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Messages - Usaviator

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Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Harmonica, Hero or Anti Hero?
« on: July 27, 2017, 10:36:48 PM »
Anti-hero of course. Most people confuse Harmonica's motivation as wanting to protect Jill. He is only protecting her to get to Frank. Harmonica is not interested in her at all, she even says it herself: " You don't look at all like the noble defender of poor defenseless widows, but then again....I don't look like a poor defenseless widow. "

I never thought of looking at the quote in the way you interpreted it.  I took it as Jill was saying in so many words "things aren't always as they appear".   Jill is still young and beautiful and has recently left behind her promiscuous past.  She doesn't look like a poor defenseless widow, but she's not saying that she's not a poor defenseless young widow, just like she's not saying Harmonica isn't a noble defender of poor defenseless widows. 

I have a hard time believing that every protective gesture put towards Jill by Harmonica was only to get to Frank.  I understand that avenging his brothers death is his number one goal throughout the story, but I don't see how every decision he made during the film was only to fulfill his revenge.  I think defending Jill along the way gives him hero-like qualities.  Who knows, maybe SL just breaks the mold in his characters lining up with heroes or anti-heroes.  Maybe they just fit in their own places and can't really be defined as one of the other exclusively. 

Anyway, here is one of the drone shots I did of the arch the other day. Please don't share it, it's very raw, the color correction isn't good, and I haven't even cleared the rights yet (they're shot with a drone that belong to a production company, that I had with me to shoot a movie I have a contract for). Anyway, here is the link so you guys can see what's left of the arch as well as its surroundings:
Password: ouatitw

That video was awesome!  The quality looks great and I love the zoom out to see how vast that land really is.  Funny thing is, me and my wife actually drove right by this when we moved from NH to CA.  We drove through Mexican Hat and on through Monument Valley and onward towards Page, AZ. This is before I had ever heard of OUTIW, so I would have never known about this arch at the time.  We actually ran into a fierce sand storm going through Monument Valley. Between Mexican Hat and Monument Valley, the air gradually got more and more red.  Eventually it got so thick, it kind of reminded me of driving through white-out blizzard conditions in NH only with red sand instead of snow.   It sand blasted our car and we never even saw any of the great "mitten" buttes.  We thought we were gonna die in this storm at times.

Here is a picture I caught of the storm rolling in on us just as we were driving out.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: I think Frank wasn't pure evil...
« on: July 26, 2017, 09:44:12 AM »
I think it's easy to feel some sympathy for Morton.  Yeah, of course he made a mistake by hiring frank, and that kind of throws him in the category of a "bad guy" in this story, and on top of that, he was very driven by wherever his riches led him.  But his intention was to scare the family off the land, definitely a mean-hearted thing, but not sadistic. 

I think I could agree with the idea that there could have been a glimmer of thought in Frank's mind that he could settle down and live a normal life, but I think it was just that, a glimmer.  Maybe Frank can dream about being a normal person, and you could expand on that and say you see good in him, but as far as the rest of the story goes, it doesn't reflect any reality or action for him.

To get a little more philosophical, on top of that, I think you could also say there's a little evil in everyone as well.  Some find it easy to see the good in the evil ones, others find it easy to see the evil in the good ones.  Every man's basic instinct is to defend himself and his loved ones, no matter what the cost.  Revenge doesn't make someone good. It is just dishing out the same evil that you were served.  I bet you could have even handed little Timmy a gun and he woulda blown Franks brains out, had he the chance to.  Now then you serve death for death, and each man killed to serve his own desire.  So I think there is inherently evil in us all as well. 

I thought this was an interesting thread to bring back to life, 10 years later and a much more advanced googlemaps experience makes this location very clear.  The good - I put in the original coordinates used at the beginning of this thread and I do believe that is the original arch site.  The bad - From what it looks like is the arch isn't there anymore.  The ugly - You can clearly see both bases of the arch, but the arch itself looks like it has been destroyed or perhaps deteriorated.    :'(,-109.9735762,159a,35y,339.18h/data=!3m1!1e3

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: "Something to do with death"
« on: July 26, 2017, 05:27:07 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. 

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Out of sequence scenes
« on: July 26, 2017, 05:15:52 AM »
I'm really glad this subject was addressed. I missed the continuity of these sequences as well.  It seems like most people, including me, don't pick up on the fact that Frank takes Jill back to the cave by that shot. I know it is talked about between Frank and Morton, but it's a very small cue.  And yes, if you are really paying attention, you can figure it out, but I think this movie can be a lot to chew on the first time around.  I saw it for the first time all at once, and then broken up a bit the 2nd and 3rd times.  I can't wait to watch it in full for a 4th time, especially after perusing through this board for a while.  Even though I enjoyed the film immensely the first few times around, a lot more has clicked into place since the last viewing. 

I was about 16 when I first saw it, and I found it beautiful. And liked it better with every re-watching. It's like good wine.  O0

I don't mind the slowness. It's so calming. I never liked movies in which someone's shot or something explodes in every two minutes.

That "slow" opening scene is just adorable. Those faces, that fly, that dropping water...

My take on it was most like this.  Only to elaborate a bit, I didn't full understand what was going on the first time I saw it. I was drawn by the visual style of filming, and also the script, which sounded like short snippets of eloquent speech that always hit the nail on the head.  I also love the music.  So most of my draw to this movie initially was just the experience of watching it, and not thinking too deeply into it.  It wasn't till the second and third times that I started having questions, and thus have stumbled onto this message board.   O0 

I think the biggest flaw with OUATITW is the character of Cheyenne himself. For me he's too eloquent and verbose to be convincing as a tough-guy gunslinger and Robards' casting certainly doesn't help (Wallach would at least be convincing as the tough-guy). I mean, here's a guy who's introduced shooting his way out of a sizeable prison escort (albeit off-screen) and single-handedly rescues Harmonica from a slew of Frank's men, but in between these scenes all he does his philosophize about how rough his life is and how hot he finds Jill. He's certainly not a character with an equivalent in Leone's earlier works, where most dialogue served purely expository purposes, and I have to say he's out of place in a film with lengthy near-silent scenes like the train station opening and the final duel. Not to mention he gets many of the film's most awkward scenes and speeches (the "pat your behind" scene is cringe-inducing) and his death goes on way too long for my taste.

Groggy, I kind of get what you mean by this.  I wouldn't go as far as to think this was a flaw.  But it wasn't initially obvious for me to link the type of person Cheyanne was, to an infamous bandit of that area.  While I think it's unusual that a movie focuses so much on his personable side, over being just a brutish gang leader, I think he's a likeable character.  It also reminds me that this movie leans towards a more theatrical approach over a realistic approach.  There are many situations in this movie that remind me that it's not really trying to represent reality, but rather an artistic expression of it.  I think situations like the heavy focus on a gang leader's surprisingly soft and philosophic personality is an example of this. 

They way I understood this was that he felt trapped anyways on top of the train, so although it's a tight spot and almost any action would result in capture, he probably figured staying atop the train gave him the worst chances of capture, so he figured he would make a run for it anyways.  You're right that it's practically a senseless move, but when in such a tense situation, it may be likely he just figured he would do something, even if he knew it was a shot in the dark.  I also think he knew at that point that he would still likely be captured.

Once Upon A Time In The West / The Brett McBain Smackdown
« on: July 24, 2017, 04:02:01 AM »
I'm still learning quite a bit about this movie, especially the way sound was dubbed in.  On one hand, its nice because it gives you complete control over the sound environment, but on the other hand, it can make for a challenging task to make the sounds fit the experience. 

I have noticed a few over-the-top sound effects that just stand out to me and make me chuckle a bit.  IMO, most of the sound effects add a very convincing aspect to my viewing experience, for instance the opening scene with the squeaky windmill pump, the wind picking up and dying down as Frank and his men approach the McBain farm, and the ocean waves rolling as Morton stares longingly at his painting.  But there are a few here and there that seem abrupt and over the top.  Almost like the sound was amplified or exaggerated to the point of distortion.  Was this technique accidental or did SL just not care to refine some of these sound effects?  The first one I notice in particular was Brett McBain smacking his son Patrick after he comments about his long dead mother.  It's almost a little humorous to me.  Another was Timmy in the beginning going "bang bang bang bang. bang bang bang bang!"  Of course Frank smacking Harmonica was another one as well.  There may be a few more I'm missing. 

Most of the sounds tended to give the audience a realistic immersion into the environment, but some seemed to be so obviously dubbed and almost cheesy sounding effects.  Does anyone know if Leone had any comments on this, if they were humorous in his mind, or if there was any reason some of these effects were exaggerated so much?

I can take a good joke, and this thread definitely made me laugh.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Morton and the water picture
« on: July 23, 2017, 12:17:54 AM »
The acting really stood out in this scene for me.  I can really feel Morton's desperation to experience what he desires so much.

This may sound like an odd comparison, but I recently lost a friend in a car accident. I'd never lost someone like that before. I've had grandparent's die, but I saw my friend almost every day, and all of a sudden he was gone.  He was also my close work partner and manager.  When I'm at work, I often imagine hearing his voice when I'm reminded about him.  When I see pictures of him, I'm filled with such desperation to see him again.  It kind of reminded me of the way Morton looks at his painting and could hear the water.  It feels very similar to me to see that scene and also deal with this loss. 

SL truly knew how to make you feel the full extent of the emotion of his characters. 

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: Jill's Voice
« on: July 22, 2017, 11:55:52 PM »
Forgive me for not being caught up on all the details of who dubbed over who's voice.  I have read over this thread, but still have some questions as I am fairly new to OUTIW. 

I understand Cardinale's voice wasn't used for Jill, but obviously Cardinale was still saying things for the filming of the movie.  Was she speaking English the whole time?  Were there any mics even present?  Do those recordings exist anywhere?  I haven't watched OUTIW yet with the intention of determining if the lips even match the same language as the audio. I'm sure I would have noticed easily if the entire movie was in a different language, but does every character speak English in every line of the movie? 

I definitely have noticed that the audible experience with OUTIW is a very unique and rich experience, but I'm not very used to the idea that actors would be speaking English on film, and receive separate English audio dubs into the sound.  I'm a little bummed that Cardinale's voice wasn't used for the dub actually. It feels a little impersonal.  It's only a minor detail, nothing to make me love the movie less, but I wish I didn't know that fact.  Oh well though, I haven't actually heard her voice I don't think.  I did watch Girl with a Suitcase which was in Italian with English subs.  Does anyone know if that was her real voice?  Now I'm curious to what she really sounds like.

Lol. Is the argument that went on about what to call the tavern, trading post, kwick-ee-mart, a serious one, or are you guys trolling hard? 

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: The best movie ever made...
« on: July 22, 2017, 10:54:14 PM »
He he, don't trust this video. It's not that simple.

I didn't say I trusted any video, I said it described how I perceived it.  My perception of things could be just as skewed as anybody's.

Once Upon A Time In The West / Re: The best movie ever made...
« on: July 22, 2017, 04:40:06 PM »
Out of the 3,000 plus Classic Era American Westerns produced between 1939 and roughly 1981, there are only about 100 of them that are top notch. So 3% are really worth a shit, the rest are routine and formulaic.

Out of the 600 plus or minus Spaghetti Westerns produced only about 18 are top notch again that works out to 3%

What made Leone's films stand out for me was all those formulaic American Westerns that I saw in the theaters and on TV during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Leone's style, the storytelling, and Morricone's music upped it all a couple of notches.

What you should do is definitely not watch all Leone's Westerns at once, watch some of the average American Westerns, some of the good American Westerns and some of the crap American Westerns to get a good handle on them. Then you'll understand Leone's impact on the Genre.

Those are quite some numbers you got figured there.  They surprise me, but they don't at the same time. I guess it surprises me how many of those movies there actually are out there, but the percentage of great ones isn't a real shocker to me.  I'm very big into music, and that 3% or even lower is how I feel about the quality of the music I hear on the radio.   Honestly, I don't have a ton of time to check out that many movies.  I try to limit the movies I watch to those I think I would like or be interested in and/or those strongly recommended.  Idunno if I want to watch something that you're already telling me is going to be a crap movie.  But I am certainly open to checking out American westerns as well and would rather invest the time into something that has a good reputation.  I do keep hearing about the Searchers from several people and from what I have read, looks like something I may check out soon. 

I just can't say though how happy I am that I stumbled upon OUATITW.  Even without comparing it to other westerns of the time, it's an amazing stand-out movie that exceeds appreciation just within the western genre, but can totally introduce someone into the western genre who had no other appreciation for westerns before.  But as I said earlier, some people don't have the patience for that style of filming.  They need the quick switching camera angles from a Christopher Nolan style film.  That kind of filming drives me nuts. If it gets any faster, it's going to have a strobe light effect.  :o

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