Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 22, 2017, 03:17:39 PM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Films of Sergio Leone
| |-+  Once Upon A Time In The West (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  The number three!
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: The number three!  (Read 4629 times)
threedusters
Road Apple
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 10


sons of bitch's though!


View Profile
« on: June 19, 2004, 08:29:50 PM »

Hi all lovers of great taste.  I am a new guy, so please go easy on me, and my "not so articulate" typing.  Is it just me, or is the #3 very dominant in Sergio's movie?.  I wont mention them here as it would take quite a while.  doe's anybody agree?.

Logged

"You  bring a horse for me?,  "well, looks like...................looks like  where shy one horse!.  "You brought two too many"
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2004, 05:42:54 AM »

  I think it's fairly obvious.  In nearly every gunfight, it's either three people being killed or three people facing each other off.

  Now, since Leone was an Italian Catholic, this can be fairly easily explained on a psychological level (the Holy Trinity).  In OUATITW, however, there seems to be a rather odd emphasis on the number four:
  4 people shot in the opening scene (include Bronson);
  4 McBain's killed;
  4 members of Cheyenne's gang at the trading post;
  4 men killed when Cheyenne rescues Harmonica from the train;
  4 men who try to ambush Frank.

  Whether this was deliberate (i.e., as a sort of self-referential reply to those who pointed out the "three" emphasis) or I'm just reading too much into it, I still think that it's rather odd.

 

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
redyred
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 499


Ever the facetious one


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2004, 01:37:15 AM »

I think a group of 3 works particularly well in film for the purposes in which Leone used it - for example Frank's 3 men at the beginning of OUTW. We find out here that Frank has sent a group of men to do a job for him. Two of them would just be a duo - it just wouldn't look right. Four on the other hand would look like too many, like Frank was being too cautious.

Three is also a good number for a balance of personalities - in those first 5 minutes we are given a portrait of those three men's personalities - would we notice that if there were only two of them? But more than three would be too many to concentrate on.

Finally, a group of three works well in a shot - one takes up the left, one the right, and one the middle of the screen, and we all know Leone made good use of space.

Logged

It's class.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13635

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


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2004, 01:28:52 AM »

Still, as Groggy points out, there are actually 4 people in the scene, and all of them get shot (that last is a really great observation). This scene works really well, by the way, as a transition from three-ness to four-ness (if you will). Given the idea that the 3 gunfighters sort of represent Old School westerns, by having them killed off Leone might be signalling that there's a new game in town.......

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Ify
Chicken Thief
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 39


Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face!


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2004, 09:55:20 AM »

Can anybody give me more examples of the number 3 being used by Leone??

Logged

"This CGI bullshit is the death knell of cinema. If i'd wanted all that computer game bullshit, I'd have gone home and stuck my dick in my Nintendo" -Quentin Tarantino
John Baldwin
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 362


Do you recognize this string ???


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2004, 11:15:19 AM »

On GBU, there are three men who arrive in the saloon for Tuco. When Tuco is in the grotta, three men (the banditos that Blondie kills in the hotel) arrive.
But the most explicite thing about the number three is (it's a restored scene) just after Sentenza and Blondie goe away the prisonneers camp; Blondie is sleeping, and there is a noise, so Blondie wakes up (in fact in was not really sleeping...) and kills a man who was a Sentenza bandit. And, I arrive to what I'm telling for, Blondie says he has yet six bullets...And at this moment, Sentenza asks Blondie if the perfect number is not three. After this, Blondie says "Yes!".
It's a little complicate when you don't have seen this scene (WHO DON'T HAVE SEEN THIS SCENE??? Angry Angry Angry), but at this time you understand Leone LOVED the number three... Wink

Logged

Le monde se divise en deux catégories: ceux qui ont un revolver chargé, et ceux qui creusent; toi tu creuses...
Ify
Chicken Thief
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 39


Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face!


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2004, 11:29:49 AM »

Thank you very much for that insight. Can anyone tell me any more? The more the merrier!!!

Logged

"This CGI bullshit is the death knell of cinema. If i'd wanted all that computer game bullshit, I'd have gone home and stuck my dick in my Nintendo" -Quentin Tarantino
Il Buono
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 348


You're the son of a thousand fathers!


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2004, 01:54:00 AM »

Well, I believe no one mentioned it, you have
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY  Wink Wink Wink

Logged

Your ass is grass... And I am the lawnmower
redyred
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 499


Ever the facetious one


View Profile WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2004, 04:40:52 AM »

Fistful of Dollars is also 3-based. "the rojos on one side, the baxters on the other, and me in the middle."

Logged

It's class.
David Aaronson
Bandido
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 78


Noodles


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2004, 03:37:44 AM »

On GBU, there are three men who arrive in the saloon for Tuco. When Tuco is in the grotta, three men (the banditos that Blondie kills in the hotel) arrive.
But the most explicite thing about the number three is (it's a restored scene) just after Sentenza and Blondie goe away the prisonneers camp; Blondie is sleeping, and there is a noise, so Blondie wakes up (in fact in was not really sleeping...) and kills a man who was a Sentenza bandit. And, I arrive to what I'm telling for, Blondie says he has yet six bullets...And at this moment, Sentenza asks Blondie if the perfect number is not three. After this, Blondie says "Yes!".
It's a little complicate when you don't have seen this scene (WHO DON'T HAVE SEEN THIS SCENE??? Angry Angry Angry), but at this time you understand Leone LOVED the number three... Wink
I thought the scene went like this:
Blondie shoots one of Angel Eyes' henchmen, At some point after this, the dialogue is as follows:
Blondie: One, two, three, four, five, and six. Six, the perfect number.
Angel Eyes: I thought three was the perfect number.
Blondie: There's six of you.

Logged

Fat Moe: What have you been doing all these years?
Noodles: I've been going to bed early.
Walter
Bandido
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 94



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2004, 11:21:10 AM »

Not sure if I agree, Groggy. Harmonica kills three men (mentioned very eloquently later) and McBain had three kids, all of them killed. And didn't Frank have three men with him?

I still find most of it ends up with the number three. Three is a special, almost magical number, both in Christianity and even pagan cultures.  

Logged

Dying ain't much of a living, boy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13635

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


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2004, 12:04:38 AM »

I think Groggy's point stands. Yes, there are groups of 3s in OUATITW, but in addition, there are also groups of 4s. This can perhaps be seen as part of Leone's development as an artist: as he goes along, he becomes comfortable with more complex numerological patterns. These in turn provide viewers with a richer cinematic experience (the films get denser, there is more to notice in them).

The number 3 enjoys a special place in Western culture, it is true, but the number 4 also comes in for special attention at times. There are four seasons, four elements . . . at one time it was believed that the human body was composed of four humors. There are the four cardinal points of the compass, and "the four corners of the earth." One can go on and on.

And then four groups of three yields 12, another number fraught with significance......

So, I don't see any problem with the idea that Leone could simultaneously arrange patterns of 3 and 4 in one of his (exceedingly deep)  films.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for getting out of bed this morning.
Pages: [1] 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 0.031 seconds with 19 queries.