The Ugly West has been high on my must see list and having purchased / watched the two films recently I wanted to see how much these edits would differ from the originals. A Sergio Leone film can be a hard slog to sit all the way through and while these two edits aren't meant to improve the originals but to give a more digestible version to two Sergio Leone classics.
First up was Harmonica a very shortened version of Once Upon A Time in the West though its core story line is very much intact. I have to be honest and say the musical changes made weren't to my taste neither the more dance/remix version of Ennio Morricone score I didn't like nor the inclusion of the music used in Kill Bill. I can understand the idea as Tarantino himself used the music of Ennio Morricone within his two Kill Bill films, but I just feel this music is so inferior to the original it took away from the final epic confrontation between Harmonica and Frank.
Another problem I had with the edit was just how did Harmonica get off the train? Last we saw of him was tied up on the train, next we see of him bidding on the McBain property. Apologizes to the editor if I missed something but I didn't fully understand what had just happened. At first I thought Harmonica was in cahoots with Morton, when the large amount of money was taken out of the drawer but then this would totally go against the character of Harmonica who has his own agenda. During the bidding we flashback to the train in which the Morton hands out $500 to his men to bid on the property though the men at the bidding are completely different. Again apologizes if I missed something but looking at the deleted scenes I couldn't help but think that the character of Cheyenne should have been included. It would have given the edit a longer run time that I felt it deserved but I also feel the character of Harmonica needed someone to play off as his agenda is with Frank and not with Jill McBain.
Overall I felt this was a solid but unspectacular edit compared to TMBTM previous efforts; 7/10.
The second edit by CBB titled Two Glorious Bastards feels like watching a totally new film, compared to the original. If the music of Johnny Cash was going to be used to a particular genre then a Western would be it. The songs chosen are all very good and often tell the story were seeing on screen, only once with the inclusion of hurt did I feel was unnecessary.
Not once did I feel the character played by Lee Van Cleef was missing from the story his character is just as good as Good/Ugly. It would have been a nice touch to have him cameo in both films (even though Lee Van Cleef doesn't appear in OUATITW there is a train scene from A few Dollars more that could maybe have been used) if just to acknowledge the actor but also connect the two edits, but of course this may go against the editors intent for the edit.
The film The Good the Bad and the Ugly is a classic that is hard to improve on, this edit however doesn't try to do that but offers a classic alternative. 9/10 This is a great concept for a fanedit and isn't hard to see why it's considered a must have within the fanedit community.
The overall presentation is also very well done with the DVD menus and extras giving the edit a very professional look / feel. Overall score 8.5
Here what is my take on my Harmonica's edit:
Morton wants Frank dead, because he kows one day or aother Frank will kill him. So he is helping Harmonica, giving him money, during the train sequence.
The fact of removing Cheyenne during the whole movie had one big problem: it was Cheyenne who saved Harmonica's ass in the train. I had to find a way to get Harmonica out of this train.
And Morton helping Harmonica was the only way. I thought the smile on Harmonica's face when Morton is showing the money was enough for the audience to understand.
Later we see Harmonica deciding to use this money to win the auction in the only purpose to get Frank pissed off and meet him.
While the auction takes place, we see Morton "buying" Frank's men on the train to turn them against him. This is not a flashback it happens at the same time.
Morton giving them 500 dollars is only a "transition method" to go from one scene to another. Those are not the same 500 dollars. I understand it can be confuzing though.
I rewatched this recently and realized I hadn’t rated it or written a review. I’ll make it short and sweet.
Harmonica: Perfect. Loved it. The story flowed greatly considering all the major cuts TMBTM made. 10/10
Two Glorious Bastards: Amazing editing by Boon. Not only did he delete one of the three title characters with ease he did some incredible sound work. Sure, not all the Cash songs work well, but it was really well done. The only complaint about this one is the audio levels on a couple of the songs seemed a little high for my ears (sorry I don’t know the names of which songs). 9/10
EDITED TO ADD: I watched the "Making of" clip that details the sound editing work done. I wish I could give it a 9.5, a lot of work went into editing Two Glorious Bastards.
DVD: Awesome work. Menus are beautiful. Special Features are great, especially Boon’s explanation of the audio editing he did. And I always get a kick out of seeing a BlueYoda mashup. 10/10