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Messages - James C Gutierrez

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Other Films / Re: Il mio nome รจ Nessuno aka My Name Is Nobody (1973)
« on: December 05, 2003, 01:25:57 PM »
He did quite a few, including a (very poor according to what I've heard) sequel to "Nobody"; "The Cat", which I have no idea of what it was about; "I'll Get A Gun", about an Italian security guard (I think) who buys a firearm and grows dangerously attached to it; and a few more, which I forget at this moment.

The "I'll Get a Gun" movie aka IL GIOCATTOLO or THE TOY is worth seeing. It's a Montaldo directed film but with all the RAFRAN hands on board, including script by Sergio Donati. The tone shifts from light comedy of middleaged mediocrity caught up in bureaucratic red tape into TAXI DRIVER gun and vendetta craziness somewhere around the half way point. All scenes directly detailing crime violence and its effects come out of a recognizably Leone Universe. Though I'm not suggesting he had any direct influence on the set, the shootouts appear to express or at least reflect his stylistic ideas. Especially memorable is a robbery massacre in a Roman bar with time incredibly dragged out and dilated, quite brilliant. There's also a great camera study of well-off folks whacking targets of thugs at an ultramodern shooting gallery, each with headphones on, totally isolated in their fantasies of revenge.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re:Jason Robards
« on: December 05, 2003, 12:19:30 PM »

That said, however, could the movie have handled three hardened personalities?  Was Cheyenne there to lighten it up in places?  

That's right. Consider: Aside from some tricked up shooting on the side of a train which doesn't count in my opinion, we don't see Cheyenne fire a gun conventionally even once! (am I remembering right?)

We just hear one of his confrontations and he Enters...preceded by his reputation.

That's it in the violence department for Robards (I suspect we don't see him taking on the Choo Choo Morton gang because Robards was simply not a robust and credible enough pistolero to make it worth Leone's while). And there's even less riding for him  than Van Cleef in the Dollars Films.

He's all character and connecting tissue between the other characters. He's the only truly three dimensional, human person in the movie after Brett McB's demise. Notice that he takes on a potential resemblance to McBain in widow Cardinale's eyes. She can picture him as the same irascible,. kindly, strong willed, slightly clownish type of protector and provider. A good man. Something you can't say about Harmonica and Frank, surely.

Robards is the one observing, puzzling out, explaining and philosophizing, and fanning some warmth into rather chilly and self-sufficient Harmonica and Jill (like breath on that Coffee campfire) through his encounters with them.

He's the battered soul of the west, and the film.

I can not imagine Tuco Wallach in this part, nor do I want to: "Reemember my friend, if you are going to play the false notes to Cheyenne Gutierrez you had better play them reely FALSE!" I love  Wallach, but he's not right here. He's too much the bantam weight, fidgety, chomping at the bit, hopping about.

Cheyenne has to be slow, slow, slow: the life sighing out of the legends, and soulful, self-deprecating, foolishly wise. Robards has the eyes and the tempo for that and the beautiful voice for some of the best written speeches in any western ever.Only he could live and die that way on screen.

James! It's been a long time! It's good to see old friends again!  ;D

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there is any more Leone in Film Forum's pipeline. As you might have noted elsewhere on this board, they did precede the "Dollars" trilogy (if it's a trilogy) with a week's worth of Duck You Sucker/Fistful of Dynamite ... but that is all. It looks as if your time in the city will coincide with a Josef von Sternberg retrospective ...


I'll start whistling "Falling in love again" now  in place of something Alessandroni and that should psyche me up for Dietrich and Von Sternberg by the time I hit the city. Thanks as always for the info KC!

Once Upon A Time In America / Re:Why do we care about Noodles?
« on: November 29, 2003, 07:48:18 PM »
Sanjuro asked

"But those are besides the point. The question here is, why do we still care about Noodles in spite of his antiheroic character. He is a bad kid, rapes two women and is cold to his old freind, Fat Moe. Don't you think it's a big question how we can relate to a character like that as a hero of a drama? I hope somebody can answer to this question."

Why do we still continue to care? Because we've always cared, we still feel for him. Bad kid? Not all bad. Look how he throws his life on the line when Dominic goes down, and how he takes the rap without complaining. He's a rude street kid but not without likeability and promise,  Debra sees that in him, and also a sensitive side , which may actually be his tragic flaw...and not all that sensitive in a good way: his touchiness gets him into lots of trouble . Passiveness, dreaminess, bottled up anger all get muddled up inside him, and manifest in weird, inappropriate self-destructive ways after a certain point in his story...probably when he emerges from Jail,  and finds himself -for not the last time in his life- the man who got left behind. Before prison, Noodles was the brains and brawn of the operation as much as Max. Now he's been supplanted, and can only stir his drink over and over to express his dissatisfaction,  sneak a phone call to "bring back the good old days" for Max'es "own good" out of very mixed motivations including revenge, and then let the phone ring and ring  in his ears accusinlg him ever after, unable to face what and who is on the other end, and what he is himself.

We're caught in his unresolvable inner state: good guy or bad guy, he doesn't know for sure, and the amends he tries to make in the flash forward may only be a dream. Even if it is nothing but a fantasy (there's no definitive yes/no to this possibility the way the film got edited), though,  that future Leone imagines for Noodles shows us a very human character we can't help but feel for. The way De Niro plays him is very close to the vest, a sensitive but very tough guy. He's cold to Moe because he doesn't respond comfortably to affection, a very private closed-off individual. That doesn't make him unaffectionate.however, just incapable of showing love. When he tries to with Debra, he shockingly shows all the hate thats in him, as well, the street kid's curse, the stain on his soul, the only "positive" way he can react to anything is the gangster's way, to kill it, and that's what he does to Debra's affection...

Lucky KC! Old friend James here (how I took on Cheyenne's last name, only I and the webmaster know for sure!), or more accurately, unlucky amigo James.  The Leone films are always one step ahead or behind me in theaters as I travel, my curse! Missed them by moments last summer in several parts of the country, and I won't get to Manhattan till 2 weeks after they've left this time. Will Film Forum be showing later movies in his output when I arrive, I wishfully ask. I'd settle for even semi-related GENIUS at this point!

Just thought I would mention that I went to the Fistful screening yesterday, Friday, at 5:30. The theater was only around half full, so anyone in the New York area who loves these films has no excuse to miss catching at least one of them in their remaining screenings.  ;)

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