Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: RichardRoma on February 06, 2005, 08:48:29 AM

Title: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: RichardRoma on February 06, 2005, 08:48:29 AM
Loving this movie, made me want to get more into the story of Noodles and his gang. Knowing that there was a Auto biographical book by Harry Grey I decided to buy it, cost me almost 40 dollars including shipping (very expensive). This book in which I read the narration of Noodles and his days as a young kid growing up in the East Side of New York City, is as powerful as the movie itself.

The movie is very sad, the book is also very sad, I wish to explain what happens in the book, since the story are  a bit different, but they have a lot in common. I know believe that the movie is Dream (that hypothesis I confirmed it with the book).

*The book begins with the entire gang, Patsy, Cockeye, Noodles, max and Dominick. I have the sensation that Harry Grey had different names and not the real ones in the book, the book is dedicated to "To my true mob M.,B.,H. and S." I think those are the names of the his real mob. In the story he omits names of politicians I think he did the same with his pals.

* There is more in-depth look into the relationship with all of the guys in the gang, not focusing in max specially. The families are also more into the movie, Noodles father an aging and starving jew who later dies. Noodles had to drop out of school because he had to take care of his family.

* Noodles got that name because his friends always saw him as a very intelligent person, they always said "Noodles use your noodle".

*The kids crime life and how they encountered with the corrupt  cop that made love to Peggy (was like in the film)

*Dominick gets killed by a cop and not by a "bugsy".

* Noodles gets 18 months in a Jew correction institute. and not 15 years in a prison.

*The gang did many heists during an early age, robbing candy stores and etc, rolling drunks and many other things.

* After being released noodles finds max a more sophisticated person "richer" and more into crime, with his funeral parlors as a cover.

*Later or on the story, the gang is into "speaks" and many other rackets that gave them notoriety, also doing jobs of cleaning up people that got killed.

*They were later into the "combination" thatís their boss that gave them the jobs.

* Noodles had a terrible opium habit.

* Noodles never had any type of relationship with Deborah in the book her name is "Dolores", he wrote to her when he was in the correctional institution, but never responded, noodles later tried to go out with her, he did, he was madly in love with her and like the rape scene on the book the same thing happened, she got reaped she was leaving for Hollywood with his boyfriend. She didnít appear no more in the book, only noodles remembered her.

* The book goes into a lot of details of the heists and jobs they did.

*Noodles later meets Eve, and becomes his girlfriend he said in the book that he "loved" her. He later decided for her to leave town and stay in her parents house in North Carolina.

* the gang meets again the masochist woman and  Max has an "informal" relationship with her, making max a different person a more irritated, arrogant and self centered person, having problems with noodles, something that they hardly had.

* Noodles starts getting issues with max, Max had the insane idea of robbing the Federal Reserve (Noodles him self went in and said it was a suicide heisting the place). Since very small kids, Max always had that crazy idea.

* Noodles wanted to stop the heist, max didnít let him, he believed that getting there was a big mistake, Max received an order from the main office to escort a shipment of booze the day after the heist of the Federal Reserve, he later understood that is better to "blow the whistle" and get jailed for 12 or 16 months for that crime. He called the cops and he had to say his name in order for them to stop the operation (thatís were the story takes a major change).

* Noodles was planning on being in the escort group, but something very terrible happened to noodles, his mother died, Max later told him to skip the job.

* After feeling terrible with the loss of his mother, Noodles went to the chinks (opium den) and slept, when he woke up he found the Chinese guy crying and gave him the newspaper, His pals were killed in a Prohibition bust.  Noodles was more hurt, facing him self with his own fault of killing his friends.

* The day before Max said  that all of the members of the gang to take their money out of the banks because the IRS was into the Mafia looking for undeclared values, All of the guys put the money in a safe and Max sent the money to some storage, noodles never knew to which storage, since they all got killed. Noodles was looking for the Million bucks, but couldnít find it.

* Later on, a group of hit men from the combination were looking for Noodles, with a contract on his head, they found out it was noodles who ratted them out since the cop who got the call maybe was in the "combination's" payroll. They got Noodles but later agreed in negotiate to give half of the million to them (there were really close to killing noodles), Noodles caught a break and got to escape, he later writes in the last paragraph of the book:

"Well, you se I am here, after all the years, to tell the story. But how I got away, where I holed up-thatís another story and you will understand why I can't tell that now."

The Book is great, I think if you are such a lover of the film you should read the book, you will feel more complete and will understand better the plot of the film.

At the end noodles seems more of a very weak person, like the movie.

I highly recommend it.

Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: cigar joe on February 06, 2005, 09:22:11 AM
Thanks for the break down of "The Hoods".
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: cedet on February 06, 2005, 09:58:54 AM
Thank You for the Sum up...
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: RichardRoma on February 06, 2005, 12:12:55 PM
This was the book that Sergio Leone got in love with. It lasted many years till he could get the credits for the book in order to make the movie.

I see know that he gave a little twist to the movie, after Noodles goes away the book doesnt say anything else. But Leone made the story more mysterious, giving us the doubt of Max being alive and being this great politician.

Leone met Harry Grey and they spoke about the story, I hope Grey told him things he couldnt publish in the book. And thats why we saw them in the movie.
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: Dlanor on February 07, 2005, 08:24:00 AM
Passionating. And there is no story of syndicalism in  the book?
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: RichardRoma on February 07, 2005, 12:02:07 PM
Yes, a lot.

Noodles at a very young age used to work with an Ice truck from there he  succeeded in union strikes, even killing his fellow co-workers that didnt want to join the strikes.

Later on, as adults, the gang was working for the "conbination" and received many orders on union strikes, and working with the syndicalist together.

Although they did other "private" jobs, they also received orders from the "office" and from Frank the high boss of the "conbination".

They even burned down a casino down in Jersey, owned by a politician by orders of the office.
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: franc tireur on March 27, 2007, 11:43:31 AM
I also read The Hoods, the book that inspired Once upon a time in America.

While I understand that the links between childhood and adult life, the theme of friendship, and the cynicism appealed to Sergio Leone, it's not a very good book. It's mostly worth reading for the depth it adds to the film experience.
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: dave jenkins on March 27, 2007, 04:46:39 PM
Re-posting from another thread:

From the BFI monograph by Adrian Martin (28):

"Leone described The Hoods as 'a perfect and loving hymn to the cinema', but in a peculiar way. 'Grey told me he had written the book against Hollywood, while he was imprisoned in Sing Sing. But, on the contrary, his book resembled a voice-over by a bad Hollywood screenwriter.' Leone was intrigued, above all, by the manner in which generic 'citations, allusions, adventures and even psychological considerations' had unconciously entered and shaped Grey's account of his own life."

Martin cites as his source Jean A. Gili, 'Entretien avec Sergio Leone', Positif no. 340, June 1984, p. 7.

I believe this quote is key to our understanding of the final smile and the film as a whole.
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: Groggy on March 28, 2007, 03:31:29 PM
Very interesting stuff, guys.  I'd like to read "The Hoods" some day, but I'm definitely not willing to pay $40 for it.  I paid forty-two friggin' dollars for a used copy of the "Footloose" Broadway Musical Soundtrack a couple months ago - my God!, I don't think the lost works of J.S. Bach are worth that much money!  I'll have to browse around some used bookstores or see if I could otherwise locate a copy - I'm not really interesting in going to the extreme to get it.
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: Poggle on April 28, 2007, 04:01:38 PM
* Noodles gets 18 months in a Jew correction institute and not 15 years in a prison.

Did that sentence make anyone else... ;D?
Title: Re: After Reading the book "The Hoods"
Post by: cigar joe on April 28, 2007, 06:28:36 PM
could be just a language translation. ;)