Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => The Good, The Bad and The Ugly => Topic started by: iceman on July 28, 2008, 04:07:36 PM



Title: All the Bodies.......
Post by: iceman on July 28, 2008, 04:07:36 PM
After the battle what would have happened to all the bodies left lying around. Would they not have been taken by the surviving troops and buried (sad hill). And what happened with the battle, did they just all go back to their main camps and who won..

ICE..an Englishman who knows nothing about the Civil War


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on July 28, 2008, 04:18:11 PM
The movie exists in a fantasy world, so such questions are immaterial.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: cigar joe on July 28, 2008, 07:27:37 PM
Well there were burial details sent out after battles under flags of truce.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on July 28, 2008, 08:49:44 PM
No idea of what happened to the bodies, but if you have a look at the graves in Sad Hill they all are identical in size (like they have been  made for the movie with a mould) and it appears they all were made at the same time. Also, even in the event it was very hot in Sad Hill, I cannot see how Arch Stanton's body could have decomposed so fast, to the point that there are no traces of flesh attached to his (her, actually  ;)) skeleton.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: cigar joe on July 28, 2008, 10:11:56 PM
A very shallow grave & look up flesh eating & carpet beatles and think over a year of time.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on July 28, 2008, 10:20:05 PM
Well, I have never tried  ;D but they must be very hungry flesh-eating beetles the ones you are talking about.   :o


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on July 28, 2008, 10:38:52 PM
I think in most cases the victor on the particular battlefield did see to the burials.  Unfortunately, a lot of times it didn't serve the other side too well.   They were either buried in mass graves or not at all.  Not sure if the surrounding towns had to get involved when they were not buried at all. 

The current president of Harvard, historian Drew Gilpin Faust,  wrote a book on the subject called This Republic Of Suffering.  It came out earlier in the year.  I've not read it.  Here's an article about the book which also talks a little bit about the catastrophe of burial and identification of Civil War casualties.

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/war-faust-most-1967929-dead-civil       


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: iceman on July 29, 2008, 03:54:35 PM
I think in most cases the victor on the particular battlefield did see to the burials.  Unfortunately, a lot of times it didn't serve the other side too well.   They were either buried in mass graves or not at all.  Not sure if the surrounding towns had to get involved when they were not buried at all. 

The current president of Harvard, historian Drew Gilpin Faust,  wrote a book on the subject called This Republic Of Suffering.  It came out earlier in the year.  I've not read it.  Here's an article about the book which also talks a little bit about the catastrophe of burial and identification of Civil War casualties.

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/war-faust-most-1967929-dead-civil       

That certainly answered my question...thanks

ICE


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on July 29, 2008, 05:02:58 PM

The current president of Harvard, historian Drew Gilpin Faust,  wrote a book on the subject called This Republic Of Suffering.  It came out earlier in the year.  I've not read it.  Here's an article about the book which also talks a little bit about the catastrophe of burial and identification of Civil War casualties.

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/war-faust-most-1967929-dead-civil       
Sounds like an interesting book, the review certainly has some pertinent comments:
Quote
Bodies were buried in churchyards, by the side of the road, outside hospitals, on the battlefield, sometimes not at all Ė the victors often left the enemy dead where they fell. Burial was, Faust says, an "act of improvisation."

Those who wanted the consolation of their loved one's body usually had to travel to the battlefield themselves and engage the services of embalmers and other agents to ship it home, if they could find it.

Such communication as there was with those back home usually came in the form of a kind of stylized correspondence Ė quoted at length by Faust Ė from the deceased's officers or friends. Sometimes word never came at all.

The story has a (relatively) happy ending. Survivors found undocumented, unconfirmed and unrecognized loss "intolerable." At war's end both sides, using muster rolls, letters and lists compiled by concerned colleagues, and interviews with survivors, went out to reclaim the army of the dead, identifying the fallen, where possible, and interring them in national cemeteries.
What then to make of Sad Hill, not merely atypical, apparently, but surreal? A case of Leone exercising poetic license perhaps. Elsewhere in GBU there are moments that seem to transcend the American Civil War, that point to other horrific events of the modern world: the Betterville Camp Band who evoke the Jewish musicians forced to perform at Auschwitz; the Union fortifications at Langston Bridge that bring to mind the entrenchments of WWI. Sad Hill, then, is not merely a cemetery, it is emblematic of all who have fallen in the century that roughly preceded the making of the film. And it is the archetypal City of the Dead, the underworld to which our heroes must descend in their quest for treasure, and from which there is little hope of return.

NB: I should point out that Peter E. Bondanella, in Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present, makes the very same points regarding Leone's allusions to, respectively, WWII and WWI (http://tiny.cc/here817 ).


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on August 01, 2008, 04:01:52 PM
Found a couple of interesting links.  This first one is from a site called the Encyclopedia of Death and Dying.  Iíve not seen this site before nor do I know too much about the site creator, Advameg, Inc (other than they seem to have a lot of reference sites and advertising probably is one of their motives).  The articles on the Civil War seem pretty well written.  Itís documented well also (Faust is cited in the bibliography along with James M. McPherson, Richard Slotkin and other historians).  The section Disposing Of The Dead goes into quite a bit of detail. 
http://www.deathreference.com/Ce-Da/Civil-War-U-S.html

This was another interesting site. It has a lot of photos from the Civil War.  One of the photo categories is Casualties.  On the left are numerous other categories for photos concerning other aspects of the Civil War.
http://www.civilwarphotos.net/files/casualties.htm

Quote
Sounds like an interesting book, the review certainly has some pertinent comments
Faustís book does look interesting.  I think Iím going to add it to my library list.  There are some mixed reviews on Amazon by readers. 
This is a link to an excerpt from This Republic Of Suffering that was in the book section of the Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/thisrepublicofsuffering.htm

I also found out that there was sort of a publication race.  Another author had a book on the same subject matter released in May of this year.  The name of that book is Awaiting The Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America's Culture of Death by Mark S. Schantz.

What then to make of Sad Hill, not merely atypical, apparently, but surreal? A case of Leone exercising poetic license perhaps. Elsewhere in GBU there are moments that seem to transcend the American Civil War, that point to other horrific events of the modern world: the Betterville Camp Band who evoke the Jewish musicians forced to perform at Auschwitz; the Union fortifications at Langston Bridge that bring to mind the entrenchments of WWI. Sad Hill, then, is not merely a cemetery, it is emblematic of all who have fallen in the century that roughly preceded the making of the film. And it is the archetypal City of the Dead, the underworld to which our heroes must descend in their quest for treasure, and from which there is little hope of return.

NB: I should point out that Peter E. Bondanella, in Italian Cinema: From Neorealism to the Present, makes the very same points regarding Leone's allusions to, respectively, WWII and WWI (http://tiny.cc/here817 ).

Iím not quite sure whether the studies on the treatment of Civil War dead would make Sad Hill totally unlikely.  It seems the information indicates that burial could be specific to the location and circumstances as well.  I donít think we know enough information.  I donít think we know how long the armies have been at a standoff at the bridge.  Although their attentions would continue to be focused on the battles and strategy of taking the bridge, maybe they would of had more time than certain other battlegrounds where both armies had to continue onward.  We donít know too much about the history of the cemetery. Definitely seems like it had a history of being there before the conflict at the bridge.  There were stone grave markers there as well.   I suppose youíre right it does seem atypical with the information found.

Another thing I was thinking about was that in 1862, a lot of the National Cemeteries were beginning to be established. Some with initial burials from the War.
http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hist/datesest.asp
Maybe Sad Hill is an allusion to this.


 
I definitely would agree with your thoughts of Sad Hill possibly being another allusion to the World Wars.  I think the sight of that cemetery as Blondie and Tuco survey the area conjures the same visions of the cemeteries of Europe for the fallen of those Wars.

I very much agree that Sad Hill is representative of a mythic place or a surreal  underworld as you say.  I  really liked how you expressed your thoughts on that.
 
Iíve actually been thinking about this quite a bit since reading and posting in the thread concerning cemeteries on the AFOD board.  I posted that I thought the cemetery location had a lot to do with plot details.  Itís obvious over all the films, (also written about by Frayling and many others), that cemeteries, coffins, resurrection and death are recurring themes throughout SLís films.  There are times that these things may have significance as religious references.  Iíve been thinking about the connection between rivers (possibly other bodies of water ) and cemeteries and death.  Would you consider rivers to be a mythic symbol of the underworld?  (Iím thinking along the lines of how mirrors were used as a gateway to the underworld by Cocteau in Orphee.  Then of course afterward other directors made reference to Cocteau).  I keep thinking that connection in many of the films absolutely puts a more mythic frame on quite a few of these references. Thereís a bridge and a river that separates Blondie and Tuco from entry to Sad Hill.  I think you could possibly speak to that more than I could because I think your knowledge of mythic symbols and detail is more extensive than mine.  I'm sure your thoughts could help me think ahead on it too.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on August 01, 2008, 04:31:08 PM
Also, even in the event it was very hot in Sad Hill, I cannot see how Arch Stanton's body could have decomposed so fast, to the point that there are no traces of flesh attached to his (her, actually  ;)) skeleton.

A very shallow grave & look up flesh eating & carpet beatles and think over a year of time.

I agree with CJ.  The other thing I was thinking after reading some articles, is that the bodies were often not buried right away.  They were lying on the ground sometimes for days on end.  This definitely would advance the decomposition.  It also would leave the bodies open to other exposure possibilities.  Check out this photo of an African American burial detail.  I'm not sure if the bodies had been out for a long period of time or they had been in shallow graves and were being reburied.

http://www.civilwarphotos.net/files/images/770.jpg


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 06, 2008, 02:06:36 PM

Iíve actually been thinking about this quite a bit since reading and posting in the thread concerning cemeteries on the AFOD board.  I posted that I thought the cemetery location had a lot to do with plot details.  Itís obvious over all the films, (also written about by Frayling and many others), that cemeteries, coffins, resurrection and death are recurring themes throughout SLís films.  There are times that these things may have significance as religious references.  Iíve been thinking about the connection between rivers (possibly other bodies of water ) and cemeteries and death.  Would you consider rivers to be a mythic symbol of the underworld?  (Iím thinking along the lines of how mirrors were used as a gateway to the underworld by Cocteau in Orphee.  Then of course afterward other directors made reference to Cocteau).  I keep thinking that connection in many of the films absolutely puts a more mythic frame on quite a few of these references. Thereís a bridge and a river that separates Blondie and Tuco from entry to Sad Hill.  I think you could possibly speak to that more than I could because I think your knowledge of mythic symbols and detail is more extensive than mine.  I'm sure your thoughts could help me think ahead on it too.
Hey, these are some very interesting thoughts. I don't know why the river in GBU has never struck me as a symbol before, because you're right, it is an obvious threshold to the place of the dead. And in ancient Greek mythology, one had to cross the river Styx to get to the underworld; even now, in gospel and folk traditions, the idea of "crossing the Jordan", another river, is tied to ideas of death and the afterlife.

And the river battle puts the idea across beautifully, since living men must come to the river before "crossing over" to the land of the dead. Maybe the bridge explosion is also symbolic: Tuco and Blondie shut the door to the underworld, so that no one but themselves can pass through. Of course, they, and AE, can always go across: each has something to do with death.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Panache on August 06, 2008, 02:40:20 PM
or it could be justa great place ta blow up a brigde- thy do go ovr water mos a th time


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 06, 2008, 02:44:37 PM
But they all don't lead to cemeteries.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Panache on August 06, 2008, 03:40:50 PM
probly wasnt a cemetery to begin wit Dave, jus anothr weed patch

bt thy were fightin over th bridge fr so long, an killd so many, thy had to bury em somwhere

thy prob had a cemetery on both sides


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Tuco the ugly on August 06, 2008, 04:43:49 PM
Hey, these are some very interesting thoughts. I don't know why the river in GBU has never struck me as a symbol before, because you're right, it is an obvious threshold to the place of the dead. And in ancient Greek mythology, one had to cross the river Styx to get to the underworld; even now, in gospel and folk traditions, the idea of "crossing the Jordan", another river, is tied to ideas of death and the afterlife.

And the river battle puts the idea across beautifully, since living men must come to the river before "crossing over" to the land of the dead. Maybe the bridge explosion is also symbolic: Tuco and Blondie shut the door to the underworld, so that no one but themselves can pass through. Of course, they, and AE, can always go across: each has something to do with death.

If you ask me, that part of the movie can only be watched through the prism of symbolism. There is nothing realistic in it.

Tuco and Blondie are captured by the soldiers and taken to the drunk captain that runs the whole show. He says that the bridge is the most important military goal for both the armies. Yet, if you look the anarchy that dominates the place, it is hard to believe that an 'epic battle' is gonna happen there any time soon. (Unless, the soldiers are all already dead, but they just don't know it yet. Maybe they're just waiting for the tickets to the place of no return.)

The demoralization of the soldiers is more than obvious, which is strange, if they must win this battle at all costs. Somebody important should be there, giving the orders and raising the moral. Perhaps a general... certainly not a drunk clown. Looks like everybody left them. (Unless that whole show is a fake, and the soldiers are dying for nothing.)

Then, you realize that on the other side of the river lies a cemetery. Interesting, why would anyone fight over a cemetery? What important can there be? (Yes, there's the cashbox, but it doesn't contain enough for whole armies to fight for it.)

Another interesting thing is that you never see the 'other ones', the soldiers on the other side of the river. You never see their faces, as if they are not important, or as if the don't even exist. So, are the 'Union boys' fighting against themselves? Wouldn't make any sense...

After the battle is done, in relatively short time everyone and everything is gone (let's agree that not even Tuco can not lie with his ass pointed towards the sky that long). Only the dead and half-dead are left behind, as if they don't mean nothing. Also the guns and canons are also left behind (even loaded), just as they disappeared in a blink of an eye.

Someone would say absurd.

But, if you sum all those things, you get one of the most effective anti-war metaphors ever seen in a movie.

In the end, it really doesn't make any difference if all that was real, just as it doesn't make any difference if Harmonica is an angel (of death) or not. The metaphor serves only as a carrier of judgment, you can interpret it as you like, but the message will always be the same.

War is hell, if you have anything to do with it, you're already dead (like all those soldiers near the bridge). Whether you accept it or not it doesn't make any difference.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 06, 2008, 06:05:22 PM
probly wasnt a cemetery to begin wit Dave, jus anothr weed patch

bt thy were fightin over th bridge fr so long, an killd so many, thy had to bury em somwhere

thy prob had a cemetery on both sides
Possibly, but it isn't shown, and what counts is what we see on the screen. Anyway, a literal reading of a film doesn't exclude other (allegorical, anagogical) readings. I probably wouldn't bother if it wasn't an SL film. But after OUATITW, with its abundance of myths and archetypes, I can't help but apply a Jungian approach to GBU and the earlier films.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 06, 2008, 06:39:38 PM
If you ask me, that part of the movie can only be watched through the prism of symbolism. There is nothing realistic in it.

Tuco and Blondie are captured by the soldiers and taken to the drunk captain that runs the whole show. He says that the bridge is the most important military goal for both the armies. Yet, if you look the anarchy that dominates the place, it is hard to believe that an 'epic battle' is gonna happen there any time soon. (Unless, the soldiers are all already dead, but they just don't know it yet. Maybe they're just waiting for the tickets to the place of no return.)

The demoralization of the soldiers is more than obvious, which is strange, if they must win this battle at all costs. Somebody important should be there, giving the orders and raising the moral. Perhaps a general... certainly not a drunk clown.
I agree that this isn't consistent with what we know of Civil War campaigns, it has more of a WWI feel to it. There is a sense, at this point, of the Civil War/WWI/WWII being collapsed into this single engagement, a kind of Armageddon, if you will.  It's the archetypal battle.

SL didn't have time or opportunity to show the rebel preparations for the battle. I think that's why he gave us instead the dying confederate soldier that Blondie comforts (interesting, isn't it, that he is found not on or near the Union side, where he should have fallen in battle, but already in the Land of the Dead?). As with the Confederate fort sequence, we see that the men in gray are worthy of our pity. Death has no favorites.

The fact that after the battle no one is around means that the living have moved off, as they always do, at least for a time. But they'll all be back one day.

I personally don't think SL comes on too strong as anti-war. He obviously sees the mechanization of war as detrimental to personal endeavor (including individual combat: after all, his heroes are warriors). Perhaps the point of the film is that we all have to die, but we should negotiate the terms of our death ourselves, not cede the details to any organization or government. Better to be the Good, the Bad, or the Ugly, rather than the Mediocre.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Panache on August 06, 2008, 08:38:23 PM
Possibly, but it isn't shown, and what counts is what we see on the screen. Anyway, a literal reading of a film doesn't exclude other (allegorical, anagogical) readings.

don those 2 statements cancel each othr out

if wat ya see is wat ya get, how can ya read anything else into it


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 07, 2008, 06:13:32 AM
I love the metaphorical meaning, and I can't say I disagree - although I'm not sure that I'd take the negative conclusion from it. Perhaps the bridge represents limbo, and now the armies are able to move on. Certainly they seemed trapped there before, I'm not sure it would be correct to draw a negative conclusion from the destruction of the bridge.

It struck me odd, too, that a Captain was in command of what must be at least a regiment. Perhaps the original Colonel was killed and the Captain was the highest-ranking surviving officer?

On a literal level, though, the whole battle makes zero sense. The bridge in and of itself can't be of THAT much importance to have two armies fighting over it constantly (although to be fair, the forces involved seem fairy limited). The Battle of Rohrbach/Burnside Bridge at Antietam was part of a larger battle and did have some importance (it would allow him to flank the Confederate Army), even if Burnside's decision to waste hours attacking it was stupid and necessary. I can't imagine that a large-scale battle, let alone a lengthy siege, would center around one bridge in the middle of nowhere. Unless, of course, it was the only bridge in the area - but even then, we see Blondie and Tuco quite easily wade across it. Perhaps it was part of a larger battle or campaign that we never get to see, but again we never get any indication of that.

I think the whole scene is more of an anti-war allegory than anything else.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Tuco the ugly on August 07, 2008, 06:30:10 AM
That is what I'm talking about, Groggy. O0


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Cusser on August 07, 2008, 12:25:20 PM
On a literal level, though, the whole battle makes zero sense. The bridge in and of itself can't be of THAT much importance to have two armies fighting over it constantly (although to be fair, the forces involved seem fairy limited).

I think the whole scene is more of an anti-war allegory than anything else.

I think that's the point - that each side felt that the bridge was important to the other side - that they had to fight for it - the absurdity of it is classic.  Even Tuco said about what might happen if the bridge was to be blown up: "then these idiots will go somewhere else to fight", as anti-war as Blondie stating he'd never seen so many lives wasted so badly. 

I always thought Leone did a great job of getting the anti-war message through, although it "appears" to be a sub-plot


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 07, 2008, 01:59:19 PM
I think the anti-war idea is too easily overstated. SL's approach to the subject is more nuanced. After all, GBU isn't The Red Badgeof Courage or Paths of Glory. The soldier's lot in GBU is contrasted with the adventures of Blondie and Tuco, who are themselves warriors, although warriors without a flag. And SL cannot condemn fighting out of hand or he would have no subject for his films. His heroes are quite unashamedly killers.

There is also a matter that Frayling does a good job of treating. War isn't bad for everyone as it turns out:

Quote
With a splendid sense of construction, the war enters the narrative to save the lives of Blondie and Tuco on various occasions. A mysterious confederate coach, marked 'CSA Headquarters 3rd Regiment', appears from nowhere, in the middle of the desert, to distract Tuco's attention and protect Blondie from being shot. A mortar shell smashes the floor and prevents Blondie from being hanged. As Tuco is being thumped by the slobbish Sergeant [sic] Wallace, a Northern train pulls into Betterville station and saves him for the time being. Tuco cuts through his handcuffs by draping the chain over a railway line; a Northern troop train does the rest. Confederate mortar fire provides a convenient smoke-screen, from behind which Blondie and Tuco can systematically pick off members of the Bad's gang. The battle for Langstone Bridge provides a means for crossing the river and at last reaching the gold. Sad Hill cemetery hides the prize they are all after. (209)
And it could be added, without the war, there would be no treasure to hunt in the first place. War, bad for the soldiers participating in it, has been berry-berry good for Blondie and Tuco.

While I have Frayling at hand, it might be good to consult him on other matters raised in this thread. Here's an interesting note regarding the drunk Union captain:

Quote
To add to the eclecticism, the Union captain's speech about how whisky is 'the most potent weapon in waróthe fighting spirit is in this bottle' was apparently based on a passage in Emilio Lussu's book Un anno sull'altopiano/A Year on the Plains, another disenchanted novel about the First World War. (214)

Finally, Frayling has an interesting quote from SL regarding the making of--and purpose of--Sad Hill:

Quote
Leone wanted  'a cemetery which could evoke an antique circus. There wasn't one in existence. So I turned to the Spanish chief of pyrotechnics who had been in charge of the construction and destruction of the bridge. He lent me 250 soldiers who built the sort of cemetery I needed: with 10,000 tombs. Those men worked solidly for two days. And it was done. This wasn't a whim on my part. The idea of the arena was crucial. With a morbid wink of the eye, since it was the dead who were witnesses to this spectacle. I even insisted that the music signify the laughter of corpses inside their tombs . . .' (237)


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Tuco the ugly on August 07, 2008, 10:32:35 PM
I think the anti-war idea is too easily overstated. SL's approach to the subject is more nuanced. After all, GBU isn't The Red Badgeof Courage or Paths of Glory. The soldier's lot in GBU is contrasted with the adventures of Blondie and Tuco, who are themselves warriors, although warriors without a flag. And SL cannot condemn fighting out of hand or he would have no subject for his films. His heroes are quite unashamedly killers.

The soldiers were recruited against their will, while Blondie and Tuco chose to become what they've later become.

There's a difference.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 07, 2008, 10:44:13 PM
The soldiers were recruited against their will . . .
No, in 1862 they were all still using volunteers I think.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Tuco the ugly on August 07, 2008, 11:35:55 PM
Yeah, sure they were...

... and the Indians are living a happy and above all prosperous life in the reservations, where they willingly moved, with the  righteous concurrence of the government(s) of the United States of America, from 18-whatsoever.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 08, 2008, 12:00:30 AM
Yes it's true. The US didn't even have an Selective Draft Service until the first world war. So as far as Each countries army's are concerned, they were all volunteers


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Tuco the ugly on August 08, 2008, 12:06:24 AM
Be assured my friend, Draft Service or not, one way or another, people were sent to fight in that war by someone.

Watch OJW.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 08, 2008, 12:13:11 AM
Well of course there are exceptions, but as far as the law is concerned, there was no objective means of forcing someone into war. In those times, when law was rather flakey, that kind of thing was not necissarily rare. but i think it's rather presumptious to assume that whole regiments were made up of slave labor. If that were the case there would be no reason for them to stay, they could easily outnumber their commanding officer. No, the majority of troops were in fact volunteers. Granted the south probably had more troops considering most of them viewed the war as a defense of their homeland.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 08, 2008, 12:17:08 AM
I just looked it up. The Confederates adopted a draft law in April '62, the Union in August of that year. I don't know how quickly they were able to get the process moving and get bodies out to the front lines. I know in the case of the Union each state was responsible for doing their own inductions, and I guess they could set their own timetable. For our purposes, is conscription a factor in GBU? It's difficult to say. Certainly, the New Mexico campaign was over before any of the draft laws were passed. But if we follow Cigar Joe's timeline, Blondie, Tuco, and AE don't get to Sad Hill until July. So none of the Union soldiers at Langstone Bridge could have been conscripts, but I don't have enough info to say about the Rebs. Does anyone (CJ? Groggy?) know?


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 08, 2008, 12:29:53 AM
I think it's safe to say that the confederates draft initiative would have spurred union members to round up some "volunteers". illegally of course. So i guess it's safe to say that there could have been a majority of people who were unwilling.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 08, 2008, 12:39:22 AM
Well, a draft does encourage people to enlist ahead of conscription for better terms, but we're still left with the question of how quickly you can get warm bodies from the courthouse out to the front lines. And things were much less centralized then; you joined a regiment and you went where that regiment was.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Clinton on August 08, 2008, 02:21:09 AM
After the battle what would have happened to all the bodies left lying around. Would they not have been taken by the surviving troops and buried (sad hill). And what happened with the battle, did they just all go back to their main camps and who won..

ICE..an Englishman who knows nothing about the Civil War

There were also a lot of dead at the Betterville Prison Camp in the GBU - in one scene, you can see prisoners pushing a wagon filled with corpses. It's a little in the background, but you can clearly make out limbs hanging over the side etc.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 08, 2008, 06:42:10 AM
There was no conscription in the US at that time because there was no need for it. Most of the volunteers, after the first batch of "90 days" men who went home after Bull Run, signed on for two to three year terms of enlistment. Assuming the movie took place in July 1862, most of the volunteers were still, and there had only been a few large-scale battles up to that point (Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, Seven Days', Shiloh - you could add a few more if you want to quibble with the definition of "major"). All that, and the Union had a huge population, 22 million to the South's 9 million - Shelby Foote wrote that the Union was fighting war with one tied behind its back, and it still won. So, again, a volunteer army was just fine for that moment in time. Only in 1863, after many more large battles with huge casualties (Second Bull Run, Antietam, Perryville, Fredericksburg, Stones' River) and enlistment terms expiring was a draft really needed.

I don't believe widespread conscription was introduced in the Union until March 1863, though a few states passed laws before that (I believe Pennsylvania was one).

In the later years of the war, the majority of Union soldiers will still mostly volunteers, but many were recruited in less than scrupulous methods. Bounties for enlistment, for instance, and mass recruitment of blacks (who certainly wanted to fight) and immigrants (many of whom didn't even know what the war was about). The scene in Gangs of New York where the Irishmen are conscripted almost as soon as they got off the dock, while a bit exaggerated, is not too far off the mark - although German immigrants made up a substantially larger number of troops.

The Confederacy had a much smaller resource of manpower, so they instituted conscription much sooner than the Yanks did. However, I think by the point in time the scene would have taken place, most of their men still would have been volunteers. The war was fairly popular on both sides until it started to drag on and on.

However, applying such logic to GBU, a film clearly set in an allegorical fantasy version of the Civil War, is a bit of a stretch (Blondie and Tuco couldn't have used dynamite either). And even then, volunteer soldiers are more than capable of becoming demoralized.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: cigar joe on August 08, 2008, 12:42:26 PM
they weren't using dynamite they were using powder sticks.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 08, 2008, 12:50:17 PM

However, applying such logic to GBU, a film clearly set in an allegorical fantasy version of the Civil War, is a bit of a stretch (Blondie and Tuco couldn't have used dynamite either). And even then, volunteer soldiers are more than capable of becoming demoralized.
Thanks, Groggy, for the background. We do sorta have to know if the soldiers fighting are volunteers or conscripts, though, in order to fully appreciate SL's "message"--such as it is. Those guys fighting have a choice, as do Blondie and Tuco. Leone clearly condones Blondie and Tuco's practice of consistently opting out of the system.

Thanks, CJ. What's the difference between dynamite and powder sticks, again?


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 08, 2008, 06:20:59 PM
they weren't using dynamite they were using powder sticks.

Fine. They couldn't have been using those Gatling guns at the battle then. And Blondie's gun was an 1866 Henry. :D


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: cigar joe on August 09, 2008, 04:53:21 AM
Blondie's gun was an 1860 Henry, and Gatling took out his patent in 1862.  The Gatling is a stretch, but a few private comanies raised by monied individuals had them before the official US Army did. O0


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 09, 2008, 05:13:24 AM
No Gatling guns saw service until the Petersburg Campaign of 1864. Some machine guns were around before then, but not Gatlings. If your private companies had them, they must not have seen combat.

Here's a good article on the subject:
http://www.civilwarhome.com/gatlinggun.htm (http://www.civilwarhome.com/gatlinggun.htm)

Here's an interesting IMDB "goof" for you:

Quote
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: Blondie's rifle is a Winchester, which was not available when the movie is meant to take place, but the production took the pains to remove the wood fore stock to disguise it as a Henry which were available


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: cigar joe on August 09, 2008, 08:50:46 AM
That goof was my correction, because it originally said that they used a Winchester which was anacchronistic but I said that  they disguised the it by removing the stock, and masking the side loading gate in the shots. There is an encyclodedia of Civil War armaments that gave the independent company information on Gatling guns. Its not as if we are making things up out of whole cloth it was highly  improbable but plausible.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 09, 2008, 12:26:14 PM
This is kind of like the whole "How did Blondie and Tuco know about Grant and Lee--in 1862" question. We are entering the realm of poetic license; nothing more than a patina of authenticity is required.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 09, 2008, 04:40:49 PM
My point is that since GBU uses anachronistic weapons and technology (whether or not Joe will admit it), we shouldn't expect it to be true to the facts in the strictest sense, or make sense in terms of reality. It is a fiction with allegorical and symbolic meaning more than it is a factual representation of the American Civil War/1860's New Mexico.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 09, 2008, 05:00:58 PM
I think the allegorical elements come to the fore only in the second half of the movie, maybe after the departure from Betterville. There is a surreal quality to the Ft. Smith sequence--if that is Ft. Smith--that suggest that historical reality is being left behind, and as I've already stated above, the Battle For Langston Bridge can be taken as a kind of Armageddon. But the historical period is never left behind entirely; SL spent a lot of effort getting his Civil War soldiers and their weapons to appear authentic, so it's worth noting when he is accurate and when he is not. Meaning sometime adheres to purposeful anachronisms.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 09, 2008, 05:51:31 PM
Exactly, and yet CJ seems unwilling to concede any inaccuracies at all. :D The level of trench warfare in the battle scene was also about two years too advanced for the ACW.

I like the phrase purposeful anachronisms. Frayling's quote of Leone in the chapter on DYS is pretty important to keep in mind, too: He didn't incorporate so much historical research and little details for the sake of accuracy, "but to make the fable more believable". It doesn't matter if it is real, but rather that it seems real. Given that we're discussing movies here, that, to me, is the key point of all of this jabberwocky.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 09, 2008, 07:07:58 PM
It is important to distinguish Leone's use of anachronisms from the careless anachronisms of other directors. It's what distinguishes art from kitsch.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Groggy on August 10, 2008, 05:32:50 AM
It is important to distinguish Leone's use of anachronisms from the careless anachronisms of other directors. It's what distinguishes art from kitsch.

I'm not sure how that statement is contradictory to mine. Or are you just being difficult?


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on August 10, 2008, 02:46:16 PM
I'm not sure how that statement is contradictory to mine. Or are you just being difficult?
I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm trying to preserve a distinction between what Leone does and what other directors do. When another director allows anachronisms into his film, it's usually because he's too lazy to do the proper research. That's not the case with Leone, and therefore, every time he deviates from what is historically authentic it needs to be documented and analyzed. To strike the pose that you appear to be taking--it's just a movie, and in fact a movie laden with symbols and metaphors, therefore the whole question of historical accuracy is moot--seems to me to be woefully short-sighted.


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on September 01, 2008, 12:23:32 PM
Hey, these are some very interesting thoughts. I don't know why the river in GBU has never struck me as a symbol before, because you're right, it is an obvious threshold to the place of the dead. And in ancient Greek mythology, one had to cross the river Styx to get to the underworld; even now, in gospel and folk traditions, the idea of "crossing the Jordan", another river, is tied to ideas of death and the afterlife.

And the river battle puts the idea across beautifully, since living men must come to the river before "crossing over" to the land of the dead. Maybe the bridge explosion is also symbolic: Tuco and Blondie shut the door to the underworld, so that no one but themselves can pass through. Of course, they, and AE, can always go across: each has something to do with death.

Dave, thanks (better late than never  :) ) for response.  I agree, in GBU, the river most definitely seems to be a threshold or passage.

I like your thoughts on the explosion of the bridge.  I don't think it would lend itself to a negative or positive interpretation.  Myth, like dreams, is informed by our concerns and anxieties.  So to destroy the bridge, it would possibly be representative of our fear of death... maybe the futile human desire to avoid it or not come to terms with it.  Also as you point out, within the story, it separates the characters from mere men.

I was thinking about the other films.  In AFOD, there's the river as the site of the massacre.  It's located outside the town like the cemetery.  Also, there was a thread about a possible opening scene which was not in the film which would introduce the character of Joe as he's crossing the river before arriving at the well and  the outskirts of San Miguel.   The other omission I was thinking of was from OUATIA.  There seems to have been a couple of film openings SL was considering, but the one I'm thinking of is the river as cemetery.  A1 has a thread on that one with the scene that was taken by a writer, and found its way into Frankenheimer's 99 And 44/100 Dead.  I had always thought that if that opening had made the final film it wouldn't have been too effective... too fantastical.  But it certainly is interesting to consider in this light.  Can't create a visual image that merges the images of river (water), cemetery and death than that one.

Also I was thinking about other things in OUATIA that are in the actual film.  In a way Noodles makes a mythic "journey" through time and memories (through doors, mirrors, with keys and in the presence of bridges and water....).  Perhaps it's not a journey to an underworld like the characters of GBU.  Some of the water and river related scenes I was thinking of would be the scene in the bay or harbor (which receives the Hudson and East) where the kids rescue the liquor shipments.  Here Max feigns drowning foreshadowing his "death" and disappearance in 1933.  The cemetery where Max has the mausoleum built is Riversdale.  The location where the gang executes Joe is interesting to consider.  Frayling indicates the location was Trois Rivieres near Quebec.  He describes it as a favorite location of SL.  It was basically a location where the great St. Lawrence River was quite expansive and had the "carcasses" of decaying boats along the road leading to the location....a boat cemetery.  Here, Noodles decides to take the entire gang on a swim and drives the car off the pier.  Perhaps a single phone call which leads to the death of the gang is associated with the impulse to submerge everyone in the river.  Max, unveils his "dream" to Noodles when they decide to go for yet another swim in Florida by the ocean.

I find Jordan Krug's thread about a potential water scene in FFDM interesting as well.  Although all the omissions have to be considered carefully, it's interesting to think about them and why there was an attempt to fit them in.... and also discard them.

I think I too would agree with the viewpoints expressed about the extent that historical analysis can be applied to the films.  For example, with FFDM, didn't Vincenzoni state that the script was written in like a week and a half or so?  With GBU and the productions that followed, the budgets allowed for more inclusion of historical detail or stories that germinated from historical incidents.  But I agree that what was most important was how it could lend authenticity to his fables and fairy tales.  I would agree that the vision was most important.  With that, I still like looking at the historical analysis.  Another opportunity to learn.  I found the reading on the treatment of Civil War dead and the changes it brought in society on the subject of death fascinating (even though very grim).  Very good point made about exploring the historical detail, and considering how and when the director may stray from the historical facts. 


           
 


Title: Re: All the Bodies.......
Post by: dave jenkins on September 01, 2008, 01:08:15 PM
I was thinking about the other films.  In AFOD, there's the river as the site of the massacre.  It's located outside the town like the cemetery.  Also, there was a thread about a possible opening scene which was not in the film which would introduce the character of Joe as he's crossing the river before arriving at the well and  the outskirts of San Miguel.   The other omission I was thinking of was from OUATIA.  There seems to have been a couple of film openings SL was considering, but the one I'm thinking of is the river as cemetery.  A1 has a thread on that one with the scene that was taken by a writer, and found its way into Frankenheimer's 99 And 44/100 Dead.  I had always thought that if that opening had made the final film it wouldn't have been too effective... too fantastical.  But it certainly is interesting to consider in this light.  Can't create a visual image that merges the images of river (water), cemetery and death than that one.
Wow, you just blew the top of my head clean off! O0