Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: Uomo_senza_ nome on August 21, 2005, 09:41:01 AM



Title: A very different movie
Post by: Uomo_senza_ nome on August 21, 2005, 09:41:01 AM
Am I the only one to think that OUATIA is not only the best leone movie, but also the unique leone movie. The style of the film, is different. There's just something about the film that's unique


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Groggy on August 21, 2005, 04:08:29 PM
I think I see where you're coming from.  It feels and looks different in many significant ways from his Westerns, and I think that a newbie could come into the movie without recognizing that Sergio was indeed the director (provided of course they missed the credits and didn't look on the DVD box  ;D).


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Uomo_senza_ nome on August 23, 2005, 10:12:47 AM
Exactly! The traditional leone trademarks are not gone, but different. The music for example, is very different. But the tight close-ups is not done so frequently in this movie, and when it's done it's also different. The close-ups in this movie is sort of frame within a frame, if u know what i mean. But a thing that hasen't changed is dialouge. There's very little talk, but because of it being a gangster movie, we're used to much talkin', and again that sounds strange!!!!


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Alan Shearer 9 on August 27, 2005, 08:37:34 AM
I agree with you, it's his best work. I think Giu La Teste is maybe his most original film, just because the political content at the time was a very brave step from Leone, but OUATIA is easily the better film in my eyes. Carlo Simi's set design is absolutely amazing too, I couldn't believe how much Leone had progressed as a director when watching this, the scenes in the opium den to me are like a masterclass of directing, who knows how far Leone could have gone if he was maybe 500 pounds lighter and very healthy


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Concorde on August 28, 2005, 01:25:27 PM
I'm in agreement with all of you!  ;)

My favorite of Leone's films is THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, but I honestly think each of his films is better than the one before it. OUATITW is in many ways a better and more daring movie than GBU (though not as much fun to watch), and DUCK YOU SUCKER is a more mature work which refines the extreme style of OUATITW into a more practical narrative form and sets it in a story where the main character has a more complex and interesting back-story/ephiphany.

Then Leone took EVERYTHING he'd learned and poured it all with love and his well-practiced masterful skill into his greatest masterpiece, OUATIA.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Uomo_senza_ nome on August 29, 2005, 09:21:34 AM
well who knows how far he would have gone. His 900 days project sounded so nice, with all of his previous actors, and I think it's too bad leone isen't regarded as one of the top directors in the world, he's not even regarded as one of the top italian directors, even though he was one of the best, not only in italy and europe, but in the entire world of cinema!


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Alan Shearer 9 on August 29, 2005, 11:30:58 AM
I think he is rated quite highly tbh from my experience, most of the people I've met who don't like him don't watch many films and think Tarantino is the best most original director the world has ever seen. I am always amazed when watching Leone's films how much he progresses as a director from film to film, just astounding


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Groggy on August 29, 2005, 04:47:53 PM
I will say though, that there are at least four big sequences in this film which are trademark Leone, with their major close-ups and extended silence:

- The opening scene, or at least the part where Noodles blows the brains out of the hitman at Fat Moe's.  A minute of suspense with no sound on the soundtrack but the sound of the elevator.

- The aftermath of Dominic's death, with the gang trying to hide from Bugsy, up until Noodles plunges the switchblade into his gut.

- The dockyard scene, which is a classic Leone scene: very little dialogue, lots of natural sounds (seagulls, anyone?), lots of huge close-ups of Joe and his goons and the gang, followed by an explosive climax that's over before you realize it.

- The obvious self-parody scene with Noodles and the coffee cup.

These are the only scenes in the movie which IMO are definitively Leone.  There are also several crane shots which would definitely fall under this category as well: namely, Fat Moe's at the beginning, and young Deborah getting lost among the crowd in the Jewish ghetto in the 1922 sequences.

OUATIA has a lot of Leone signatures throughout, it's just not as obviously a Leone film as his Westerns were.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Uomo_senza_ nome on October 01, 2005, 06:10:19 AM
Well i guess u can say it's a trademark leone film, because of the unique style. Leone was unique, but this movie is so strange and mesmerising, that it's seemes unique for even leone to have directed it.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: dave jenkins on October 02, 2005, 08:49:22 PM
Groggy's comments, as always, are apt. Let me add:

One general observation about technique: when Leone decided NOT to shoot OUATIA in scope, the implications for his visual style were enormous. In brief: you don't get a Leone-looking picture by shooting in Panavision.

One general observation about story: when Leone decided to make a film about urban criminals instead of out-sized heroes in the lawless West, the implications for his thematic concerns were enormous. In brief: Archetypes make for a statelier mise-en-scene, gangsters, of necessity, scurry about the mean streets they inhabit.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Leonardo on October 03, 2005, 05:35:19 AM
well who knows how far he would have gone. His 900 days project sounded so nice, with all of his previous actors, and I think it's too bad leone isen't regarded as one of the top directors in the world, he's not even regarded as one of the top italian directors, even though he was one of the best, not only in italy and europe, but in the entire world of cinema!
In Italy things are changing, although not as fast as in other countries. In France, film critics and the audience in general recognized already in the sixties how great a director Leone was. In Italy, with very few exceptions, film critics in the late sixties still looked at Leone as a minor director. I remember vividly a well kown film critic in Italy (Claudio G. Fava) who in 1968 after seeing OUTIW wrote that it was a horrible movie. The very same man now regards Leone as a great director; every time I see this guy on TV, I feel like throwing up!!!
As for his movies getting better each time, I always keep thinking about the opening scene of the "900 days of Leningrad" as described by Christopher Frayling (and  by Leone himself): can you imagine this scene? One single camera movement from the interior of a room to the german cannons about 3-4 Km away, travelling through the streets of Leningrad etc. What a powerful shot it would have been...! Apparently Leone  managed to find producers and convince the russians to release all the permits just by describing this opening scene..
Bob De Niro reportedly accepted the role before even reading a script (there was no script when Leone died in 1989).
Significant is James Woods' interview in one of the Leone documentaries, where he basically says that the only reason why he accepted to be interviewed was because he wanted everybody to know that in his opinion Leone was the greatest director of all times.
One thing is for sure: his movies will be shown for a long time and even young people who watch his movies for the first time now, 40 years after their release, will never forget them...!


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Poggle on October 03, 2005, 05:45:31 PM
I could see a lot of Sergio's trademarks in here. Aside from the amount of silence in many scenes, a lot of his camera movements and shots are very much recognisable as being his, like the way he contrasts foreground and background objects which have relevance to eachother(Like after the beating scene in the alley when Noodles and Max are lying down), and the shots of the gang(Max especially) in the speakeasy as Burt Young is speaking. What I always love about Leone is how he makes sure everything is evenly in the frame. The way each shot looks like a painting or a famous photograph from the period is always there, too.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: HEX on October 03, 2005, 07:20:37 PM
was leone truly self paroding himself in the turning the tea(or coffe) scene when NOODLES gets back from raping debra. i hope so.

because that was a terribly long  part even for leone.
i almost burst out laughing when james woods face showed up.

i personally thnk that scene could of done without fat moes and the chicks face.

it felt like someone drastically trying to be like leone, but failing. it certainly did not feel like the master was in command in that particular piece.(but that is just my opinion.)


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Poggle on October 03, 2005, 07:23:36 PM
I love that scene, it's suspenseful. It's meant to be that way. Though it would be an odd occurance in real life to do that.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: dave jenkins on October 04, 2005, 12:40:51 AM
IIRC, De Niro came up with that bit of business as a kind of hommage to the Master, and SL liked it and included it in the final film.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: J B on October 05, 2005, 10:45:20 AM
Just the fact that it's not a western makes it a much different movie.  It also has a much more complicated plot than any of his other movies in addition to being at least an hour longer than any of his other films.  I'm still not exactly sure what I think of it.  It was actually the first Leone movie that I saw, and initial reaction after watching it was something like:  Wow, what a long, slow, movie.  Was that really worth the four hours of time I spent?  I have better memories of it now that I think back on it.  I think what bothered me more than the length was that the charectors seemed seemed too unforgivable to be appreciated. 

Since I've watched OUATIA which was only about five months ago, I've watched all of his other movies, and bought GBU, OUATITW, and FOFDM.  I should probobly watch OUATIA again.  I think  I would like it better the second time.


Title: Re: A very different movie
Post by: Leonardo on December 16, 2005, 01:00:29 PM
Since I've watched OUATIA which was only about five months ago, I've watched all of his other movies, and bought GBU, OUATITW, and FOFDM.  I should probobly watch OUATIA again.  I think  I would like it better the second time.
And how do you feel about these other movies? Did you still have the same impression with OUTIW ("what a slow movie, was it really worth to sit down for 3 hours and watch it")? And GBU? Did you buy FOD as well?