Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => The Good, The Bad and The Ugly => Topic started by: Bill Carson on August 01, 2007, 03:34:46 AM



Title: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 01, 2007, 03:34:46 AM
Of course, Leone “used“ the fly in the scene with Jack Elam at the begining of the OUATIW, but what`s the story with fly in this movie?

I don`t know how many of you noticed that, but in GBU fly was “acting“ in several scenes, very important ones. Just to remind you:

1. In the scene when Tuco enters the coach in which are dead soldiers and Bill Carson stil alive – there was a fly;
2. After that, in the scene when Tuco trying to make Blondie tell him about the grave – there was a fly (on Tuco`s face);
3. After that, in the scene in monastery, when Blondie lying on the bed – there was a fly (“walking“ on the Blondie`s mouth and face);
4. After that, in the scene in the prison camp, when Angel Eyes (now as Union officer) talks with sick captain who is lying on the bed, on his pillow (the whole time of their conversation) – there was a fly...

I hope that I didn`t forgot some other scenes...

Anyway, what do you think that is the fly`s “role“? Why is the fly always around? Does maybe Leone uses the fly as some kind of “simbol of deth“, because fly is always around someone that suffers or dieing:

in the 1. scene, all of the soldiers are dead (except Bill, who is practically half-dead, and who dies later);
in the 2. scene, Blondie practically dieing while the fly is on Tuco`s face (Tuco doesn`t even notice it at first, because he only wants to hear the name of the grave from Blondie);
in the 3. scene, Blondie is in same condition as in previous scene, with that difference that the fly is now on his face;
in the 4. scene, Union captain is dieing because of his sick leg.

So, is the fly some kind of metaphor for dieing and death, or just a Leone`s artistic “touch“, or something else...?

Sorry for this very long question,  :)   but I wanted to explain what I mean, so you could gave me your opinions about this.

Well, what do you think?


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: noodles_leone on August 01, 2007, 03:42:03 AM
So, is the fly some kind of metaphor for dieing and death, or just a Leone`s artistic “touch“, or something else...?

Only artistic touch IMO...


Title: Re: Flies like nicking wine....!
Post by: marqkin on August 01, 2007, 05:37:32 AM
Having just spent 2 weeks on holiday in Almeria (visiting the Leone filming locations), I was pestered by flies practically every day that I was there...whether it was when I was trying to eat my food, take my photos, or drink my wine....
yes......I discovered that Spanish flies are b**gers for trying to nick your wine!!!!
I understand where you're coming from regarding the flies in the 'Good, Bad, Ugly'; however, after my recent experiences in Almeria, I realistically think that the flies in the film were more a 'pain in the a**, than an actual artistic expression on Leone's part.....
..however.....I could be wrong.....
Adios, Amigos....


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 01, 2007, 05:54:58 AM
Only artistic touch IMO...

I said myself that is one of the possibilitys, but you know, that fly appear in many scenes (not just by accident), so I simply don`t know if that could be just "an artistic touch"... It must have some meaning...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2007, 06:36:40 AM
Let's also give its due to the poor beetle in FADM.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Jill on August 01, 2007, 07:16:00 AM
I think there was a fly on Angel Eyes' hat, near the end...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 01, 2007, 11:54:19 PM
Let's also give its due to the poor beetle in FADM.

Yeah. O0

I think there was a fly on Angel Eyes' hat, near the end...

I don`t remember that. I must check that out. Thank you. :)


Title: Re: Leone/flies/Kurosawa/rain?
Post by: marqkin on August 02, 2007, 03:50:30 AM
Of course, Leone “used“ the fly in the scene with Jack Elam at the begining of the OUATIW, but what`s the story with fly in this movie?

I don`t know how many of you noticed that, but in GBU fly was “acting“ in several scenes, very important ones. Just to remind you:

1. In the scene when Tuco enters the coach in which are dead soldiers and Bill Carson stil alive – there was a fly;
2. After that, in the scene when Tuco trying to make Blondie tell him about the grave – there was a fly (on Tuco`s face);
3. After that, in the scene in monastery, when Blondie lying on the bed – there was a fly (“walking“ on the Blondie`s mouth and face);
4. After that, in the scene in the prison camp, when Angel Eyes (now as Union officer) talks with sick captain who is lying on the bed, on his pillow (the whole time of their conversation) – there was a fly...

I hope that I didn`t forgot some other scenes...

Anyway, what do you think that is the fly`s “role“? Why is the fly always around? Does maybe Leone uses the fly as some kind of “simbol of deth“, because fly is always around someone that suffers or dieing:

in the 1. scene, all of the soldiers are dead (except Bill, who is practically half-dead, and who dies later);
in the 2. scene, Blondie practically dieing while the fly is on Tuco`s face (Tuco doesn`t even notice it at first, because he only wants to hear the name of the grave from Blondie);
in the 3. scene, Blondie is in same condition as in previous scene, with that difference that the fly is now on his face;
in the 4. scene, Union captain is dieing because of his sick leg.

So, is the fly some kind of metaphor for dieing and death, or just a Leone`s artistic “touch“, or something else...?

Sorry for this very long question,  :)   but I wanted to explain what I mean, so you could gave me your opinions about this.

Well, what do you think?
Well Bill Carson....you've done what I like to do....you've tried to analyse the movies.....
...and good on you for doing so......
..re-reading your thoughts on the 'flies'...yes.....it's too much of a 'co-incidence' that flies played such an 'important' role in the Maestro's movies....
...it reminds me...forgive me if I don't get this 100% correct.... of a critic who commented on the work of that other great maestro, Akira Kurosawa.....that "even the rain appears to work for him".....
...I recall that the critic, in this particular case, was referring to Kurosawa's magnificent work on 'Seven Samurai'....
...Just a thought....but: in the same way that the rain 'worked' for Kurosawa, perhaps the flies 'worked' for Leone'...????
Whatever.....congratulations for your thoughts on this matter.....
Adios....happy spaghetti eating....happy viewing.....


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: sadhill on August 02, 2007, 08:11:18 AM
(http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/215/flyhl7.jpg)


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: tucumcari bound on August 02, 2007, 08:47:34 AM
Bill. I think you're just obsessed with fly's.  ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Ramon on August 02, 2007, 08:50:37 AM

I agree with Marqkin, it difficult to avoid flies in Almeria. I remeber once in the early evening at Cortijo Fraile (Father Antonio mission) there were thousands of the things, made it difficult to even stop for a few minutes and take a few stills. When I got back in the car at least 20 of them sneaked in, must have liked the cool air conditioning.

 I was very surprised when I read that they put jam on Jack Elam's beard to attract them. I've never had any trouble attracting them, maybe I should change my soap  :'(.



Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: dave jenkins on August 02, 2007, 10:35:04 AM
This is called making a virtue of a necessity. We know from interviews that SL was not above using the ideas of his collaborators (and then later taking credit for those ideas), so when a tribe of pesky flies showed up at Almeria demanding their close-ups, SL saw an opportunity to add a bit of extra protein--er, texture--to his mise-en-scene. The flies lend, shall we say, a "seedy" quality to the proceedings. But like the dust and the color brown, they mean nothing more than themselves.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 02, 2007, 10:37:54 AM
Dave, I completelly agree with you. That's what I thought after I noticed the flies: they are there everywhere, but they probably would have been there everywhere in the old West, too. So it's just part of the atmosphere of the whole dirty West, as Leone had it, most possibly no symbol at all.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Ramon on August 02, 2007, 11:14:27 AM
We should wait patiently for Christopher Frayling new book, "The History of the Fly in Spaghetti Westerns". Complete with interviews with the relatives of the fly that landed on Jack Elam.  I'm sure that book will cause a real buzz within the SW community and no doubt will fly off the shelves.

Perhaps next time I'm in Almeria I'll catch a few and sell them on eBay as genuine Spaghetti Flies.



Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 02, 2007, 11:18:13 AM
 ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 03, 2007, 03:30:07 AM
Great pictures Sadhill! O0

Bill. I think you're just obsessed with fly's.  ;D

 ;D No I`m not.  ;D

Nevertheless that I very much respect all of yours comments and opinions I think that the "fly scenes" is not something that happend by accident. I think that is a great idea by great artist.

One other thing: I just think that`s a big mistake that the fly (or flies - I don`t know how you spell it correctly) is not mention in the "credits". You know, at the end of cast list - "and introducing: The Fly - as herself". ;D O0   If no one else, maybe the Academy would nominated "her" for an "Oscar for supporting role"! She deserved it.  ;D

I agree with Marqkin, it difficult to avoid flies in Almeria. I remeber once in the early evening at Cortijo Fraile (Father Antonio mission) there were thousands of the things, made it difficult to even stop for a few minutes and take a few stills. When I got back in the car at least 20 of them sneaked in, must have liked the cool air conditioning.

 I was very surprised when I read that they put jam on Jack Elam's beard to attract them. I've never had any trouble attracting them, maybe I should change my soap  :'(.


That`s what I`m getting at. There is much of them in Almeria, O.K. but if just that is the case, then why there are not any flys in some other scenes in which you would expect them to show. For example, in the scene when Angel Eyes and Stevens eats at the begining of the film, or in the scene in prison camp when Tuco and Angel Eyes eats... etc. If it`s just a case that there is so many flys, and that "their participation" is not Leone`s intention, why there are not any flys in scenes that I mention - scenes in which you have "food involved". I presume that the fly would, before anything else, first go on the food (or be near the food) and not on someones face or pillow... If they are accidently there, you could expect them to be near the food! Yet, there were no flys in those scenes at all!

Better say, why would they put jam on Elam`s face if Leone didn`t intentionaly wanted to make such a scene?

And like I said at the begining, in my first message, in GBU you have them always when death is involved. Look at the Sadhill`s photos:
1. is from scene in desert - where as we know Tuco practicaly killed Blondie + coach with Bill and the others - all dead;
2. and 3. are from the monastery where you have many wounded and dying soldiers (3. Blondie half-dead);
4. scene in prison camp - Union captain who is dying too.

Not to mention OUATIW and Elam, who gets killed minutes after the scene with the fly...

Something to think about if you saying that there is no "simbol" or "meaning"...

... I can`t say this is the fact, but to much "co-incidances", wouldn`t you say?


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Jill on August 03, 2007, 04:18:24 AM
How do you know that the Fly is a female?  ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 03, 2007, 04:30:35 AM
How do you know that the Fly is a female?  ;D

 ;D   Ha-ha-ha   O0


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 03, 2007, 05:27:15 AM
Is fly female in your language, too? It is in Czech.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: cigar joe on August 03, 2007, 05:29:15 AM
I think the interiors were shot in Rome maybe that's why no flies.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 03, 2007, 05:36:09 AM
I think the interiors were shot in Rome maybe that's why no flies.

Also the mission scenes?


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 03, 2007, 05:56:53 AM
Is fly female in your language, too? It is in Czech.

Yes. :)

I think the interiors were shot in Rome maybe that's why no flies.

Look better at Sadhill`s photos Cigar!

2., 3. and 4. picture - all interiors, and in all of them - there is a fly!

If the interiors was filmed in Rome, that confirms my "theory" about some "meaning" and Leone`s intention (that he did it intentionaly) even more! O0   And totaly denys talks and opinions that this all was just an acciddent!


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Ramon on August 03, 2007, 06:26:11 AM
Also the mission scenes?

The mission interior was filmed at the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza, in Northern Spain just a few hundred metres from the bridge battle location.  Unfortunately Blondie's room appears to be in a derelict part of the monestary as can be seen by this photo taken in 2006, you can see the building in the background on the top of the hill which is visible through the window in Blondie's room.



(http://www.ramon.btinternet.co.uk/sw/misc/monestary.jpg)

and a link to a site about the monestary

http://www.arteguias.com/monasterio/arlanza.htm (http://www.arteguias.com/monasterio/arlanza.htm)


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 03, 2007, 06:44:59 AM
Wow, thanks, Ramon! I knew this was somewhere in an old thread or on another site, but I wasn't able to find it...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Ramon on August 03, 2007, 07:37:52 AM

and here's a Google map link. Not very good resolution for this area but its just possible to make out the monestary in the centre of the image.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&q=&ll=42.049468,-3.466165&spn=0.010453,0.013282&t=k&z=16&om=1 (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&q=&ll=42.049468,-3.466165&spn=0.010453,0.013282&t=k&z=16&om=1)



Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 03, 2007, 08:40:07 AM
and here's a Google map link. Not very good resolution for this area but its just possible to make out the monestary in the centre of the image.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&q=&ll=42.049468,-3.466165&spn=0.010453,0.013282&t=k&z=16&om=1 (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?ie=UTF8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&q=&ll=42.049468,-3.466165&spn=0.010453,0.013282&t=k&z=16&om=1)

I must say, it really isn't a very good resolution... but we should be grateful for what is. Thanks! I would love to go there one day...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Ramon on August 03, 2007, 09:20:23 AM
The map option is probably more useful in this case as at least its possible to get the road map to the location.  It certainly is beautiful countryside around there and you have the monestary, POW camp, bridge battle and Sad Hill in the same area. Well worth visiting.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 03, 2007, 09:34:39 AM
The map option is probably more useful in this case as at least its possible to get the road map to the location.  It certainly is beautiful countryside around there and you have the monestary, POW camp, bridge battle and Sad Hill in the same area. Well worth visiting.

Sure. Just once I get to Spain... no idea when it happens, but since I have a friend in Madrid...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Cusser on August 03, 2007, 04:03:58 PM
I think the fly in Once/West is related to the flies in GBU, so nepotism documented.

There are two kinds of flies, my friend: those that get swatted and those with acting ambitions...


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Jill on August 04, 2007, 03:15:02 AM
The Fly is the real superstar.  ;D

In Hungarian substantives doesn't have a gender.  ;)


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 04, 2007, 03:24:59 AM
In Hungarian substantives doesn't have a gender.  ;)

They're called nouns in English... and they do have it in Czech. There's a story about a French actress who married a Czech actor (and eventually got divorced again) and had problems with the genders in Czech - "How can house be male? It's such a female thing!" :D

The Fly is the real superstar.  ;D

In OUATITW it even had its stunt. ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 06, 2007, 12:56:27 AM
There are two kinds of flies, my friend: those that get swatted and those with acting ambitions...

The Fly is the real superstar.  ;D

In OUATITW it even had its stunt. ;D

Come on, people!? >:(   Don`t uderestimate fly`s acting effort and "Oscar winning performance"! ;D

Hey!  >:(   Now to be serious! I said that the fly`s "participation" in Leone`s movies surely have some "meaning" and that "they" actually "representing" some kind of "simbol" (maybe simbol of death or dying) that Leone intentionaly put into his films.

Because no one denys my opinion with valid arguments, I`m still saying that "they" are not there by accident! That this was Leone`s intention and some kind of his "touch"...! If you analyse it a little, I think that you will came to the same conclusion...

So, like I said, don`t f**k with the fly! ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 06, 2007, 04:22:28 AM
Well, I also feel they weren't there by accident, at least not in some scenes. I only said, that I felt the meaning was just adding to the Leone's dirty old West feeling... but who knows?


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: moviesceleton on August 07, 2007, 07:54:17 AM
I'd say they are there by accident or to give the scenes certain atmosphere. I guess you're alone with your theory, Bill, but I still appreciate it.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 08, 2007, 02:53:10 AM
I'd say they are there by accident or to give the scenes certain atmosphere. I guess you're alone with your theory, Bill, but I still appreciate it.

Thank you, O0   but you should read whole this thread and think about it a little bit. Maybe you will then change your opinion, even a little. :)


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: moviesceleton on August 08, 2007, 08:30:17 AM
Thank you, O0   but you should read whole this thread and think about it a little bit. Maybe you will then change your opinion, even a little. :)
I did read the whole thread. The fact that many indoor scenes were shot in Cinecita is quite interesting, but I wouldn't say that anything is sure.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Cusser on August 08, 2007, 12:44:49 PM
OK, whether the flies in GBU were happenstance or they added honey or something - they provide great realism and authenticity.  U.S. directors would've re-shot the scenes.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: tucumcari bound on August 08, 2007, 12:59:51 PM
OK, whether the flies in GBU were happenstance or they added honey or something - they provide great realism and authenticity.  U.S. directors would've re-shot the scenes.

Yup, and that's what I hate. I love realism like this. Sergio obviously did as well. There was so many scenes in his films that U.S. director's probably would have reshot.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 08, 2007, 02:31:31 PM
OK, whether the flies in GBU were happenstance or they added honey or something - they provide great realism and authenticity.

Exactly. So much that for first five viewings or so I even didn't actually notice they were there - I saw them, but it was so natural, that I didn't think about it.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 09, 2007, 11:34:29 PM
OK, whether the flies in GBU were happenstance or they added honey or something - they provide great realism and authenticity.  U.S. directors would've re-shot the scenes.

Absolutely true! :)

Yup, and that's what I hate. I love realism like this. Sergio obviously did as well. There was so many scenes in his films that U.S. director's probably would have reshot.

I totally agree with you, my friend! O0

Exactly. So much that for first five viewings or so I even didn't actually notice they were there - I saw them, but it was so natural, that I didn't think about it.

In SL movies, every single detail is important, every single detail have some meaning… Of course we must make an effort to saw every detail (and when ever you watch it again, for the “***” time, you see some new details that you didn`t saw before…) and then to try to understand what was SL intention and what was he trying to “say” with it…

What can you say more…, then - that`s Leone, one and only…! O0


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: marmota-b on August 10, 2007, 01:05:21 AM
and when ever you watch it again, for the “***” time, you see some new details that you didn`t saw before

Which is what makes them enjoyable even for the “***” time. As all of us know. ;D


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Bill Carson on August 10, 2007, 05:07:00 AM
Which is what makes them enjoyable even for the “***” time. As all of us know. ;D

Yes! O0


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: The Firecracker on February 03, 2010, 11:22:26 PM
If it hasn't been mentioned yet, I don't have the time to read through 3 pages of stuff but I did enjoy the first, there is a fly crawling around the brim of AE's hat when he's having his "calm" brunch with Stevens.


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on February 04, 2010, 11:30:40 PM
I agree that some of the flies in the Leone SWs are just "volunteers". Having said that, I think Leone may have had some sort of fixation with flies. Just look at the opening scene in OUATITW, and that fly was surely not a "volunteer".

More about flies here.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1992.0


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: sadhill on February 06, 2010, 09:44:31 PM
(http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/6804/badflyhat.jpg)


Title: Re: What`s with the fly?
Post by: Groggy on February 06, 2010, 10:32:39 PM
I agree that some of the flies in the Leone SWs are just "volunteers". Having said that, I think Leone may have had some sort of fixation with flies. Just look at the opening scene in OUATITW, and that fly was surely not a "volunteer".

More about flies here.

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1992.0

Don't forget the beetle Indio tortures towards the end of FAFDM.