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Messages - Stern

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A similar bad dialogue in FaFDM in which Eastwood talks about retiring on a farm. Shows that Leone still wasn't exactly sure about what he was achieving.

I think you are very right, as there is no reasonable explanation. I am a little bit endangered by the “retiring on a farm” as there is a parallel action in the film. Tomaso also “retired”, (You used the reward that you got... to start raising a family.) Tomaso is shown as a traitor, killed even by El Indio an even damned by heaven (see the figure of Jesus pointing him even in his dead to hell). Monco is shown as the winner. So again most likely you are right and Leone did not have a straight concept at this early stage of his carrier.

RE: Joe's cryptic "I knew someone like you once and there was no one there to help" response to Marisol in FOD?

It is cryptic indeed, especially because it does not fit into the film. I do not know the answer, although I wonder about it. A possible theory: One of the returning ideas of Leone is the impossibility to leave the pictured world: the men trying to escape over the river in the massacre scene is shot by Ramón, Maureen trying to fly away with the bird cant and is shot by Frank, even Deborah, leaving with the train to “Hollywood” returns to her beginning, we are not told why. Marisol only managed to leave, and with the help of Joe. Why?

A Fistful of Dollars / Re: the baxter mansion
« on: January 08, 2012, 01:07:33 PM »
TMWNN is, above all else, an individualist, who does what he wants and is not beholden to anyone.

It is my opinion too and there are different statements in the film for this. And not only to the Roccos. The film is about AFOD but taking over the biggest mentioned sum of 500 USD he informs the Baxers: Yeah, that's not gonna break my heart. But it is true, the relationship to the Roccos is more complicated: TMWNN frequently moves in and out, because Leone has sympathies for the Roccos. See the scene with the first talk between Joe and Ramón, where Ramón comes down the staircase in full white like from heaven. But, and this is the progress of the film, Ramón becomes more and more dark and Leone tries to withdraw his hidden sympathies from him, with no full success. Even the relationship to Silvanito is difficult, see the silly sentence to Silvanito: Don't worry. I didn't dirty the sheets. To me, TMWNN is an early picture from Leone of a world, he refuses, and the different players, he refuses for different reasons. In this sense TMWNN is queer.

A Fistful of Dollars / Re: Alternate opening
« on: December 26, 2011, 01:46:24 PM »
Maybe two remarks from a different point of view: Not only Joe is working for a fistful of dollars, but also Leone with his budget of 100 T USD. To a small extent is Joe the early autobiographical portrait of himself. Also the Dollar trilogy is to some extent the story of his raising budget (to 1.3 M USD), bur Leone uses it only to build more and more destructed scenes and to end in GBU in a dead town: in a cemetery. To the second: there may be another opening, but this opening is the opening of Leones carrier. The well, Joe is drinking of in the beginning is the presumption of Sweetwater (no one else uses it; no one uses the well in the middle of the town). Chico in the beginning returns even in the end of his carrier, in America as Chicken Joe. The desert of San Miguel returns periodically and you can continue for dozens.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Morton and the water picture
« on: October 12, 2011, 12:51:19 PM »

Very enlighting and lucid, your three categories. I agree absolute. Moreover: Wobbles in the scene with Harmonica is not beaten but WASHED, but without result. His only and final reaction is: I don't know. I swear. He is neither willing nor able to understand. And he is a traitor, because he has water, but he went to the other side. Frank is to me Category 2, I think for Leone he as a bad guy is out of discussion. For Cheyenne there is (as usual by Leon) a very small scene at the end. Just before the final showdown, Cheyenne goes to the McBain farm house, to “shave”, but he – by the way, and this is the trick of Leone – washes his face twice. And to make emphasis on this, he looks into the camera. This is the final statement of Leone of the relationship of Cheyenne to water. Jill gets her big bath, and even Cheyenne get his small face washing. They are both standing on the “right side” of the water.

And Harmonica is out of discussion a category of his own. Even the actor Charles Bronson is singular. Even after a long second line actor carrier it was Leone, who fought for him as a star of his film. And not be chance. Charles Bronson, naturally Charles Buchinsky, 11th child of 15 of a poor Lithuanian immigrant family (imagine his childhood) is Tatar descent. Another proof that Leones dislikes the western civilisation.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Morton and the water picture
« on: October 11, 2011, 01:01:49 PM »
Quote from Dave Jenkins, from GBU forum:

Re-reading it, I see I talked myself around to the belief that Leone established a simple opposition between Salt Water (death) and Sweetwater (life). It's an idea that to me still seems to have merit.

Very interesting idea, the opposition of Salt Water (death) and Sweetwater (life). I agree with you that the film is not only about death but also about life, and water is the symbol for life. Morton wants to reach the water of the Pacific, but he fails. Jill talks about it and reaches the bath and survives. But to me the opposite of the water in the film is the desert. I think the film plays not only in the wild west but also in a desert without water. The opening scene is station in a dessert, the McBain farm is in a half dessert and so on. The picture of Jill in the carriage in the Monument Valley is a big picture because only she manages to pass this dessert. One theme of the film is the fight for Sweetwater, you can see it from the commercial point of view, but also as the fight for the water of the life.


You are right, I switch to that forum

It's an interesting idea and you may be right. It's important to keep in mind, though, that there is a water theme in West and that Jill is constantly associated with the substance (she talks about baths several times before she gets one, she is seen carrying water at the end, etc.). So Leone would probably have put the bath scene in West even if there were no such corresponding scene in GBU. On the other hand, to follow your "mirror" comment, it may be important to note the number of times the desert--and, if you will, "waterlessness"--is linked with Tuco.

Hallo Dave,

Although this becomes a private discussion I have to answer you, because in my feeling, you absolutely hit into the black. Water is absolutely one of the (secret) themes in West. Not only with Jill, I do not want to continue your list, but with Timmy (Go inside, quick, and get washed), Morton (before my eyes rot, I want to see the blue of the Pacific), and his death, the washing house of Wobbles, the fight of Harmonica for Sweetwater and his defence of Jill (Give me some water. From the well) at the well. West is his opus magnum, he prepared through many years and many films. As he made the (ironic) bath scene in GBU, he already had the (important) bath scene of West in mind. Look at the end of the scene with the revolver merchant that is the (ironic) version of the (important) scene of the death of Frank with the harmonica in his mouth. So you opened a secret door in West. Another secret door is the fact, that Timmy is the face of Leone as his childhood ends and he meets the crude reality of Frank. I described this in detail in German in

Andreas Stern

If I recall correctly, the soap bubbles are high enough to hide the gun without the gun having to be underwater. So it is actually possible.

Oh Dave this is an absolutely scientific view. I do not stick to “surely impossible”, after your explanation. What I wonted to say is, that the two bathroom scenes in GBU with Tuco and West with Jill are mirrors of each other. And that one here is the ironical side of the mirror and that I believe, that Leone had, at this point of time, the other side of the mirror already in his mind.

Andreas Stern



A lot of you voted earlier for
"When you have to shoot, shoot! Don´t talk."
of Tuco in the bathroom. Tuco shoots, but with a revolver from under the water, what is surely impossible, so the scene is ironic. I also think this one of the best, but not simply a good joke. In the next film, ”Once upon a time in the West”, there is another scene with Jill in the bathroom, also with “shooting” but in no way ironic. I guess it is one of the scenes, where Leone already “foresees” his next film.

Andeas Stern

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / Re: Why didn't Tuco kill Blondie?
« on: September 29, 2011, 10:54:01 AM »

Maybe I can coin in an idea from a bit different point of view. In my opinion, the dramaturgy of the film is that Tuco and Blondie are both not bad boys, still quit different characters. Leone plays with these differences, which are to a good part the content of the film. Tuco belongs in some way to an old world, Blondie to a new. According to the story both have lot of possibilities to die or to kill each other, but the idea of Leone is, to let them survive, although this is often completely unbelievable. To me one mayor content of the film is, that both, the representatives of the old and the new world have they specific role in the world and therefore survive. Look for this idea also to the barkeeper in “Once upon the time in the West” at the beginning, a completely time-outed man, but still lovable, and one of the few not be killed.

Andeas Stern

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Cattle Corner
« on: August 10, 2010, 03:40:23 AM »

I collected some of my ideas regarding "Once upon a time in the West" for those, who may be interested under:
(in German)

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Cattle Corner
« on: June 02, 2010, 04:58:22 AM »
Dear Bounty,

You are right and I have no doubt that this is the general opinion. But this is a movie and in oposite to a scientific statement there are possibilities for more then one interpretation. There coud be differences between the opinion of the viewer and of the regisseur. The end is a happy end, bad guy Frank is dead, but is this also the opinion of Leone? If you take a close look to the end you might find, that Leone implemented a lot of detaills stating the opposite. To the viewer there is a happy end, to Leone not.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Cattle Corner
« on: June 01, 2010, 05:39:32 AM »
Hallo Dave,

This is an interesting point, because it coud be very well in the way you describe it: Frank understands but only at the end. He finds out and remebers, that they met already and that Harmonica come back for the revanche. Then he has to understand that he is this time - and finally - loosing. But please allow me to stick (as Joe in For a Fistfull of Dollars to his 45) to my version: Franks problem is, who is Harmonica, that means who is that guy, who winns again him. How can it be, that anyone is better then he. That is the one main point of the film: who is Harmonica. There are more then one interpretations. He coud be the good guy, who winns at the end, the classsic schema of a western. But Harmonica disappears after that. I think this was also the problem of Leone, he wanted to introduce someone who winns at the end again the bad, but he give for this person possibilities for different interpretations. And maybe he gives finally no explanation. You can endless wonder about the question: who is Harmonica.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Cattle Corner
« on: May 31, 2010, 04:11:12 AM »
Hallo Dave,

Please remember, that Frank is wrong. He is wrong with Dave Jenkins and with everything. He is unable to find out what is going on in the Flagstone Scene, where his man try to kill him (in contradiction to Harmonica, who knows very well what is going on, look at the different play of the two artists). He is unable to find out, what the matter is with Harmonica and continues to question him the whole film. And the content of the end is, that he is completely unable to understand what happens to him at the end. In my view is Frank a man who do not understand the important things around him. So if Harmonica coud be Dave Jenkins, so it can not be a problem to you.

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