Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 08:43:39 AM



Title: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 08:43:39 AM
there you go Off topic again  ;D moved from OUATITW to OUATIA

drinkanddestroy:

btw, in OUATIA, Bailey is not a senator; he is Secretary of Commerce. In early drafts, he was indeed a senator (from Massachusetts, I believe). But for precisely the reason you mention -- a U.S. Senator would have never been able to retain that sort of anonymity -- the character was changed to Commerce Secretary. And if you still doubt that he could remain relatively obscure, I challenge any American here to tell me the name of our current Commerce Secretary, and if they know what he looks like.

 I would bet few people can do so. (I know it is Gary Locke, but I follow politics very, very closely; I would bet that literally 99% of Americans would not be able to answer the question offhand. But more importantly, I have no clue what he looks like).

How much more so would this have been true in 1968, before the internet, 24-hour cable news channels, etc. So yes, considering that they wanted to portray Max as someone in a position that is both highly successful and one in which he could realistically maintain relative anonymity, I think Commerce Secretary was a fine choice  :)


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2011, 12:06:35 PM
With every job as politician Max is a man of the public. And even if he is not one of them who are every days in the news he can't hide himself by having an important job, And he is still in NY (and not in Alaska) where a lot of people know him from his past. After what he did he could only live anonymous, or with a new face and identity, or somewhere at the end of the world.
Well I for example know a lot of the local politicians at least by their names and faces, and people who are interested know a lot of the not so famous politicians also in the higher positions.



Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2011, 07:15:23 PM
With every job as politician Max is a man of the public. And even if he is not one of them who are every days in the news he can't hide himself by having an important job, And he is still in NY (and not in Alaska) where a lot of people know him from his past. After what he did he could only live anonymous, or with a new face and identity, or somewhere at the end of the world.
Well I for example know a lot of the local politicians at least by their names and faces, and people who are interested know a lot of the not so famous politicians also in the higher positions.


Max became Commerce Secretary over 30 years after he faked his "death." He had no need to hide from his Mafia/union buddies; they were in on his "transformation." The only people he had to hide from were those who were still alive, knew him in his former life, and were not in on the deal.
Combine the factors: a) it is over 30 years later;
b)  very few people know what the Commerce Secretary looks like even today, with proliferation of the internet and 24-hour news cycles; even more so in 1968, the only way for people to recognize him is if he was somehow in a newspaper or on tv, which would hardly ever happen for Secretary of Commerce. Other than Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General, hardly anyone knows the names, let alone faces, of any Cabinet members. So it is not surprising to me that he would accept an appointment as Commerce Secretary, and that he wouldn't be recognized by those who knew him in his former life (until he was busted for the pensions scandal).

The fact that geographically he lives closer to his old neighborhood than Alaska is of no matter; Max's fancy estate on Long Island is a world away from the tenements of the Lower East Side.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 07:58:23 PM
Max became Commerce Secretary over 30 years after he faked his "death." He had no need to hide from his Mafia/union buddies; they were in on his "transformation." The only people he had to hide from were those who were still alive, knew him in his former life, and were not in on the deal.
Combine the factors: a) it is over 30 years later;
b)  very few people know what the Commerce Secretary looks like even today, with proliferation of the internet and 24-hour news cycles; even more so in 1968, the only way for people to recognize him is if he was somehow in a newspaper or on tv, which would hardly ever happen for Secretary of Commerce. Other than Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General, hardly anyone knows the names, let alone faces, of any Cabinet members. So it is not surprising to me that he would accept an appointment as Commerce Secretary, and that he wouldn't be recognized by those who knew him in his former life (until he was busted for the pensions scandal).

The fact that geographically he lives closer to his old neighborhood than Alaska is of no matter; Max's fancy estate on Long Island s a world away from the tenements of the Lower East Side.

What he said


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2011, 08:25:34 PM
What he said

huh?  ???


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 09:31:38 PM
huh?  ???

means I agree..... ::)


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2011, 09:36:50 PM
means I agree..... ::)

o, I thought it might be that, but I never heard that expression before. (though I have heard of a similar expression which has a very different meaning  ;))


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: stanton on May 19, 2011, 02:17:35 AM
But you don't get such a job from one day to another. He has to make a career in the party he belongs to, and for that people normally need many years if not decades.

Again. There ain't much sense in faking his death, and then becoming a man who dose things where there is a good chance that someone might recognize him. Which would not only end his new career immediately, but also bring him to jail. And the 1968 timeline shows several people from his past which are still living there.

That's not believable.



Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 19, 2011, 04:24:07 AM
But you don't get such a job from one day to another. He has to make a career in the party he belongs to, and for that people normally need many years if not decades.

Again. There ain't much sense in faking his death, and then becoming a man who dose things where there is a good chance that someone might recognize him. Which would not only end his new career immediately, but also bring him to jail. And the 1968 timeline shows several people from his past which are still living there.

That's not believable.



Presidential appointments (including Cabinet positions) often go to a president's buddies and politically connected cronies, many of whom have never held any sort of public office before. And union bosses are  some of the most highly politically connected people in America. eg. look at the Obama Administration: It's basically a who's who of Obama's buddies in organized labor (as well as half of his former colleagues on the Harvard Law faculty). Craig Becker was legal counsel for Service Employees International Union, and Obama appointed him to a seat on the National Labor Relations Board. Andy Stern, former President of SEIU, was the single most frequent visitor to the White House. The list goes on and on.

So Bailey had for decades been an influential, highly politically-connected and extremely wealthy hotshot in organized labor; and now, in his 60's, he was appointed as Commerce Secretary. This is a fairly typical resume' for presidential appointees.

 I'd certainly agree that it was somewhat risky for him to have accepted this job. But remember what kind of guy Max is: a brutal thug who has worked as a hit man for the Mafia; a strike enforcer for organized labor; stolen the love of Noodles' life; has spent decades as a union hotshot, which was facilitated by stealing the life-savings of his childhood friends and then having them killed,  So this guy is the lowest sort of scum who has always basically succeeded at getting whatever he wanted and has become extremely wealthy, greedy, probably narcissistic, and power-hungry, and by this point probably thinks he is invincible. And there is no greater power than an influential political position (that's why we always see so many people who are so wealthy and powerful go into politics; it is the ultimate dream of and expression of the power-hungry). Furthermore, as evidenced by Max's ridiculous plan to rob the Federal Reserve, when he sees the possibility of advancement, he may not always be the most rational thinker in the world. So it is not surprising that when faced with the opportunity of a Cabinet position, he would jump at the chance, even though it may not be the most prudent thing to do. So while I think everyone would agree that it was indeed somewhat risky for Max to have accepted this position, as I discussed in previous posts, I think it is definitely realistic that he was able to retain relative anonymity (at least until he got busted for the pensions scandal).





Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 19, 2011, 04:38:48 AM
I should add one thing: Cabinet members are appointed by the president but must be confirmed by the Senate. Prior to confirmation, the Senate conducts hearings about the nominee. So while as detailed previously, I believe it is completely realistic for a Bailey to have maintained anonymity during his tenure, I think a more difficult task would be covering up his past during the Senate investigations and subsequent confirmation hearings. But I guess that a) a guy with all of Bailey's connections, including with the mafia, would be able to have documents forged, etc. to account for his past; and it would probably have been far easier to do a thing like that in the 1960's than today, with internet and electronic records; and

 b) the investigations into nominees' for positions such as Commerce Secretary almost certainly are far less extensive than those for more prestigious Cabinet-level positions (such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General).

(on an unrelated note: it makes perfect sense that the position Bailey would be appointed for was Secretary of Commerce, cuz the regulation of commerce substantially affects organized labor)


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on May 19, 2011, 08:38:33 AM
D&D, you've made a couple of really excellent posts there. Your points are extremely well taken. O0


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 19, 2011, 08:50:26 AM
D&D, you've made a couple of really excellent posts there. Your points are extremely well taken. O0

Thanks, brother; you are very kind. Much appreciated  :)


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 19, 2011, 08:58:24 AM
how many people here have ever seen this guy's picture on tv or in a newspaper? http://www.commerce.gov/about-commerce/commerce-leadership/secretary-gary-locke

Ditto for most of the Cabinet heads listed here; I would bet that hardly anyone has ever seen a picture in a newspaper or television of any of the cabinet positions listed on this page, other than Attorney General, and Secretaries of Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Treasury: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/cabinet


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: Groggy on May 20, 2011, 12:33:07 PM
I should add one thing: Cabinet members are appointed by the president but must be confirmed by the Senate. Prior to confirmation, the Senate conducts hearings about the nominee. So while as detailed previously, I believe it is completely realistic for a Bailey to have maintained anonymity during his tenure, I think a more difficult task would be covering up his past during the Senate investigations and subsequent confirmation hearings. But I guess that a) a guy with all of Bailey's connections, including with the mafia, would be able to have documents forged, etc. to account for his past; and it would probably have been far easier to do a thing like that in the 1960's than today, with internet and electronic records; and

 b) the investigations into nominees' for positions such as Commerce Secretary almost certainly are far less extensive than those for more prestigious Cabinet-level positions (such as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General).

(on an unrelated note: it makes perfect sense that the position Bailey would be appointed for was Secretary of Commerce, cuz the regulation of commerce substantially affects organized labor)

Yeah, this. The public doesn't get a say in who gets appointed to the Cabinet; I doubt too many people could recognize any of Obama's cabinet except Hillary and maybe Gates. Congress, however, does tend to air even the tiniest flaws and mistakes in a candidate's past during confirmation hearings, and I seriously doubt (even in the '60s) Max could have gotten away with it. It's not quite a plot hole but an implausibility that doesn't sit well with me.

Leone might have been thinking about the Kennedys and their rumored Mob connections, but Jack and Bobby Kennedy weren't Mob enforcers before they ran for political office.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 20, 2011, 02:48:29 PM
But it doesn't mean he is the US Secretary of Commerce, he may just be Secretary of Commerce for NYS.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 22, 2011, 12:35:46 AM
But it doesn't mean he is the US Secretary of Commerce, he may just be Secretary of Commerce for NYS.

1. Do you know if states have secretaries of commerce?

2. even if there is such a position: at 2:03:23 of the movie, the reporter says that there is a Senate committee in Washington investigating the Bailey Scandal. would the U.S. Senate be investigating a pension fund scandal involving a New York State Secretary of Commerce?

3. Finally, I think that if someone says "Secretary of..." without mentioning that it is for a particular state, it is generally the United Sates one. eg. every state has a secretary of state, but it would always be prefaced with eg. "New York State Secretary of State"; and if you are talking about a state senator, you would never just use the word "Senator." so IMO there is no doubt whatsoever that Bailey is the United States Secretary of Commerce


Anyway, in response to Groggy's post above: my understanding is that the political world we live in today is far, far  more scrutinized than was the last generation's. maybe cigar joe could verify this:  would you agree that the level of  scrutiny faced by a presidential appointee today dwarfs that of those 40 years ago? Additionally, whatever level of scrutiny there is, it's probably much less for a Commerce Secretary than it is for State, Defense, and Justice.

That's why (along with all the other things I mentioned in this thread) it doesn't bother me at all that Max was able to retain his anonymity as Commerce Secretary


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 22, 2011, 04:09:31 AM
1. Do you know if states have secretaries of commerce?

2. even if there is such a position: at 2:03:23 of the movie, the reporter says that there is a Senate committee in Washington investigating the Bailey Scandal. would the U.S. Senate be investigating a pension fund scandal involving a New York State Secretary of Commerce?

3. Finally, I think that if someone says "Secretary of..." without mentioning that it is for a particular state, it is generally the United Sates one. eg. every state has a secretary of state, but it would always be prefaced with eg. "New York State Secretary of State"; and if you are talking about a state senator, you would never just use the word "Senator." so IMO there is no doubt whatsoever that Bailey is the United States Secretary of Commerce


Anyway, in response to Groggy's post above: my understanding is that the political world we live in today is far, far  more scrutinized than was the last generation's. maybe cigar joe could verify this:  would you agree that the level of  scrutiny faced by a presidential appointee today dwarfs that of those 40 years ago? Additionally, whatever level of scrutiny there is, it's probably much less for a Commerce Secretary than it is for State, Defense, and Justice.

That's why (along with all the other things I mentioned in this thread) it doesn't bother me at all that Max was able to retain his anonymity as Commerce Secretary


1). one of the guys I take fishing was the Secretary of Commerce of NY for Avrill Harriman.

2). don't know would depend on the scope of the scandal.

3). Unless its a local TV news channel.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: Groggy on May 22, 2011, 07:48:15 AM
The Commerce Secretary isn't an inconsequential position though, they have a fair amount of control over (or at least say in) business regulation and the stock market. If it were the Secretary of Agriculture I might agree.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 22, 2011, 12:40:34 PM
1). one of the guys I take fishing was the Secretary of Commerce of NY for Avrill Harriman.

2). don't know would depend on the scope of the scandal.

3). Unless its a local TV news channel.

RE: # 1: I have done some brief Googling and I've been unable to really find anything about New York State having a Department and/or Secretary  of Commerce, but I will take your word for it  :)

RE: # 3: I have never heard of eg. a state senator referred to as plain "Senator," even in local media. (I can't say anything about state secretaries, cuz I can't remember the last time I heard anyone refer to them at all  ;))

RE: # 2: yeah, if a Senate committee was investigating a pension funds scandal involving a major national union, it is certainly plausible that it would subpoena a state Secretary of Commerce -- along with anyone else -- that is involved.

I still firmly believe that Bailey is the United States Commerce Secretary. Anyway.....

 I just watched that scene again where Noodles & Fat Moe are watching the tv report in 1968. And I noticed that the reporter says that the guy that was supposed to testify before the Committee but was blown up in Bailey's car  is "District Attorney James Lister." However, only a local (eg. city, county) prosecutor is called "District Attorney." (The titles of the various federal [and state] prosecutors include "Attorney General," and "U.S. Attorney," and assistants and deputies thereof; but not "District Attorney). So this James Lister guy who was supposed to testify before the Senate Committee was the local prosecutor,( eg. the Manhattan DA, like the Steven Hill character on Law and Order ). IMO this brings up several potential possibilities/problems, which I will list below:

a) Possibility: District Attorney Lister is the lead prosecutor in this case. Problem: If Bailey is the United States Commerce Secretary and this is a scandal involving a major national union, this would almost certainly be a federal prosecution, not a local one;

b) Possibility: Bailey was the New York State Commerce Secretary. Problem: if this was a major scandal involving the pension funds of a union with members from many different states, it would still almost certainly be a federal prosecution, so again, Lister could not have been the lead prosecutor;

c) Possibility: Bailey was New York State Commerce Secretary and this was entirely a local scandal, so Lister was the lead prosecutor. Problem: Why is the US Senate committee investigating a matter that is entirely confined within New York State? You may want to answer that the Senate was only investigating this as a piece of a larger, general investigation into the scandalous alliances between organized labor and corrupt politicians; however, the reporter says the Senate committee is "investigating what has come to be called 'The Bailey Scandal.' " So the Senate investigation is seemingly focused entirely on this scandal, which would almost certainly mean this was a scandal involving a major national union, which would again mean that Lister could not have been the lead prosecutor in the case.

d) Possibility: Lister is not the lead prosecutor in the case; rather, he had initially uncovered the misuse of pension funds as a result of his local investigation in his jurisdiction, and further investigation (by Lister and/or federal agents/prosecutors whom he may have alerted to his findings) eventually uncovered what turned out to be a major national scandal. Now, the Senate committee was calling upon him to discuss the corruption he had uncovered, since he was a major player in this discovery; though now that it has turned into a federal investigation, he is no longer the lead prosecutor. If you believe in this option, then it would probably make sense whether Bailey was the Commerce Secretary of USA or NYS.

However, the problem with all 4 theories above is: Would the Senate committee really interfere with an ongoing prosecutorial investigation? As the reporter says, "a special team of detectives has been assigned to the case." There is no way anyone involved in the case would testify before a Senate committee during an ongoing investigation.

which leads me to the possibility that ........

e) (close your eyes, cigar joe; you are gonna hate this ;)): All this legal stuff may not be written very accurately. I mean, when it comes to anachronisms and other potential issues in Leone's Westerns (eg. trying to pinpoint the time a film takes place, etc.), I am often quick to dismiss looking too closely at the precise dates that stuff match up to; I don't know how particular the movies are intended to be in that regard. There is no doubt that (at least subconsciously), part of the reason I am so quick to be dismissive of this is cuz I don't know jack about Western history.  Therefore, it wouldn't be consistent of me to insist that every legal/political nuance of OUATIA was meant to be accurate, just cuz I happen to know about politics and law far more than I do Western history.
 


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 22, 2011, 12:51:34 PM
The Commerce Secretary isn't an inconsequential position though, they have a fair amount of control over (or at least say in) business regulation and the stock market. If it were the Secretary of Agriculture I might agree.

Unfortunately, every Cabinet member indeed has lots of power. Waaaaay too much.
But the issue is a) (RE: anonymity): whether or not you have ever seen this guy's picture in tv or in the newspaper http://www.commerce.gov/about-commerce/commerce-leadership/secretary-gary-locke ?

and b) (RE: confirmation investigation and hearings): Do you remember hearing anything about the Commerce Secretary's confirmation hearings? I follow politics very closely, and remember seeing  a helluva lot about the confirmation hearings for Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Supreme Court Justices, but nothing about Commerce Secretary. I am sure his investigations and hearings are far less extensive than that of other Cabinet Members.  Furthermore, with all of his connections, there is a good chance that Max is buddies with half the committee, including the Chairman!
I have no trouble whatsoever imagining that in 1968, a guy like Max, with mafia ties and all, could have forged a history and breezed through the confirmation hearings.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: noodles_leone on May 23, 2011, 03:47:33 AM
how many people here have ever seen this guy's picture on tv or in a newspaper? http://www.commerce.gov/about-commerce/commerce-leadership/secretary-gary-locke

Wow, I'm pretty sure this guy is a former friend of mine who died in a car accident 30 years ago!

Anyway, I never understood why people argue about the fact that someone in the US might know what the secretary of commerce looks like while the only way many people SHOULD know Bailey's face is tabloid:

He's with a famous actress, hence, his face is famous.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 23, 2011, 04:06:53 AM
Wow, I'm pretty sure this guy is a former friend of mine who died in a car accident 30 years ago!

Anyway, I never understood why people argue about the fact that someone in the US might know what the secretary of commerce looks like while the only way many people SHOULD know Bailey's face is tabloid:

He's with a famous actress, hence, his face is famous.

I am not arguing that it is impossible that in the time Bailey has been Commerce Secretary, someone from his old life (who was not in on his death and rebirth) would have recognized him somewhere. But even so, would they have risked their own safety by blowing the lid on this? I mean, if one of 'em would have sat down with the National Enquirer and given them the scoop, they'd have been sleeping with the fishes before the ink was dry...


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 23, 2011, 04:35:46 AM

If Gary Locke had been involved in a scandal and there were rumors about rigged contracts, bribery, the international Mafia and the illegal use of Transport Union pension funds, a District Attorney, who was scheduled to testify in Washington before a Senate committee, had been blown up in a car belonging to Gary Locke, the Senate committee was investigating a scandal called "The Locke Scandal", the District Attorney was the second witness in the Locke scandal to meet a sudden and violent end, the first witness, the Undersecretary of Commerce had fallen to his death from his 15th floor office just a month ago, the television company broadcast pictures of the blown-up car, the Undersecretary of Commerce's dead body, an interview with Locke's attorney and an interview with the head of the Transport Union, do you think that the people of New York would still not know who he was or the television company would not have included a picture of him in their report?

The scriptwriters obviously realized that they had a bit of a problem with this - Senator Bailey was dropped down to Secretary Bailey and when Bailey's attorney is asked "Do you feel there's a connection between these two deaths?", he originally replied "The F.B.I. is looking into it. Ask them."
  
Perhaps if we'd seen the scenes of the car tailing Noodles, the car blowing up, a hippy changing the TV channel before the end of the broadcast and Jimmy's conversation with Bailey in his study...


Indeed, once the scandal hits, Bailey's cover is blown. No doubt about that.

But the issue we were discussing was whether, before there was any scandal, it makes sense that Bailey could have not had his cover blown.  I was arguing that it is indeed plausible that if he maintained a clean record without any scandals, the Commerce Secretary could have retained relative anonymity, insofar as few people knowing what he looked like.

Sure, if there was some sort of scandal, Gary Locke's picture would be all over tv and the newspapers. But until now there have been no big newsworthy events surrounding him, and I would bet that well over 99% of Americans have never seen his picture


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: stanton on May 23, 2011, 05:03:28 AM
I still think it doesn't make too much sense. Especially not in the real world, but I think it works for the film good enough, but if you look to close at it, it indeed might be a big flaw.

And as Noodles Leone said above about Bailey's relationship with a famous actress, it seems not that Max is trying to hide himself. He seems to be a guy who enjoys the public, giving VIP partys and having high society friends and having power and the will to show this power. I can't imagine him as a minor politician working in the shades, even if he probably is one of those in the background who makes the decisions which others have to sell.

And all this wouldn't work with his past, and especially not in the city where this past has happened.

It's a flaw, but it is a film and not the real life, so it is not a real problem. And I watched the film 3 times without even thinking about this.

Btw what was the idea or the neeed of Max killing his friends and becoming reborn. Ooops, I actually don't remember why he did it.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 23, 2011, 05:11:09 AM
I still think it doesn't make too much sense. Especially not in the real world, but I think it works for the film good enough, but if you look to close at it, it indeed might be a big flaw.

And as Noodles Leone said above about Bailey's relationship with a famous actress, it seems not that Max is trying to hide himself. He seems to be a guy who enjoys the public, giving VIP partys and having high society friends and having power and the will to show this power. I can't imagine him as a minor politician working in the shades, even if he probably is one of those in the background who makes the decisions which others have to sell.

And all this wouldn't work with his past, and especially not in the city where this past has happened.

It's a flaw, but it is a film and not the real life, so it is not a real problem. And I watched the film 3 times without even thinking about this.

Btw what was the idea or the neeed of Max killing his friends and becoming reborn. Ooops, I actually don't remember why he did it.

-- Max is power-hungry, and not the most rational guy in the world either, as evidenced by his asinine plan to rob the Federal Reserve.

-- Max  needed to dump Noodles in order to move up into the union/mafia world, which Noodles would never have gone along with... Patsy & Cockeye may well have gone along with him, but perhaps he had them all killed so he could get their share of the money in the suitcase...


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: cigar joe on May 23, 2011, 06:45:17 AM
I am not arguing that it is impossible that in the time Bailey has been Commerce Secretary, someone from his old life (who was not in on his death and rebirth) would have recognized him somewhere. But even so, would they have risked their own safety by blowing the lid on this? I mean, if one of 'em would have sat down with the National Enquirer and given them the scoop, they'd have been sleeping with the fishes before the ink was dry...

You'd think they would put the "touch" on him and ask for hush money rather than blowing the lid on it, no? Might as well profit on it too.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on May 23, 2011, 03:21:40 PM
-- Max  needed to dump Noodles in order to move up into the union/mafia world, which Noodles would never have gone along with... Patsy & Cockeye may well have gone along with him, but perhaps he had them all killed so he could get their share of the money in the suitcase...
No, the Combination just didn't need them. The organization had a use for Max, but the merger made Patsy and Cockeye redundant. Personnel were accordingly downsized (with extreme prejudice).


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 24, 2011, 01:27:55 PM
so you don't think it was as simple as Max just wanting their money?


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 24, 2011, 09:19:28 PM
I have never been fully satisfied with the circumstances, manner, and motivations behind Bailey's death and transformations. Different bits and pieces have been discussed in various threads, but I'll take this opportunity to try to tie up some loose ends for myself here.

One thing I never understood is why Max leaves Noodles alive?

I have read (probably in STDWD?) that in a deleted scene of the elderly Noodles visiting Carol in the rest home, Carol -- who believes that Max committed suicide by beginning the shootout on that fateful night -- tells Noodles that Max didn't want to include him in his suicide, but that he "didn't give a fuck about" Patsy and Cockeye. So I guess Carol believes that Max wanted to die but he liked Noodles and didn't want Noodles to die (and presumably that is why Max knocks out Noodles, so that he won't be able to go along with them on the fateful trip).

But now that we know the truth, that Max fakes his death, I do not understand why Max left Noodles alive? Again, Noodles probably did not go on the trip cuz he had been knocked out by Max -- but why did Max want to keep Noodles alive? On another thread, I remember someone wrote that Max wanted Noodles to live in guilt for having killed him (which I guess would be even worse than death). So this whole scenario ws set up by Max so that Noodles should spend his life in guilt over having killed his buddies.

But I can't buy this theory. Now that Max is faking his death and transforming himself, it is in his best interests to get rid of everyone from his past life that is not in on his plan. I know Max says when he meets Noodles at the end something like  "My mind was never as clear as it was (on that night)... I took everything from you... and left you with 35 years of grief over having killed me." But I still can't believe that Max would risk his own security by intentionally leaving alive his former partner, just cuz he wanted Noodles to spend his life living in agony.
(Maybe like Carol thought, Max really did have feelings for Noodles as a close friend and therefore despite the disagreements, didn't want him to end up dead... but I have a hard time believing that as well. Max's statements to Noodles at the end indicate that he clearly planned to take everything away from Noodles and if he had any feelings left for him, he wouldn't have left him broke and miserable the way he did...)

So, I am wondering if someone can explain how it went down, how and why Max ensured that Noodles was left alive.....

Thanks


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on May 25, 2011, 08:08:31 AM
Some wonder why, if Max's plan for Noodles to betray the gang to the police was known to the mob, did they send hit men after Noodles. My take on this is that, for the plan to succeed, the fewer people who knew about it, the better. Possibly Frankie knew about it. But in the 1930s, the Combination had many bosses and underbosses and there's the mob's killing arm which the press nicknamed Murder Inc.  Noodles and the rest of the gang are not "made" men.  It is known that the boss of Murder Inc. did not like rats and ordered contracts on rats whose betrayal had nothing to do with the mob. And if no-one took retribution against Noodles, how would it look to others in the mob who were not in on Max's plan?
I think you're on the right track here. Max is not operating alone, he's got some kind of tie-up with members of the Combination, but the rank-and-file wouldn't know about that. Still, Max's plan requires a certain amount of coordinating, and so it has to be, at some level, Mob approved. But Noodles is part of the plan. Despite what Carrol says (and how would she know what's true, Max lied to her too), Max needs to keep Noodles alive, not out of friendship, but to make him a credible scapegoat. Part of the narrative Max and his new masters are writing is that he and his gang were betrayed from the inside and so destroyed. Once the betrayer is taken care of, everyone is then free to move on (especially a "reborn" Max). A living scapegoat keeps people's attention on something other than how the trick is really being pulled, and anyway, scapegoats are more credible if they don't arrive already "pre-deceased." The problem with keeping things spontaneous, though, is that things can get out of hand, and they do, allowing Noodles to make his escape. Still, the Combination must know where he ended up: if they wanted to, they could have taken him out whenever, but since he was "going to bed early" every night for the next 35 years they decided to leave him alone. But finally, Max remembered and found one final use for him (except that didn't quite go as planned, either).

I find it hard to believe that Max would have anticipated that Noodles would get away. He expected him to be killed, just not in the bootlegging run with the others, but later. This fits with the film's over-arching theme of friendship and betrayal and provides an extra measure of irony: Max was the betrayer, while Noodles spent his civilian life believing wrongly that he was the betrayer (a kind of double betrayal).


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 25, 2011, 04:24:23 PM
1. alright, so once believes that Max indeed still retained feelings for Noodles and didn't want him to die after all. and dave jenkins believes that Max didn't intentionally keep Noodles alive cuz he cared for him, rather he kept him alive as a scapegoat?

2. My problem with jenkins's theory is that as long as the Combination knows that Noodles is the rat (and they did know that, cuz the cop that Noodles made the phone call to was corrupt), Max is fine. If Noodles gets killed in the shootout, which would have happened had Max not knocked him out, then the Combination would have been happy that the rat is dead and Max would be able to go forward with his plan. I don't see how keeping Noodles alive (for the time being, at least) in any way helps Max's objectives (unless you believe that Max still cares somewhat for Noodles and doesn't want him to die). The bottom line IMO is that as long as the Combination knows Noodles was the rat, I don't see how Noodles being dead or alive should in any way affect whether Max has anything to worry about from the Combination....

3. What is the significance of Max's final toast and hug with Patsy and Cockeye? Was it was purely for irony, or do you think Max did have some feelings for his gang and was somewhat guilty about what he was about to do?


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 26, 2011, 11:03:47 AM
I agree that Max feels guilty in 1968; that is plainly evident. When Noodles says "years ago I had a great friend; I turned him in to save his life," the look on James Woods's face is so perfect, it may be the greatest acting moment in the film.

I just wonder why Max really left Noodles alive... if someone really cares about a friend, he wouldn't leave him broke and on the run for the rest of his life. The Noodles of 1933 is completely cold and thinks of things strictly in terms of self-advancement; it doesn't make sense to me that he would be willing to destroy Noodles's life, but still have enough feelings for him that he would keep him alive. (Noodles's life for the past 35 years -- tormented by the belief that he betrayed his friends -- can hardly be called "living")


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2011, 07:02:33 PM
That's Noodles's opinion too.


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 06, 2011, 09:35:44 AM
looks like there may be a new Bailey in town: Obama has nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next ambassador to China http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/08/obama-gary-locke-china-ambassador and John Bryson to be the new Commerce Secretary http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/06/01/01climatewire-obama-names-bryson-for-commerce-republicans-99846.html

One bastard goes in, and another comes out!


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 20, 2012, 07:30:43 PM
I think you're on the right track here. Max is not operating alone, he's got some kind of tie-up with members of the Combination, but the rank-and-file wouldn't know about that. Still, Max's plan requires a certain amount of coordinating, and so it has to be, at some level, Mob approved. But Noodles is part of the plan. Despite what Carrol says (and how would she know what's true, Max lied to her too), Max needs to keep Noodles alive, not out of friendship, but to make him a credible scapegoat. Part of the narrative Max and his new masters are writing is that he and his gang were betrayed from the inside and so destroyed. Once the betrayer is taken care of, everyone is then free to move on (especially a "reborn" Max). A living scapegoat keeps people's attention on something other than how the trick is really being pulled, and anyway, scapegoats are more credible if they don't arrive already "pre-deceased." The problem with keeping things spontaneous, though, is that things can get out of hand, and they do, allowing Noodles to make his escape. Still, the Combination must know where he ended up: if they wanted to, they could have taken him out whenever, but since he was "going to bed early" every night for the next 35 years they decided to leave him alone. But finally, Max remembered and found one final use for him (except that didn't quite go as planned, either).

I find it hard to believe that Max would have anticipated that Noodles would get away. He expected him to be killed, just not in the bootlegging run with the others, but later. This fits with the film's over-arching theme of friendship and betrayal and provides an extra measure of irony: Max was the betrayer, while Noodles spent his civilian life believing wrongly that he was the betrayer (a kind of double betrayal).

I am trying to somewhat "consolidate" several old threads that discus the same thing, by linking to those old threads, for a more complete discussion.

Here is an old thread that discusses then issue of the plausibility of Bailey's anonymity
http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=6647.0


And here are two old threads on the subject of Max's plan to get with the mafia in 1933, and why he knocked out Noodles:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=427.15
http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=816.15

On the question of why Max knocks out Noodles, thereby ensuring he would not go on the fateful bootlegging escort, I see that there are basically two theories:


A) Max As Merciful View:
 As close as he was to Noodles, Max can't bear to actually kill him. (This is consistent with some dialogue that Old Carol says at the rest home in some deleted scenes; but much of what she says is wrong and inconsistent with others scenes, so who knows if that means anything). Therefore, even though he is about to ruin Noodles's life, he still doesn't want him to die

B) Max As Sadistic View:
This viewpoint takes the opposite approach: it says that Max turned on Noodles completely. He was so angry at Noodles -- eg. for not wanting to join him in the new world of mafia bosses, not wanting to do the Federal reserve job with him, calling him "crazy," etc. -- that he decided to get him back in the most sadistic way possible: to keep him alive with misery and regret over having had his friends killed. Keeping Noodles alive with the belief that he had betrayed his friends is the best revenge Max can get on Noodles, the worst sort of pain he can inflict on him. It's far worse than death. So according to this view, he kept Noodles alive not in order to have mercy on him, but in order to torture him even worse.

My question to all of you is, which view do you subscribe to?


---------------------
(I wish that in the final scene between Noodles and Bailey, Bailey had given a little more explanation. That brief "your eyes were too full of tears... the cops were in on it too..." is way too brief, and took me a long time, and with many message board discussions, to figure out what that meant. IMO another minute of dialogue by Bailey explaining a few things a bit better -- eg. how he planned it, did he get a similar body to his from his funeral parlor, the cops-Combination bootlegging job -- would have been preferable).


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on June 11, 2012, 10:48:02 AM
Regarding the possible anonymity of a cabinet member, here's a real-world example: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/us-commerce-secretary-accused-in-hit-and-run-crashes-found-unconcious.html

Until today, I don't think I'd ever heard of this guy. But now that there's a "scandal" his photo is given prominence, readers are noticing him, etc.

Bryson, Bailey . . . .


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on June 11, 2012, 11:53:45 AM
On the question of why Max knocks out Noodles, thereby ensuring he would not go on the fateful bootlegging escort, I see that there are basically two theories:


A) Max As Merciful View:
 As close as he was to Noodles, Max can't bear to actually kill him. (This is consistent with some dialogue that Old Carol says at the rest home in some deleted scenes; but much of what she says is wrong and inconsistent with others scenes, so who knows if that means anything). Therefore, even though he is about to ruin Noodles's life, he still doesn't want him to die

B) Max As Sadistic View:
This viewpoint takes the opposite approach: it says that Max turned on Noodles completely. He was so angry at Noodles -- eg. for not wanting to join him in the new world of mafia bosses, not wanting to do the Federal reserve job with him, calling him "crazy," etc. -- that he decided to get him back in the most sadistic way possible: to keep him alive with misery and regret over having had his friends killed. Keeping Noodles alive with the belief that he had betrayed his friends is the best revenge Max can get on Noodles, the worst sort of pain he can inflict on him. It's far worse than death. So according to this view, he kept Noodles alive not in order to have mercy on him, but in order to torture him even worse.

My question to all of you is, which view do you subscribe to?

I subscribe to . . .

C) Max as Rational View:

Max and his new masters decide to eliminate his gang and thereby make it possible to give Max a new identity. They decide the best way to eliminate the gang is to make it look like one of their group betrayed them to the cops. Max coolly settles on Noodles to be the scapegoat: Noodles is the only group member known to have challenged Maxís decisions; heís also something of an outsider, having been away from the gang during the time he was in prison. Heís also a dope fiend, the least reliable member of the gang. To make the scapegoating plausible, Max manipulates Noodles into calling the police. He further seals the deal by preventing Noodles from going along on the last job. Thatís what a rat would actually do: call the police, and then not show up for the ambush. What kind of idiot would go along to an ambush heíd helped set up? Thatís a good way to get yourself killed. The whole point of being a rat is staying alive to enjoy your ratty existence.

It only remains to make sure the rank-and-file know about the ratís perfidy. Then all the hoods in town will hunt him down and exterminate him. The added benefit provided is that while the hoods are intent on finding the rat, they wonít be focusing too much on the actual facts of the ambush. In conjuring terms this is known as mis-direction: the audience is looking at what the left hand is doing while meanwhile the right hand performs the trick. And since Noodles is resourceful, he provides a really good distraction. A lot of hoods will spend a lot of time tracking him down, and afterwards there wonít be any questions to ask. And Noodles wonít be alive to raise any doubts either.

Except that the plan goes wrong. Noodles beats the odds and makes it out of town. Still, the rat story can be made to stick provided Noodles never returns. Max and the Combination eventually learn whatís become of Noodles, but since heís keeping his head buried in the armpit of the world they decide to let him alone.  They can always get him if he looks like he could become a threat, but for 35 years he stays out of trouble. The wisdom of this course becomes clear when the very rational Secretary Bailey finally sees a way to make use of Noodles one more time . . . .


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 11, 2012, 02:36:34 PM
I subscribe to . . .

C) Max as Rational View:

Max and his new masters decide to eliminate his gang and thereby make it possible to give Max a new identity. They decide the best way to eliminate the gang is to make it look like one of their group betrayed them to the cops. Max coolly settles on Noodles to be the scapegoat: Noodles is the only group member known to have challenged Maxís decisions; heís also something of an outsider, having been away from the gang during the time he was in prison. Heís also a dope fiend, the least reliable member of the gang. To make the scapegoating plausible, Max manipulates Noodles into calling the police. He further seals the deal by preventing Noodles from going along on the last job. Thatís what a rat would actually do: call the police, and then not show up for the ambush. What kind of idiot would go along to an ambush heíd helped set up? Thatís a good way to get yourself killed. The whole point of being a rat is staying alive to enjoy your ratty existence.

It only remains to make sure the rank-and-file know about the ratís perfidy. Then all the hoods in town will hunt him down and exterminate him. The added benefit provided is that while the hoods are intent on finding the rat, they wonít be focusing too much on the actual facts of the ambush. In conjuring terms this is known as mis-direction: the audience is looking at what the left hand is doing while meanwhile the right hand performs the trick. And since Noodles is resourceful, he provides a really good distraction. A lot of hoods will spend a lot of time tracking him down, and afterwards there wonít be any questions to ask. And Noodles wonít be alive to raise any doubts either.

Except that the plan goes wrong. Noodles beats the odds and makes it out of town. Still, the rat story can be made to stick provided Noodles never returns. Max and the Combination eventually learn whatís become of Noodles, but since heís keeping his head buried in the armpit of the world they decide to let him alone.  They can always get him if he looks like he could become a threat, but for 35 years he stays out of trouble. The wisdom of this course becomes clear when the very rational Secretary Bailey finally sees a way to make use of Noodles one more time . . . .


Interesting.

I always wanted another couple of lines of explanation by Bailey for how he set up that whole betrayal. Yeah, we know he planned it all along, it was a Syndicate operation, the cops were on in it too. That much we know. But I think they could have explained how it was done, just a bit better.

If you consider some lines by Old Carol that never made it into the 229MV, she says Max actually cared about Noodles and didn't want to include him in his suicide -- the "Max as sympathetic view." But Old Carol has shown to be completely unreliable -- both in her dialogue that made it into the 229MV (about Max planning his death); and in some deleted dialogue (about Eve killing herself) some of which is in direct contradiction to what we've seen in the opening scene. I bet that at least some of the cuts to Old Carol's dialogue may have been not just due to timing concerns, but cuz it was inconsistent with other parts of the movie. Maybe cuz parts were later re-written. Who knows. Either way, Old Carol is utterly unreliable.

So all we have are the couple of lines of explanation by Bailey (that IMO are inadequate), and therefore I guess there's a whole shitload of theories we can propose as to exactly how Max carried out his plan.

Someone here once proposed that Max used a different body (that looked somewhat similar to his size) from their funeral home. Could be, though the funeral business is never mentioned aside from that one scene where Max picks Noodles up from prison. That business, which is their cover, is discussed much more in The Hoods. (Actually, in the scene where the strikebreakers are roughing up Jimmy Conway, the strikebreaker played by Richard Bright calls the gang "Fat Moe's boneyard boys." I guess that's a reference to the funeral business).


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on June 11, 2012, 05:56:34 PM
Regarding the possible anonymity of a cabinet member, here's a real-world example: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/06/us-commerce-secretary-accused-in-hit-and-run-crashes-found-unconcious.html

Until today, I don't think I'd ever heard of this guy. But now that there's a "scandal" his photo is given prominence, readers are noticing him, etc.

Bryson, Bailey . . . .
I hadn't noticed earlier, but now I see that D&D had a link to an article on Bryson at the time of his appointment. Interestingly, in that earlier article, there's no picture of the guy. We only get the picture once there is a "scandal."


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 11, 2012, 06:46:49 PM
I hadn't noticed earlier, but now I see that D&D had a link to an article on Bryson at the time of his appointment. Interestingly, in that earlier article, there's no picture of the guy. We only get the picture once there is a "scandal."

and this is in an era of the "24/7 news cycle," with internet and cable news shows updating every minute, etc. Nobody knows who the fuck Bryson is until the scandal hits, and the few who know his name don't know what he looks like.

Now consider 1968, when there was no cable and no internet. The only way for anyone to see you was in a newspaper, or on one of the 3 broadcast tv channels, which a few news reports at specified times of the evening. And the fact that it was more than 30 years after Max left New York and his gangster days behind.

Never a problem for me that he could be Commerce Secretary... until the scandal hits. Then it's over.

 


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: dave jenkins on June 14, 2012, 10:53:57 AM
The Commerce Secretary Scandal continues to deepen. Now we know just how evil this guy is: http://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/06/12/why_arent_we_more_upset_that_the_commerce_secretary_drives_a_lexus


Title: Re: Bailey's anonymity
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 14, 2012, 02:07:30 PM
The Commerce Secretary Scandal continues to deepen. Now we know just how evil this guy is: http://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/06/12/why_arent_we_more_upset_that_the_commerce_secretary_drives_a_lexus

 ;D ;D ;D

Few things in the world are sillier -- and display less economic literacy -- than protectionism.