) differs from the one on the 35mm print AND all other sources. I consider the 2002 5.1 mix "revisionist" because they replaced a lot of the vintage sound effects with new versions. Although I make mention of it here for completists sake, I don't consider it to be a valid comparison source. *NOTE* Please see the comments section for more information

The bottom line is that the music track placement used on this 35mm print is unique, no matter what source you compare it to.

The colour correction on the new footage is only an approximation of the original colour, the print is 50 years old and is literally covered in grime and dirt. Some preliminary digital cleanup has been applied to remove dust and scratches on the deleted fragment, where you see lines or jumps in the shot, the frames were lost or damaged over the years. The 4th reel music portion comparison is presented "as-is".


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