I hate that there are two versions but...
J. Alden | Hollywood, CA | 08/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*** Very slight plot spoiler alert, but its minor and will not take away from the movie***
The fact that there are two versions frustrates me. Not because we're "blessed" now with more to understand about the story, but because there is a decision to make when choosing a version, and this level of art should simply be created once and left alone. The original version is what I fell in love with, and the version that won the academy award, and I feel that is a better story because we don't hold so much resentment towards Alfredo's betrayal sending Toto off to find his dreams of the movie business far away from their village and away from the love of his life. I won't go into great detail to spoil it for anyone that has not yet seen the movie, but I will say this. Either version is a masterpiece, and it's only my opinion that the original is actually the better cut. If I were to do the editing, I would have included about 10 minutes of the added one hour, and thats about it.
Like a good meal, like a good kiss, you should be left wanting more. The original does that. We're left with the desire Toto has. We're left with the understanding of what exactly he sacrificed, and left us wondering, like him, if it was all worth it. After all, no other woman in his life ever really meant anything to him after Elena. Toto's dream to be reunited with his love is still present in the original, and although the new cut answers a lot of unanswered questions, that is not always the best thing for a story.
I gave this version all the stars I can because when you break it down, although I've been clear that I prefer the orignal, any way you cut this film, it is a reel of masterful art. I'm a grown man, yet Ennio Morricone can tug at my heart strings like no other composer, and of all the amazing pieces of music this man has created, I believe this is his most beautiful and most profound work. I don't know how better a marriage of story, actors, director, composer and cinematography can ever come together more perfectly, but in the world of movie making, this movie is simply how it's done.
If you do get the chance to get a DVD with both original and extended versions, I suggest you see the original first.
Since first seeing this film, it has been in my top three or four favorite films of all time. Foreign or not. I love movies, so that says a lot."