Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 23, 2017, 09:30:12 AM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Films of Sergio Leone
| |-+  Duck, You Sucker (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  Thoughts on this film
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9 ... 12 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Thoughts on this film  (Read 92918 times)
Dlanor
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 217


I'm a llama!


View Profile
« Reply #90 on: November 07, 2005, 02:09:56 AM »

Leone did the movie in bad conditions.

Logged
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #91 on: November 07, 2005, 04:10:52 PM »

And nonetheless produced a masterpiece.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Juan Miranda
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 842


Badges?!?


View Profile
« Reply #92 on: November 07, 2005, 06:10:56 PM »

No debate there.

Logged

dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #93 on: November 25, 2005, 05:30:13 PM »

Dipping into Oreste De Fornari (ODF) last night I found this:
Quote
A nod to Soviet silent films is perhaps intended at the beginning of Duck! You Sucker where the arrogance of the rich who despise the peon is made grotesque by editing . . . . One does not know whether the source is Eisenstein or Grosz, but one cannot but recall that in Ford's stagecoaches the descriptions of the relations among the social classes were more concisely described--John Carradine offering his silver cup to Louise Platt while refusing it to Claire Trevor who has to make do with drinking directly from the water bag.
(Sergio Leone 128)

This put me in mind of Joyce's "Oxen of the Sun" in Ulysses where the author begins the chapter in Chaucer's English and then "updates" the language as the chapter continues until by the end Joyce is writing in modern prose. Might not something similar be going on in DYS? Leone begins with Eisenstein, proceeds to John Ford (the tit-for-tat that Mallory and Juan engage in is very Fordian), and by the time we get to Mesa Verde he is quoting from Visconti's The Leopard (the Battle of Palermo sequence is referenced).

As the film is about two characters who undergo 2 different initiations (Mallory grows up politically, Juan learns about friendship) it would be appropriate for the film to mirror this by adopting a history-of-cinema approach for its style.

Just a thought.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Juan Miranda
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 842


Badges?!?


View Profile
« Reply #94 on: November 26, 2005, 07:18:33 AM »

Might not something similar be going on in DYS?

Well Dave, it's a provocative thought. The "mouth montage" sequence you mention is a sequence without precedent in Leone's work, both in terms of form and political content. The scene it takes place in inevitably reference's STAGECOACH. In both films, the coach, a small receptor of "civilization" in a "wilderness" stops and picks up a bandit (John Wayne and Rod Steiger).

In Wayne's coach there is class division, and he is snubbed by some of the other passengers. However, through his heroism he changes their opinion not only of his own character, but of each other's, and the film ends with a relatively cohesive American society established on merit, rather than class.

In Steiger's coach there is such rabid class division that the other passengers can not even see him as a human being ("Animals. Because that's what they are... Animals"). Any rapprochement is impossible from the start, even with the American passenger (“Just like them niggers we got back home”). Steiger is tolerated only because he can be ridiculed, and he is made to sit beside the toilet. As such, he sees the others only as stupid, puzzling objects, stuffing their faces on food and drink which they never think of offering him (remember the offering of drink and food in STAGECOACH is an important declaration of character and bonding). They are fit only to robbed and raped, and their guardians (class traitors) murdered, and indeed the scene ends this way.

If anything, for Leone by now this was a case of realpolitik, rather than referencing cinema history. Yes, he does reference other movies through out GUI LAS TESTA, but the same could be said (even more so) of the earlier ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

In terms of form, a cinema attempting to to replicate the experiment in Chapter 15 of ULYSSES would be light years away from anything we see in GUI LA TESTA, or in any Leone films. In fact, going on some of the unkind comments of Leone's former collaborators, he'd never be capable of understanding or attempting such a thing. And that's fine with me. Such an approach to a mainstream, commercial genre film would be impossible to finance and distribute anyway, and would have to be left to the low budget and the avant-guard. Even Joseph Strick didn't try this approach in his dismal and pointless 1967 attempt at filming Joyce's uber-masterwork.

The only recent, mainstream film I can think of which has attempted this kind of approach was Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS. This used silent movie techniques, documentary styles, cartoons, TV sit coms, super 8 film, TV news shows and music video promo styles all in a barnstorming assault on the senses. Rather than attempting a formalist, modernist and coherent approach to narrative however, Stone was creating a post-modern grab bag of tricks to create a bewildering, fractured universe of horror and madness.

Logged

Half Soldier
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 214



View Profile WWW
« Reply #95 on: November 26, 2005, 11:20:35 AM »

I think Leone was clever in the stagecoach scene and the 'animals' insult in that at the same time he focuses on close ups of facial features eating and chewing etc reminding us that we ARE animals - thus rendering the insult hypocritical and meaningless. 

Logged

I'll sleep better knowing my good friend is by my side
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #96 on: November 27, 2005, 08:23:16 PM »


If anything, for Leone by now this was a case of realpolitik, rather than referencing cinema history. Yes, he does reference other movies through out GUI LAS TESTA, but the same could be said (even more so) of the earlier ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

In terms of form, a cinema attempting to to replicate the experiment in Chapter 15 of ULYSSES would be light years away from anything we see in GUI LA TESTA, or in any Leone films. In fact, going on some of the unkind comments of Leone's former collaborators, he'd never be capable of understanding or attempting such a thing. And that's fine with me. Such an approach to a mainstream, commercial genre film would be impossible to finance and distribute anyway, and would have to be left to the low budget and the avant-guard. Even Joseph Strick didn't try this approach in his dismal and pointless 1967 attempt at filming Joyce's uber-masterwork.

I didn't mean to suggest that Leone knew anything of Joyce or was attempting anything as formal or rigorous as a chapter in Ulysses. That's why I included  "something like" as a caveat. Leone, who was born to parents who had worked in the Italian cinema, and who himself grew up in and with cinema, was a walking encyclopedia of filmic references. That is why he was able to produce OUATITW and imbue it with such grace: the film references always seem organic and are never forced.

It should be noted that OUATITW alludes particularly to Westerns and limits itself pretty much to that genre. DYS, on the other hand, quotes (according to ODF) from Eisenstein, but also (according to Frayling) from Ford (The Informer) and (according to me) from Visconti (The Leopard). I would imagine the references do not end there. Interestingly, these films all have something in common, and could be said to inhabit a genre themselves.......

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #97 on: March 07, 2006, 08:35:29 PM »

One more thought on the Sean/John issue: the use of the dual names may be yet another tip of the hat to John Ford, who was born Sean O'Feeney, and took on a new identity after travelling a considerable distance from the place of his birth (Portland, ME). The change of "Sean" to "John" is therefore a venerable American film tradition, one SL was aware of.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #98 on: March 17, 2006, 03:32:44 AM »

As an addendum to the above:

According to Scott Eyman (in the Taschen book on Ford):

Quote
John Ford always claimed to have been born Sean Aloysius O'Fearna--or some equally florid variant.... And for ninety-odd years he was taken at his word. But the registry of births for Cape Elizabeth, Maine clearly records the birth of one John Martin Feeney...[and this is the name] on his school records at Portland High School and on his death certificate.
(19)

Eyman suggests that the reason he fabricated the story of his name change is so he could feel more Irish. This is certainly plausible, but it may be also he was called Sean by his family when young.

In any event, far from undermining my earlier point, this fact may actually strengthen it. SL of course had no way of knowing the truth, and even if he had, he was enough of a Fordian that, when faced with a choice between fact and legend, he would opt for the latter.

With such a pedigree, the Sean-to-John change in DYS certainly seems a tribute from the Lion of Rafran to the King of Monument Valley.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #99 on: March 17, 2006, 08:40:23 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.

Actually I love the film's start, it's arguably (note that key qualifying word) the best scene of the movie.

I'm pondering as to whether or not I should watch this film (on VHS!  Cry) to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today.  Then again, maybe Irish people would find Coburn's accent offensive?  I dunno. . .

It might be better than watching "Zulu" on St. Patrick's Day though, which I've been planning to do. 

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13636

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #100 on: March 17, 2006, 05:46:15 PM »

It's interesting that you mention Zulu. A friend of mine lent me his R2 copy of the DVD, which has a commentary by the assistant director or some such. This is the first time a commentary has ever ruined a film for me: there is hardly anything in the movie that is historically valid. Now sometimes a film works just fine when taking liberties with historical figures (LoA is a case in point, or nearly), but for me the whole point of Zulu is that we learn something about an historical event. Even the locale on which the film was shot is completely different from the actual scene of the battle. No singing Welshman, no cattle stampede, no sung Zulu tribute at the end. The characters are all fictions who have arbitrarily been given the names of the historical participants. This has completely killed my interest in the film. Oops, I hope I haven't now also spoiled the picture for others (very sorry).....

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Juan Miranda
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 842


Badges?!?


View Profile
« Reply #101 on: March 18, 2006, 07:10:22 PM »

I've no idea why somebody would want to reserve ZULU for St. Patrick's day viewing? Are you getting it mixed up with St. David's day?

As for the films relationship to the real event, there are excellent cinematic reasons for this. The actual battle of Rorke's Drift took place almost entiely in darkness, and the huge Zulu army did themselves no favours by setting the hospital on fire, since the men of the 24th could pick their targets easier in the fire light (something which is depicted briefly in the film). With the technology of the time this would have made for an extremely bad looking film in terms of cinematography. Either using Gawd awful "day for night" shooting or obvious arc lighting (for 2 hours!).

Instead the film depicts a battle in a magnificent natural amphitheatre in brilliant sunshine, and yet it somehow remains hidiously claustrophobic, poetic and doom laden. It's a magnificent piece of cinema, and going with the positive "print the legend" flow of some of the above, what's wrong with that? ZULU is a flim I watch again and again. It's a classic of existential angst, and the sound effects of the approaching unseen Zulu Impi almost push it into horror territory. Nigel Green as the Colour Sargent is a towering character, and the "Nothing to hold a man in his grave." speech could have been penned by Dylan Thomas.

Logged

Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #102 on: March 18, 2006, 08:39:57 PM »

Because it had been ages since I'd seen it, Juan?  Plus I got the day off from school for whatever reason, so I had free time (not much though, I spent most of the day yesterday cleaning my room - what fun!).  Tongue

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
Juan Miranda
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 842


Badges?!?


View Profile
« Reply #103 on: March 18, 2006, 09:08:25 PM »

Plus I got the day off from school for whatever reason,

That's a good reason kid.

Front rank, fire!!

Logged

Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #104 on: March 19, 2006, 06:27:28 AM »

Well, to comment on the historical accuracy argument for just a moment (hopefully not taking this thread too far off-topic), I don't really think it matters a whole lot.  I wasn't aware of how inaccurate it was the first so many times I saw it, but now I am - but it doesn't really hurt the film at all, for me anyway.  Very few movies are historically accurate to any more of a degree than necessary; even "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" (two films which really are made-or-broken on historical accuracy) have innumerable historical flaws that don't stand up under scrutiny.  Movies, generally speaking, are fiction, and most of them are designed to tell a story, so license with the historical fact is almost unavoidable.

As for watching it on St. Patty's Day, like I said I didn't mean anything by it.  It wasn't until it was too late that I realized why that might be disrespectful.  But then again, I have more Welsh blood than Irish in me, so I can't say I was too upset about it.  The only thing I really did to celebrate SPD was watching the Irish Brigade scenes in G&Gs.  So sue me.

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9 ... 12 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.08 seconds with 19 queries.