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Author Topic: Thoughts on this film  (Read 95109 times)
Juan Miranda
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« Reply #75 on: July 14, 2005, 05:20:39 AM »

Excellent analysis of the way musical themes are used by Leone, Dave Jenkins (I can't read your posts without imagining Bronson's voice!).

I've tried to answer some of your thoughts on the John/Sean question here:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=2093.msg18548#msg18548

You are right about the casual viewer, though. As I said above, I still call him Sean myself, even though I actually think Warbeck is Sean.

I can't remember who talks about the unsusul change from the jaunty "Sean Sean Sean" theme to the "pub betrayal" dirge during the final three-some flashback. I don't have my DVD to hand to check. I thought it was an interesting point, though there is maybe too much baggage to hang on it?

As many have pointed out though. This was not a usual Leone film, and the music hadn't been completed before the film was shot.

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Banjo
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« Reply #76 on: July 14, 2005, 10:05:38 AM »

From what is discussed on the dvd and on this thread it does seem convincing that Mallory's friend first name could be Sean.However i do not see any reason why Mallory's name shouldn't also be Sean despite what is shown in the newspaper scene etc.I play in a folk group in which our percussionists (of Irish descent) real name on his birth certificate is John.However i have never heard anybody call him anything else other than Sean which is his preferred name.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #77 on: July 14, 2005, 10:27:08 AM »

I guess Leone could have cleared this up for all of us if only he had given the Warbeck character a name in the first place.  Cheesy

But this is another instance where things in his universe are far from crystal clear.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #78 on: July 14, 2005, 05:20:08 PM »

I can't remember who talks about the unsusul change from the jaunty "Sean Sean Sean" theme to the "pub betrayal" dirge during the final three-some flashback.
But it's all one theme. We hear different parts from time to time, and perhaps it is only in the flashback that we get the whole thing. But the "Sean, Sean, Sean" theme and what you refer to as the pub betrayal dirge is the same piece of music.

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« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2005, 03:32:26 AM »

Following on from my point about my friend Sean(real name John),doesn't the fact that there being a Johnny & Johnny, as painted on the toy train at Mesa Verde,re-iterate the likelihood of two Seans in the movie?Juan is quite willing to call himself John,so why not Mallory "Sean" to his family and friends in Ireland?Men whose name are Patrick in Ireland are also likely to be affectionally called Pat,Paddy or Packie!
          Also throughout the soundtrack there are either 2 or 3 consecutive chants of Sean which could also be a reference to the multiple of Seans in the movie.Maybe where there is a third chant this could this refer to Juan which like Sean is another form of John.If you listen carefully to the music in places some of the chants sound more like John than Sean!!!

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #80 on: July 15, 2005, 05:37:46 PM »

Hey, this thread is really getting good. It makes sense that John/Sean's friend might also be called Sean ("They Shared a Revolution, A Woman . . . And a Name!") for the reasons stated above. There is an obvious parallel between the two revolutions and the two friendships, and that parallel is reinforced if the first friendship is between Sean and Sean and the second between John and John. And since Sean and John are variants of the same name (as are Jean, Jan, Johan et. al.) the secret title of DYS could be "My Three Seans." That would mean that the "Sean, Sean, Sean" lyric is not referring to any one person: the repetition actually names each of three characters in turn. And Morricone's score supports this: after the Mesa Verde job, which ends with a complete presentation of "The March of the Beggars" theme, that theme almost disappears from the movie (it recurrs once after Juan has killed Huerta). Instead, Juan begins to be associated with the more melancholy passage from the main DYS theme. It is the main DYS theme that contains (elsewhere) the "Sean, Sean, Sean" motif, so John and Juan become musically connected.

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« Reply #81 on: July 16, 2005, 02:29:56 AM »

I totally agree with Dave Jenkins last post ,and to add to this,while the end credits are rolling to the Sean,Sean,Sean chants of  the main theme what do we see but the still image of Juan's(Sean's) distraught face.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #82 on: July 16, 2005, 06:12:31 AM »

One "musical moment" which always puzzled me in GIU LA TESTA was when Juan is about to be shot by the firing squad.

From behind the wall he is stood up against, he hears the start of the "Sean Sean Sean" tune being whistled.

Now we know what it is, because its been played through the whole bloody film, but how does Juan know instantly what it is, and that its John Mallory whistling it as a signal to him to "Duck, you sucker"?

As Dave Jenkins suggests now, its because he is one of the three "Seans" himself, so of course he'd know "the Sean Sean song", as they call it in DEAR DIARY.

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« Reply #83 on: July 16, 2005, 04:24:24 PM »

I have a theory regarding the whole Sean/John thing.

I was thinking - What if both Mallory and his buddy's names were Sean and he called himself John so that they'd know who another person is referring to?
He calls himself "Sean" in Mexico when Juan first asks his name because he wouldn't have to call himself John, thus reminding himself of what went on back in Ireland? His motive for calling himself John again might be because he's used to it and wouldn't want to call himself "Sean" anymore as it reminds him more of Ireland.
The men he worked for yelled "John!" when running into the church before it was blown up, so maybe it was just that moment he had a slip-up.

My theories are too far-fetched and ridiculous anyway Sad

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« Reply #84 on: July 17, 2005, 06:34:52 AM »

I think the political element of the film is very interesting if you think about it.  On the one hand, the Federales are definitely supposed to represent the Nazis/fascists (the German command, Ruiz, making this comparison even more blatant than usual), and they are presented as heartless, cruel people (which they appear to have really been).  This is the set-up for a Damiani/Corbucci Zapata Western, where the good revolutionaries overthrow the evil fascists.

Leone, however, shows that the revolution is only romantic in theory, never in practice.  Leone has ALWAYS criticized so-called "necessary violence", be it that of white frontiersmen in the Old West, or the supposedly heroic overthrow of an admittedly evil (from one point of view) regime.  Leone was a leftist, but not so foolish that he thought that many of the people on his side of the aisle were trying to do anything more than trying to set up their own totalitarian regime (in Italy, or Mexico, in the movie).  Juan's speech about the Revolution is one of the best speeches ever written for a Leone movie IMO.  I guess you could read into it that, at least in the early stages, Juan represents Leone's political views.  Sean is Damiani, Goddard or one of the other, more "activist" filmmakers who view the revolution as a grand cause.  Ruiz is the right-wing reactionary (I won't necessarily say "establishment" in this case) who forces Juan and Sean to band together.  Juan may become a hero of the Revolution, but he loses everything he has - his family and his best friend.  He continues fighting only because he really has nothing left to do, not because he necessarily believes in the cause.  Leone's use of the Mao quote pretty much shows that at least most of the above was his intent:  "A revolution is an act of violence, by which one class overthrows another."

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« Reply #85 on: July 18, 2005, 08:05:11 AM »

that's what makes it such a brilliant film, the political content, it's very interesting

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« Reply #86 on: August 09, 2005, 09:11:15 PM »

I finally saw the movie. I liked it. Maybe not as much as the others, but it's very good.

Unfortunately, it was a pan and scan version of it on the Encore Westerns channel. But I did see a preview that on Saturday, they will be having a special tribute to Leone and will be showing a few of the movies in widescreen, including A Fistful of Dynamite.

Speaking of the title, the movie credits didn't use Fistful of Dynamite, but rather Duck You Sucker. I was thinking as I was watching it that I really liked the title Duck You Sucker more than the other titles it goes by.

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« Reply #87 on: August 12, 2005, 04:47:15 PM »

I watched it for the first time a month ago, and honestly think that it's Leon'es weakest film.  It just seemed like the filming didn't have any kind of consistancy.  And a lot of the acting was "off".

I'm sure that most of you don't agree, but I didn't get the feeling that it was Leon'es best work.  Or maybe to him, it WAS his best work.

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Juan Miranda
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« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2005, 07:48:36 PM »

I've just got hold of Morricone's music for the film, and going back to some of the previous arguments for Coburn's character being called "Sean" based on musical motifes, they just don't add up in this context. 

The titles of the Morricone tracks are all in Italian, but still we have a track called "Invenzione Per John" (and not "Sean" or even "Giovanni"). So as far as Morricone is concerned, Coburn is clearly called "John", despite the "Sean, Sean, Sean" going on in the composition, and this is the film's opening ( unforgettable) music.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #89 on: November 07, 2005, 01:18:22 AM »

Again, Mallory can be both John and Sean. With OUATITW, Leone (with Morricone, natch) perfected his approach to film scoring. Ever after, SL employed leitmotifs for his characters: one character, one theme. In DYS Mallory gets a theme, Juan gets a theme (Gunther gets only a phrase, and an annoying one). The dead friend does not get a theme. The "Sean, Sean, Sean" must apply to Mallory or to no one.

One call to Carla Leone could settle this (she came up with the words to add to the music). Anybody got her phone number?

BTW, there are days when I think DYS is Leone's greatest film. This is because it has one of the most unpromising starts in film history: a guy peeing, close-ups of people eating, a rape, a wagon-load of naked people thrown into a pile of dung. If you showed me just the first 20 minutes and nothing more I'd have to conclude that this was one of the worst movies ever made. But an amazing transformation ensues: by stages, Leone works the material up from its vulgar beginnings to one of the most sublime endings ever put on film. The distance crossed from first to last is galactic. An amazing feat, even for a genius.

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