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Author Topic: Thoughts on this film  (Read 94234 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #165 on: January 22, 2013, 01:33:23 AM »



In the final flashback, John and the girl are again romantically engaged, while the man (the Revolution) impatiently looms over his shoulder, waiting to steal the romantic vision of the girl from John. When John sees what the reality of the Revolution does with his 'girl' he loses his smile, his innocence, and his romantic ideals for good.

But how does that fit with the smile on Coburn's face at the end of the final flashback -- the smile he breaks into while watching his friend kissing his babe


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« Reply #166 on: January 22, 2013, 02:39:59 AM »

"This girl is also the Revolution, that everyone wants to embrace*" - Sergio Leone in Conversations Avec Sergio Leone

*in French, "embrasser" has a double meaning: 1) literal translation of "to embrace" 2) to kiss

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« Reply #167 on: January 22, 2013, 02:41:26 AM »

But how does that fit with the smile on Coburn's face at the end of the final flashback -- the smile he breaks into while watching his friend kissing his babe

To me this smile never breaks. At most, what we have is a smile that goes from joy to nostalgia. And this nostalgia is old Corburn's one.

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« Reply #168 on: January 22, 2013, 06:03:04 AM »

The girl can be the Revolution, she can even be Eire, or Gaia. There's no way Nolan can be the Revolution--he betrays the cause!

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« Reply #169 on: January 22, 2013, 06:47:18 AM »

The girl can be the Revolution, she can even be Eire, or Gaia. There's no way Nolan can be the Revolution--he betrays the cause!

does that necessarily mean he can't represent the Revolution? remember Villega says that even after he betrayed the revolutionaries, "I still believe in the same things; I can continue to serve the cause!" That's when Sean screams "SHUT UP VILLEGA!" and has the flashback to himself killing Nolan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg_hPzmZYC4 (this just so happens to be one of the sondtrack comparison videos).

Nolan was definitely an idealistic revolutionary, and presumably would have gone  on being one -- just as Villega wanted to -- if Sean hadn't killed him. (No, I am not getting into any other theories now about the possibility that Nolan's ratting on Sean, and Sean's execution of Nolan, was due to jealousy over the babe. I'm only focusing on the straightforward interpretation, that Nolan ratted on Sean only cuz he couldn't take the torture anymore and that Sean executed him cuz he believed that any rat must be executed. [Remember Rififi - "I liked you Macaroni. But you know the rules"])

We know Sean is much more of a cynic now, he has lost the idealism he had in Ireland. Maybe part of it had to do with seeing his fellow revolutionary rat on him? Maybe the fact that Nolan (and Villega) end up squealing is part of the theme that revolutions are ultimately far less lovely than they initially seem?

I am not taking any position, one way or the other, about the earlier post with the theory of who represents whom. All I am saying is: IMO, the fact that Nolan ended up squealing does not preclude the possibilit that Nolan can represent the Revolution

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« Reply #170 on: January 22, 2013, 10:37:53 AM »

Indeed, if one pursues the idea that revolutions invariably eat their own or else betray their principles, it makes Nolan the exemplar of the Revolution!

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« Reply #171 on: January 22, 2013, 01:41:34 PM »

Gentlemen (and you too, Drink), you are confusing categories. Revolutionaries are not identical with the revolution they participate in. Revolutionaries can betray other revolutionaries, they can betray the ideals of the revolution, etc. Revolutionaries are humans with free will. But a revolution is an historical event. It is a thing, complicated though it may be, and not a person. It has no will of its own. Further, it cannot violate the law of non-contradiction (wherein A cannot be both A and non-A). It is impossible for a Revolution to "betray" itself, because it is only itself, it cannot "become" its non-self. The expression "revolutions eat their own" is a semantic game that attributes human traits to historical events; of course, once you've made such an identification en passant it is no great trick to substitute one human image for another.

The girl can operate as a symbol of something other than herself (the revolution, Ireland, whatever) because we know hardly anything about her. We know too much about Nolan--and about Mallory, too--for either to represent the revolution itself. Nolan can be an archetype of Betrayal--a Judas figure--because he can be identified with his act. Likewise, Mallory can be the archetypal Avenger. But those archetypes are human. When you see a statue that is used to embody a concept--Victory, say, or Liberty--it operates successfully because it is most emphatically NOT a character from history, a book, a play, or a film.

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« Reply #172 on: January 22, 2013, 01:55:55 PM »

A character with motivations or background can still operate as a symbol Jenkins. You're advancing from a false assumption.

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« Reply #173 on: January 22, 2013, 02:04:43 PM »

A character with motivations or background can still operate as a symbol Jenkins. You're advancing from a false assumption.
Again, the more abstract the symbol, the less specific the character can be.

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« Reply #174 on: February 23, 2013, 07:30:08 PM »

It definitely is a different film from the dollars trilogy, and OUATITW. I actually liked this movie, and it's growing on me, the more I watch it. When I first saw it, I watched the cut down 137 minute version, I loved the first half of the film, which showed us how Juan and John meet and during this first half the movie became an action comedy but the second half started losing that momentum as it shifted into a dark war drama, where the humour from the first half was severely lacking. I didn't really like this change in tone, and the whole John/Sean backstory flashback was missing so it became very confusing. I decided to buy the DVD with the 157 minute restored version, and the restored flashback scenes, and was still confused about the flashback sequence until I read many discussions/interpretations about it on this forum, and only then did it makes sense [even though it was frustrating to figure out, I actually like how Leone lets us figure it out for ourselves and leaves some ambiguity there]. I don't really mind the change in tone now, but I wish more of the comedy between John and Juan could've been added in the second half.

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« Reply #175 on: January 05, 2016, 04:43:40 AM »

I just rewatched this film for the first time, after only seeing it once 10 years for the first time.

Back then I was 19 years old and perhaps my film and general world and historical knowledge was somewhat limited. I found it quite long and laborious in comparison to Leone's other films, but I decided to watch it again. It really was like watching a different film, I really liked it and whilst I still think it's probably the weakest out of the 6 main films, it would be a highlight of any other director's career.

What I really appreciated this time was Rod Steiger's Juan. I read a few criticisms that he's not as good as Tuco and indeed that Steiger and Leone had an argument as to how the character should be portrayed. I think Steiger's characterisation was solid and best fit the overall town of the film and the history. He is a vile bandit at the start and then through his own actions (with John's assistance) he realised the importance of the revolution for himself. Although of course he was partly right about Revolution when he said about "the middle class read and plan the attacks but it's the poor who carry out the jobs" (I'm paraphrasing). Especially when Dr. Villegas (sic?) "informed"; but I was glad that John lied at the end to Juan to help him continue his belief in the revolution and additionally that his family died for a just cause.

Even though I believe it's Leone's weakest, I would say that it's his most intellectual and profound work and I really admire it. Admittedly I did watch the original DVD version (147 minutes?), but I will buy the Special Edition as I have all the dollars in that same edition case too (as well as the original DVDs). One thing I'm not a massive fan of in the movie is the soundtrack, some of it's really good, but I think overall it's a bit out of sync with the rest of the film.


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« Reply #176 on: June 15, 2017, 07:38:00 AM »

I really need to rewatch this again - I've seen it twice but it was long ago. Any advice on which version to get, since I know there are quite a few? Which one is the fullest?

Also - is it just me, or does Mallory's first appearance have Tim the Enchanter vibes?

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« Reply #177 on: June 15, 2017, 05:30:31 PM »

Also - is it just me, or does Mallory's first appearance have Tim the Enchanter vibes?
Well, I guess John Cleese does bear some resemblance to James Coburn.

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« Reply #178 on: June 16, 2017, 11:46:43 AM »

I really need to rewatch this again - I've seen it twice but it was long ago. Any advice on which version to get, since I know there are quite a few? Which one is the fullest?

Looks like the Leone film group just re-released it:

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Giu-la-testa-Blu-ray/174747/

I'm assuming it's the same as the old Italian BD?

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