Comparison between the cut British Blu-ray from Eureka! (cuts identical in International Cut on Disc 1 and Italian Cut on Disc 2) and the uncut German Blu-ray from MGM / 20th Century Fox (identical to the international MGM Blu-rays and the American Kino Lorber Blu-ray)
- 2 cuts
- Difference: 5,1 sec
The versions of Sergio Leone's DUCK, YOU SUCKER!
In 1971 Sergio Leone staged Gił la testa (International titles: Duck, you Sucker! and A Fistful of Dynamite), a contribution to his legendary filmography that has long been underestimated but is now also regarded as a classic. It is the middle part of his "America" trilogy, whose other two contributions (Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America) are of course more well-known.
For the American cinema release, the original 157-minute version was radically tightened in action and censored for the PG rating. The western now only ran for 121 minutes, whereas the UK used to have a 138-minute version. In 1989 the 138-minute version was also released on Laserdisc in the US by Image Entertainment. Fortunately, these two trimmed versions where never released digitally. However, in European countries a shortened version with a duration of 154 minutes (or 147 minutes in PAL), missing a flashback scene shortly before the end, was common for a long time.
On 09 December 2019 a new Blu-ray has been released by the British collector label Eureka! Entertainment. Besides a lot of bonus material two film versions are included here. Thanks to the BBFC restrictions, it was clear that both of them suffered cuts in scenes of horses tripping. This is the main subject of the present report and for censorship hardliners this version might already be omitted. The two censorship cuts are exactly identical in both versions on the British release, so the report is transferable. But now we can also more precisely break up what is hidden behind these two different versions.
Special features of the British Blu-ray from Eureka!
The shorter old EU version without flashback is not included, this scene is present in both versions on the British Blu-ray. This should follow Leone's intention, the bonus material emphasizes the relevance of this flashback several times. The "International Cut" on Disc 1 corresponds to the MGM master of the old Blu-ray, but the sound has been revised. More about that further below. The "Italian Version" on Disc 2, on the other hand, uses the 2K restoration carried out by Cineteca die Bologna in 2009, which could already be found on the Italian Blu-ray. Except for different credits/logos and negligible jumpcuts, this version is identical to that of MGM. Like various Leone-restorations done in Italy, the picture has a yellow tinge, but is considered by many to be somewhat superior to the MGM master.
Another thing to note about the international version on Disc 1 is that you get the option to play it as A Fistful of Dynamite. This title, obviously based on the success of A Fistful of dollars, was used for many international releases, just after a first run as "Duck, You Sucker!" fell short of expectations. Apart from the replaced title on screen, there are no differences to discover in this quasi third version of the British Blu-ray. A screenshot can be found in the appendix of the cut report.
Now to the audio, here you can say some positive words of the new Eureka Blu-ray. Both the Italian and the English soundtrack of the Italian Blu-ray were deficient/distorted. With the British Blu-ray this is no longer the case, both tracks sound quite good. The MGM-Blu-ray on the other hand had either dropouts or even censorship of the nasty F-word on the English soundtrack in several places. Eureka was also able to find the complete original soundtrack here again.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Italian version on the British Blu-ray / German Blu-ray
Instead of MGM, Disc 2 refers to Bologna in the beginning. Then the quotation from Mao Tse-Tung appears in Italian vs. English.
German Blu-ray 2.3 sec longer
About a minute later, the credits appear. On the German Blu-ray (as well as Disc 1 of the British Blu-ray) they are in English and the aspect ratio is somewhat smaller here.
12:38 / 12:40
The MGM master has a mini jumpcut right before the Mexican shoots..
+ 0.3 sec
12:42 / 12:44
Same issue before the next shot.
+ 0.3 sec
Comments: In the 43./48./78./81./83./84. minute "fuck" is heard in different variations on the English soundtrack. Also in the 130th and 147th minute this occurs again. In contrast to the two F-bombs described below, this is also contained in the old MGM Blu-rays. So at least the soundtrack isn't continuously censored on the MGM version.
88:05 / 88:07
As Juan observes the situation with his binoculars, his comment is unfortunately only heard in a weakened form on the otherwise uncut MGM Blu-ray.
Here he asks "Why am I mixed up in this revolution in the first place?", while in both cut versions of Eureka you can hear the correct "Why am I mixed up in this fucking revolution in the first place?" again.
92:33 / 92:35-92:36
During the gatling gun shootout a shot of a guy tripping off a horse is missing.
92:56 / 92:59-93:03
Here, too, a close-up of John is preceded by a horse fall.
99:27 / 99:34
John one insignificant moment longer.
111:53 / 112:00
Shortly before the explosion that prevents Juan's execution, John's comment differs.
The Eureka versions probably use the original wording "Short fuse!" again, which also fits to the German dub at this point.
Instead, the title line "Duck, you sucker!" from another scene is recycled on the English soundtrack of the old MGM Blu-ray.
117:37 / 117:44
In the boxcar, a comment by John reveals another censorship of the English soundtrack of the otherwise uncut MGM Blu-ray.
In both Eureka versions you can clearly hear "If they don't get this fucking thing under way", which also fits to the German dub again.
Instead, the old MGM sound is a bit choppy around the bold part, you can still hear a hissed "ff", but not the F-bomb.
153:49-153:53 / 153:56-154:00
A curiousity: Immediately after the long flashback, which was missing in early EU versions, the two restorations show a different shot of Juan. This is definitely very similar, but in the Italian version he is a bit more turned with his back to the camera at the beginning. In addition, only here does his hand come into the picture while screaming, in the international shot it remains below the screen.
The end credits also differ and after the restoration note the Italian version still has a longer black screen.
Note: In contrast to the beginning, the MGM logo is now "larger" or in 16:9 and thus extends the 2.35:1 image format.
Italian Cut 38.7 sec longer
Now a screenshot of the different title in the end credits, if you watch the movie on Disc 1 with the option "Play as A Fistful of Dynamite".