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Messages - mike siegel

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Oh, I'm completely on your side. I don't know where the misunderstanding is here. That's just what I was raving against: Those gossips and misquotations of misquotations.

Facts from the people involved we need. And even those are to be treated with care, after all it's the movie business.
By the way, who are you quoting here:

'' It should also be pointed out that the ONLY REASON Leone directed anything in that picture was because he was incredibly jealous and upset that Barboni's upstart comedy western destroyed his previous box office takings. It was his way of one upping the TRINITY pictures. ''

What's got his general dislike for Fun-Western and the attached success to do with him directing some scenes?

In retrospect I really would have loved to make those docs for the German Edition. Technically I think they're great.
Content-wise I almost ate backwards: In the first place both docs are completely negative about both films. Well, the second we don't care too much about. But why do a doc about NOBODY when you loath the film? And THEN misquoting all around (or did you see any footnotes where all those informations came from? So why believe them? Just because it's released? Just say 'Leone did seek revenge regarding Peckinpah' and get away with it?).

I was really looking forward for that release for many many years. I think they blew it. The docs I mentioned. The 1st Print looks great but they got a very early print and you actually see almost every cut because of the editing tape or what have you. Awful & distracting. The 2nd print (UN GENIO) is even missing the final scene!
So it's a very nice box with major flaws all over the place.

I just finished a documentary about Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS. This is the 8th after two others on Peckinpah, six on Sergio Sollima and Ferdinando Baldi and I hope it will be the last for the next two years, hence giving me the time to make a new feature.

Are these rumours that Leone did NOBODY as kind of 'Kick Ass Trinity' still around?

Incredible. Even in the very bad German Documentary on the DVD-Box there's loads
of horse shit regarding the circumstances of the making of this film. If someone
shows me a printed Interview or better on-camera of somebody involved confirming this
gossip I'll be the first to apologize.
But I don't think so. NOBODY was my first film in a theatre back in 1974 and since then
(altough for other reasons by now) it's one of my favorite westerns ever. So I kind of researched
whatever information I could for decades now.
In the German Doc they even claim that Leone hurt the film on purpose so it would fail.
May it be to hurt Valerii, or the Trinity figure or whatever. As a film maker I can assure you one thing:
Film making is one of the hardest business and no-one would want to hurt his own film (except
misguided souls like Marty Ransohoff on DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES. But then again he was a Producer,
jealous of gifted film makers like Peckinpah & Polanski).

Some also point out (like in that unbearable German Doc) that Leone gave Peckinpah a grave
as kind of revenge since Peckinpah turned him down on GIU LA TESTA. Horseshit. It's an hommage,
nothing more nothing less. If he had a grudge against Peckinpah why would the film be full of
Peckinpah-Hommages: Slow-Motion (to my knowledge a 1st time in a 'Leone'-Film), The Wild Bunch
of xourse, Fonda's/Character Eyesight reminds 0f Steve Judd in RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. Even the uncapable
Army chasing their own train is WILD BUNCH. Leone & Peckinpah regarded themsevelves as kind of
Twin brothers who renewed the Western genre. Which is right, isn't it?

NOBODY started as an Italian Western version of Homer's ODYSSEE. Not much left but the Title (which actually
is from Homer and doesn't mean that Trintity is 'Nobody' as I read somewhere too).
It came into pre-production rather to be a 'LIBERTY VALANCE' or 'RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY' of the 70's.
And that's what it is. It's splendid, perfectly cast and very well written too.
The old American western goes (Fonda) and the aficionados from Rome carry on.
By now I would have preferred less Slapstick like the fast motion which dates the film and
is unneccessary. But back in the 70's it just had to be that way.
The rest is pretty flawless I think. Altough Leone's and Valerii's style aren't too close to each other.

And Leone didn't direct to kick Trinity's ass but because they had major problems with the schedule
and he offered to do 2nd Unit. Whether it was intended by him to happen like that in the
first place is not proven. Even if it was the case I would find it not as big a thing as it reads from
some writers nowadays: After all Leone was a Director and this was his first Producers job. So of course it
was difficult for him not to direct.

That Leone wasn't in love with the success of Barbonis films is a fact since GIU LA TESTA wasn't
a big success and Trinity became the most successful Italian western ever.
In the beginning Leone wanted to design the Hill-character less sympathetic but he was out-voted
and quickly adapted to the character as 'Hero'.

But to claim that Nobody was done on the base of hate, jealousy, envy and what have you is an exaggeration
to say the least. I have a German Interview were Hill stated that Leone wanted to be very sure the
film would be a success. And that he added little piexces here and there which is what directors, even
good 2nd Unit directors do. Like the PISS-scene. Leone liked PISS-scenes, watch GIU LA TESTA again :)

Maybe someone here has worked with Italian crews too and can confirm that they work a bit differently
than the ones in the US or here in Germany. Italians shout, are macho, have problems with ego and
organisation etc. etc. So these sets are very much alive. In Hollywood it might have been good for 5 shows of
RONA BARRETT IN HOLLYWOOD, in Italy it was everyday's movie making.
(And the films are so much alive too! Forza Italia !)

Other Films / Re: Favorite Peckinpah Film
« on: March 25, 2007, 08:58:21 AM »
well, so far I did festivals and small art houses. Italy, England, Israel, Germany. In the US we found no interest!
Strange, with such an American content :), seems like contributions from ol' Europe aren't very welcome.

If you live in New Mexico, you could see it this summer.

Other Films / Re: Favorite Peckinpah Film
« on: March 24, 2007, 03:30:27 PM »
here's something to look at:

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 13, 2007, 12:40:16 PM »
most of it I mentioned. But again: He saw it while being busy with WHERE EAGLES DARE in Europe. That one was shot in winter/spring of 68 in Austria. As well as SILENZIO in the Italian mountains some 100 miles away. I was only 8 months back then, don't know what he did on Sundays back then... Maybe he visited old grounds, Cinecitta in Rome, around that time and saw an early screening. A journalist told me 20 years ago Eastwood saw it in London while doing post on WHERE EAGLES and the Italians brought new IW's to town hoping to find distributors/buyers for the UK/US market.

Anyway, HANG'EM HIGH was shot BEFORE Il Grande Silenzio even went before the cameras, so there can't be any influence there.
Next in line was COOGAN for Eastwood. He worked like hell (as always), made KELLY, SISTER SARA, THE BEGUILED, his own directing debuts with the Beguild-Don Siegel documentary HEY, HAS ANYBODY THAT THING?? I'M LOOKING FOR IT FOR LOONG TIME - !! REWARDS!! and PLAY MISTY. Then HARRY and JOE KIDD. And as all his films from 1970 on iJOE KIDD WAS co-produced by his MALPASO Company... But let's not get into any creative discussions why he or other people decided to make the film as it stands now. And of course the MAUSER is one of those elements they took from SILENZIO..

I know people who know him, a couple of more entries and I'm motivated enough to go through the trouble of finding out the whole story... Oh, the book is called CLINT EASTWOOD-HOLLYWOODS LONER by a british film historian, don't know his name right now and the books are in another building... But as I said before, that story isn't unknown at all. My best buddy worked for Corbucci in his later years and although he never saw JOE KIDD he knew that story too.

I hope you guys don't think too bad of me because of tone in some of my postings. It's just a bit unusual to me to find so much resentment in this discussion here. The first time I saw JOE KIDD I thought 'he looks like a speaking SILENZIO...'. Not that I immediately thought of the facts I know by now, but when I learned about it, everything became crystal clear...

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 12, 2007, 01:31:55 PM »
I'm sorry regarding the 'somewhat condescending comments', some of us bloody Germans do have problems in being more diplomatic instead of being so straight. I know it's nor very popular in many countries as for us here it's mostly the other way around..

As for the rest, I could only repeat myself. Eastwood didn't distribute because he didn't aquire the rights to distribute (after all he's not a distributor), but to remake the thing. Not an uncommon practice in the business, buy the thing so nobody will see it while we make it all over again... JOE KIDD has elements, again, it was mentioned before by me.. Sure it's a different film. But Tarantino's remakes look different too, don't they.

As for 'dying heroes' I disagree. I'm sure we could list dozens and dozens here. Film Noir, WAGES OF FEAR, SANDS OF IWO JIMA, GODARD's Films, BONNIE & CLYDE, HELL IS FOR HEROES, EASY RIDER, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD..

To close this issue: I never questioned the facts why this footage was shot, I just said that Corbucci was a Ford-fan and used the old trick of shooting it in such a way it was unusuable and vision was therefore protected. Silenzio's Death was essential for Corbucci making the film. And I find that it is very obvious in terms of that footage being bad and inappropriate for the mood of the (whole) rest of the film. Even the producers got that...

attached the nice German set (First release, 18 Cards, includes images from the unused footage)

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 10, 2007, 04:10:13 PM »
I just watched the alternate ending again and one thing I mixed up: he's not talking after all (and I don't know which trailer has that bid, I know only the German one, there's no SILENCE talking..). I mixed that up with the WESTERN ITALIAN STYLE doc where Trinignant was interviewed. Stayed in my mind vividly it seems (love that doc).

As for Eastwood, I'm not the only one who knows that. I thought some input here would be welcome, but it seems I better back off before it becomes hostile. But as a film maker and film historian I try not to talk about things unless I researched on my own. In this business it's almost impossible to be sure about ANYTHING, yet I know people who worked for Corbucci and I also have (italian) Interview with him. I never said the ending wasn't shot for Japan, Texas or what have you. I said it was shot because the producers wanted to use it (Japan? Texas?). But Corbucci shot it in such a way that it didn't work. Everybody who knows anything about SILENZIO & CORBUCCI knows that he did the film because Silenzio dies at the end (like Christ, King, Guevara & Kennedy). That's why he wanted to make the film.

I even found an Eastwood biography mentioning the other episode:

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 10, 2007, 02:29:39 PM »
sorry to disappoint you, but it's not in the trailer.
the guys who financed SILENZIO were worried that Corbucci might get carried away with his vision of condemming violence and that the film wouldn't work at all with such a tragic ending. Corbucci offered to shot an ending in which SILENZIO survives. But as a student of Ford he was no dummy and shot it in such a way it wasn't usuable at all. I mean come on, watch it, if someone watches it with any understanding of FILM, he'll notice it right away: it is a different mood, completely.. like a bad cliffhanger thing: suddenly the dead sheriff pops up, all the baddies get killed, Silenzio fooled everybody with his muteness and they all smile like saying: 'sergio, sergio, are you satiesfied with our prentended bad acting ?'  Imagine Cheyenne waking up again and saying:' let's check out wether Frank is just hurt'... they go back and find him nursed by Jill who says: 'he knows he was wrong, he'll help building up Sweetwater. Maybe he'll get to be a mayor..' (just like in real life, ha guys?).
SILENZIO was a very serious attempt on everybody's side, so Corbucci made sure that alternate ending was unusuable. Looks like he shot it in 2 hours ...

In the end it's a rare and funny opportunity to see a director fighting for his vision (and the film was no 'bomb' in Europe. And I'm also not sure that the film wouldn't have received some recognition in the US/UK. After all it was the start of New Hollywood where happy endings were dreaded. Clyde Barrow, Pike Bishop, Captain America & Billy, seems that every protagonist in that first wave of NH died..)

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 08, 2007, 06:28:43 PM »
sorry... I tend to use the Italian titles. otherwise one gets so mixed up with the often completely different German titles and the US or UK titles...

SILENZIO is the only Italian western that brought tears in my eyes when I first saw it (and the DEAD SONS scene in GIU LA TESTA).

As for recommendations: I never do that. Had soo many strange experiences, after all it's an art form - taste and so on...
Years ago I tended to give 'new' friends my favorite 10 or 20 films and was so devasted when they said that they switched off THE WILD BUNCH or MIDNIGHT COWBOY, or thought that M*A*S*H wasn't THAT funny...
I guess I take films (or the art form) much too seriousely. If it isn't for Al Adamson or Jess Franco :)

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 08, 2007, 03:55:39 AM »
And he didn't survive the genre too (he commited suicide in 1971. Depressions and an ended love affair).
He did shine with Corbucci (SILENZIO), Leone (OUTITW) and Colizzi (GOD FORGIVES).

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 07, 2007, 11:30:19 AM »
Well my taste what kind of films to watch shifts all the time. Depends on the mood.
Sometimes I long for Ingmar Bergman, sometimes for good old 50's Sci-Fi. But an overall
quality on can pin down, at least I believe that. So for ex. I never liked Anthony Steffen westerns,
to me he is not even (believable) cool after 5 beers. Or let's say about 80% of those couple of
hundred Italian Western :). Gee, they produced a lot of crap. Bad directing, bad photography,
bad acting, stories so bad one can hardly watch them.
Yet I think about 30-50 of those films belong to the best work produced in those two decades.
And a couple even are among the best films ever.

The three COLIZZI-westerns have their own treads here I thought?

GOD is a first-director effort, a bid rough, yet better than most westerns by 'experienced'
film makers. Nice strange score.
ACE HIGH is long but entertaining. Well directed And photographed. Unusual score and
attractive ideas. Great wardrobe too, as in all his films.
BOOT HILL is cool. The first 20 minutes the lead (Hill) seems to speak not one word.
Great soundtrack (weird again of course) and again a great look in general. And I love the
whole atmosphere and themes (not your usual 'Gringo kisses girl and clears the saloon').
Circus, Roulette, fountains, fishing, Jazz... unusual stuff. AND with those films he also teamed up
HILL & SPENCER, the biggest European Starduo in the 70's & 80's (although everybody
tends to think of Barboni's TRINITA only by now..). By the mid-70's the two decided to make
films more and more for children only - they both hated violence in films. So (if) you love them,
you get everything in the Colizzis: Fun, adventure, humor & violence. And well-done too :).

I just watched Valerii's films again and I think the two Gemma-Films are dated, slow and
almost boring. Colizzi was a better student of Leone.

Other Films / Re: Favorite Peckinpah Film
« on: March 07, 2007, 05:54:26 AM »
It will be close. Not better, that's for sure. But I don't do this for the main feature quality but to feed the fans 'Bonus' appetite. Why else should anybody (outside of Germany that is) care for this release? And we don't have a budget for a 007 Ultimate Edition re-mastering job (which would ask for the negative too, which we obviousely don't have).

So we put the budget in a nice collector's edition I'm sure Peckinpah aficionados will enjoy. The documentary (approx. 40 min.) is twice as long as the one I did for MAJOR DUNDEE and those of you who have my book, I think got the fact that I rather include more (much more) than less :) ... (whereever possible). On DUNDEE I couldn't do much, because the studio wouldn't want galleries, additional featurettes etc. from me (after all it was only one DVD)...

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 07, 2007, 05:43:39 AM »
While preparring WHERE EAGLES DARE Eastwood saw the film in Europe. He was so impressed that he bought the English/US-Rights. But unfortunately not to distribute the film but to remake it. The result was JOE KIDD. Yes, no KIDDING :). You still see Silenzio's MAUSER C96 gun. Even their hats look alike. Duvall is the Bounty hunter leader (Kinskis part), Saxon represents the 'outlaws' in the mountains...

I think it's a perfect example of what the Italians were capable of doing in the 60's. SILENZIO became an inspired classic while JOE KIDD is another example of the mediocre (not: bad) US-westerns of the 70's. The secret was to do something really special and not fool around with good ideas (although a silent Eastwood would never have worked. So that 'Special' was totally lost. AND they withhold the film from so many people for ages. Back in the 80's I constantly bugged people in the UK and the US because they never heard of the film and talked big of really 2nd rate Spaghettis which had a bigger release in the US and therefore were known (but not really representative for the good ones).

Or maybe it's just that different taste. Over here nobody would question the fact that IL MERCENARIO is superior (by far)
to COMPANEROS, while the later film even appears on Top-lists in the US. Also the fact that outside of GERMANY/FRANCE/SPAIN & ITALY nobody seems to get the quality of the COLIZZI Westerns tells me that 'style' isn't half as important in the US than story or action. Not for me. I can only quote Robert Ryan (on WILD BUNCH/Peckinpah:
'All westerns have been made. numerous times. The only difference now is style. And Peckinpah's style is extraordinary..'

Other Films / Re: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)
« on: March 06, 2007, 01:15:08 PM »
One of my Top 5 Italo-Westerns.
Too bad Eastwood withold the film at its initial release from the US/UK,
so no nice English promo-material does exist..

The alternate ending was never meant to be used (by Corbucci),
that's why he shot it so out of style. Funny anyway (Silenzio talks :))

Other Films / Re: Favorite Peckinpah Film
« on: March 05, 2007, 07:12:06 AM »
yes the rape scene was basically the reason. (And it was slightly cut in the initial US-release as well, so much for the Yanks..). But in the UK the film was, thanks to its content, always a problem for certain critics and board members.

The main problem here in Germany was that in the early 80's there wasn't a rating for HomeVideos. So everybody and his little brother could rent anything he wanted. To avoid that dilemma, certain titles were banned.

I don't compare our project here with Criterion. They had a bigger budget and could license very valuable stuff (as the ON LOCATION: DUSTIN HFFMAN doc, which I adore..). BUT we have a film maker at work here, so I'm producing new original stuff which no edition world-wide ever offered..

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