Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: 4stars on August 20, 2004, 01:43:34 AM



Title: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: 4stars on August 20, 2004, 01:43:34 AM
Just of a curiosity... Is Dominic Italian?  A name like Dominic sounds Italian.  Plus he "speaks" Italian a little bit with the other Italians... However, why would an Italian be living in the same area of a city, which is completely populated by Jews?     Or perhaps, Dominic was an Italian Jew, but what are the odds of that?  Sergio Leone turns the mob world around to focus on Jews instead of Italians.  I respect that.  Its about time Jews get a "Godfather" type of movie!  If Dominic is Italian, does he have a specific symbolization to directer Sergio Leone?  I have a feeling I sound nuts and no one really has a clue what the hell I'm talking about...   PLEASE reply... IF U can!


Title: Re:Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: DJIMBO on August 20, 2004, 03:33:43 AM
As with many of the other child actors Dominic is played by a Jew, Noah Moazezi. I would think he was probably Jewish but he does talk in Italian to the Capuano Bros., i think Frayling says he's Italian.


Title: Re:Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: cigar joe on August 20, 2004, 04:39:23 AM
Its possible that he was both.


Title: Re:Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: DJIMBO on August 20, 2004, 08:55:09 AM
indeed, such is the american melting pot.


Title: Re:Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: DJASh on August 22, 2004, 05:25:28 PM
He could be at least part Irish.


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: Patsy on June 19, 2013, 08:33:10 PM
In The Hoods, Dominic was definitely not Jewish, but Catholic.

As I recall, Noodles said something about church, or a priest, with regard to Dominic's death/funeral.


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 19, 2013, 09:22:18 PM
I'm pretty sure Dominic is Italian. Dominic is a very Italian name ("He wasn't better than his brother Joe, Dominic DiMaggio"  ;)) – I've never heard of a Jew named Dominic – and he plays up his Italian-ness with the Capuano brothers.
In the book, it specifically says he is Italian.
In the book, he was shot [I think by the cops] as the boys were escaping from a job; Grey says Dominic couldn't run too fast cuz he ate too much spaghetti. Everyone gave the boys dirty looks at the church during the funeral, cuz Dominic was shot while they were all out on a job.
IMO, Grey may have ripped that off of The Public Enemy, where Cagney's partner gets shot early on, by a cop, while they are on a job robbing furs. But in The Public Enemy, no one gives Cagney a dirty look, the boy's mom just cries, "He was a good boy!"


In the book, Patsy is also not Jewish; he is Irish (no last names are given for any of the characters in the book), but they had to make Patsy Jewish for the movie, cuz he had to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.



Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: chris on June 20, 2013, 12:57:02 PM
In the book, Patsy is also not Jewish; he is Irish...

I thought this had been discussed and resolved before.

In the book Patsy is Italian and Catholic.  At Dommie's funeral, Dommie's parents and relatives spoke Italian and Patsy interpreted for Noodles and the others.  Afterwards Patsy was sent to a Catholic Protectory whilst Noodles was sent to the Jewish Home, Cedar Knolls, Hawthorne.

Noodles asked Patsy about the Professor who is Italian:  “Judging from his speech what part of Italy does the Professor come from?”

to which Patsy replied “You got me, I'm a mountain guinea. Goola tay is the kind of Italian I use.”

When the gang are being measured for clothes Noodles nods his head at Patsy and says: “Mr. Schwartz, we're not all Jewish gangsters. He's an Italian gangster.”


 


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 20, 2013, 01:03:36 PM
I thought this had been discussed and resolved before.

In the book Patsy is Italian and Catholic.  At Dommie's funeral, Dommie's parents and relatives spoke Italian and Patsy interpreted for Noodles and the others.  Afterwards Patsy was sent to a Catholic Protectory whilst Noodles was sent to the Jewish Home, Cedar Knolls, Hawthorne.

Noodles asked Patsy about the Professor who is Italian:  “Judging from his speech what part of Italy does the Professor come from?”

to which Patsy replied “You got me, I'm a mountain guinea. Goola tay is the kind of Italian I use.”

When the gang are being measured for clothes Noodles nods his head at Patsy and says: “Mr. Schwartz, we're not all Jewish gangsters. He's an Italian gangster.”

whoops my bad, thanks for that clarification; I knew Patsy was Catholic (but it's been a while since I read the book, I must have forgotten he was Italian and assumed he was Irish).


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: chris on June 20, 2013, 02:58:23 PM
... However, why would an Italian be living in the same area of a city, which is completely populated by Jews?     Or perhaps, Dominic was an Italian Jew, but what are the odds of that?  Sergio Leone turns the mob world around to focus on Jews instead of Italians.  I respect that.  Its about time Jews get a "Godfather" type of movie!...

The original poster 4stars is no longer an active board member but a couple of thoughts.

It's true that at the time Jews tended to live together in areas but I don't think we ever see exactly where Dominic lives.  There are plenty of historical instances where Italians and Jews were friends and hung out together. Leone knew Jews well whilst he was growing up in Italy.

Translated from Simsolo's Conversations avec Sergio Leone:
Sergio Leone: Once I was sure the project was going ahead, I met many people over the following three years. Jewish and Italians ... But I knew the Jewish mentality well.  I knew quite a few Jews in my childhood.  Some had remained friends with me.

From Jean A Gili's Italian Filmmakers:
Sergio Leone (speaking about Harry Grey): He was a Jew who, I think, worked in perfect symbiosis with the Italians.

Before the release of the movie, there weren't many films about Jewish gangsters and movies such as The Godfather focus on the Italians.  Hopefully the movie redresses the balance a little.  Jews don't tend to boast about and be proud of their criminal ancestors and many people were not aware that, in New York during the prohibition years, the number of Jewish gangsters and the severity of their crimes equalled and some say exceeded the Italians.

  


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 20, 2013, 04:19:06 PM
That area was a melting pot of poor immigrants. Jews, Italians, whatever. The neighborhood now known as "Little Italy" (I'm not sure when that name started) is right near the one called the Lower East Side, which is perhaps most associated with Jewish immigrants, but was probably teeming with lots of different European immigrants. In the street scene, Leone mostly showed ultra-Orthodox Jews, but in fact those neighborhoods would probably have had lots of different immigrants, and the Jews and Italians (like many other ethnic groups) would have certainly had interactions.
In Godfather II, those scenes with Robert De Niro - that neighborhood would have been right near the one in OUATIA. For the sake of the movies, OUATIA shows Jews in the street and Godfather shows Italians, but it's not like there was a separate Jewish Quarter and Italian Quarter and Irish Quarter, etc. The poor immigrant neighborhoods often housed many different ethnic groups.


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: chris on June 21, 2013, 02:31:48 AM
Before I posted my previous comment, I had a quick look at census records.  I've got 50 pages relating to Delancey Street in 1910, collected a while ago before we knew much about Harry Goldberg.  I was surprised at, certainly in these records, just how little integration of ethnic groups there was.  But yes the Italians and others were living fairly close by and it's reported that in subsequent decades many of the Jews moved to the suburbs.  


  
 


Title: Re: Dominic is.... Jewish or Italian?
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 21, 2013, 02:48:59 AM
Before I posted my previous comment, I had a quick look at census records.  I've got 50 pages relating to Delancey Street in 1910, collected a while ago before we knew much about Harry Goldberg.  I was surprised at, certainly in these records, just how little integration of ethnic groups there was.  But yes the Italians and others were living fairly close by and it's reported that in subsequent decades many of the Jews moved to the suburbs. 

 

I don't know street by street, eg. it's possible that Delancey was mostly Jewish while Mulberry was mostly Italian. But the neighborhoods were definitely close enough that it would be far from implausible that a young Italian hood would be in a gang with Jewish hoods.
That's all I was attempting to answer - someone above asked if Dominic is Italian, why would he be in that gang, so all I am saying is that the neighborhoods were close enough that there certainly were interactions between the ethnicities, and it is certainly plausible that a Jewish ganiv and an Italian could be in the same gang.