Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In The West => Topic started by: poderator on February 22, 2007, 03:42:10 AM



Title: "Something to do with death"
Post by: poderator on February 22, 2007, 03:42:10 AM
I' ve read your previous threads about Harmonica's unearthly presence( Tuco and Cigar Joe, thanks for directions). Harmonica as the Angel of Death. Wow. I thought that it is impossible even to concider Harmonica as some kind of supernatural character. Then I 've decided to explore and find some evidences to support that thesis. So I saw movie once more, searching for something unusual in Harmonica's character, following only Harmonica's moves and actions.
       
A) Analisis of the space; Harmonica often stands outside, perifferaly, always steps aside as if checking the situation in front of him, and monitors other characters reactions.
 
1) scene; In the saloon: Harmonica sits in the dark corner and waits for Cheyenee to introduce himself. He is watching and has it under control, but does not participate in Cheyenee's game. He leaves it to Cheyenee to lead the game for now.

2) scene;the scene on the ranch: Harmonica waits in the barn for Cheyenee and his people to leave. He is also watching Frank's gunmen move. He acts only when he wants to ruin Frank's plans, to prevent his killing of Jill and taking over the estate.

3) scene; trough the opening in the roof of the train Harmonica, ( once again from the background) listens to the conversation between Frank and Morton, and again, he is in a passive position.
 
4) scene;  Harmonica (from the background, again) from upstairs in the saloon is watching the shameful auction of the ranch, and development of the events from a broader perspective-a bird perspective. He acts in the right moment to prevent Frank get hold of the ranch.

5) scene; Harmonica goes upstairs in the saloon, and watches from there (as from the background) the duel between Frank and his former gunmen, paid by Morton to kill him.

6) scene; Harmonica sits on the fence and has excellent view on who is approaching (also he is out of the house where main characters are).  
          
All of the above speaks in favor of the fact that Harmonica is somewhat unreal character. Something like he is present there but also not  really part of that world. He is always in a way separated from the main focus of the scene, but only physically. In fact, he is always ahead of his oponents and anticipates their moves. He always acts timely, but only when Frank's plans need to be thwarted. As Freilling observed, he just slides into the frame, as if present at all times, and only waits for his moment to act. From this facts we see that Harmonica is the character of his own, viewed from the spacial aspect, but also from his behavior.

 B) Emotional aspect; He is never angry, he never loses control, and he is never sad in the true meaning of the word. The only thing that can bee seen in his eyes is a sort of melancholy, silent sorrow. all other characters cry, weep, lose their temper, laugh, rage but Harmonica is constant. Even when he smiles, it is a sad smile, accompanied with the look to the past. As if forever returning into that moment when his brother was hanged. That's where his life stopped, his thoughts, his senses. Body continued to live accompanied only with the emotion of hate and desire to revenge.
Resume; Harmonica is literary physically out from the large number of scenes with a main characters, but he knows exactly what is happening out there. He chooses higher positions in order to have upper hand in every possible moment. Like he has some strange control over the events. He moves slowly, but that only makes him more omnipotent. Always at the right place at the right time. You can hurt him but you can't kill him. I wan't say he is a ghost, I prefer someone of flesh and blood, but immortal. More like Brandon Lee's Eric from "The Crow". He can't bee killed until he fulfill his revenge. Finally Cheyenne's words: Something to do with Death. Cheyenne is a bandit, experienced man from the border. He killed a lot of people in his life, that's for sure. Main reason was money I presume. But he instinctively feels that Harmonica is on the much higher level than him. Death travels with him. He is driven dy his personal reasons, and that is respectful.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on February 22, 2007, 09:47:55 PM
Bravo!


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: tucumcari bound on February 23, 2007, 12:11:37 AM
 O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on February 23, 2007, 04:51:40 PM
another discovery that we made not long ago was the fact that Harmonica asks Frank something like "so you found out that you are not a business man after all" refering to Frank's conversation with Morton, when he was never present for that conversation,  I believe it happens before Harmonica was on top of the private train car.

Check it out to make sure, I believe Peacemaker did confirm it.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: The Peacemaker on February 24, 2007, 10:19:12 AM
Yeah, the conversation between Frank and Morton was private.

Harmonica DID spy on Frank and Morton but that was another scene and another conversation.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: poderator on February 25, 2007, 08:06:39 AM
Good point. Also, in the scene with Frank in the saloon, Harmonica knows that Morton have sent Frank's men to kill him. Harmonica was with Jill at that point, and conversation between Frank's gunmen and Morton was private. Even Frank didn't realize that someone is after him (and we all know that he is always carefull, after all, he is the only one who caught Harmonica of guard when he saw his shadow on the train).  No way that Harmonica could ever knew that Morton has turned Frank's man against him. Still he knows everything that's going on around him. Harmonica just by looking trough the saloon door saw Frank's gunmen instantly. Like he recieved thiese informations from some higher instance. Plus, there is always light around Harmonica, so surreal. First light, and then Harmonica walks in. "It's gonna be beautifull town SweetWater",  I mean, when you here this, you have a feeling that Harmonica knows that this is gonna be beautifull town, like he saw SweetWater 50 or 60 years from now , like he has some inner eye, like some prophet who saw future and know that for a fact.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Sackett on March 02, 2007, 06:20:46 PM
I think some of you guys are trying to make something out of nothing.  Harmonica is not some kind of supernatural avenging angel.  He is not an immortal either.
"You sound like a real businessman Frank.  Being with Mr. Morton has done you a lot of good." (saloon scene)
This is coincidental to his later comment about finding out "he's not a businessman after all." (final ranch scene)
Harmonica is observant about Frank's men because he knows them from the train.  He doesn't have otherworldly ability.
The best you might could say is that Harmonica is observant and sensitive to movement around him so that he knows what is out of place.  This is typical of desert dwellers and maybe Leone knew it too.
"They must have found someone who pays better."  A good hunch based on observance.  Men are moving from choice postions to go talk out in the open.  He knows Frank wants him dead and a set up is likely, yet they are riding off.
This is a great movie.  I just cannot help but feel that some of you are trying to spook it up a bit or turn it into a Highlander piece.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on March 02, 2007, 06:48:15 PM
The film is not improved if we adopt any definitive explanation of Harmonica, who should remain mysterious. I think there are as many clues to indicate H's immortal status as there are to show he's mortal. SL built intentional ambiguity into the character, and we do his creation a disservice if we try to completely dissect him.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: ellisc on March 05, 2007, 09:17:19 AM
I think some of you guys are trying to make something out of nothing.  Harmonica is not some kind of supernatural avenging angel.  He is not an immortal either.
...

This is a great movie.  I just cannot help but feel that some of you are trying to spook it up a bit or turn it into a Highlander piece.

Ditto.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on March 05, 2007, 04:03:46 PM
Quote
I think some of you guys are trying to make something out of nothing.  Harmonica is not some kind of supernatural avenging angel.  He is not an immortal either.
...

This is a great movie.  I just cannot help but feel that some of you are trying to spook it up a bit or turn it into a Highlander piece.


Ditto.

Pullleeeeze, If he's mortal he would never be able to get up and carry on after taking a high powered rifel slug to the upper chest, you are asking me to believe that he is Superman, then the film becomes a bit to far fetched.  Now if he "has something to do with Death from the git go then I can accept the premise of him recovering without any affects whatsoever is so short a time.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Silenzio on March 05, 2007, 04:09:45 PM
Pullleeeeze, If he's mortal he would never be able to get up and carry on after taking a high powered rifel slug to the upper chest, you are asking me to believe that he is Superman, then the film becomes a bit to far fetched.  Now if he "has something to do with Feat from the git go then I can accept the premise of him recovering without any affects whatsoever is so short a time.

It was more like the shoulder, and I've seen a lotta movies where people get it a lot worse than that are fine.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on March 05, 2007, 08:24:44 PM
Yea BS movies, I don't give a sh*t if its shoulder or upper chest, you are not gonna walk around normal after taking a hit like that or recover in a few hours.

I'd rather believe he had "Something to do with Death" from the git go.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: poderator on March 07, 2007, 02:33:32 AM
There is enough evidence to support either "Angel of Death", or "realistic" aproach to Harmonica's subject. That only makes things more interesting. Harmonica's fast recuperation after winchester shot sound even more impossible. The fact is, it can go either way. You can't ignore the fact that this movie has something that previous Sergio's films don't have. That mithycal aureol is present around Harmonica; light on his face, he just slides into the frame, that is something that  no other characters have. You have to ask yourselves: why did Sergio created that huge archetype out of Harmonica?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2007, 10:39:52 AM
Quote
That mithycal aureol is present around Harmonica; light on his face, he just slides into the frame, that is something that  no other characters have. You have to ask yourselves: why did Sergio created that huge archetype out of Harmonica?

Agreed it was different.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Profroche on March 13, 2007, 02:10:52 AM
another discovery that we made not long ago was the fact that Harmonica asks Frank something like "so you found out that you are not a business man after all" refering to Frank's conversation with Morton, when he was never present for that conversation,  I believe it happens before Harmonica was on top of the private train car.

Check it out to make sure, I believe Peacemaker did confirm it.

I forget at exactly which point,but Frank tells Harmonica "Morton once told me I could never be like him. Now I know why,I just couldn't rest knowing you were out there alive." I'm fuzzy on the chronology,but I believe it happens before Harmonica's comment.

Given that the film can be viewed as an anthology of western movies,I think of Harmonica's role as the Avenging Angel character,but not immortal. Frank destroyed his life,and took everything from him,and Harmonica knows that he's far from the only victim. His life's only purpose is to end Frank's. After that's done,who knows what will become of him, but Cheyenne knew that Jill would never be able to make a life with a man like that.

Interesting though,there's the deleted scene with Harmonica getting beaten up. Since Leone was worried about the slow pace of the film,I doubt he deleted a fight scene just to shave off time. Maybe he did delete it to make Harmonica appear unearthly and invulnerable.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on March 13, 2007, 05:16:48 AM
Quote
I forget at exactly which point,but Frank tells Harmonica "Morton once told me I could never be like him. Now I know why,I just couldn't rest knowing you were out there alive." I'm fuzzy on the chronology,but I believe it happens before Harmonica's comment.

yea possible, but to use the actual words "business man" is more specific .... most folks back then would call Morton,  the popular vernacular of the times sobriquet of,  "Railroad Baron".

The other factor that also supports the he has "Something to do with Death" alternative is that in "Fistful of Dollars" dollars Leone specifically shows Eastwood wounded and recovering over a period of time after his brutal beating by the Rojo's, so its not as if Leone makes a practice of showing instant healing after serious gunshot wounds. That combined with his ethereal entrances marks him as different.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: The Peacemaker on March 13, 2007, 03:05:23 PM
yea possible, but to use the actual words "business man" is more specific .... most folks back then would call Morton,  the popular vernacular of the times sobriquet of,  "Railroad Baron".

Actually, they people would probably call him " Robber Baron. "

Remember, back then the capitalists like Morton were some of the most despised men in America...and most of the time for a good reason.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on March 13, 2007, 08:44:32 PM
Quote
Actually, they people would probably call him " Robber Baron. "

Yea thats true.

Another would be just plain, he's a "Railroader".


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on July 06, 2007, 04:00:15 PM
I've been reading a couple of books and Boorman's Point Blank keeps coming up.  I noticed somewhere on the Duck, You Sucker dvd, Boorman helped Leone with the locations in Ireland.  There's a Boorman Leone connection.  Could it be possible that Leone was influenced by Boorman in his treatment of the Harmonica character?  I've been reading treatments of Point Blank in which Walker (Lee Marvin), is kind of the walking dead.  I haven't seen the film in sometime.  Apparently the viewer never sees Walker in the process of going anywhere.  He just suddenly appears.  It brought to my mind the Harmonica character.  Point Blank came out in 1967, the year before OUATITW was released in Italy.   Both films have Keenan Wynn in common as well.  I still haven't read Something To Do With Death.  I've seen where Boorman has been pointed out as a director Leone liked somewhere on another thread.    


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 04, 2008, 02:40:03 PM
Well I saw this film yesterday for the first time on the big screen in a posh theater at Moma in New York City, naturally I was swept away by the experience, I just basked in the visions & sounds the audience reactions, in a nutshell beautiful.

I actually started paying attention to the topic of this thread way too late than I should have but I think I did make a new discovery that I know I'll have to pop in the DVD to confirm. Harmonica at the final shootout with Frank has no bullet hole in his coat!. At least by the time I was looking I didn't see it or it didn't show (wether there was a shadow or or a fold masking it I don't know) but I didn't see it.

The last clear shot of it I remember is when Cheyenne looks at it in Standers Saloon. So we have something new to check and discuss.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: The Peacemaker on May 04, 2008, 07:13:58 PM
That's funny, I just got back from seeing it at MoMA. I went with two of my friends, one loved it the other said it was okay.

Anyway, it was funny because I got really excited at first because I saw two of the extended shots from the opening scene that were in the Italian DVD. I thought they were going to show the other deleted material but the only material were those two second shots.


This is my second time seeing this on the big screen and can easily say that it won't be the last. I loved the experience so much, it went by too damn fast.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: moviesceleton on May 05, 2008, 06:31:36 AM
Well I saw this film yesterday for the first time on the big screen in a posh theater at Moma in New York City, naturally I was swept away by the experience, I just basked in the visions & sounds the audience reactions, in a nutshell beautiful.

I actually started paying attention to the topic of this thread way too late than I should have but I think I did make a new discovery that I know I'll have to pop in the DVD to confirm. Harmonica at the final shootout with Frank has no bullet hole in his coat!. At least by the time I was looking I didn't see it or it didn't show (wether there was a shadow or or a fold masking it I don't know) but I didn't see it.

The last clear shot of it I remember is when Cheyenne looks at it in Standers Saloon. So we have something new to check and discuss.
Wasn't it mentioned on the extras that it was a error made by the crew (I could be wrong)?  I think the Saloon scene was one of the last scenes shot.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 05, 2008, 07:04:06 AM
Quote
Wasn't it mentioned on the extras that it was a error made by the crew (I could be wrong)?  I think the Saloon scene was one of the last scenes shot.

Not if he "had something to do with Death" in a supernatural way, if it simply disappeared or healed slowly throughout the film, which I'd have to check, then it would strenghten the "Avenging Spirit" theory.

I'll get back to you on it.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: marmota-b on May 05, 2008, 12:42:18 PM
Apparently the viewer never sees Walker in the process of going anywhere.  He just suddenly appears.  It brought to my mind the Harmonica character.

However, we do see Harmonica going to the railway station, when he follows Wobbles... don't we?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Jordan Krug on May 05, 2008, 02:01:19 PM
I've been reading a couple of books and Boorman's Point Blank keeps coming up.  I noticed somewhere on the Duck, You Sucker dvd, Boorman helped Leone with the locations in Ireland.  There's a Boorman Leone connection.  Could it be possible that Leone was influenced by Boorman in his treatment of the Harmonica character?  I've been reading treatments of Point Blank in which Walker (Lee Marvin), is kind of the walking dead.  I haven't seen the film in sometime.  Apparently the viewer never sees Walker in the process of going anywhere.  He just suddenly appears.  It brought to my mind the Harmonica character.  Point Blank came out in 1967, the year before OUATITW was released in Italy.   Both films have Keenan Wynn in common as well.  I still haven't read Something To Do With Death.  I've seen where Boorman has been pointed out as a director Leone liked somewhere on another thread.    

very interesting connection there, I'm a big big fan of point blank, and you're right, the kind of hints or clues left in both films are similar (although I think you can find a little more evidence in Point Blank, plus the way the whole film is edited/constructed adds to the ghostly feeling)...but I'm very intrigued by this possiblility. Would be great to have evidence that Leone liked/mentioned Boorman, especially since Point Blank was Boorman's first film (so if this comment by Leone was made in the sixties, then we'd know he was probably talking about point blank (or Hell in the Pacific - which is another great boorman film)...



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 05, 2008, 03:41:51 PM
Ok did a quick run through myself today

Bullet hole upper left chest area at Cattle Corner Station Shootout, He puts his left arm in coat button sling.
Bullet hole at Lionel Stander' Desert Oasis Cheyenne examines it.
At Wobbles beating no bullet hole & full use of his left arm.
At McBains Ranch no bullet hole, and when he roughly manhandels Jill again full use of his left side.
And at well confrontation he removes his coat and we see a hole in his red shirt but it is a clean hole, no encrusted blood.
At the station and in every scene thereafter no bullet hole.

Ergo are we to believe that Carlo Simi, Leone, and Crew completely blew it or are we to conclude that Harmonica really has "something to do with DEATH"?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on May 08, 2008, 05:11:33 PM
However, we do see Harmonica going to the railway station, when he follows Wobbles... don't we?

Yes.  He does follow Wobbles.  But the way it's shot, for me, I think it's like a lot of his other appearances throughout the film.  Quite mysterious.  Jill goes to speak to Wobbles and verbally baits him so he'll seek out Frank so Harmonica can follow.  When she walks out of Wobbles' business, there he is leaning behind the post.  Afterward, the viewer sees Wobbles as he walks toward the tracks and Morton's train.  We never see Harmonica walking behind him.  Wobbles reaches the train.  Another oncoming train comes along, after it passes, like a curtain, there's Harmonica standing in the far left corner of the screen.  Basically recalling his first arrival at Cattle Corner. We do see him take a few steps toward the train, but the way it's filmed, it's like he appears out of nowhere on the spot.  In Point Blank, Walker enters scenes in a similar way.  Sometimes he's in transit within the location he suddenly appears.  I'm thinking about the scene in the high rise when he clomps down the corridor loudly.  With Harmonica, he's basically on the spot and walking towards the train.  I think the only scene for Harmonica that's different is the conclusion.  We actually see him on a horse riding away from Sweetwater.  His travel comes to an abrupt end with the Cheyenne situation.  Afterward, when he resumes his riding, there he is again heading quickly toward the far left edge of the screen.

The treatment of the characters seems similar.  I think there is a difference in how they're represented.  I think there are different degrees of ambiguity about both characters.  I think that Harmonica is more undefined and can be open to a greater amount of interpretation.  He can represent more than one thing.  I wasn't trying to suggest that his scene appearances are sudden appearances by an apparition.   I'll have to watch OUATITW again for the coat. Walker on the other hand, I think the director's intention is more defined.  Although I suppose to a degree, he can be open to some interpretation by certain viewers.

Quote
very interesting connection there, I'm a big big fan of point blank, and you're right, the kind of hints or clues left in both films are similar (although I think you can find a little more evidence in Point Blank, plus the way the whole film is edited/constructed adds to the ghostly feeling)...but I'm very intrigued by this possibility. Would be great to have evidence that Leone liked/mentioned Boorman, especially since Point Blank was Boorman's first film (so if this comment by Leone was made in the sixties, then we'd know he was probably talking about point blank (or Hell in the Pacific - which is another great boorman film)... 
 

I've had an opportunity to catch Point Blank a couple of times since that post.  I agree that there's more evidence and clues by Boorman to think of Walker in a particular way.  Having seen it a couple times again, I would say that "walking dead" was inaccurate.  You're right the film is quite oneiric in the way it's filmed.  It would seem to have some similarities to Duck, You Sucker (Sean's flashback, state of consciousness before his death) and if one believes in the dream theory (which I don't), I suppose OUATIA as well.  I don't know of any quotes from Sergio in the sixties referencing Boorman, or by anyone that contributed to the OUATITW screenplay.  It would be interesting.  The connection was made by what I had read describing the Walker character and having recently viewed Duck, You Sucker and its featurettes.
 

           


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: marmota-b on May 08, 2008, 11:09:54 PM
However, we do see Harmonica going to the railway station, when he follows Wobbles... don't we?
We never see Harmonica walking behind him.

That's what I wasn't sure about. So we don't. :)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: JFM on May 11, 2008, 10:38:22 AM
another discovery that we made not long ago was the fact that Harmonica asks Frank something like "so you found out that you are not a business man after all" refering to Frank's conversation with Morton, when he was never present for that conversation,  I believe it happens before Harmonica was on top of the private train car.

The fact that Frank shows up for the duel is evidence enough for Harmonica to draw the conclusion that there's enough gunman/killer in Frank for him to want to risk (or dump) his business dreams for a duel.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: JFM on May 11, 2008, 10:39:34 AM
Ok did a quick run through myself today

Bullet hole upper left chest area at Cattle Corner Station Shootout, He puts his left arm in coat button sling.
Bullet hole at Lionel Stander' Desert Oasis Cheyenne examines it.
At Wobbles beating no bullet hole & full use of his left arm.
At McBains Ranch no bullet hole, and when he roughly manhandels Jill again full use of his left side.
And at well confrontation he removes his coat and we see a hole in his red shirt but it is a clean hole, no encrusted blood.
At the station and in every scene thereafter no bullet hole.

Ergo are we to believe that Carlo Simi, Leone, and Crew completely blew it or are we to conclude that Harmonica really has "something to do with DEATH"?


From your list, it looks like it is Harmonica's clothes that have "something to do with death", not Harmonica himself  ;-)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 11, 2009, 09:44:21 AM
 ;D


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: sinisterplague on June 06, 2009, 12:46:34 PM
If he was "death personified," then he wouldn't be human. If he wasn't human, he wouldn't have had a human brother or the human emotions to avenge him.
But I could be wrong.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on June 06, 2009, 06:37:13 PM
He had "something" to do with Death, not death personified.

Here is an Olympian scenario,  Death was "sleeping"  or say on holiday and while Death was so engaged  Frank took it upon himself to upsurp Death's role or powers taking people before their time he even rides steals Death's  pale horse. Death awakens and uses, reanimates  Harmonica or perhaps inhabits the form of Harmonica like the Olympian Gods used to play with humans to regain his mojo and deal with Frank in the mortal world,  in the end Harmonica who now has "Something to do with Death" rides off on the pale horse carrying away Cheyenne's body.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Half Soldier on December 04, 2010, 12:17:50 PM
If he was "death personified," then he wouldn't be human. If he wasn't human, he wouldn't have had a human brother or the human emotions to avenge him.
But I could be wrong.

You see Frank kill Harmonicas brother, yes - but how do you know he just rode away afterwards?  Frank killed little Timmy without a blink (though he loses his smile when 'called by name') so why not the young Harmonica?

Personally I go for the supernatural version, but I can quite happily read it either way.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: roger_d on January 10, 2011, 11:18:22 AM
Definitely believe there's some kind of supernatural thing going on.
I also think that Clint Eastwood took this que from Leone. Look at the westerns that Clint stared in and directed. His character in a few of the westerns he did was Death coming back for revenge.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: marmota-b on January 22, 2011, 02:38:42 AM
Personally I go for the supernatural version, but I can quite happily read it either way.

And you people convinced me to the same.

Partly because of this:

I also think that Clint Eastwood took this que from Leone. Look at the westerns that Clint stared in and directed. His character in a few of the westerns he did was Death coming back for revenge.


Title: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 12, 2011, 01:07:58 PM
1. It does not make sense for me. With his death his theme also disappears. Funnily Frayling says this also on the audio track of the DVD, that the theme disappears and then it comes back. It seems Frayling hadn't noticed that.

Concerning the runtime the ending is not different in all 3 versions, I think not even in the long version it is longer.

2. I don't remember that there was any further dialogue in the theatrical and in the long version. The theatrical version is about 1 min longer, the long version has another half min.
The cuts are mostly short shots of the waiting men, and some longer camera movements in the long version.
The You Tube scene is most likelx from the long version.

I have no explanation why the restored English version is shorter in this scene. and I have also no explanation why the music changes.
I hope the new BD will solve the problems.


But what really is bad in the English version, is that it contains the so called Harmonica Rising scene at the railway station which was never part of the European theatrical versions, and which really hurts the film a bit by stealing some of its narrative brilliance.
Well, we had this before in this forum, but I mention it again cause you are new here, and maybe you didn't know that this short scene shouldn't be in.
But it is in the long version, so it is at least again debatable what Leone really had wanted back then ...

On the other hand I still don't know where this long version does derivate from and how "official" it is.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 12, 2011, 07:51:23 PM
1. It does not make sense for me. With his death his theme also disappears. Funnily Frayling says this also on the audio track of the DVD, that the theme disappears and then it comes back. It seems Frayling hadn't noticed that.

Concerning the runtime the ending is not different in all 3 versions, I think not even in the long version it is longer.

2. I don't remember that there was any further dialogue in the theatrical and in the long version. The theatrical version is about 1 min longer, the long version has another half min.
The cuts are mostly short shots of the waiting men, and some longer camera movements in the long version.
The You Tube scene is most likelx from the long version.

I have no explanation why the restored English version is shorter in this scene. and I have also no explanation why the music changes.
I hope the new BD will solve the problems.


But what really is bad in the English version, is that it contains the so called Harmonica Rising scene at the railway station which was never part of the European theatrical versions, and which really hurts the film a bit by stealing some of its narrative brilliance.
Well, we had this before in this forum, but I mention it again cause you are new here, and maybe you didn't know that this short scene shouldn't be in.
But it is in the long version, so it is at least again debatable what Leone really had wanted back then ...

On the other hand I still don't know where this long version does derivate from and how "official" it is.

Thanks for the info. As will many things Leone, I don't know if we will ever have an answer for sure. I was never really convinced of the whole Harmonica as supernatural theory (perhaps at least partly cuz I simply don't want to believe it cuz I hate supernatural stuff in movies). I mean, yeah, he often happens to be at the right place at the right time, but that could be more of his qualities/skill as gunfighter. Eg. In the 3 Dollars films, I don't know if the Man with No Name ever misses a shot. Does that make him supernatural? It is a certain quality he has as an awesome shooter; similarly, Harmonica is very wise and stealthy.

One of my arguments against the supernatural theory is that we see Harmonica on top of Morton's train after Wobbles visited Frank there; the clear indication is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to the train (he knew Wobbles was aware of Frank's whereabouts; especially cuz he knew Jill was bringing Frank a message through Wobbles, he knew Wobbles was about to lead him to Frank. (maybe Harmonica even purposely advised Jill to speak to Wobbles specifically cuz he then knew he could follow Wobbles to Frank?) The point is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to Frank. Now if Harmonica really had supernatural powers and knows where everyone is at all times, is it really necessary for Wobbles to "lead" him to Frank; wouldn't he know where Frank is just because of his supernatural powers?

A possible rebuttal to this argument is that you can say that while Harmonica indeed knew on his own where Frank was, the reason he followed Wobbles was simply to spy on Wobbles conversation with Frank, to find out whether Wobbles was telling the truth when he said he had no idea of Frank's plans to have gunmen kill Harmonica.... Of course, then you can ask: where do you draw the line on Harmonica's supernatural powers? he knows where everyone is at all times, but he doesn't know the truth that Wobbles had set him up? etc. etc. etc. So his supernatural powers only extend as far as the writers want it to. This is one of many things that irks me about supernatural characters in movies, and why it really bothers me every time I think of this supernatural theory.

However, I do try to be intellectually honest (if a bit rambling, at times?  ;)) Frayling at least alludes to, if not asserts outright, the supernatural aspects of Harmonica's character in the first paragraph of p. 200 in Spaghetti Westerns


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 12, 2011, 07:55:14 PM
1. It does not make sense for me. With his death his theme also disappears. Funnily Frayling says this also on the audio track of the DVD, that the theme disappears and then it comes back. It seems Frayling hadn't noticed that.

Concerning the runtime the ending is not different in all 3 versions, I think not even in the long version it is longer.

2. I don't remember that there was any further dialogue in the theatrical and in the long version. The theatrical version is about 1 min longer, the long version has another half min.
The cuts are mostly short shots of the waiting men, and some longer camera movements in the long version.
The You Tube scene is most likelx from the long version.

I have no explanation why the restored English version is shorter in this scene. and I have also no explanation why the music changes.
I hope the new BD will solve the problems.


But what really is bad in the English version, is that it contains the so called Harmonica Rising scene at the railway station which was never part of the European theatrical versions, and which really hurts the film a bit by stealing some of its narrative brilliance.
Well, we had this before in this forum, but I mention it again cause you are new here, and maybe you didn't know that this short scene shouldn't be in.
But it is in the long version, so it is at least again debatable what Leone really had wanted back then ...

On the other hand I still don't know where this long version does derivate from and how "official" it is.

Is there any video available (eg. on YouTube) of the sort of side-by-side comparison of the various versions of the endings to OUATITW, similar to the DYS comparison vids that I linked to in the first post of this thread?


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 13, 2011, 02:05:42 AM
Thanks for the info. As will many things Leone, I don't know if we will ever have an answer for sure. I was never really convinced of the whole Harmonica as supernatural theory (perhaps at least partly cuz I simply don't want to believe it cuz I hate supernatural stuff in movies). I mean, yeah, he often happens to be at the right place at the right time, but that could be more of a his qualities/skill as gunfighter. Eg. In the 3 Dollars films, I don't know if the Man with No Name ever misses a shot. Does that make his supernatural? It is a certain quality he ahs as an awesome shooter; similarly, Harmonica is very wise and stealthy.

One of my arguments against the supernatural theory is that we see Harmonica on top of Morton's train after Wobbles visited Frank there; the clear indication is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to the train (he knew Wobbles was aware of Frank's whereabouts; especially cuz he knew Jill was bringing Frank a message through Wobbles, he knew Wobbles was about to lead him to Frank. (maybe Harmonica even purposely advised Jill to speak to Wobbles specifically cuz he then knew he could follow Wobbles to Frank?) The point is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to Frank. Now if Harmonica really had supernatural powers and knows where everyone is at all times, is it really necessary for Wobbles to "lead" him to Frank; wouldn't he know where Frank is just because of his supernatural powers?

A possible rebuttal to this argument is that you can say that while Harmonica indeed knew on his own where Frank was, the reason he followed Wobbles was simply to spy on Wobbles conversation to Frank, to find out whether Wobbles was telling the truth when he said he had no idea of Frank's plans to have gunmen kill Harmonica.... Of course, then you can ask: where do you draw the line on Harmonica's supernatural powers? he knows where everyone is at all times, but he doesn't know the truth that Wobbles had set him up? etc. etc. etc. So his supernatural powers only extend as far as the writers want it to. This is one of many things that irks me about supernatural characters in movies, and why it really bothers me every time I think of this supernatural theory.

However, I do try to be intellectually honest (if a bit rambling, at times?  ;)) Frayling at least alludes to, if not asserts outright, the supernatural aspects of Harmonica's character in the first paragraph of p. 200 in Spaghetti Westerns

My complaints about the including of the Harmonica Rising scene have nothing to do with this obscure "supernatural" theory. and I wasn't talking in my above post about this theory.

I never cared for it cause it is a lauhgable and absurd idea imo. The fact that Harmonica was wounded in the first scene is simply enough reason not to waste further time with it.
And the showing of this wound in the railway station scene is enough explanation for the ending of the first scene, and makes the Harmonica rising scene redundant anyway.
I don't like this scene because it damages the narrative structure of the beginning's 3 long scenes which introduce by and by the main characters.

Well, I have watched OUTW for 20 years without this unnecessary scene, and it was a negative surprise to see it then in the film.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: Leonardo on May 13, 2011, 05:08:44 AM

I have no explanation why the restored English version is shorter in this scene. and I have also no explanation why the music changes.
I hope the new BD will solve the problems.

I personally hate the music change at the end and one thing is for sure: when I first saw OUTITW here in Italy in 1968, the music did not change and the ending was with the Finale and not with Cheyenne's theme. Some idiot must have changed this some years ago for reasons unknown to me. :(


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 13, 2011, 05:29:43 AM
Thanks for the info. As will many things Leone, I don't know if we will ever have an answer for sure. I was never really convinced of the whole Harmonica as supernatural theory (perhaps at least partly cuz I simply don't want to believe it cuz I hate supernatural stuff in movies). I mean, yeah, he often happens to be at the right place at the right time, but that could be more of a his qualities/skill as gunfighter. Eg. In the 3 Dollars films, I don't know if the Man with No Name ever misses a shot. Does that make his supernatural? It is a certain quality he ahs as an awesome shooter; similarly, Harmonica is very wise and stealthy.

One of my arguments against the supernatural theory is that we see Harmonica on top of Morton's train after Wobbles visited Frank there; the clear indication is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to the train (he knew Wobbles was aware of Frank's whereabouts; especially cuz he knew Jill was bringing Frank a message through Wobbles, he knew Wobbles was about to lead him to Frank. (maybe Harmonica even purposely advised Jill to speak to Wobbles specifically cuz he then knew he could follow Wobbles to Frank?) The point is that Harmonica followed Wobbles to Frank. Now if Harmonica really had supernatural powers and knows where everyone is at all times, is it really necessary for Wobbles to "lead" him to Frank; wouldn't he know where Frank is just because of his supernatural powers?

A possible rebuttal to this argument is that you can say that while Harmonica indeed knew on his own where Frank was, the reason he followed Wobbles was simply to spy on Wobbles conversation to Frank, to find out whether Wobbles was telling the truth when he said he had no idea of Frank's plans to have gunmen kill Harmonica.... Of course, then you can ask: where do you draw the line on Harmonica's supernatural powers? he knows where everyone is at all times, but he doesn't know the truth that Wobbles had set him up? etc. etc. etc. So his supernatural powers only extend as far as the writers want it to. This is one of many things that irks me about supernatural characters in movies, and why it really bothers me every time I think of this supernatural theory.

However, I do try to be intellectually honest (if a bit rambling, at times?  ;)) Frayling at least alludes to, if not asserts outright, the supernatural aspects of Harmonica's character in the first paragraph of p. 200 in Spaghetti Westerns

There is a conundrum then, how do you wrap your mind around the fact that he miraculously recovers from a high powered gunshot wound to the upper chest area (that knocks him on his ass), with absolutely no evidence of it just a day or two later when he reveals that very area at the well at McBains ranch. I suppose you can just shrug and say its a Western convention, but that was usually reserved for a flesh wound to the skin a grove in the arm or along the top of a shoulder or the neck (which BTY Leone used in "For a Few Dollars More" when Mortimer shoots Manco). "Something to to with DEATH" doesn't necessarily mean "superpowers" but it means something, no? 

Leone who was meticulous in most details would not make a continuity error on that, I wouldn't think, would you?


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 13, 2011, 05:37:32 AM
Quote
My complaints about the including of the Harmonica Rising scene have nothing to do with this obscure "supernatural" theory. and I wasn't talking in my above post about this theory.

I never cared for it cause it is a lauhgable and absurd idea imo. The fact that Harmonica was wounded in the first scene is simply enough reason not to waste further time with it.
And the showing of this wound in the railway station scene is enough explanation for the ending of the first scene, and makes the Harmonica rising scene redundant anyway.
I don't like this scene because it damages the narrative structure of the beginning's 3 long scenes which introduce by and by the main characters.

Well, I have watched OUTW for 20 years without this unnecessary scene, and it was a negative surprise to see it then in the film.

Its a matter of releases,

Anyway you have to ask yourself why was it ever filmed by Leone then if it wasn't the intent to show him arising? If it was never filmed then you could say that it doesn't belong. But the fact that it WAS filmed means that its implied in the storyline (for certain releases) that didn't include other sequences.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 13, 2011, 08:48:42 AM
He filmed it maybe cause he wasn't sure at the moment of shooting how he would do it in the end.

It is also possible that the only reason it was cut out was that the film was already too long. (Godard "invented" the jump cut montage for Breathless only because the producer forced him to make the film shorter)

Or that Leone decided the film to be better without the scene. (My guess, my hope)

Who knows ...

But as far as I know this scene was only used for the cut English version, which misses the complete trading post scene, and therefore needs an explanation for Harmonica's comeback.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 13, 2011, 08:50:13 AM
I personally hate the music change at the end and one thing is for sure: when I first saw OUTITW here in Italy in 1968, the music did not change and the ending was with the Finale and not with Cheyenne's theme. Some idiot must have changed this some years ago for reasons unknown to me. :(

And this Italian version did include the Rising scene or not?


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 13, 2011, 03:59:14 PM
There is a conundrum then, how do you wrap your mind around the fact that he miraculously recovers from a high powered gunshot wound to the upper chest area (that knocks him on his ass), with absolutely no evidence of it just a day or two later when he reveals that very area at the well at McBains ranch. I suppose you can just shrug and say its a Western convention, but that was usually reserved for a flesh wound to the skin a grove in the arm or along the top of a shoulder or the neck (which BTY Leone used in "For a Few Dollars More" when Mortimer shoots Manco). "Something to to with DEATH" doesn't necessarily mean "superpowers" but it means something, no?  

Leone who was meticulous in most details would not make a continuity error on that, I wouldn't think, would you?

1. i am no expert on what effect a particular gunshot would have on a particular area of the body (I have lived in New York City all my life and never touched a gun...) Indeed, I have no idea how far the Western conventions go as far as gunshots. I will say I have never seen anyone in a  movie die from a shot to the shoulder.

2. Now, let's assume that the opening scene indeed takes place at the exact same time as the massacre at the McBain ranch. (The only reason we have for saying this is that Harmonica tells Wobbles something like "Frank wasn't at the station cuz he was at the McBains'... but we don't know if that necessarily means it was literally at the same time?) But if you indeed assume that the opening scene indeed takes place at the same time as the McBain massacre, then that means that when we see Harmonica at the trading post when Jill comes there with Sam, that is merely a few hours after he was shot; and his arm is not in the sling he made for himself at the end of that opening scene, right? It does seem strange that he wouldn't need the sling anymore after a matter of hours. But again, I have zero authority to speak about gunshots/wounds, so I really can't say anything definitively there.

3. cigar joe: if you do believe in the supernatural theory, how do you answer the question i discussed in the post above, ie. why Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles to find Frank. Shouldn't Harmonica know on his own, through his supernatural powers where Frank is? I discussed that question and different possibilities at length in an earlier post in this thread; I don't wanna re-write the whole thing here, but I'd appreciate if you can check that post and lemme know if you have an answer. (cuz to me it seems that if Harmonica needed to follow Wobbles to find Frank, that  should instantly blow up the supernatural theory). Thanks  O0


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 13, 2011, 04:04:26 PM
He filmed it maybe cause he wasn't sure at the moment of shooting how he would do it in the end.

It is also possible that the only reason it was cut out was that the film was already too long. (Godard "invented" the jump cut montage for Breathless only because the producer forced him to make the film shorter)

Or that Leone decided the film to be better without the scene. (My guess, my hope)

Who knows ...

But as far as I know this scene was only used for the cut English version, which misses the complete trading post scene, and therefore needs an explanation for Harmonica's comeback.

1. I have never seen the original cut American version (one advantage of having begun watching Leone films a couple of years ago is that I never had to endure any cut versions). But my understanding is that the original cut American version did not show Harmonica rising after being shot, and also cut the entire trading post scene where we see Harmonica's jacket has a gunshot on the shoulder. So yeah, I can imagine that not seeing him rising nor the hole in his jacket at the trading post, would be mighty confusing for a viewer.

2. The only version of OUATITW I have seen is the current Paramount one; if anyone has versions of the different ending music I am hearing about, can you please post it to youtube and post a link here? I would love to see it. (I am mighty obliged to whomever posted those DYS soundtrack comparisons to youtube that were the reason for me beginning this thread!)


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 14, 2011, 01:56:21 AM
1. I have never seen the original cut American version (one advantage of having begun watching Leoen films a couple of years ago is that I never had to endure any cut versions). But my understanding is that the original cut American version did not show Harmonica rising after being shot, and also cut the entire trading post scene where we see Harmonica's jacket has a gunshot on the shoulder. So yeah, I can imagine that not seeing him rising nor the hole in his jacket at the trading post, would be mighty confusing for a viewer.



I haven't seen it either, but books say that the scene is in this cut version for the obvious reason that the later scene was omitted.

And my guess is that, now that this scene existed, it was left in the restored version.
And now all DVDs have it.

An aaargh from me for that.

(but at least in contrast to a missing scene I can at least skip it)


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 14, 2011, 05:44:27 AM
Quote
3. cigar joe: if you do believe in the supernatural theory, how do you answer the question i discussed in the post above, ie. why Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles to find Frank. Shouldn't Harmonica know on his own, through his supernatural powers where Frank is? I discussed that question and different possibilities at length in an earlier post in this thread; I don't wanna re-write the whole thing here, but I'd appreciate if you can check that post and lemme know if you have an answer. (cuz to me it seems that if Harmonica needed to follow Wobbles to find Frank, that  should instantly blow up the supernatural theory). Thanks

I believe he has "Something" to do with DEATH, not necessarily has "super" powers lol. What does something mean who knows it may mean perhaps he is simply a reanimated human on a revenge mission who will not be allowed to "requisat in pace" until he finishes his destiny with Frank, he certainly has very ethereal entrances compared to everyone else.

And again, I'll ask you to explain the disappearance of the gunshot wound on Harmonica just a few days after the confrontation at Cattle Corner (cuz to me it seems that if it disappears that instantly blows up the normal human being theory).  lol.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 14, 2011, 05:48:56 AM
He filmed it maybe cause he wasn't sure at the moment of shooting how he would do it in the end.

It is also possible that the only reason it was cut out was that the film was already too long. (Godard "invented" the jump cut montage for Breathless only because the producer forced him to make the film shorter)

Or that Leone decided the film to be better without the scene. (My guess, my hope)

Who knows ...

But as far as I know this scene was only used for the cut English version, which misses the complete trading post scene, and therefore needs an explanation for Harmonica's comeback.

The fact that he filmed it sort means that that was his intent, Harmonica arises, whether to show it or not can be debated. But again (addressing drinksanddestroys) he has a bullet hole that disappears just a few days later.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 14, 2011, 10:12:42 PM
I believe he has "Something" to do with DEATH, not necessarily has "super" powers lol. What does something mean who knows it may mean perhaps he is simply a reanimated human on a revenge mission who will not be allowed to "requisat in pace" until he finishes his destiny with Frank, he certainly has very ethereal entrances compared to everyone else.

And again, I'll ask you to explain the disappearance of the gunshot wound on Harmonica just a few days after the confrontation at Cattle Corner (cuz to me it seems that if it disappears that instantly blows up the normal human being theory).  lol.


Having a particular supernatural power doesn't necessarily mean that you have unlimited supernatural powers. But I would think it does mean that you have that particular power all the time, not just some of the time. If Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles to Frank, then I don't think he has the supernatural power over time/space/people's whereabouts etc.

I agree that opposing the supernatural theory creates the question of why the gunshot hole is gone from Harmonica's jacket after the trading post scene... However, I have another question, on that: If the moment he supposedly becomes this supernatural avenger is the moment after he is shot and then gets up, why would he have the gunshot hole in the trading post scene, which takes place after he would have acquired his supernatural powers?



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 06:36:06 AM

Having a particular supernatural power doesn't necessarily mean that you have unlimited supernatural powers. But I would think it does mean that you have that particular power all the time, not just some of the time. If Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles to Frank, then I don't think he has the supernatural power over time/space/people's whereabouts etc.

I agree that opposing the supernatural theory creates the question of why the gunshot hole is gone from Harmonica's jacket after the trading post scene... However, I have another question, on that: If the moment he supposedly becomes this supernatural avenger is the moment after he is shot and then gets up, why would he have the gunshot hole in the trading post scene, which takes place after he would have acquired his supernatural powers?



Christ, did you ever go through the ORIGINAL post about this subject??????????????

First, no way in hell am I ever going to refer to, or acquiesce, to what you're calling "supernatural powers". There is SOMETHING supernatural about him, what, I don't know, but he's not altogether human as we define that term. To try and define/quantify that in terms of super/supernatural powers diminishes the whole film into a comic book subject, it makes him into a some sort of Superman/Terminator and you can get into a discussion/conversation about how much percent of super powers does he have as compared to whoever is the superhero flavor of the moment, or if he has them 100% of the time or not, which is what I think is the whole point of what you dislike about supernatural powers in the first place. It trivializes it.

To keep it vague and undefined makes it unknowable. And human beings biggest fear as a cognizant entities is the fear of the unknown and the unknowable, and DEATH is that ultimate unknown.
 
I really don't want to rehash it all over again here,  ;) we are not even in the right thread.

But, OK, briefly, I think Harmonica was killed as a kid right after he stumbled or was kicked away by his brother hanging from the bell just like he did with Timmy McBain. Why would Frank change his MO.

So now you can ask well why did it take so long to settle accounts, I'll answer, maybe something about Frank killing the McBains, particularly the McBain children got "Destiny", "Karma", "the Grim Reaper", "God", "The Great Spirit", whatever to switch gears and deal with him in the way depicted.



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 07:27:09 AM
Christ, did you ever go through the ORIGINAL post about this subject??????????????



yes I did, a while ago  :)


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 07:50:40 AM
... and now I just went back and read the entire original thread. Only one post (Reply #26) attempts to address the issue of why Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles, and doesn't do so all that satisfactorily IMO...



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 08:40:11 AM
... and now I just went back and read the entire original thread. Only one post (Reply #26) attempts to address the issue of why Harmonica needs to follow Wobbles, and doesn't do so all that satisfactorily IMO...



IYO, yes because you are trying to qualify or give parameters to an unknown quality.

To use a quote that Christians are fond of, "the Lord works in mysterious ways".

OK, now address the issue of the miraculous disappearing gunshot wound.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 09:55:38 AM
The miraculous disappearing gunshot wound is for me as already mentioned not more than a simple continuity error.

The bruises in Harmonica's face are due to a cut scene another one.



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 10:44:47 AM
The miraculous disappearing gunshot wound is for me as already mentioned not more than a simple continuity error.

The bruises in Harmonica's face are due to a cut scene another one.



Simple huh???? Sergio Leone, make a continuity error? I just can't buy that, not after his previous work. If you are going to talk up this film as the Greatest Western ever made, to any serious Western aficionados, they would immediately point that out as a major flaw, if you had no explanation, you can't just say ignore it, or counter with other films flaws.

For me that would seriously make it difficult to argue. The "Something to do with Death" angle negates that problem nicely.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 10:50:59 AM
IYO, yes because you are trying to qualify or give parameters to an unknown quality.

To use a quote that Christians are fond of, "the Lord works in mysterious ways".

OK, now address the issue of the miraculous disappearing gunshot wound.

true it is an unknown quality; however, we see he doesn't have use of that quality in that scene with Frank and Wobbles. (unless you say that he actually did not need to follow Wobbles to find Frank; rather he only followed him to Frank and spied on their conversation to find out if Wobbles had indeed set up Harmonica. and once he found out that he had, Harmonica was going to kill Wobbles himself before Frank beat him to it).

I agree that it is weird that the hole in Harmonica's jacket from the gunshot isn't seen after the trading post. And I really, really do not wanna believe there was such a bad continuity error. but if the answer is this "something to do with death" quality in Harmonica, how do you explain the  hole being there at the trading post (presumably AFTER he acquired his "qualities," but not later?) Shouldn't it have gone away right after he had risen?

I think there will definitely be loose ends no matter what side you take here


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 12:20:52 PM
Quote
I think there will definitely be loose ends no matter what side you take here

True.  O0


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 12:24:46 PM
Simple huh???? Sergio Leone, make a continuity error? I just can't buy that, not after his previous work. If you are going to talk up this film as the Greatest Western ever made, to any serious Western aficionados, they would immediately point that out as a major flaw, if you had no explanation, you can't just say ignore it, or counter with other films flaws.



Well, it's only the 2nd greatest western. ;)

But, yeah, I assume it this that simple. And it is for me only an absolutely minor flaw without any importance for the quality of the film. I have never noticed this missing wound in 30 years. Not even on the big theatre screen, where I have seen the film about 15 times.
But I also never wondered about the bruises.
And none of all my friends who viewed the film with me had ever uttered the idea that Harmonica could be a ghost.

And that Frank doesn't shoot the young Harmonica can have many reasons. About every reason everyone can think about with a little fantasy.
When Frank shoots Timmy McBain the scene is done in a way that you can say that Frank is sorry about killing him, and that he only shoots him because his name was accidentally dropped by one of his men. In fact the scene does imply this, but it wouldn't make much sense because he has killed the other McBain children for the reason that there shouldn't be an heir. I view this also as a illogical discrepancy, but it doesn't hurt the film for me.

Apart from the usual supernatural abilities (like the shooting abilities) nearly every SW hero has, I don't see any real reason to view him as a ghost. I personally don't like the idea, and I think it's not a good idea to interpret the film this way, but it seems there is at least enough evidence to build such a theory.

Harmonica has maybe a phantom like quality, but he ain't a phantom for me.

I have read, if you look closely, you might be able to view in the background a car driving through in the last scenes of GBU. Now, what does that mean? ;)



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 12:33:18 PM
Quote
I have read, if you look closely, you might be able to view in the background a car driving through in the last scenes of GBU. Now, what does that mean?

It means apples & oranges, to me, one's a definite missed flaw (the car) not caught until the availability to freeze frame the film, the other would be an inexcusable continuity error, the director, the costumer, the makeup artist, the screenwriter-continuity editor, all would have had to have forgotten that Harmonica had a gunshot wound to the shoulder, it just doesn't compute for me.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 12:44:57 PM
It means apples & oranges, to me, one's a definite missed flaw (the car) not caught until the availability to freeze frame the film, the other would be an inexcusable continuity error, the director, the costumer, the makeup artist, the screenwriter-continuity editor, all would have had to have forgotten that Harmonica had a gunshot wound to the shoulder, it just doesn't compute for me.

I had set a smiley, which means it wasn't meant serious.

But I don't think that it is inexcusable if it was a continuity error. Such errors had never had any importance for me.

But it seems you really seem to believe in this supernatural idea, and seeing in it much more than a mental exercise.

But then again, and forgive me as it surely was mentioned before, what was then the explanation for Harmonica's wound? Which was shown in a close up, so that this must have been important.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 12:57:04 PM
Quote
But then again, and forgive me as it surely was mentioned before, what was then the explanation for Harmonica's wound? Which was shown in a close up, so that this must have been important.

Exactly the point, why show it, then entirely forget about it, like I said it doesn't make any sense, in that context.

The way I've come to grips with it is Harmonica is not what he seems, he has something to do with DEATH, and that something is unknowable, a mystery, something we all may know eventually but only at the point of dying.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 01:20:52 PM
I understand this, but I still don't understand how you explain his wound if you want to take his ghost nature for real.

The scenes of his wounding (bullet slams him to the ground, nursing the wound, bullet hole in the trading post) are obviously there and no one can miss them, while the disappearing of the wound isn't shown in a way that the audience is forced to notice it, and it is easily to explain with a continuity error. I think there were worse errors in other films.



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 01:37:19 PM
I understand this, but I still don't understand how you explain his wound if you want to take his ghost nature for real.

The scenes of his wounding (bullet slams him to the ground, nursing the wound, bullet hole in the trading post) are obviously there and no one can miss them, while the disappearing of the wound isn't shown in a way that the audience is forced to notice it, and it is easily to explain with a continuity error. I think there were worse errors in other films.



I think the the problem stems from you wanting to define it in absolutes. You are saying that if he's supernatural, then the bullet shouldn't effect him. I don't think he's a a supernatural being, but I also don't think he's human, he belongs to that ancient mythological race of something, maybe for want of a better term a mythological demi-god.

Quote
while the disappearing of the wound isn't shown in a way that the audience is forced to notice it

huh? that is the first thing I noticed when he removed his clothing at the well.

Quote
easily to explain with a continuity error

Only easy if you don't want to accept the possibility of him being something other than what he seems.



Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 01:54:47 PM
As I said, I never noticed it in 30 years and over 20 viewings. And none of my friends ever wondered about it.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 02:16:47 PM
As I said, I never noticed it in 30 years and over 20 viewings. And none of my friends ever wondered about it.

Well I guess you'll be aware of it now  ;)


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: stanton on May 15, 2011, 03:41:31 PM
I think so ...


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 04:16:36 PM
1. While I have serious doubts about the "s/t 2 do w/ death" theory, I do agree with cj that it's not all or nothing; ie. someone can have certain stdwd/supernatural abilities but that does not mean that he becomes God; I mean, that would make the movie kinda dumb, right? Therefore, in theory at least, I can accept that Harmonica has eg. a supernatural-like power over time and space, but not that he is immune from every earthly force. However, I believe that whatever stdwd powers he does have, he should have completely. ie. if he is not bound by time and space and always is in just the right place at the right time, then it would make no sense for him to have to follow Wobbles to find Frank. (I have not yet seen a satisfactory answer to that question). To put it formally: having Power X does not necessarily mean he has Power Y; but I cannot agree that he can have Power X only part of the time.

2. There is absolutely no way that the disappearance of the bullet hole in Harmonica's jacket can be a "simple" continuity error. Considering that there is a big focus on it at the end of the opening scene and in the trading post, that would have to be one of the most glaring continuity errors of all-time... I have more respect for Sergio Leone and his crew than that...

3. cj: assuming the stdwd theory is correct: why do you say Harmonica's "death and resurrection" moment happened when he was a child, rather than in the opening scene? What is the significance of Harmonica being shot and resurrected in the opening scene?


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2011, 07:02:31 PM
And again, I'll ask you to explain the disappearance of the gunshot wound on Harmonica just a few days after the confrontation at Cattle Corner (cuz to me it seems that if it disappears that instantly blows up the normal human being theory).  lol.

Probably the same explanation as Arnie in Commando, Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sarah in Terminator 2... heroes (or anti-heroes) don't get killed unless a bullet goes straight to their head. And sometimes, not even then.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 07:04:37 PM
Quote
3. cj: assuming the stdwd theory is correct: why do you say Harmonica's "death and resurrection" moment happened when he was a child, rather than in the opening scene?


If Frank kills Timmy because one of his henchmen mention his name, Harmonica it stands to reason would most assuredly have known who he was at his brothers hanging. Its Franks MO to leave no witnesses who can identify him so Harmonica gets it just like Timmy. Look also at the way Harmonica as a child is dressed red shirt, duck pants, patch-coat. Exactly as he is dressed as Avenging Harmonica.

Quote
What is the significance of Harmonica being shot and resurrected in the opening scene?

I would suppose to show us a clue that he is not what he seems.



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 15, 2011, 07:36:01 PM
Is this a good place to bring up the theory that everything that happens after Harmonica gets shot is a dream? >:D


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 07:39:45 PM


If Frank kills Timmy because one of his henchmen mention his name, Harmonica it stands to reason would most assuredly have known who he was at his brothers hanging. Its Franks MO to leave no witnesses who can identify him so Harmonica gets it just like Timmy. Look also at the way Harmonica as a child is dressed red shirt, duck pants, patch-coat. Exactly as he is dressed as Avenging Harmonica.

I would suppose to show us a clue that he is not what he seems.



cj: mindful of your objections, I use the term "supernatural" very loosely -- just for conversations' sake --  here and throughout this thread  to refer to whatever Harmonica's status is, though a more complicated term [eg. "stdwd" or the like] may be more accurate:

I certainly do not discount the possibility of the supernatural theory. But assuming the supernatural theory is correct, I think you have to say that the death and resurrection at the end of the opening scene is the moment when he goes from human to supernatural. If you believe that he was actually killed by Frank as a kid, and the resurrection in beginning of the film is not really happening, it is just to give us a clue that there is something supernatural about him; that doesn't make much sense to me. I think that is getting more complicated than you have to get.  I think you have to say Harmonica's death occurs in the opening, unless for some reason you are forced to say that Harmonica's death occurred when he was a kid. I understand that his clothing may be similar when he is a kid; and later we see that Frank is not averse to killing children. So though there may be some basis for not discounting this possibility, I think that it is unnecessary and therefore wrong IMO to go that far. My general rule is that I don't think you should go any further than is necessary, and I don't see why that is necessary here. What is wrong with saying it occurs at the beginning


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 15, 2011, 07:52:51 PM
 
Quote
What is wrong with saying it occurs at the beginning

The alternative is what a dumb ass Frank would be in letting him live. He be leaving a definite revenge seeker alive after having him used as an instrument in own brother's hanging. I would think that again # 1 its dumb, and #2 he be always looking over his shoulder for him.



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2011, 10:36:11 PM

The alternative is what a dumb ass Frank would be in letting him live. He be leaving a definite revenge seeker alive after having him used as an instrument in own brother's hanging. I would think that again # 1 its dumb, and #2 he be always looking over his shoulder for him.



Is that your only reasoning? If so, I have to respectfully say that I cannot possibly disagree more strongly with that  ;)

Sure, it's always more "prudent" for a murderer to kill all potential revenge-seekers. But in both cinema and in life, people don't always kill (or attempt to kill) every potential revenge-seeker,  (unless you are the Sicilian top mafia guy in the town of Corleone in the beginning of The Godfather Part II)  ;)
or every killing would end up turning into a massacre. And criminals are often pretty stupid and frequently screw up.

So basically, I am supposed to believe believe that Frank killed Harmonica as a kid simply cuz we know Frank isn't averse to killing child witnesses and cuz it would be dumb for him not to have killed him? There is no way I can accept that. Particularly when we do see a sort of death & resurrection at the beginning of the film

Btw, in the first paragraph of p. 200 of Spaghetti Westerns, Frayling does mention the supernatural -- his word, cj  ;) -- aspects of Harmonica but clearly mentions the resurrection at the beginning of the film, and never says a word about the possibility that Frank killed Harmonica as  a kid. Of course, I don't mean  that Frayling is the only one with authority to interpret Leone films; I am just mentioning this as in interesting point, for whatever is worth. Everyone is free to interpret (and misinterpret ;)) Leone films in any way he/she chooses  O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 01:37:52 AM
We've been through this maaaaaaany times so far...

To me, the most amazing thing is how certain people seem to have absolutely zero imagination. I sometimes wonder how they even enjoy movies with a frame of mind like that. Not to mention, it is clear pretty much all mentioned in CJ's rationale here goes beyond somebody's subjective accommodation of dimmed, ghostly hunches. I mean, these things are all there, everybody can see them and everybody does see them, so what's the problem with accepting a deeper/different explanation of the whole thing? Especially if it doesn't radically erode the meaning of the story, if at all. The W-revenge journey/premise remains absolutely intact.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 02:13:24 AM

To me, the most amazing thing is how certain people seem to have absolutely zero imagination.

and some people seem to have very, very wild imaginations  ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 05:03:00 AM
Well what can I say, I personally, think its a much better mythic Avenging Angel type story with this interpretation .i.e., Frank is a cold blooded killer who has no reserves about not only killing a child (young Harmonica) but using that child in a horrendous way for his own amusement before doing so. Frank is good at what he does he rises to the top of his brutal profession killing various obstacles to his ambitions.

What I think, sets the whole thing in motion is Frank's killing of the McBain children, repeating then and there in spades his crime of infanticide. His original "sin" the spirit of young Harmonica becomes then the instrument of his judgment, the entity that will settle mortal accounts. That is why Frank looks so genuinely troubled and puzzled when, the answer he gets when he asks Harmonica who he is, is names "Dave Jenkins, Calder Benson, Jim Cooper and Chuck Youngblood", all dead men.

My take is that only Frank recognizes/reacts to these names because only he knows that he killed them, and no one on earth but he should know. So Harmonica, to Frank, transforms into something unknown, then and there, and the unknown  is what is ultimately feared by all men, and Frank from then to the end has that nagging fear slowly building inside him.

Now if you go with the theory that Frank left Harmonica alive, my question would be what took so long for Harmonica to find him, in that part of the Southwest. We are talking, if Harmonica is 12-15 years old at his brothers hanging, and he looks about 35-40, about 20-25 years after the fact. You would think that as soon as Harmonica became proficient with a gun he would be after his ass and that Frank would be expecting him to be, no?



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 05:16:16 AM
Of course, anything could have happened. But as a general rule, I don't like using my imagination too much unless I am forced to.  Maybe just cuz I am lazy and unimaginative  

(btw, we have to find a phrase/initials to call this theory... how about the "YHR theory"  [for "Young Harmonica Resurrected"]. I'm not good at that sort of thing but we need to find something as a quick reference, rather than continually repeating "the theory that Frank killed the young Harmonica..."  anyone have any ideas?...)


As i understand it, the YHR theory rests essentially on 3 points (please correct me if I am wrong);


a) It would have been dumb for Frank to leave a potential avenger alive;

b) we see at the McBain ranch that Frank has no qualms about shooting a kid when he deems it necessary; and

c) the old and young Harmonica wear similar clothing

IMO that is not nearly enough of a reason to force me to accept a theory that is kind of out there....

RE: a) in formal logic: "It would have been very unwise for A to not commit action X; therefore, we must believe that A indeed committed X." (ok, I am terrible at formal logic; I flunked high school math. But still,) it seems like a dubious assertion to me  ;)...  

RE: b) Frank kills Timmy cuz one of Frank's men accidentally says Frank's name, ie. Frank wanted to prevent Timmy from telling the authorities "one of the men was named Frank." However, according to CJ's contention that it was Frank's MO to kill would-be avengers, why would Frank only decide to shoot Timmy after Frank's identity is revealed? Shouldn't he have shot him anyway, cuz Timmy may have grown up to be an avenger?
(On the other hand, you can answer this simply by saying that i) Timmy was much younger than the young Harmonica; hence much less likely to have strong memories of the event and want to take vengeance; and ii) Frank was counting on nobody (including would-be avengers) finding out he was responsible for the McBain massacre; he believed Cheyenne would be blamed for it, (and presumably either strung up for it or chased by vengeance-seekers or bounty killers). So he only felt threatened once his identity was revealed.

RE: c) I just watched the scene with the arch again, and realized for the first time that indeed, the young and old Harmonica wear the same clothing. IF the YHR theory is correct, (which I am in no way agreeing to), this is the best argument for it.
However, I think it’s just that Harmonica has sort of become like a Miss Havisham-type character (from Dickens's Great Expectations: she was a woman whose finace’ abandoned her at the altar; she was so traumatized that her life “stopped” at the moment she found out he abandoned her, eg. she stopped all the clocks in her home at that moment; spent the rest of her life wearing the wedding gown and sitting on the same chair  that she was on when she found out the news). Likewise, Harmonica’s brother’s death has obviously haunted Harmonica; his clothing and harmonica symbolize how his life “stopped” at that moment; it is only when he finally gets his vengeance on Frank that he can he be freed from this trauma and is he able to tear the harmonica off his neck, as he has no use for it anymore. Similarly, he always wore the same clothing cuz his life never moved on from that moment, in an emotional sense



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 05:25:08 AM
Cheyenne says Harmonica has ''something to do with death'' (inside him), to Jill, on the top of everything else written here, by us in favor of the more paranormal interpretation of the journey, tell me, why do you think that line is there in first place? Just another 'mistake'?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 05:27:49 AM
You left out that only Harmonica knows the names of the dead men that only Frank knows that he killed.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 05:32:52 AM
Cheyenne says Harmonica has ''something to do with death'' (inside him), to Jill, on the top of everything else written here, by us in favor of the more paranormal interpretation of the journey, tell me, why do you think that line is there in first place? Just another 'mistake'?

I am not arguing against the supernatural theory. All I am saying is that if the supernatural theory is correct, then the moment of Harmonica's death and resurrection is at the end of the first scene at Cattle Corner Station. However, I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 05:39:58 AM
You left out that only Harmonica knows the names of the dead men that only Frank knows that he killed.

1) Again, I am not arguing here that the stdwd theory is incorrect; I am just saying that if it is correct, I believe Harmonica's death (and subsequent resurrection) are after he is shot by the Woody Strode character in the opening scene; I am disagreeing with your contention that Harmonica was killed as a child at the arch

2) I think it is purely speculation to say that only Frank is supposed to know that he killed those men...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 05:50:45 AM
I am not arguing against the supernatural theory. All I am saying is that if the supernatural theory is correct, then the moment of Harmonica's death and resurrection is at the end of the first scene at Cattle Corner Station. However, I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...

I don't understand this... You think he was killed (and resurrected) at the train station, by Frank's gunslingers? That doesn't really fit into the STDWD theory...

Harmonica was probably killed as a child, in the scene at the arch (spawning throughout the movie). Don't know when he came back, in flesh and blood, but it doesn't really matter - he seems to know all there is to know about Frank.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 16, 2011, 05:53:11 AM
Now if you go with the theory that Frank left Harmonica alive, my question would be what took so long for Harmonica to find him, in that part of the Southwest. We are talking, if Harmonica is 12-15 years old at his brothers hanging, and he looks about 35-40, about 20-25 years after the fact.
Hmmm, I'm not so sure about that. The Golden Spike was driven in 1869, and if Morton's transcontinental adventure is supposed to be analogous, then by your reckoning Frank hung Harmonica's brother in 1844--possible, but an awful early date for desperados to be inhabiting Monument Valley. I'd be more inclined to go with 1854, and the reason Harmonica couldn't catch up with Frank any earlier than he did was because he, like so many, got caught up in the War Between the States. Why does Harmonica look so old then? Well, hard living can do that to a man. He may look 40, but he's really a very weary 30.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 05:53:49 AM
Quote
I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...

No I'm not saying that at all, I'm saying Frank killed young Harmonica, his "resurrection" takes place either at the moment Frank decides he is going to, or when he kills the McBain children repeating his infanticide. Between Harmonica's brother's hanging and either of those moments is when Harmonica "comes back" as they say.

Another way to put to make it absolutely clear, Between Harmonica's brother's hanging and the decision to kill Mcbain's children Harmonica is D-E-A-D.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 05:54:53 AM
1) Again, I am not arguing here that the stdwd theory is incorrect; I am just saying that if it is correct, I believe Harmonica's death (and subsequent resurrection) are after he is shot by the Woody Strode character in the opening scene; I am disagreeing with your contention that Harmonica was killed as a child at the arch

Yeah, but that doesn't resonate with the STDWD theory, as CJ says: Frank was terrified when Harmonica told him the names of the people he killed. The feel and music in those bits of scenes wouldn't be as that by mistake.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 05:57:06 AM
CJ: RE: your earlier point of why Harmonica waited this long to go after Frank: that is a good point, but that is one of those things I think you have to chalk up to the language of cinema. I know this sounds as a cop-out, and I know you often try to make the language of cinema as close as possible to the language of life, and I completely sympathize with the sentiment: I want movies to be as realistic as possible. But the fact is that there is a certain suspension of disbelief that is necessary when watching movies, a certain faith in the language of cinema. Ok, now that my ridiculous shmaltzy speech is done.....

There could be all sorts of answers for that. (Did you ask the same question in FAFDM, ie. why Col. Mortimer waited that long to go after Indio?) It's not all that easy to find a wanted criminal. I am sure that neither Indio nor Frank had a publicly listed phone number; heck, Frank had a hideout in Indian country.

Furthermore, Frank's job, presumably over many decades, was as facilitator/hitman for Mr. Morton and his fictional railroad, which stretched from the Atlantic all the way to Arizona at the time of the film. Frank had likely spent the past several decades traveling all over the country with Mr. Morton, to "remove small obstacles from he track... travel(ing) a long way..." blowing holes in Morton's problems. There is no indication that Frank had been chilling for years in the Southwest in plain sight.

and btw, I think Harmonica looks a lot older than 35-40. Bronson himself was born on Nov. 3, 1921, which would have made him about 46 at the time of filming; I think he looks even older than that


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 05:58:58 AM
And we're forgetting Harmonica has been making appointments with Frank long before the McBains were massacred. Who knows for how long? Perhaps he enjoyed playing with Frankie's nerves, but the death of the kids triggered in him the need to finally see the job through, once and for all.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 16, 2011, 06:00:53 AM
CJ: RE: your earlier point of why Harmonica waited this long to go after Frank

See my post above.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 06:04:15 AM
Hmmm, I'm not so sure about that. The Golden Spike was driven in 1869, and if Morton's transcontinental adventure is supposed to be analogous, then by your reckoning Frank hung Harmonica's brother in 1844--possible, but an awful early date for desperados to be inhabiting Monument Valley. I'd be more inclined to go with 1854, and the reason Harmonica couldn't catch up with Frank any earlier than he did was because he, like so many, got caught up in the War Between the States. Why does Harmonica look so old then? Well, hard living can do that to a man. He may look 40, but he's really a very weary 30.

Oh, Dave you disappoint me with this, I though you were on top of this, lol.

The railroad is not the "first" transcontinental RR, its based on the Santa Fe which was built in the 1880's, in fact I posted the original route survey map of the railroad and its title "The Atlantic & Pacific RR", ring a bell?, and low and behold the stations on the tickets that Jack Elam holds are "actual" stations/sidings along the route.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4166.0 (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4166.0)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 06:28:21 AM
Is there another thread where this topic is discussed more deeply? The reason I ask is that I always assumed that this sticky thread was THE place for discussion of all aspects of the supernatural theory; but now, I am learning for the first time the possibility that I completely misunderstood the timeline of the stdwd theory, ie. I was completely unaware of the dead young Harmonica theory; I just read this entire thread from beginning to end yesterday, and I do not recall seeing anything discussing (in any serious depth) this possibility of Harmonica being killed as a child by Frank... so if you can direct me to another thread  that I can read where this issue is discussed more deeply I would really appreciate it, cuz I'd hate to waste more of your time with my ignorance of topics that may have been discussed in-depth years ago  ;)

2 quick points I wanna mention on this topic:

1. If any of you have Frayling's Spaghetti Westerns handy, read the first paragraph of p. 200 I'd be interested to hear whether Frayling's discussion of Harmonica's supernatural character fits with yours'

2. CJ: I am surprised you didn't mention what may be your best proof of all: Harmonica's clothing seem to have grown along with him! When you mentioned his clothing being the same as when he was a kid, my initial response above theory was that he was traumatized by his bro's death and his world "stopped" at that moment like Miss Havisham; but I realized that this only works for an adult who need not buy new clothing but can wear the same actual clothes for years and years. But that is impossible for Harmonica, cuz he would have outgrown 'em! That is a very serious point, unless you believe he went to the store and consistently bought the same clothes for 30 years...  ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 07:22:13 AM
Is there another thread where this topic is discussed more deeply? The reason I ask is that I always assumed that this sticky thread was THE place for discussion of all aspects of the supernatural theory; but now, I am learning for the first time the possibility that I completely misunderstood the timeline of the stdwd theory, ie. I was completely unaware of the dead young Harmonica theory; I just read this entire thread from beginning to end yesterday, and I do not recall seeing anything discussing (in any serious depth) this possibility of Harmonica being killed as a child by Frank... so if you can direct me to another thread  that I can read where this issue is discussed more deeply I would really appreciate it, cuz I'd hate to waste more of your time with my ignorance of topics that may have been discussed in-depth years ago  ;)

2 quick points I wanna mention on this topic:

1. If any of you have Frayling's Spaghetti Westerns handy, read the first paragraph of p. 200 I'd be interested to hear whether Frayling's discussion of Harmonica's supernatural character fits with yours'

2. CJ: I am surprised you didn't mention what may be your best proof of all: Harmonica's clothing seem to have grown along with him! When you mentioned his clothing being the same as when he was a kid, my initial response above theory was that he was traumatized by his bro's death and his world "stopped" at that moment like Miss Havisham; but I realized that this only works for an adult who need not buy new clothing but can wear the same actual clothes for years and years. But that is impossible for Harmonica, cuz he would have outgrown 'em! That is a very serious point, unless you believe he went to the store and consistently bought the same clothes for 30 years...  ;)

We probably discussed somewhere on the OUTITW board in some un-related topic like we started to on DYS soundtrack and never gave it its own thread, then never retrieved it to put it in the correct thread, (me, Dust Devil & Banjo are fairly recent added to the ranks of moderators) feel free to go thru them all you never know what you'll find, ps if you do find it I can merge it back into this one O0

As far as Frayling, there are a minor few faux pas in his seminal work so be aware of that, check for a STDWD book thread to see what I mean.  O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 07:32:54 AM
We probably discussed somewhere on the OUTITW board in some un-related topic like we started to on DYS soundtrack and never gave it its own thread, then never retrieved it to put it in the correct thread, (me, Dust Devil & Banjo are fairly recent added to the ranks of moderators) feel free to go thru them all you never know what you'll find, ps if you do find it I can merge it back into this one O0

As far as Frayling, there are a minor few faux pas in his seminal work so be aware of that, check for a STDWD book thread to see what I mean.  O0

before making a new thread, I always check the sticky threads plus a few recent pages of newest threads, but I must admit that I do not go back and check all 50+ pages of old threads...  ;)

RE: Frayling: nobody's perfect, though among mere mortals, he is my hero. He opened up the world of Leone to me (and probably millions of others...)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 09:17:54 AM
See my post above.

Both you and DJ are right the resurrection was probably sometime before the massacre at McBain's (i.e., the appointments) how long, we don't quite know, and like you said the infanticide probably triggered the final speed up to the denouement.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 16, 2011, 01:15:26 PM
Oh, Dave you disappoint me with this, I though you were on top of this, lol.

The railroad is not the "first" transcontinental RR, its based on the Santa Fe which was built in the 1880's, in fact I posted the original route survey map of the railroad and its title "The Atlantic & Pacific RR", ring a bell?, and low and behold the stations on the tickets that Jack Elam holds are "actual" stations/sidings along the route.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4166.0 (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4166.0)
Oops, right, it's coming back to me now. Sorry, I guess I had a senior moment. Let me call an "Emily Litella" on the play. :-[


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 06:36:57 PM
Both you and DJ are right the resurrection was probably sometime before the massacre at McBain's (i.e., the appointments) how long, we don't quite know, and like you said the infanticide probably triggered the final speed up to the denouement.

But wait a minute do they actually say more than one appointment, or does Frank just say "So you're the one that makes appointments" I think it may only be that one appointment. You wouldn't say in normal informal speech "so you're the one that makes an appointment"?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 16, 2011, 06:55:05 PM
when Frank says "so you're the one who makes appointments," I never took that to mean anything besides the appointment at Cattle Corner. But then again, we've established that I have zero imagination, so who knows...  ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 16, 2011, 07:39:34 PM
when Frank says "so you're the one who makes appointments," I never took that to mean anything besides the appointment at Cattle Corner. But then again, we've established that I have zero imagination, so who knows...  ;)

If that is the case then I'll stick to Harmonica "resurrecting" the moment Frank decides to kill the McBain family.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2011, 01:03:19 AM
A couple more points, cj:

1. Why is Harmonica's gunshot hole visible in the trading post scene? I understand the theory that he is not affected by all the rules that most humans are cuz of his "stdwd" qualities; hence (I believe) the hole is not seen after the trading post scene. However, why should it be visible in the trading post? Do you say that his stdwd qualities haven't taken effect yet in the trading post?

2. One of  the reasons you mentioned in support of your theories is that if Harmonica was never killed before this movie, then he would have tried to take revenge on Frank long ago, not wait till decades later, cuz you say it wouldn't have been easy for Frank to have remained hidden in the American Southwest for all those years.
I am just wondering why this issue bothers you so much: Frank was presumably Morton's hitman for decades, traveling all across the country with his gang, "clearing the tracks" for Morton and his company. I am sure he did not have a listed number in the phone book. It wouldn't have been that easy for Harmonica to have found and killed him. (It is reasonable to say that perhaps Frank may have even been gone from Arizona for many decades, and has only returned now that the railroad is extending past Flagstone and his help is needed again). To be sure, Harmonica is also a drifter who has probably done his own traveling, and probably hasn't spent the last 30+ on a farm. But I do not think it would have necessarily been that easy for Harmonica to have found Frank as soon as he began looking for him.

I am not trying to argue here with your general theory about Harmonica's having been killed as a kid, you may well have other good proofs for that. I am just saying that the specific fact that Harmonica hasn't "made an appointment" with Frank till now doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother you  ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 17, 2011, 02:46:46 AM
But wait a minute do they actually say more than one appointment, or does Frank just say "So you're the one that makes appointments" I think it may only be that one appointment. You wouldn't say in normal informal speech "so you're the one that makes an appointment"?

I think Frank says: ''So, you're the one who has been making appointments...''

Somebody check the DVD.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 17, 2011, 02:53:12 AM
No, you're right: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz1hmBNBDns


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 17, 2011, 03:45:06 AM
A couple fo more points, cj:

1. Why is Harmonica's gunshot hole visible in the trading post scene? I understand the theory that he is not affected by all the rules that most human are cuz of his "stdwd" qualities; hence (I believe) the hole is not seen after the trading post scene. However, why should it be visible in the trading post? Do you say that his stdwd qualities haven't taken effect yet in the trading post?

2. One of  the reasons you mentioned in support of your theories is that if Harmonica was never killed before this movie, then he would have tried to take revenge on Frank long ago, not wait till decades later, cuz you ay it wouldn't have been easy for Frank to have remained hidden in the American Southwest for all those years.
I am just wondering why this issue bothers you so much: Frank was presumably Morton's hitman for decades, traveling all across the country with his gang, "clearing the tracks" for Morton and his company. I am sure he did not have a listed number in the phone book. It wouldn't have been that easy for Harmonica to have found and killed him. (It is reasonable to say that perhaps Frank may have even been gone from Arizona for many decades, and has only returned now that the railroad is extending past Flagstone and his help is needed again). To be sure, Harmonica is also a drifter who has probably done his own traveling, and probably hasn't spent the last 30+ on a farm. But I do not think it would have necessarily been that easy for Harmonica to have found Frank as soon as he began looking for him.

I am not trying to argue here with your general theory about Harmonica's having been killed as a kid, you may well have other good proofs for that. I am just saying that the specific fact that Harmonica hasn't "made an appointment" with Frank till now doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother you  ;)

1). Well to me, obviously, we are not dealing with the normal. To take your inquiry line of thought to its logical conclusion why wouldn't he heal immediately like say a "terminator". Or the bullets ricochet off him like Superman. For that matter why wouldn't the bullet just pass clean through him and not effect him?

Because the rules are different for this film as they are for any cinematic film, Harmonica has STDWD, he is like a demi-god of ancient mythology, he says it himself he is of an "Ancient" race. So part of him is obviously still human and that part is effected by bullets and the healing obviously isn't immediate.

2). Its possible, but implausible to me, and it does bother me because if you look at it that way it then greatly diminishes the inevitable STDWD "judgment day" quality of Harmonica and would highly inflate both his "human" and fallible qualities making him a more normal character, and it in turn then also highly inflates Frank as some kind of master "Moriarty" type criminal when in fact he's more of a brutal murdering thug.


PS. If you want something along the lines of the type of back story you are creating for Harmonica i.e.,

(Frank was presumably Morton's hitman for decades, traveling all across the country with his gang, "clearing the tracks" for Morton and his company. I am sure he did not have a listed number in the phone book. It wouldn't have been that easy for Harmonica to have found and killed him. (It is reasonable to say that perhaps Frank may have even been gone from Arizona for many decades, and has only returned now that the railroad is extending past Flagstone and his help is needed again). To be sure, Harmonica is also a drifter who has probably done his own traveling, and probably hasn't spent the last 30+ on a farm. But I do not think it would have necessarily been that easy for Harmonica to have found Frank as soon as he began looking for him.)

Rent Nevada Smith with Steve McQueen


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2011, 05:57:39 AM
1). Well to me, obviously, we are not dealing with the normal. To take your inquiry line of thought to its logical conclusion why wouldn't he heal immediately like say a "terminator". Or the bullets ricochet off him like Superman. For that matter why wouldn't the bullet just pass clean through him and not effect him?

Because the rules are different for this film as they are for any cinematic film, Harmonica has STDWD, he is like a demi-god of ancient mythology, he says it himself he is of an "Ancient" race. So part of him is obviously still human and that part is effected by bullets and the healing obviously isn't immediate.

2). Its possible, but implausible to me, and it does bother me because if you look at it that way it then greatly diminishes the inevitable STDWD "judgment day" quality of Harmonica and would highly inflate both his "human" and fallible qualities making him a more normal character, and it in turn then also highly inflates Frank as some kind of master "Moriarty" type criminal when in fact he's more of a brutal murdering thug.


PS. If you want something along the lines of the type of back story you are creating for Harmonica i.e.,

(Frank was presumably Morton's hitman for decades, traveling all across the country with his gang, "clearing the tracks" for Morton and his company. I am sure he did not have a listed number in the phone book. It wouldn't have been that easy for Harmonica to have found and killed him. (It is reasonable to say that perhaps Frank may have even been gone from Arizona for many decades, and has only returned now that the railroad is extending past Flagstone and his help is needed again). To be sure, Harmonica is also a drifter who has probably done his own traveling, and probably hasn't spent the last 30+ on a farm. But I do not think it would have necessarily been that easy for Harmonica to have found Frank as soon as he began looking for him.)

Rent Nevada Smith with Steve McQueen


1. I agree that having stdwd is not all or nothing; they can be "semi-human" or whatever, possessing some but not all qualities that have stdwd. But whatever those qualities are, I think they should be clear and consistent, so as to allow for suspension of disbelief. Take eg. The Shining: we know the kid has the ability to see ghosts; and as the film progresses and the mom and dad stay cooped up in there for longer and longer, they start getting that ability too. But once you accept the basic premise that there is something supernatural involved, the "Shining" aka 'supernatural' parts of the film doesn't fool you or play tricks on you; it is pretty consistent.

On the other hand, if I buy your theories about Harmonica, then it seems to be that the film does not intend to give us much consistency or clarity about his status; it basically comes down to: he has whatever powers Donati and Leone decided he should have at that moment in the film. I have a hard time accepting that. And that makes it much more difficult for me to have the necessary suspension of disbelief for the 2 hours and 45 minutes.

If you disagree with me, let me ask you this: Can you please, clearly and to the best of your understanding, explain to me precisely which stdwd powers Harmonica has; and in which matters he is completely bound by laws of humans?

2. I tried renting Nevada Smith (based on your comments in a different post, btw!); but unfortunately the dvd's availability on Netflix is "Unknown," (Ie. Netflix does not have it!) So my only option is to buy the dvd. Is it worth purchasing? Ie. is it the kind of film that is both really good, and the type that I would be interested in watching multiple times?

Thanks  :)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 17, 2011, 06:08:31 AM
Quote
If you disagree with me, let me ask you this: Can you please, clearly and to the best of your understanding, explain to me precisely which stdwd powers Harmonica has; and in which aspects he is completely bound by laws of humans?

I disagree, and NO its unknowable, deal with it.

Let me ask you this.... define "SOMETHING"?

or

tell me exactly what happens when you die?

As far as Nevada Smith its one long revenge tale, nothing supernatural, its only worth buying used from Amazon, it was the last American Western I saw before I saw my first Leone Western (FAFDM) and I though it was cool, little did I know.  O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2011, 06:19:16 AM
I disagree, and NO its unknowable, deal with it.

Let me ask you this.... define "SOMETHING"?

or

tell me exactly what happens when you die?

As far as Nevada Smith its one long revenge tale, nothing supernatural, its only worth buying used from Amazon, it was the last American Western I saw before I saw my first Leone Western (FAFDM) and I though it was cool, little did I know.  O0

I agree that it is possible that Harmonica has certain qualities that humans don't have, while retaining other human qualities. But it's gotta be somewhat internally consistent.

Sorry if I am not making myself clear; what I am essentially saying is that I am willing to suspend my disbelief and believe in a new set of rules, but only if those rules are followed coherently.

Eg.  Let me quote a few paragraphs from Roger Ebert's review of The Shining: (btw, I highly recommend reading the entire review on that film; it is great. Here is the link http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060618/REVIEWS08/606180302/1023)
But I will paste here a few specific paragraphs I want to focus on; the final one is the most important:



But there is a deleted scene from "The Shining" (1980) that casts Wendy's reliability in a curious light. Near the end of the film, on a frigid night, Jack chases Danny into the labyrinth on the hotel grounds. His son escapes, and Jack, already wounded by a baseball bat, staggers, falls and is seen the next day, dead, his face frozen into a ghastly grin. He is looking up at us from under lowered brows, in an angle Kubrick uses again and again in his work. Here is the deletion, reported by the critic Tim Dirks: "A two-minute explanatory epilogue was cut shortly after the film's premiere. It was a hospital scene with Wendy talking to the hotel manager; she is told that searchers were unable to locate her husband's body."

If Jack did indeed freeze to death in the labyrinth, of course his body was found -- and sooner rather than later, since Dick Hallorann alerted the forest rangers to serious trouble at the hotel. If Jack's body was not found, what happened to it? Was it never there? Was it absorbed into the past, and does that explain Jack's presence in that final photograph of a group of hotel partygoers in 1921? Did Jack's violent pursuit of his wife and child exist entirely in Wendy's imagination, or Danny's, or theirs?

The one observer who seems trustworthy at all times is Dick Hallorann, but his usefulness ends soon after his midwinter return to the hotel. That leaves us with a closed-room mystery: In a snowbound hotel, three people descend into versions of madness or psychic terror, and we cannot depend on any of them for an objective view of what happens. It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing.

Yes, it is possible to understand some of the scenes of hallucination. When Jack thinks he is seeing other people, there is always a mirror present; he may be talking with himself. When Danny sees the little girls and the rivers of blood, he may be channeling the past tragedy. When Wendy thinks her husband has gone mad, she may be correct, even though her perception of what happens may be skewed by psychic input from her son, who was deeply scarred by his father's brutality a few years earlier. But what if there is no body at the end?

Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue. It pulled one rug too many out from under the story. At some level, it is necessary for us to believe the three members of the Torrance family are actually residents in the hotel during that winter, whatever happens or whatever they think happens.




Of course, I don't mean to compare The Shining to STDWD. I just mean to say that I am willing believe in a new set of rules for the duration of a movie, but I have to understand in a certain sense what they are and that they are basically being followed; not that the rules are essentially whatever the writer decides they should be at the moment.

But heck, anytime I think I am confused, I just take the easy way out and refer to the end of OUATIA; specifically, the end of the scene in Debra's dressing room, and the shot of Noodles looking back and forth from the disappearing garbage truck to the emerging cars of drunken revelers... Life and cinema, merging into one....  Beautiful? Hopefully. Coherent? Possibly not. Enjoyable? Well, that depends on the filmmaker.
Viva Leone!

 ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2011, 06:53:28 AM
... life was so much simpler when I didn't know anything about "supernatural" theories.
I just thought that Harmonica was a "normal" avenger, a tormented man walking around for 30 years haunted by the memory of his brother's death; and the harmonica was the symbol of his anguish he was walking around with for all those years, captured beautifully by the haunted tune played by Harmonica and by Morricone's harmonica theme.
 When he kills Frank, he can finally tear off the harmonica, symbolizing that he is finally freeing himself of that all that torment. I think Bronson was cast perfectly; there is a certain melancholiness about his face, especially when he has the tight closeups in the final duel, wonderfully projecting the state of anguish he has lived in.

Though I am (reluctantly) beginning to come around to believe that the "supernatural" theory may be corect, I still don't understand why Leone had to put that in there; I think the sory could have worked just fine without it. But oh well....

(ok, I know I just used repeated the words "torment," "haunted," and "anguished" way too many times than should be allowed in 2 paragraphs; but there are only so many synonyms I can use here. I think that coming up with those 3 was a pretty good  ;))


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 17, 2011, 11:23:02 AM
... life was so much simpler when I didn't know anything about "supernatural" theories.
I just thought that Harmonica was a "normal" avenger, a tormented man walking around for 30 years haunted by the memory of his brother's death; and the harmonica was the symbol of his anguish he was walking around with for all those years, captured beautifully by the haunted tune played by Harmonica and by Morricone's harmonica theme.
 When he kills Frank, he can finally off the harmonica, symbolizing that he is finally freeing himself of that all that torment.
That puts it well, I think.

I'd add that Harmonica, although he started out as an avenger of his brother, ends up being more than that. In tracking Frank he has discovered all the other men Frank has killed, all the Dave Jenkinses of the world, if you will. He therefore adds their names to what amounts to a class action vengeance, so that when Harmonica delivers justice it is not only for his brother alone but for all Frank's victims.

If one wants to juice things up with supernatural theories one is free to, but they aren't necessary.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 17, 2011, 02:32:40 PM
Quote
If one wants to juice things up with supernatural theories one is free to, but they aren't necessary.

Unless you are asked to explain the disappearing bullet wound.  ???


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 17, 2011, 03:02:10 PM
Unless you are asked to explain the disappearing bullet wound.  ???

Some might still call it a minor continuity error ...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2011, 03:12:57 PM
If you believe it is a continuity error, it would be helpful to know in what order the scenes were filmed....

btw, I am generally one who refrains from any wild explanations of movies; I think simplest is always best, unless one is absolutely forced to take a deeper meaning (Dust Devil would call it having "zero imagination"; I wear that label with pride :)) However, in this case, I think it is a biiiiiiig stretch to say there was that kind of fuck up in the continuity....


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 17, 2011, 03:46:45 PM
Quote
However, in this case, I think it is a biiiiiiig stretch to say there was that kind of fuck up in the continuity....

I'd have to agree, too many irons in that fire.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2011, 02:24:46 AM
Actually you don't see the wound disappear, but only the tiny hole in the coat. In the scene at the well you still see a hole in his shirt in the shoulder region.
If he is able to repair his coat with god like powers, why he don't repair his shirt? And why he don't repairs it immediately at the station.

So, here is the most simple explanation: Harmonica has a spare coat, cause as he always wears the same clothes he has bought himself 2 of the same kind long ago (but at the time of the film he doesn't own a spare shirt).

Now let's try it again:

Harmonica was shot as a child (but the actual scene doesn't give the slightest clue for that), than he was reborn as an adult as a sort of semi-god (or whatever you call it), but he's not god enough not to get wounded, but he is god enough to let this wound disappear. But for unknown reasons he did not do this wonder immediately, but only sometimes later. Or the bullet went through him without hurting him (but makes a hole in his coat), but then still slams him to the ground.
(And why does this semi god wears so out worn clothes? And why does a god travel with a bag? ;))

Cigar Joe, I really appreciate your opinions, and please don't be mad at me for saying it that directly: But this theory is imo ab-so-lute-ly ridiculous.

And you seem to imply that this was Leone's intention, not only a possibility for an interpretation. And you take the vaguest clues and you make lots of far fetched assumptions for your theory, but you ignore everything which speaks against it.

Sorry, but this all makes zero sense for me. And for the film ...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2011, 03:17:25 AM
I disagree, and NO its unknowable, deal with it.

Let me ask you this.... define "SOMETHING"?

or

tell me exactly what happens when you die?

As far as Nevada Smith its one long revenge tale, nothing supernatural, its only worth buying used from Amazon, it was the last American Western I saw before I saw my first Leone Western (FAFDM) and I though it was cool, little did I know.  O0

just to clarify: Of course you can't know all the exact powers Harmonica has and doesn't have (it's a movie!)

I meant to say that based on what you know from watching and analyzing the movie, are there any particular powers that you can tell me Harmonica definitely does have, and any areas you where as far as you can tell, he is definitely like all other humans? I am not asking you for everything; all I want to know is if there are any specific powers that you can confidently say you are sure that Harmonica has, or any that you are sure he does not have?

I am asking this for a specific reason: cuz I can accept a movie in which the screenwriter creates a character that has powers that other humans don't have, no matter how small or big those powers are, as long as they are defined, consistent, and understandable to the viewer. What I have difficulty accepting is a screenwriter creating a character with powers that are something that we will never define nor concern ourselves with being consistent about, and the only rule seems to be that the powers are whatever the writer decided they are (or aren't) in a particular scene.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 04:47:11 AM
Actually you don't see the wound disappear, but only the tiny hole in the coat. In the scene at the well you still see a hole in his shirt in the shoulder region.
If he is able to repair his coat with god like powers, why he don't repair his shirt? And why he don't repairs it immediately at the station.

That is correct, its, let me spell it out again, S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G to do with D-E-A-T-H, what I really don't know, the spirit of Vengeance. . .Revenge. . . or is he like a mythological Demi-god of Greek Mythology, or an agent of Death,  I don't know, its supposed to be vague. And the more undefinable it is the better for the film.

But it whatever it is, its not instantaneous, he's still in part human (didn't the Olympian Gods usually have to assume a human or animal form when they returned to Earth?) the bullet knocks him down, kills the human part (maybe) he arises up later and his human part fashions a sling out of his coat

When we see him next at the trading post he's healing and he has the use of his arm again also, but the hole in his coat and the wound are still visible.

By the time he reaches the McBain's ranch the wound is completely healed and the hole without any blood stains remains only in the shirt, as far as the coat from then on there are no clear views where you can see so I'll have to assume it's disappeared.


Quote
So, here is the most simple explanation: Harmonica has a spare coat, cause as he always wears the same clothes he has bought himself 2 of the same kind long ago (but at the time of the film he doesn't own a spare shirt).

That he carries around in his carpet bag  ;D

[qoute]

Now let's try it again:

Harmonica was shot as a child (but the actual scene doesn't give the slightest clue for that), than he was reborn as an adult as a sort of semi-god (or whatever you call it), but he's not god enough not to get wounded, but he is god enough to let this wound disappear. But for unknown reasons he did not do this wonder immediately, but only sometimes later. Or the bullet went through him without hurting him (but makes a hole in his coat), but then still slams him to the ground.
(And why does this semi god wears so out worn clothes? And why does a god travel with a bag? ;)) [/quote]

How about this instead Harmonica was brutally killed as a child after being made to participate in a horrendous way in the hanging of his own brother for the amusement of one scum of the Earth named Frank. Frank is about to commit the same exact infanticide again and this time in spades, that triggers something that puts events in motion using an agent (a demi-god for want of a better word) in the form of the adult Harmonica never lived long enough to become. This Harmonica has Something to do with DEATH, his human part can be wounded, even killed, but the "other" part cannot, and this "other" part can re-animate and heal the human part in time.

He uses the bag BTY to conceal his holstered gun.


Quote
Cigar Joe, I really appreciate your opinions, and please don't be mad at me for saying it that directly: But this theory is imo ab-so-lute-ly ridiculous.

And you seem to imply that this was Leone's intention, not only a possibility for an interpretation. And you take the vaguest clues and you make lots of far fetched assumptions for your theory, but you ignore everything which speaks against it.

Sorry, but this all makes zero sense for me. And for the film ...

But I can equally say.....

Your explanation shows absolutely no imagination, degrades Leone and his crew with an unexplained continuity error, and ignores OBVIOUS cinematic clues that speak against a mere mortal status for the character.

Sorry to upset your apple cart.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 05:03:26 AM
Quote
all I want to know is if there are any specific powers that you can confidently say you are sure that Harmonica has, or any that you are sure he does not have

I think the only thing specific thing you can say is that he will not RIP until Frank is dead. Their leitmotif's are almost identical combining at the end as the denouement plays out. 

We are dealing with what can be vaguely called the genesis of an American Mythology, and this is all remotely based on Greek/Roman mythology, so, to get a grip on it all, you'd probably have to get a book of Greek/Roman mythology and begin to read the various mythological stories and get a general feel for them and how the various characters interact.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2011, 05:19:51 AM
STDWD simply means for me that he brings death, that he is a killer, or at least a man who kills other people for justice or revenge.
And "ancient race" is about the twilight western themes of OUTW, the money (or business) replaces cowboys, replaces the "old values" theme.

I mean this is a western and not a fantasy film, and I need more evidence, and especially obvious evidence to accept such a theory for a genre film. Pirates of the Caribbean is indeed about ghosts. But even in Django the Bastard, in which the hints of Django being a resurrected revenger of the past are much more obvious, it is done in a way that you can assume it, but must not. And this Django also gets wounded, which is enough reason to see in him also not more than a human being. albeit one with a ghostly aura.

And I don't think it is degrading to have a continuity error. Such things happen for several reasons.
That Max kills his friends to fake his death, but then becomes a senator which is a publicly known and seen man, so that everybody from his past must recognize him, well that's a real big flaw. One which could destroy the whole film for people concerned with logic and "reality". But I notice it as a flaw, but it doesn't hurt the film for me, or the film's idea of Noodles living with the undeserved guilt he took.

So I really don't care for this small continuity thing, which most people never have noticed. And for which I still can find a simple explanation if I like to find one, an explanation which doesn't take me away from the reality of the film.
And that his wounds are healing so fast is again a thing which always happens in genre films. And that people are near death in one scene, and in the next are fighting as nothing had happened.
In reality Harmonica probably would have died due to the dirt which comes in the wound on gangrene anyway.

And if Leone really would have been interested to show Harmonica as a sort of a ghost, then he surely would have skipped his wounding.

Again, I don't see any reason to have in an earthy film like OuTW a ghost. It makes sense for High Plain's Drifter (where it is in the end also not absolutely evident, but a strong possibility), but not in a Leone film.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2011, 05:32:26 AM
stanton I've said all I'm going to say about it I just think we'll have to agree to disagree.  O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2011, 05:44:30 AM
Yeah, I see it that way too. And that's ok.

I haven't expected to convince you, but it was fun.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2011, 06:36:15 AM
stanton: how do you explain the fact that Harmonica wears the exact same clothes as a child (presumably a young teenager) and as an adult, about 30 years later??



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 20, 2011, 09:24:12 AM
Back to the same clothes.
Maybe Leone wanted  to make sure that really everybody understands that Harmonica was the young boy. Maybe he used another simple western convention in which the people always wear the same clothes. Whatever.

Ok, I have meanwhile checked the scene. The coat is similar, but it is not the same ( who the fuck claimed that?). It has a different design and the trousers have a different color, they are much darker.
At least it seems that Harmonica hasn't changed his general style of clothing over the years. ;)


(Phew, somehow I'm really glad they are different)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 03, 2011, 03:43:37 AM
Here is Frayling in Spaghetti Westerns:

end of p. 198

"Charles Bronson ('Bernardo, the gentle mercenary who becomes a hero and an example to the Mexican children in The Magnificent Seven) is cast as an almost supernatural Avenger in Once Upon a Time, all of whose actions are calculated to provide a suitable setting for his revenge: he has no identity apart from this quest; when asked  "Who are you?' by Frank, he replies with a list of dead men - 'all alive until they met you': Cheyenne knows him as Harmonica (the musical instrument which plays a key role in the death of his elder brother, and which, after the final flashback shared by Harmonica and Frank, tells Frank who the Avenger is, without a word being spoken). The massacre at Cattle Corner station, which opens the film, ends with four bodies lying near the railroad line -- Harmonica on one side of the line, Frank's reception committee on the other: but, some hours later, one of them rises from the dead, with work still to be done. Harmonica represents no recognisable moral lessons, since, with his almost supernatural command of time and space, he exists in a different dimension to the rest of the characters -- an inscrutable version of Sturges' Bernardo with no attachments to anyone living (just to his own family memories). He only kills Frank's men, while Cheyenne deals with Morton and employees."

Last paragraph on p. 202 (discussing the unique entrance styles of each of the three main male characters)

"Leone creates the impression throughout the film that Harmonica is always there, just out of the frame, ready to step in and help Jill when he is needed: Harmonica is forever eavesdropping (on Cheyenne's conversation, or Frank's meeting with Wobbles), watching (Frank's movements in town, Jill's behaviour after leaving the Chinese laundry), or warning Jill that she ia about to hear 'that sound' of a rifle being cocked. At one point, Leone cleverly suggests that Harmonica is watching in two places at once: he cuts from the sequence showing Frank and Jill in bed to the auction sequence in Flagstone, splicing in a brief shot of Harmonica peering through some lace curtains, as a 'bridge' between the two scenes." Frayling then goes on to discuss the entrance styles of Cheyenne and Frank, before returning to Harmonica: "In contrast to these two characters, Harmonica slides into the frame from the side, usually photographed in extreme close-up. On the shooting script of Once Upon a Time, Leone simply writes of his appearances, 'The Man enters the scene in his usual way.' Apart from his first entrance (discovered standing the other side of the railroad tracks, after the train has pulled out), Harmonica always 'enters the scene' as if he has been standing just out of frame all along, only making an appearance when he is needed. He slides into the frame from behind a post, from the bottom of the stairs in the Sweetwater stables, or viewed through a window. More characteristically, he just appears.



I am not sure why Frayling says that Harmonica rises "some hours later." As soon as he is shot, we see his eyes open, and he gets up and puts his arm in a sling. (I think I once may have heard that the US theatrical release -- which cut about 25 minutes minutes, and which I have thankfully never seen -- cuts this part out of Harmonica rising and putting his arm in a sling; can someone confirm whether or not this is true? If it is, perhaps Frayling was referring to this cut version when he said that we don't see Harmonica rise till some hours later?)





Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 03, 2011, 06:42:30 AM
and here is Frayling on p. 274 of "Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death," discussing Bronson:

"As a figure of death, his character is vaguely supernatural: always there, just out of shot, ready to appear when he is needed. At such times, he seems to slide into frame: from behind a railway carriage, or a post, or seen through a window. He is usually photographed in profile, and in extreme close-up. During the final duel, the camera zooms slowly into Bronson's piercing blue eyes, and lingers for some twenty-two seconds, in the tightest close-up of any Leone film..... Harmonica is presented to us as an avenging ghost."


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 03, 2011, 06:49:40 AM
1. Frayling makes no mention  of the theory that Harmonica was actually killed by Frank as a child. (and I certainly do not believe he was)

2. One thing that always bothered me in general about the stdwd theory was why Harmonica needed to follow Wobbles to Frank. If Harmonica has this supernatural command over time and space, and is always in the right place at the right moment, why does he need to trick Wobbles into leading him to Frank; doesn't he already know where Frank is?  (Once you say Harmonica has supernatural control over space and time, you have to say he has this control always, not just some of the time in some situations). However, a possible answer I was thinking of is that the reason Harmonica tricks Wobbles into meeting Frank is not that Harmonica wants to find Frank; he can "find" him without Wobbles. Rather, Harmonica did it to get Wobbles to meet with Frank so that they will have a conversation about their plans which Harmonica can eavesdrop on; this way, he will find out the full story of Frank's plans


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 05, 2011, 03:30:33 AM
Frayling doesn't say he is superantural, he is only "almost supernatural", or "Leone creates the impresion" and thiongs like that.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 05, 2011, 03:41:04 AM




I am not sure why Frayling says that Harmonica rises "some hours later." As soon as he is shot, we see his eyes open, and he gets up and puts his arm in a sling. (I think I once may have heard that the US theatrical release -- which cut about 25 minutes minutes, and which I have thankfully never seen -- cuts this part out of Harmonica rising and putting his arm in a sling; can someone confirm whether or not this is true? If it is, perhaps Frayling was referring to this cut version when he said that we don't see Harmonica rise till some hours later?)





Frayling assumes it was a few hours later, but as the scene is actually presented we must assume that he did not stand up immediately, but we don't know how much time has gone.
Well, it is a railway station, and it is bit unlikely that he lies there for several hours unconcious with nobody else finding him.

And for the Rissing scene it was the other way round. The scene wasn't part of the theatrical versions in Europe, but Frayling asumes that it was then put in the 145 min English version to show that Harmonica has survived the shoot-out. In the 165 version this is told much later in the trading post scene by simply showing the bullet hole in his coat. But that long scene was cut completely from the short version, so they needed something else, and this short unused scene fitted the task.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 05, 2011, 03:44:50 AM
Frayling assumes it was a few hours later, but as the scene is actually presented we must assume that he did not stand up immediately, but we don't know how much time has gone.
Well, it is a railway station, and it is bit unlikely that he lies there for several hours unconcious with nobody else finding him.

And for the Rissing scene it was the other way round. The scene wasn't part of the theatrical versions in Europe, but Frayling asumes that it was then put in the 145 min English version to show that Harmonica has survived the shoot-out. In the 165 version this is told much later in the trading post scene by simply showing the bullet hole in his coat. But that long scene was cut completely from the short version, so they needed something else, and this short unused scene fitted the task.

1. so you're saying that in the USA theatrial release where they completely cut the trading post scene, they did include the scene of Harmonica rising?

2. I see no reason to believe he doesn't rise right away. There is nothing to indicate any significant passage of time between when Harmonica is shot and when he rises


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 05, 2011, 05:14:26 AM
1. Yeah, but that's not a secret. I thought you know this.
There is only some debate now if this Rising wasn't included already in the English 165 version which premiered in NY.
Fact is neither the Italian, German and French theatrical versions included this Rising scene. And Frayling said in his old SWs book, that it was included only in the short English version cause of the absence of the trading post scene. Which makes sense for me.

2. As I said we have no clue.
But the way as it is filmed and cut, with the scene beginning with the windmill, makes me sure that Leone wanted us to think that this scene does not happen immediately after the shoot-out. But I don't know what made Frayling think that it happens several hours later.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Jordan Krug on June 06, 2011, 09:45:56 AM
2. As I said we have no clue.
But the way as it is filmed and cut, with the scene beginning with the windmill, makes me sure that Leone wanted us to think that this scene does not happen immediately after the shoot-out. But I don't know what made Frayling think that it happens several hours later.
[/quote]



If you look carefully you can see the lighting of the rising scene is different - the shoot-out occured in bright sunlight. When Harmonica wakes up, the sky is overcast (see the windmill shot that begins the scene) and there is no longer direct sunlight on the wooden planks he's laying on.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 06, 2011, 09:56:48 AM
the only version of Leone's films I have ever seen is the version in the Special Edition dvd's (and iTunes, which I am nearly certain is the same version)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 06, 2011, 10:02:53 AM
1. Yeah, but that's not a secret. I thought you know this.
There is only some debate now if this Rising wasn't included already in the English 165 version which premiered in NY.
Fact is neither the Italian, German and French theatrical versions included this Rising scene. And Frayling said in his old SWs book, that it was included only in the short English version cause of the absence of the trading post scene. Which makes sense for me.

2. As I said we have no clue.
But the way as it is filmed and cut, with the scene beginning with the windmill, makes me sure that Leone wanted us to think that this scene does not happen immediately after the shoot-out. But I don't know what made Frayling think that it happens several hours later.

1. yeah, I guess the windmill shot that we see between the moment Bronson is shot and the moment he opens his eyes could be meant to indicate a passage of time.

2. are the massacre at Cattle Corner and the massacre at the McBain ranch supposed to take place at the same time? If so, I am not sure how long could have passed between Harmonica's death and his rising, considering that he is at the trading post by the time Jill gets there (unless you say that with his stdwd powers, Harmonica doesn't need any "time" to get over there).... how much time did we say passes from when Jill arrives at Flagstone station till she decides to set out to Sweetwater on her own?

3. Something bothers me about Harmonica making himself the sling: if he has these stdwd powers and recovers from the wound, why would he need a sling? and (whether or not he has stdwd powers) once he indeed needs a sling, it makes no sense that he wouldn't need it anymore by the time he gets to the trading post on the same day


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: dave jenkins on June 06, 2011, 12:20:04 PM
The miraculous disappearing gunshot wound is for me as already mentioned not more than a simple continuity error.

The bruises in Harmonica's face are due to a cut scene another one.
These are particularly clear on the new Blu-ray. At the trading post, Harmonica doesn't have them. Then, at the McBain ranch, suddenly he does (the crescent under his left eye is very noticable). After that, following Wobbles to Morton's train, they're gone again. It would be ridiculous to attribute these on-again off-again bruises to anything justified by the narrative. Occam's Razor favors "continuity error" as the explanation.

Even in the most meticulously crafted films continuity errors exist. This is because no production ever goes exactly to plan, and changes are always being made, even in post-production. One cannot  dismiss out-of-hand the possibility of continuity errors in any film, even a carefully crafted work like OUATITW.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 06, 2011, 12:47:00 PM

2. are the massacre at Cattle Corner and the massacre at the McBain ranch supposed to take place at the same time? If so, I am not sure how long could have passed between Harmonica's death and his rising, considering that he is at the trading post by the time Jill gets there (unless you say that with his stdwd powers, Harmonica doesn't need any "time" to get over there.... how much time did we say passes from when Jill arrives at Flagston station till she decides to set out to Sweetwater on her own?

3. Something bothers me about Harmonica making himself the sling: if he has these stdwd powers and recovers from the wound, why would he need a sling? and (whether or not he has stdwd powers) once he indeed needs a sling, it makes no sense that he wouldn't need it anymore by the time he gets to the trading post on the same day

Hmm, you still think he was dead ...

Why should he die from a shot in his shoulder?  Western heroes never cared for shots in arms legs and shoulders. I'm sure Leone respected this good ole tradition.


Title: Re: Re: Something to do with Death
Post by: Dust Devil on June 06, 2011, 01:34:30 PM
At the trading post, Harmonica doesn't have them. Then, at the McBain ranch, suddenly he does

Yes he does have the hole(s). That's why Cheyenne is playing with him in first place: to see if he can hold a gun. Perhaps it isn't as noticeable to the audience as it is to Cheyenne, or at all, I don't remember any more, but it makes little difference. Cheyenne's act is very self-explanatory to me.

Or perhaps Cheyenne has ''something to do with death'' inside him also, that's why he knows of bullet holes that do not show...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 06, 2011, 01:39:46 PM
Yes he does have the hole(s). That's why Cheyenne is playing with him in first place: to see if he can hold a gun.

Jenkins talks about the bruises in Bronson's face from the cut scene of his beating by some deputies. This bruises are visible in the scene at the McBain ranch, but later on they are gone.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on June 06, 2011, 01:41:12 PM
Jenkins talks about the bruises in Bronson's face from the cut scene of his beating by some deputies. This bruises are visible in the scene at the McBain ranch, but later on they are gone.

Ah.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on June 06, 2011, 01:42:16 PM
Still, judging from some posts, I think not many people get what's going on between Cheyenne and Harmonica the first time they meet.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 06, 2011, 01:58:15 PM
And what did some people not get?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 06, 2011, 05:44:43 PM
Hmm, you still think he was dead ...

Why should he die from a shot in his shoulder?  Western heroes never cared for shots in arms legs and shoulders. I'm sure Leone respected this good ole tradition.

 I am in no way certain about the stdwd theory one way or another. But my problem with Harmonica's sling is unrelated to whether or not one supports the stdwd theory: It makes no sense that Harmonica puts his arm in a sling as he leaves Cattle Corner, and then he no longer needs the sling by the time he gets to the trading post on the same day. Is it a simple continuity error that he no longer has the sling at the trading post? I'm no doctor, but I can't imagine that after being shot and placing his arm in a sling, he would no longer need it just a few hours later. Even by Western conventions, to the best of my recollection, when someone places his arm in a sling after being shot, you usually see the sling for a while afterward, it's never gone in just a few hours


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: cigar joe on June 06, 2011, 09:11:57 PM
Its "SOMETHING" to do with DEATH you can't really define it.  He needs a sling he has a bullet hole, he doesn't need the sling, the bullet hole slowly disappears. It would be a HUGE continuity error that makeup, costume, script, director, etc., etc.,  would have had to have MISSED. I don't think so.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 06, 2011, 10:02:09 PM
Its "SOMETHING" to do with DEATH you can't really define it.  He needs a sling he has a bullet hole, he doesn't need the sling, the bullet hole slowly disappears. It would be a HUGE continuity error that makeup, costume, script, director, etc., etc.,  would have had to have MISSED. I don't think so.

If his stdwd powers allow him to recover immediately without a sling, that's fine. If those powers do not extend to allowing him to recover instantly and he needs a sling to recover just as normal people do, that's fine too. What I cannot accept is that he does need a sling (as do normal people), but his stdwd powers allow him to need it for a much shorter period of time than most people. That doesn't make much sense to me.

I can accept the possibility that Harmonica has some somewhat defined stdwd powers. What I cannot accept is the possibility that he has  powers that are not defined and consistent.  I am not willing to allow the term "something" to be a cop-out for "anything Sergio wants it to mean at the moment," ie. inconsistent and undefined powers. I know this is cinema and I don't wanna get too technical. But I can't accept the notion that he needs a sling like most people, but for a (much) shorter period of time than most people. Just like I can't accept the notion that he usually knows to be in the right place at the right time except in one instance when he needs to trick Wobbles into leading him to Frank


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on June 06, 2011, 11:55:03 PM
And what did some people not get?

That Cheyenne is toying with Harmonica (or at least he thinks so), to see if he poses any real threat to him. Cheyenne knows Harmonica is wounded. Am I wrong?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 07, 2011, 02:08:07 AM
Well, yes, seems to bee obvious. Who thought otherwise?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 07, 2011, 02:15:23 AM
I am in no way certain about the stdwd theory one way or another. But my problem with Harmonica's sling is unrelated to whether or not one supports the stdwd theory: It makes no sense that Harmonica puts his arm in a sling as he leaves Cattle Corner, and then he no longer needs the sling by the time he gets to the trading post on the same day.


Again we do not when the Cattle Corner scene happens. It could very well be happened days or even weeks before the McBain killing. Even at a place not that near from Flagstone.
If I need a logical explanation for the healing of Harmonica's wound, than this is my explanation.


Or did I miss something which makes definitely clear that the first scenes happen at the same time? I remember nothing in the dialogues which would let us assume for sure that Frank's "other business" is more than a phrase.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 07, 2011, 08:29:11 AM
Wobbles: I only arranged the meeting the way you wanted it; I don't know why Frank wasn't there
Harmonica: cuz he was at the McBains

you think Harmonica means "He was at the McBains weeks later"?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on June 07, 2011, 02:00:25 PM
Can't remember that dialogue. Maybe it was different in the German version. I have to check it.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 12, 2011, 04:29:48 PM
another discovery that we made not long ago was the fact that Harmonica asks Frank something like "so you found out that you are not a business man after all" refering to Frank's conversation with Morton, when he was never present for that conversation,  I believe it happens before Harmonica was on top of the private train car.

Check it out to make sure, I believe Peacemaker did confirm it.

I don't think that line is a proof the the stdwd theory: Frank's later actions (ie. trying to "win" the McBain ranch at the fixed auction) indicate that he is trying to become a businessman. So Harmonica (or any other observer) could have figured out that Frank was trying to become a businessman, even without knowng about that conversation between Frank and Morton


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: franksgrandson on June 12, 2011, 05:15:07 PM
Somthing to do with Death.
we at last get to the meaning of the film
"So your not a business man after all".
the final 20 minutes of the movie are Leone's
masterclass.
not only do we see what Frank and Harmonica are
two sides of the same coin.
but the geartest love scene in cinimatic history
between Jill and Harmonica.
And true to Leone its all done with the eyes and
very little dialogue.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Groggy on October 21, 2011, 07:04:21 AM
Frayling assumes it was a few hours later, but as the scene is actually presented we must assume that he did not stand up immediately, but we don't know how much time has gone.
Well, it is a railway station, and it is bit unlikely that he lies there for several hours unconcious with nobody else finding him.

Maybe he assumed the cut to the windmill was meant to be time elapse.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Groggy on October 24, 2011, 07:11:02 AM
Its "SOMETHING" to do with DEATH you can't really define it.  He needs a sling he has a bullet hole, he doesn't need the sling, the bullet hole slowly disappears. It would be a HUGE continuity error that makeup, costume, script, director, etc., etc.,  would have had to have MISSED. I don't think so.

I don't see how it's so hard to buy a continuity error like that CJ. Especially given that the film was shot out of sequence and someone may not have thought to apply make-up et cetera to Bronson.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Cusser on October 24, 2011, 07:47:31 AM
I don't figure that Harmonica and Jill were on the same train going west (likely at most one westbound train a day, as that route didn't go through to California then.  Because if Harmonica got off at Cattle Corner, was shot (who knows how much time lapsed)...then how could he get to the outpost before Jill, who had traveled farther westward to Flagstone?  If cattle Corner was closer to the outpost than Flagstone, Jill would've gotten off there to get to McBain ranch. 

So I say different trains, and not same day for shooting and outpost.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Groggy on October 24, 2011, 07:55:58 AM
I never considered that possibility Cusser. There's nothing contextually to suggest they're on the same train, but it would make sense.

I think the implication is that Harmonica's "appointment" with Frank is the same day he's taking care of the McBains, and hence it would be the same day as Jill's arrival in Flagstone (unless she waited a whole day before giving up on Brett). Perhaps I'm mistaken?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 24, 2011, 09:24:47 AM
when Harmonica confronts Wobbles:


Wobbles: "... I only arranged the meeting the way you wanted it; I don't know why Frank wasn't there. I swear to you..."

Harmonica: "Cuz he was at the Mcbains' "

If you take Harmonica literally, then the massacre at the McBain ranch occurs at the same time as the massacre at Cattle Corner






Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Groggy on October 24, 2011, 09:37:17 AM
That's the way I've always seen it. O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Groggy on October 24, 2011, 09:41:55 AM
From the Thirty Westerns in Once thread:

I noticed something for the 1rst time in this last complete viewing, the locomotive of the train at Cattle corner with Harmonica on board is the same that brings Jill to Flagstone.
Number 71.
BTW, Moton's locomotive is different.

Harmonica's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW-jSa9_k3M

Jill's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRs6CNV4T34

Of course this could be due to budget/convenience reasons but I thought it was worth pointing out. O0


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Just_a_man on May 02, 2016, 07:45:12 AM
Cheyenne says Harmonica has ''something to do with death'' (inside him), to Jill, on the top of everything else written here, by us in favor of the more paranormal interpretation of the journey, tell me, why do you think that line is there in first place? Just another 'mistake'?

I've read that Leone was into psycho-analysis. If that's true, then it wouldn't be ludicrous to assume that Cheyenne's observation is his foreboding about the death-seeking nature of Harmonica's character. Cheyenne is not an educated man, he cannot articulate Harmonica's behavior through thoughts and words but he can achieve that goal through that which rugged, primitive men like him are sometimes endowed with - intuition. His animal side senses something strange about Harmonica and he acknowledges it but cannot fully explain it, hence 'something to do with death'.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Cusser on May 02, 2016, 08:54:05 AM
I think that being the same locomotive makes sense to me.  Track was sparse (the whole idea), Morton's train and railroad crew were west of Flagstone.  The commuter/supply train #71 would go west to Flagstone, turn around, go back to its east starting point.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on May 02, 2016, 10:34:43 AM
I've read that Leone was into psycho-analysis. If that's true, then it wouldn't be ludicrous to assume that Cheyenne's observation is his foreboding about the death-seeking nature of Harmonica's character. Cheyenne is not an educated man, he cannot articulate Harmonica's behavior through thoughts and words but he can achieve that goal through that which rugged, primitive men like him are sometimes endowed with - intuition. His animal side senses something strange about Harmonica and he acknowledges it but cannot fully explain it, hence 'something to do with death'.

The way I see it is that Leone left things just that little bit ambiguous for us in the same way he left OUATIA a little bit ambiguous for us. The fact of the matter is, Noodles most likely did not dream all of OUATIA and Harmonica most likely was just a mere mortal in OUATITW. However, it is that little seed of doubt that makes things just that little more intriguing and hence makes people talk about it and endlessly try to analyze it. One thing that is for sure is that Harmonica's "Rising Scene" should not have been present as it takes away most of that ambiguity. I still can't believe that the Blu-ray left that scene in rather than have it as an extra or at least make more use of the seamless branching on the disc to make it optional.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 02, 2016, 04:33:12 PM
One thing that is for sure is that Harmonica's "Rising Scene" should not have been present as it takes away most of that ambiguity.

That's not the reason why I don't like that scene. For the ghost stuff it changes nothing for me, as we later see that he was wounded, and ghosts don't get wounded, and they don't bleed. At least not the ones in Europe


What this scene does is that it destroys a bold narrative strategy.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 02, 2016, 05:50:59 PM
Cheyenne is not an educated man, he cannot articulate Harmonica's behavior through thoughts and words but he can achieve that goal through that which rugged, primitive men like him are sometimes endowed with - intuition. His animal side senses something strange about Harmonica and he acknowledges it but cannot fully explain it, hence 'something to do with death'.
I think it's important to remember who Cheyenne is speaking to when he makes his pronouncement. Jill is looking upon Harmonica with favor--he's one badass muthafucka--and Cheyenne is warning her off. Harmonica is a gunman. He deals in lead. He's been on a mission for years, the sole aim of which was to kill. That successfully concluded, what can there now be for him? Domestication? Certainly not. He must die or fade away. Cheyenne is telling Jill Harmonica is not for her. Death attends him. By contrast, Jill is the Aquarian figure who presides over Sweetwater and brings life sustaining fluid to the men passing by. The distinction is as stark as it can get.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on May 02, 2016, 09:27:12 PM
That's not the reason why I don't like that scene. For the ghost stuff it changes nothing for me, as we later see that he was wounded, and ghosts don't get wounded, and they don't bleed. At least not the ones in Europe


What this scene does is that it destroys a bold narrative strategy.


Actually what by far and away annoys me the most is that it ruins the transition between this scene and the McBain one following it.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Just_a_man on May 03, 2016, 12:19:21 AM
I think it's important to remember who Cheyenne is speaking to when he makes his pronouncement. Jill is looking upon Harmonica with favor--he's one badass muthafucka--and Cheyenne is warning her off. Harmonica is a gunman. He deals in lead. He's been on a mission for years, the sole aim of which was to kill. That successfully concluded, what can there now be for him? Domestication? Certainly not. He must die or fade away.

Of course, but it also serves the purpose of showing us how Cheyenne feels about Harmonica, how he views him. That opinion of his hasn't been formed through careful analysis of Harmonica's actions over the course of the movie. It was born the second he carelessly started playing his instrument at the trading post, thus demonstrating that he doesn't fall in line with the other sheep who tremble at the sight of Cheyenne, as well as that he has no fear of challenging anyone.

The fact that Harmonica left is why I adore Leone's westerns. Contrast it with likely outcome in an American western...they would fall in each other's arms and live happily ever after.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Just_a_man on May 03, 2016, 12:25:02 AM
One thing that is for sure is that Harmonica's "Rising Scene" should not have been present as it takes away most of that ambiguity. I still can't believe that the Blu-ray left that scene in rather than have it as an extra or at least make more use of the seamless branching on the disc to make it optional.

I believe that scene was meant to demonstrate that nobody is immortal. Leone destroyed a tiring cliche with that one. The windmill continuing it's rotation, producing that tedious sound, was something that I've always looked upon as "Another day, another death...the world keeps on turning." type of message to the viewer.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 03, 2016, 01:37:24 AM
Of course, but it also serves the purpose of showing us how Cheyenne feels about Harmonica, how he views him. That opinion of his hasn't been formed through careful analysis of Harmonica's actions over the course of the movie. It was born the second he carelessly started playing his instrument at the trading post, thus demonstrating that he doesn't fall in line with the other sheep who tremble at the sight of Cheyenne, as well as that he has no fear of challenging anyone.

The fact that Harmonica left is why I adore Leone's westerns. Contrast it with likely outcome in an American western...they would fall in each other's arms and live happily ever after.

You're not taking into consideration the character of Cheyenne 'lived' prior to the events of OUATITW: he did, and certainly long enough to spot one like Harmonica for what he is  at the very second he smells him around, as well as read Jill's thoughts. You don't have to study Phoenician philosophy to know that.

Personally, that  remark of his never bothered me, actually it gave even more depth to the character. The question that really should be asked is: does HE think he could settle down with Jill if she'd be willing to go for him?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on May 03, 2016, 02:31:35 AM
Actually what by far and away annoys me the most is that it ruins the transition between this scene and the McBain one following it.

Yes, that's another point why this short scene is bad. As I said somewhere before, it is as if in 2001 there is suddenly a short scene between the match cut from the bone to the spaceship. Annoying ...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on May 03, 2016, 05:36:08 AM

Personally, that  remark of his never bothered me, actually it gave even more depth to the character. The question that really should be asked is: does HE think he could settle down with Jill if she'd be willing to go for him?
He would have liked to. But now that he's fatally shot he knows it isn't gonna happen. He has something to do with death himself.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on May 03, 2016, 11:51:05 AM
Yes, that's another point why this short scene is bad. As I said somewhere before, it is as if in 2001 there is suddenly a short scene between the match cut from the bone to the spaceship. Annoying ...

Oh so true!!!

Although, now that we're on the topic of the bone-spaceship match cut, I've always felt the cut could have been done a little cleaner. The bone should have been caught in a straighter fall towards the end, and at the moment of the cut been more aligned with the angle of the spaceship.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Dust Devil on May 03, 2016, 12:46:04 PM
He would have liked to. But now that he's fatally shot he knows it isn't gonna happen. He has something to do with death himself.

Old dreamer.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Herry Grail on June 30, 2016, 08:47:54 PM
My two cents as a new fan of OUATITW: it never occurred to me that the superhuman aspects of Harmonica were anything more than typical Western-hero conventions. The only thing that struck me odd was how he knew pieces of the conversation ("killing one more") between Cheyenne and Jill, which seemed more creepy than supernatural.

As far as "something to do with death," I found that phrase to be extremely raw; people who have watched others die carry it with them, often to the point of thinking themselves unable to experience life in the same way other people do. In this Old West gunslinger context, death is always as close as your next draw.

Hell, in this movie people walk away from dead bodies all over the place. Preoccupation with death stifles the art of living; in the world of OUATITW, death is as omnipresent as the rising sun. I have no problem with Cheyenne's phrase describing a kind of doomed, damaged person—ones who are all around you every day.

Isn't it tragic to realize that Harmonica's act of vengeance didn't cleanse him of his demons? As for his coat, I figured most cowboys could handle a needle and thread  ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on July 01, 2016, 07:59:46 AM
My two cents as a new fan of OUATITW: it never occurred to me that the superhuman aspects of Harmonica were anything more than typical Western-hero conventions.
Exactly. And Harmonica can have "something to do with death" without being himself dead or being death personified.

You raise an interesting point about the Culture of Death that the characters in OUATITW inhabit. In our own culture, where death is hidden away or alibied (as in "This isn't a funeral, it's a celebration of a man's life"), when one has to confront the death of others (as is inevitable the older one gets) it can be something of a shock. Not so in the West as depicted by Leone (and don't forget that "going West" is an old euphemism for dying). As you say, it's all around, and people just don't have the "luxury" to dwell on it. To keep living, people acknowledge the reality and move on. Still, Jill is a transformative figure, and we see through her how the culture will change.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 01, 2016, 08:44:11 AM
Frayling mentions how Leone referred to OUATITW as a "dance of death." And we know how in the German version, Frank tells young Harmonica, "Play for me the song of death" (rather than, "Keep your loving brother happy,") which is also the name of the movie.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on July 01, 2016, 02:25:32 PM
"Play for me the song of death"
The "song of death" can be a description of the death rattle a man makes when he expels his final breath. Leone nicely plays on this by having Frank expel his final breath through the very harmonica Frank gave Harmonica at his brother's death.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 01, 2016, 04:57:46 PM
The "song of death" can be a description of the death rattle a man makes when he expels his final breath. Leone nicely plays on this by having Frank expel his final breath through the very harmonica Frank gave Harmonica at his brother's death.

One of the final tracks on the soundtrack is called Death Rattle. The death of the characters a metaphor for the death of the Old West and the beginning of, as Leone said, "a world without balls." Also, was supposed to be Leone's farewell to the Western movie.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on July 02, 2016, 03:06:41 AM
Frayling mentions how Leone referred to OUATITW as a "dance of death." And we know how in the German version, Frank tells young Harmonica, "Play for me the song of death" (rather than, "Keep your loving brother happy,") which is also the name of the movie.

Actually, in that scene the German lines are so much better than Leone's lines. In fact it is fuckin brilliant. But they shouldn't have changed the title either.

He actually says "Come on kid (or little one), play me the song of death", and his smile is so perfect when he says this.

I also never understood why it is his brother and not his father, cause the hanged one is so much older, and avenging the father's death is the more traumatic redemption. In Germany, without the original line, everyone automatically assumes it his his father.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on July 02, 2016, 06:34:21 AM
Actually, in that scene the German lines are so much better than Leone's lines. In fact it is fuckin brilliant. But they shouldn't have changed the title either.

He actually says "Come on kid (or little one), play me the song of death", and his smile is so perfect when he says this.

I also never understood why it is his brother and not his father, cause the hanged one is so much older, and avenging the father's death is the more traumatic redemption. In Germany, without the original line, everyone automatically assumes it his his father.

So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on July 03, 2016, 10:42:47 AM
So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?
And therefore it is only in the English-language versions that they are brothers, and in other versions the relationship could be different?


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 03, 2016, 11:54:53 AM
I have heard that in the German-language film there is no line about brothers so the assumption is that he is Harmonica's father.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on July 03, 2016, 12:14:27 PM
So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?

Yes, as I said, everyone thinks it his father. But I assume everybody understands that they are related.

As far as I remember it is the also his brother in the original version.

Anybody has an idea why Leone took the brother instead of the father? And why is his brother so much older? Did he had a brother complex? ;)

Answers like "who cares" are not accepted ...


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 03, 2016, 02:15:35 PM
Yes, as I said, everyone thinks it his father. But I assume everybody understands that they are related.

As far as I remember it is the also his brother in the original version.



Of course they are related. In the flashback, they both look Indian, or at least half-Indian (much more than Charles Bronson does, although Bronson does have a slightly ethnic look.)


"As far as I remember it is also his brother in the original version" - you mean in the English version? Of course it is his brother. Frank says, as he stuffs the harmonica into Young Harmonica's mouth, "Keep your loving brother happy." (Perhaps a similar concept to the concentration-camp orchestra at Betterville, which is based on the Nazis' sadistically forcing orchestras of Jews to play music while their people were being slaughtered.)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on July 04, 2016, 02:46:22 AM

"As far as I remember it is also his brother in the original version" - you mean in the English version?

Original = Italian

Of course ...

And I obviously know the English dialogue for that scene according to what I wrote before.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: dave jenkins on July 04, 2016, 04:34:55 AM
Original = Italian
No, no, no. It is Leone's first American picture. Either the English-language version is the "original" or there is no original.



Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Usaviator on July 21, 2017, 12:04:32 AM
Of course they are related. In the flashback, they both look Indian, or at least half-Indian (much more than Charles Bronson does, although Bronson does have a slightly ethnic look.)

That's interesting and funny you commented on Bronson's slightly ethnic look.  Have you ever seen the movie, Smoke Signals?  It's one of those movies that seems to get funnier (and all around better) everytime I watch it.  Anyways, there's a scene between the two main characters (Victor and Thomas), who are both Indians from the Cour d'Alene reservation in Idaho, and on their way to pick up Victor's father's deceased ashes, Thomas keeps pestering Victor about his father and how he looks like Charles Bronson.  It's a hilarious movie and a must-watch in my mind. 

Actually found a clip from that scene.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVi0aInW7zE

Cheers


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on July 24, 2017, 07:51:48 AM
Bronson was of Polish Tatar descent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipka_Tatars


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Leonardo on July 25, 2017, 02:42:03 AM
Yes, as I said, everyone thinks it his father. But I assume everybody understands that they are related.

As far as I remember it is the also his brother in the original version.

Anybody has an idea why Leone took the brother instead of the father? And why is his brother so much older? Did he had a brother complex? ;)

Answers like "who cares" are not accepted ...

I confirm that in the original italian version, Henry Fonda says to young Bronson: "Suona qualcosa a tuo fratello", meaning "Play something for your brother". It was definitely in the script that Claudio Mancini was his brother, not his father! To confirm it, there is also a long interview on YouTube with Claudio Mancini (it's in Italian) where he confirms that he played young Bronson's brother..


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on July 25, 2017, 05:44:19 AM
I confirm that in the original italian version, Henry Fonda says to young Bronson: "Suona qualcosa a tuo fratello", meaning "Play something for your brother".

That's much better than "Keep your brother happy".

The German version has that wonderful infamous "Play me the song of death" line.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: noodles_leone on July 25, 2017, 07:30:44 AM
"Joue pour ton grand-frère, ça lui fera plaisir"/"Play for your older brother, it'll make him happy" is still the best line. Other countries have a truncated version.
Also, the english version is "Keep you lovin' brother happy", which is better than "keep your brother happy".


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 25, 2017, 08:42:36 AM

Anybody has an idea why Leone took the brother instead of the father? And why is his brother so much older? Did he had a brother complex? ;)


Leone was an only child.


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: stanton on July 25, 2017, 12:59:14 PM
"Joue pour ton grand-frère, ça lui fera plaisir"/"Play for your older brother, it'll make him happy" is still the best line.

Not really. Much too wordy for a Leone film. ;)


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: noodles_leone on July 25, 2017, 01:31:23 PM
Not really. Much too wordy for a Leone film. ;)

Yes really, and not too wordy. Way less wordy than "There are 2 kinds of people..."

And let's be honest: Frank would never speak with such metaphors. He isn't an angel of death, he's "just a man".


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Usaviator on July 26, 2017, 06:27:07 AM
I think it's become more of a common American (or western) culture theme in the in the past 100 years to have children closer in age.  Even so, my brother is 15 years older than me. I can see how his brother looks old enough to be his father, but my brother is almost old enough to be my father.  Besides, Harmonica's family details aren't revealed, and they could have the same father, and possibly different mothers.  This situation often allows for a larger age gap in siblings obviously. 


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: Novecento on July 26, 2017, 07:01:11 AM
Also, the english version is "Keep you lovin' brother happy"...

... which is actually a great line in English


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: noodles_leone on July 26, 2017, 09:28:22 AM
It is.

I love the line in all 3 languages I understand, as well as the way they use the specifics of each language:
- "Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod" has some kind of poetry that wouldn't work as is in English or French, while sounding perfect in German.
- "Keep your lovin' brother happy" gets its strength from the same thing as so many English and American rock and pop songs do: some kind of inherently impactful and musical way English often sounds.
- "Joue pour ton grand frère, ça lui fera plaisir" is more verbose, just like we French like it ;)

The French one is still the best one to me (although I guess we've all seen this movie way too many times to be objective at that point).


Title: Re: "Something to do with death"
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 26, 2017, 11:30:32 AM
The German line, which is also the title of the German version of the movie "Play Me the Song of Deah" fits well with Leone's describing the movie (I believe in an interview with Frayling) as a "dance of death." And the Germans do have something to do with death.
But I prefer "Once Upon a Time in the West," sounds just like Leone's "fairy tales for grownups." And it makes a nice trilogy with "Obce Upon a Time ... the Revolution" and "Once Upon a Time in America."  :)