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9.1 12 10
FanMix July 07, 2012 4554
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(Review for HARMONICA)
I first saw Once Upon a Time in the West a couple months ago, and while I enjoyed it, it was painfully slow. When the final duel took place and the reveal of who Harmonica was, it made me realise that the film really should've been about Harmonica & Frank's rivalry, and not the extraneous plotlines that took up most of the film. This edit is exactly what I wanted from this film. It cuts over half of the film's run-time, yet does not feel rushed at all. TMBTM wisely chooses which scenes to keep and which to cut. Additionally, a lot of kept scenes are tightened, which fixes the poor pacing of the original. It's hard to believe the original runs at nearly 3 hours after watching this.

(Spoilers for the edit)
Cheyenne is completely cut. While I liked his character, he was not necessary to Harmonica's story, and this edit really proves that.

Comments on the edit:
*not a fan of the rescore with the hip-hop Harmonic theme at the McBain farm shooting, and the final stand-off. The original has more weight to it.
*very good cut making it seem like the train it cuts to (after the McBain farm shooting) is the train Harmonica is on in the opening scene.
*Re-orders scenes so that Harmonica looking for Frank comes after Frank being introduced via the McBain farm shooting. Good choice, as now the audience know who Harmonica is after.
*The cut between Frank threatening Harmonica and shooting Wobbles is quite sudden.
*The intercutting of 2 (or 3?) different scenes to make it look like Morton releases Harmonica and pays him to go after Frank is very, very clever. This cut is crucial in eliminating Cheyenne from the film.
*Perhaps more should've have been kept between Frank & Morton to explain their conflict better, since in this edit it's not that clear why Morton decides to have Frank killed. I guess we can assume Morton saw Frank as a rival and decided to kill him before Frank replaced him.
*Minor gripe, but I would've ended the film on a shot of Harmonica rather than Jill.

Overall, this was a brilliant edit, and it'll definitely be my go-to on future re-watches of " the West". TMBTM has really done an excellent job here of creating a more concise and slightly altered narrative which is, in my opinion, superior to that of the original's.

Would really like to see this remastered (preferably without the hip hop rescore) one day in HD, as the film has been re-released on Blu-ray since this edit was made. And I look forward to watching the second edit of this anthology, "Two Glorious Bastards" by boon - if I can get my hands on it.
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