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‘Once Upon a Time’ to be restored

Bologna Cinemetheque prepare director's cut

Sergio Leone’s New York gangster epic “Once Upon a Time in America” is getting the redux treatment.

The 1984 classic starring Robert De Niro and James Woods will be fully restored by Italy’s Bologna Cinemetheque L’Immagine Ritrovata lab, using digital techniques and adding 40 minutes of original footage to its 229-minute running time.

Leone’s children, Andrea and Raffaella Leone, have acquired Italian rights to “Once Upon a Time in America,” from Arnon Milchan’s New Regency, and now aim to bow their redux version, which is being supervised by the pic’s original sound editor, Fausto Ancillai, at either the Cannes or Venice fests in 2012.

The Bologna Cinematheque is a world leader in film preservation which, besides restoring the Spaghetti Western maestro’s previous works, is also in charge of the Charlie Chaplin archives.

Warner Bros. rereleased the 229-minute cut of the pic in January re-remastered on Blu-ray.

That cut is how “Once Upon a Time in America” world premiered in Cannes in 1984. The pic was subsequently cut to 139 minutes, excluding several flash-back sequences, for its U.S. release, which angered many critics at the time.

A rep for Rome-based Leone Films said they are in advanced talks with News Corp.’s Sky Italia for the redux version to air on the paybox and are also considering a theatrical release in Italy.

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