Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In America => Topic started by: Noodles_8 on November 08, 2005, 12:56:25 PM



Title: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 08, 2005, 12:56:25 PM
I have seen this movie many times and think it is one of the most underated films of all time. It is a work of extraordinary genius.

Recently I obtained the DVD version which has commentary by Richard Shickel(hope I spelled it right) the former movie critic from the New York Times.

He advanced the theory that everything that took place in the movie was a dream by Noodles. I'm embarrassed to say that this possibility never occurred to me. After all, the movie does open up and close with Noodles getting high in the opium den and there is a certain haze to much of the movie. The movie did show a certain aspect of American life and showed it brilliantly, but could it all be shown through Noodle's dream?

Any theories?


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on November 08, 2005, 03:44:39 PM
In fact Noodles remembers his life in the opium den, this is not really a "dream" but memories, maybe he idealized his past a litlle, but everybody has the tendancy to do that about his past. But for the events wich took place after (I mean after the gang being killed), Noodle imagines all that, extrapolates all that because he doesn't accepts the death of the members of the gang and his split up with Deborah.
  The elements wich tends to prooves that this a dream are the following:

-The death of Max is the more obvious solution, this unlike faking of events by Max hiding his own identity, and becoming a senator is really unlikely.

-The fact that the old Deborah is identical to the young one (lol). It proves that Noodles sees what he wants to see. He wants to see Deborah as he loves her and he prefers to imagine all this story about Max because he doesn't accept his death.

-The wite light chosed by Tonino Delli Colli gives to the whole movie a "dream" feeling.

-Plus in the movie the characters seem to be separated and don't really listen to and understand each other, especially for Max and Noodles. Noodles progressively disconnects from the world of the gang. Max and Noodles are never on the same weath length, at the end they are near to the point to be stranger to each other.  We do have the feeling that Noodles belongs to another movie.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 08, 2005, 04:02:11 PM
Thanks Dlanor, all excellent points that you make, especially the point about Deborah's perpetual youth while everyone was older.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Blueberry on November 09, 2005, 05:01:55 AM
Go back a while on this board and you'll find all the theories, explanations, arguments, interpretations, and analysis you'll ever want, and then some, on the dream theory.

For a while back then I more or less decided that my attitude to this was to be: who cares?


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Amaze on November 09, 2005, 07:10:04 AM
In fact Noodles remembers his life in the opium den, this is not really a "dream" but memories, maybe he idealized his past a litlle, but everybody has the tendancy to do that about his past. But for the events wich took place after (I mean after the gang being killed), Noodle imagines all that, extrapolates all that because he doesn't accepts the death of the members of the gang and his split up with Deborah.


makes sense to me.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: dave jenkins on November 09, 2005, 04:07:15 PM

For a while back then I more or less decided that my attitude to this was to be: who cares?
I'll take a double helping of that.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on November 10, 2005, 12:38:49 AM
He might have use the search button, so? :-\


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Concorde on November 10, 2005, 06:21:12 AM
Do you guys really, truly think it was all a dream?  :o

You think a gangster in the 1920s took a snooze in an opium den and idly composed "Yesterday," the most successful pop song of all time, and even reworked it in a Muzak arrangement? And that he then invented what '60s Buicks look like? And dreamed up television broadcasting as an added extra?

Sounds like Noodles isn't the only heavy drug user around here....  ;D


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on November 10, 2005, 06:49:17 AM
Do you guys really, truly think it was all a dream?  :o

You think a gangster in the 1920s took a snooze in an opium den and idly composed "Yesterday," the most successful pop song of all time, and even reworked it in a Muzak arrangement? And that he then invented what '60s Buicks look like? And dreamed up television broadcasting as an added extra?

Sounds like Noodles isn't the only heavy drug user around here....  ;D


Good point, definitely good point. We could say that he doesn't hear the music (the music is for the audience). But concerning the TV... You may be right, around 1930 (not 1920), there wasn't many guys who have anticpated TV, in a such a way anyway, if it was, it wasn't the guy of the street...


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 10, 2005, 09:00:15 AM
Do you guys really, truly think it was all a dream?  :o

You think a gangster in the 1920s took a snooze in an opium den and idly composed "Yesterday," the most successful pop song of all time, and even reworked it in a Muzak arrangement? And that he then invented what '60s Buicks look like? And dreamed up television broadcasting as an added extra?




bravo TIM bravo.

i never did like the whole "dream" theory at all.



kodos to u sir.
i owe u a beer.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on November 10, 2005, 09:53:19 AM
But wasn't it Leone himself who said it was a dream? :-\


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Amaze on November 10, 2005, 10:24:44 AM
what does it say in the script?


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 10, 2005, 10:50:32 AM
But wasn't it Leone himself who said it was a dream? :-\

he said that is one way to interperate it.

he did not flat out say it was a dream.




even if he did u can always disagree with a director, though it is there vision. people do that all the time especially with paintings.(people say something contrary to what the artist says)


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Alan Shearer 9 on November 10, 2005, 12:07:50 PM
open to interpretation...


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 10, 2005, 12:15:50 PM
True, you do have to stretch your imagination a little to see it as a dream. Of course Noodles couldn't know about The Beatles or Buicks. But I think SL was trying to show how part of American society developed and did it through this dream.

Can anyone answer me this.   If Max becomes the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, how reasonable is it that neither Noodles nor Moe have any idea what the U.S. Secretary of Commerce looks like. I'm sure there are newspapers in Buffalo and in New York where Moe lives. There is no cable T.V., but there is network T.V. and nobody knows who Commissioner Bailey is.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on November 10, 2005, 12:28:05 PM
he said that is one way to interperate it.

he did not flat out say it was a dream.




even if he did u can always disagree with a director, though it is there vision. people do that all the time especially with paintings.(people say something contrary to what the artist says)

 Pecisely, I like when things are opened, I don't like a locked interpretation. Many film lack this subtelty of ambiguity.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 10, 2005, 05:55:22 PM
Pecisely, I like when things are opened, I don't like a locked interpretation. Many film lack this subtelty of ambiguity.


then again in my experience, the artist some times says nothing at all about the piece and usually it is because the painting means nothing to him or her, it is just something else they created. the audience is usually the ones who come up with wacked out theorys and publicize it as the artist's intention.

ive spoken to a few painters who are always sending there work to gallerys and such, and this is what they tell me.

apparently most artist dont place emotion into there paintings. but they like to recieve their favorite color for their work on their artwork.

and their favorite color is not found in their pallets. their favorite color is found in their wallet ;D.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Concorde on November 10, 2005, 09:40:44 PM
Can anyone answer me this.   If Max becomes the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, how reasonable is it that neither Noodles nor Moe have any idea what the U.S. Secretary of Commerce looks like. I'm sure there are newspapers in Buffalo and in New York where Moe lives. There is no cable T.V., but there is network T.V. and nobody knows who Commissioner Bailey is.

Yeah, that's another thing that's always bugged me. However, my hunch is simply that Leone was saving the "Sec. Bailey is really Max" punchline for the audience, and that Noodles had actually figured it all out long before that.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Alan Shearer 9 on November 11, 2005, 01:35:30 PM
True, you do have to stretch your imagination a little to see it as a dream. Of course Noodles couldn't know about The Beatles or Buicks. But I think SL was trying to show how part of American society developed and did it through this dream.

Can anyone answer me this.   If Max becomes the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, how reasonable is it that neither Noodles nor Moe have any idea what the U.S. Secretary of Commerce looks like. I'm sure there are newspapers in Buffalo and in New York where Moe lives. There is no cable T.V., but there is network T.V. and nobody knows who Commissioner Bailey is.

Do you know what the current US secretary of commerce looks like? If you do, you're in the minority, trust me


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 11, 2005, 02:06:45 PM
Do you know what the current US secretary of commerce looks like? If you do, you're in the minority, trust me


very true. but secretary BAILEY was very much in the spotlight wth stuff going on.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 11, 2005, 02:08:51 PM
Perhaps, but if there was a scandal going on and reported on T.V., they would show his picture and there would be a picture of him in newspapers.

A month ago nobody would have heard of nor seen Scooter Libby, but since the scandal everyone knows who he is and what he looks like.

1969 television may be primitive compared to today, but it certainly was able to show a picture of a person who was involved in a scandal.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 11, 2005, 02:11:10 PM


A month ago nobody would have heard of nor seen Scooter Libby, but since the scandal everyone knows who he is and what he looks like.




forgive my ignorance... but who the hell is this scooter libby fellow?


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 11, 2005, 02:13:04 PM
Sorry Hex, your #19 and my #20 were posted about the same time and we said basically the same thing.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 11, 2005, 02:17:02 PM
Sorry Hex, your #19 and my #20 were posted about the same time and we said basically the same thing.


yes i know i realized it, it is alright none of our faults. no need to apologize. but u still have not answered the question above.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 11, 2005, 02:23:28 PM
Scooter Libby works (actually worked) for V.P. Dick Cheney. He's now under indictment by an independant prosecutor. He's involved in the "outting" of Valerie Plame, who was a spy for the CIA.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 11, 2005, 02:27:55 PM
Scooter Libby works (actually worked) for V.P. Dick Cheney. He's now under indictment by an independant prosecutor. He's involved in the "outting" of Valerie Plame, who was a spy for the CIA.


thank u for the news. not that i care much iam afraid to say. i dont watch the news ever. reality bores me.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Noodles_8 on November 11, 2005, 02:31:51 PM
Might have bored Noodles and Moe too.    LOL


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Blueberry on November 21, 2005, 01:53:26 AM
thank u for the news. not that i care much iam afraid to say. i dont watch the news ever. reality bores me.

Well now, I'm from Denmark, and I knew about the Scooter Libby and the CIA agent case. I am just sad to see Cheney walk out on it...

Anyway Hex, you've got a dangerous attitude - u just don't care about policy, war, education, health, POVERTY in your own backyard, drugs, abuse, etc, do you?

You don't vote either I suppose? But you yourself don't really need anything, so the rest... whadda they matter?

You are aware, for instance, that people in Pakistan need your help NOW in order to survive the winter? Send them 20$ instead of buying the next DVD...

Probably not the place to argue 'bout this but attitudes like this must be why the Bushs and Cheneys of this world keep getting power - 'cause we don't really care. Hex! Get up, get out!  ;D


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 21, 2005, 04:02:12 PM


Probably not the place to argue 'bout this but attitudes like this must be why the Bushs and Cheneys of this world keep getting power - 'cause we don't really care. Hex! Get up, get out!  ;D

youre right this is not the place to argue about this(hello, SERGIO LEONE web board) politics should be left to the ones who know what they are talking about. and i sir for one do not know or wish to know about politics. i think my personal opinions should be respected as i have respected youres. notice i am not going about insulting u for what u believe.

if u are interested in knowing however no i did not vote because i am only eighteen. if i remember correctly the polls were closed a good year ago. ;D(so do the math)

but honestly i dont want to make this an arguement. i just want to be left in peace with my beliefs, if i dont give a **** i dont give a ****. just like u dont dont care about certain things that i might care about.



and u sir assume way too much(a common problem with most people these days.) who says i am not giving money to the troops? are u spying on me through via satellite and marking my every move? no? i did not think so either.




Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: cigar joe on November 23, 2005, 05:03:08 PM
Hex don't be too hard on Blueberry, when I was young I didn't give a sh*t about most things I wasn't interested in either.

Blueberry you can't assume you are always talking to an adult, a lot of people just tune out the quasi-news & political rhetoric we get over here.

Unless we have something on this board that denotes our ages, there is no way of telling wether someone is an uncaring jerk or just a kid so we got to cut each other some slack, and that goes doubly for our international pards, cause of the language barriers to boot.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on November 23, 2005, 05:40:57 PM
Hex don't be too hard on Blueberry, when I was young I didn't give a sh*t about most things I wasn't interested in either.


i dont think i am being rough on BLUEBERRY at all. i am simply defending myself. BLUEBERRY(without stopping to think before typing iam sure, a common mistake) crossed the line a bit in saying that i dont care about others or the troops. all i said was that i am not interested in politics. i never said anything about the war or needy people. he ultimatly crucified me with his words. and was way to overassuming and judging. i think what i replied with was a fair way to defend myself and in no way insulting. i was careful with what i said, something BLUEBERRY should do more often in the future.

again BLUEBERRY i am not insulting u and i do not expect an apology coming my way, but next time do not jump the gun and automatically assume who i am and what i do without knowing me at all.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Blueberry on December 01, 2005, 06:22:58 AM
Gee, I'm sory if I hurt your feelings, Hex. I was just responding to this:

"not that i care much i am afraid to say. i dont watch the news ever. reality bores me."

Statements like these just tend to piss me off. Too much is going the wrong way in the world for people not to care. Or maybe I am just an old fashioned humanist. I guess it would be a lot easier to just shut it out and not care. And play some awesome games on the computer. Whoops, sorry 'bout the sarcasm.... I slipped...


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on December 01, 2005, 09:43:13 AM
Gee, I'm sory if I hurt your feelings, Hex. I was just responding to this:

"not that i care much i am afraid to say. i dont watch the news ever. reality bores me."

Statements like these just tend to piss me off. Too much is going the wrong way in the world for people not to care. Or maybe I am just an old fashioned humanist. I guess it would be a lot easier to just shut it out and not care. And play some awesome games on the computer. Whoops, sorry 'bout the sarcasm.... I slipped...

 Everybody is free to live like he wants. If he wants to live without taking care of world issues, he has the right to do it, and that is his own buisness.
 And if he wants to live taking care of every world issues he can do it too and that's his own buisness too.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on December 01, 2005, 12:22:21 PM

Statements like these just tend to piss me off. Too much is going the wrong way in the world for people not to care. Or maybe I am just an old fashioned humanist. I guess it would be a lot easier to just shut it out and not care.



as far as i am concerned, the world has always been in a nasty spot. the black death during middle ages, civil wars being fought by pretty much all countries in existance in every time period. this war that is going on now is nothing new my friend. this has been a small piece in the pie(dust in the wind if u will). if humanity wishes to continue fighting for no reason, let it be. "peace" is unachievable. this is how it has always been, and always will be. so dont get youre panties in a bunch.



u think i like war? well ill have u know i dont. believe me i can do without some jerk-off strapping c4 to his ****ing chest and threatening to blow up time square. i can do with out power hungry dictators, i can do without
some grubby scripture shouting coward trying to blow up PARLIMENT. i dont like it, just as much as u dont.

and by the way is me sending money to the troops gonna stop this war? no. is the money going to bring our boys home from impending doom?no. is me sending cash to save the children in africa actually gonna stop them from dying off hunger? absolutly not. that money goes into someone elses pocket not the children. so mister "humanist" what have u done to bring peace on earth?.................silence...................just as i thought.


besides if JOHN LENNON couldnt provide peace no one can ;D


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Dlanor on December 01, 2005, 03:37:43 PM
I think there are two kind of people in the world: the ones who try to change things (especially the bad things)
 and the ones who doesnt' because they think it exists some kind of balance (wich cannot be changed).


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: HEX on December 02, 2005, 07:34:58 AM
I think there are two kind of people in the world: the ones who try to change things (especially the bad things)
 and the ones who doesnt' because they think it exists some kind of balance (wich cannot be changed).


well said. i fall into the latter. however that does not make me a bad person. i do enough generosity a year to justify that i have a heart. but i am very cynical about the many nice things i do.

for example i give money to a bum whenever i can, even though i very well know he is just going to take that cash and buy himself some whiskey or go shoot up herione. i have pretty much lost faith in all those homeless folks after many experiences of giving them food and them instantly throwing it away in the garbage. they dont even have the decency to wait until i am out of eye sight to do such a thing.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Blueberry on December 06, 2005, 01:21:53 AM
Money to troops? What on earth does that mean? That is speaking in tongues... I was talking about earthquake victims in Pakistan...


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Blueberry on December 06, 2005, 05:56:17 AM
Right, now I'm up to date with the whole troll-thing - beginning to understand - I always thought that there's one guy who's got nothing else to do.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Banjo on December 07, 2005, 09:14:11 AM
Since seeing the DVD and listening to the commentary i pretty much bought into this dream thing and i argued elsewhere that the prepostorous idea of Deborah hitching with Max just had to make it a dream(or nightmare for Noodles).However the other day i doubted myself on a couple of things.
First, the "Stop the War" CND graffitti on the Jewish cemetary wall-but i guess like the colour TV,this could be Leones artistic license.
Second,and this has made me think(although i'd put money on you guys having cleared this up ages ago),with Max,Patsy and Cockeye dead in the tip-off,who pinched the money from the safe in the station or is the scene where Noodles opens the safe to find newspapers,although pre-1968,just part of the dream?


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Leone Admirer on December 08, 2005, 06:37:43 AM
I accept the dream idea, but I personaly dont subscribe to it. Its how I interpret the movie and as we haven't been definatly told its one or the other I really like the idea that everyone can interpret it differently.


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Banjo on December 08, 2005, 07:56:41 AM
Either way it doesn't diminish my enjoyment of the movie and this dream controversy compells me to look even harder at the film and find news things i like about it!


Title: Re: A dream?
Post by: Banjo on December 13, 2005, 09:05:34 AM
I guess this comment is as old as the hills but isn't the use of McCartneys Yesterday an indication that we are talking about reality in 1968?