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91  Films of Sergio Leone / A Fistful of Dollars / Another angle on: September 24, 2003, 02:26:46 PM
I'm not getting married to this point of view, and I don't know if it have been ventured before...

But couldn't it be that this whole movie is a huge metaphor for manliness and machismo?

Look at it this way:

Ramon is impotent. To hide this fact, and to gain respect from his men, he steals a woman from a married man. This man is not impotent, and the couple have a son to prove it. Ramon shows no real interest of the girl, most of the time he keeps her locked up under guards. She serves as a symbol, a symbol of Ramon as the stronger man.

When the Eastwood character Joe sets her free, he actually emasculates Ramon publicly. He stands naked and impotent, so to speak. Is this also why Ramon turns his anger to his rivals, the family unit of the Baxters?

In the end, he is left with nothing but the phallic symbol, his Winchester. But also as a symbol this is an impotent one, as Joe is wearing armor.

----

Just a fun thought I had watching the film again on dvd this afternoon. Perhaps this is just what prescription cold medication does for you....

 Wink
92  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In The West / Re:The best movie ever made... on: September 24, 2003, 06:04:28 AM
"Best movie ever made ? No , sorry.Its an insult for Kubrick, Hitch,Huston,Kurosawa ,Von Sternberg and so on.."

With all due respect for Hitch, Kubrick, Kurosawa... This is a better movie than anything they ever made. Sorry about the insult. And how about The Godfather or Citizen Kane?

The best movie of all times? It is impossible for me to have a one clear favourite of all films ever, but OUATIW sure ranks among the finest ever.

I see that some have discussed Clint Eastwood in the leading role. I don't doubt that he was one of the few that could have pulled it off as good as Bronson (who was VERY good indeed), but it would have been the wrong role for Eastwood after the No Name-trilogy.
Way too similar, but also way too confusingly different.  

I have heard that Leone wanted Eastwood, Wallach and van Cleef to wait at the station in the beginning, though. Now, THAT would have been fun.
93  Films of Sergio Leone / Duck, You Sucker / Re:Thoughts on this film on: September 23, 2003, 08:13:24 PM
I must first admit that I haven't seen the Rhodos-film, but of the ones I've seen, I'd rank FoD as Leone's weakest movie.

Before you get the lynch-ropes out, let me add that Leone's weakest movie most certainly could be the best movie from most other directors....

The problem is the script; it doesn't allow the story to start properly, mainly the introduction to the main characters drags. And later the movie ends way too slowly. In the middle, there are many fine things. Leone's message, which may read like "beware of self-appointed saviours" is explained both originally, in depth and comes across quite clearly. Both actors and director sure handles well how the characters evolve and learn through the movie. (Simplified thumb-rule: In a good story, characters must always be changed by the story - unless it is a point of the story that they don't.)

Juan's transition from simple bandito to celebrated and highly unwilling revolutionary hero is great satire and great drama at the same time. It is hard not to think of Tuco when we meet Juan at first. But Tuco didn't change - and his stubborness to change was an important aspect with that character.

The action, and of course the use of striking visuals - faces, deserts or sinister tableaus of mayhem abd violence- are as great as one should expect from the great Sergio.

But the story still is unbalanced. It doesn't collapse, but it is shaky. Compare his other great movies, and observe how solid the structures of the stories are, how balanced and precise they are.

I suspect that Leone after all, had too little time to finish this. Remember that Once Upon a Time in the West didn't become a hit until AFTER FoD. Leone might have been under pressure here.

(Pardon me for shooting off my mouth so much, me being a Newbie and all. But it was so great to find this forum, I can hardly contain myself.  Wink)
94  Films of Sergio Leone / Once Upon A Time In America / Re:How could it possibly be a dream? on: September 22, 2003, 06:48:00 PM
Let's get this straight: Noodles tips off the cops, Max knocks him cold and when he wakes up, it is over. He then goes to the opium den, have his pipe made ready, smokes it, then he smiles.

Whether or not everything was a dream, the dream comes after the smile. Hence, the dream couldn't explain the smile.

I love the discussion of why he smiles, though. Could be that he have figured out Max - perhaps seen that it wasn't him burnt on the street - and feel both guiltless, and, in spite of it all, happy that his friend is alive.
 
Or it could be the opium kicking in, sure.

Or, it could be that he finally sees a way out of crime. Several scenes and snips of dialogue can hint that Noodles is tired of the life as a villain, and he is not very pleased about what he has become. He was a thief as a kid in poverty, but even if he spent his formative years in prison, he ended up a robber, a rapist and a murderer. Maybe he smiles because he sees a way out, a chance to regain his decency now that he doesnt have to answer to Max anymore.  

The dream theory annoys me. The "it was only a dream"-punchline is old, weary and mostly a cheat on the viewer.

I think Leone was a lot bigger than that.
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