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| | |-+  Does anybody actually like Alex Cox?
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Author Topic: Does anybody actually like Alex Cox?  (Read 10307 times)
Uomo_senza_ nome
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« on: October 26, 2011, 03:00:23 PM »

Just wondering what people seems to think of the guy. When I started reading his book "10.000 ways to die", I became impressed with his knowledge and enthusiasm about the SW genre, and the way he relates to earlier hollywood westerns. But as I kept on reading, I became increasingly tired of his love and praise of nearly every single Corbucci film. I realise that he made some of the best movies of the genre, and i think that The Great Silence and The Mercenary are some of the best non-Leone. But he keeps praising The great silence. The movie is great because of Kinski and Trintingangt, Morricones fabulous score, the beautiful locations, and of course the ending. But Corbucci is not a great filmmaker, and most of his films are cheap.
Cox also seems to rate the political SW films higher than most other. Especially if the movies and their directors are as left wing as Alex Cox himself. I kinda got the feeling that the reason he didn't like The Mercenary very much, is because it's an american financed picture. As he points out himself, the score is great, the cinematography, locations and production design are all top notch. But still he wonders why he dosen't like the picture. Perhaps Corbucci wasn't good enough to helm such a large movie. No doubt the real Sergio would have created a masterpiece with the same scipt and money, but Cox dosen't consider this. He seems to blame it on the american influence. In other words you might say that Corbucci sold out, but Cox keeps searching in the dark for an explanation that doesn't betray his blind love of Corbucci.
No doubt Alex Cox has great knowledge about SW genre, and I think that most of his observations and reviews of various SW's are great. But his quest to make Sergio Corbucci into a great filmmaker as Leone, or perhaps even greater, is very tiresome. This, combined with his habit of confusing great SWs with left wing political ones, makes it hard for me to view him as an authority on the genre

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cigar joe
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 09:24:52 PM »

He's enthusiastic, I'll give him that.

But I have mixed feelings about Corbucci too, I like Il Mercenario, Vamos A Matar Companeros, and Il Grand Silencio, think The Hellbenders could have been better, but I'm not a big fan of Django, and hate The Specialist, I haven't seen the rest.

Some people like certain aspects of Spaghetti Westerns for the same reason they like Kung-Fu Films, Over the top action, bad dubbing outrageous story lines.

I like to think of them as just Westerns and judge them accordingly.

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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 12:42:16 AM »

I just think that our friend Alex Cox, tries to bring not only Corbucci but the whole SW genre to a much too high level of cinema. I agree that SW's have certainly been ignored as cheap and violent exploitation movies, but then again, I think that is what most of them are. But some of the best of the genre are great westerns, but I don't like to compare them to the classic westerns of Hollywood. I think that the genres are much too different. Therefore I tend to judge SW by comparing them only to other SW's, because the genre is so unique and stylized. For me the genre is all about style. I don't think the messages of the political SW's are relevant for me today. So the main attraction is in the music, the cinematography and the over the top violence, not the politics. 

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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 02:56:19 AM »

Have we read the same book?

Yes, Cox is favourable towards Corbucci, but he is also very critical about him. In fact, as I remember it, he only praises Django and Silence and to a certain extent The Hellbenders. He enjoys Companeros, but does not think too much about it. But Corbucci has made 13 westerns, if we include his first (he maybe directed only some scenes) and his last (which happens to be a comedy, and not a good one).

And he also does not praise every of the political westerns.

But I'm too surprised of his dislike for The Mercenary. I think he hasn't understand The Mercenary, but it is such a tricky film that he is not the only one who dislikes it for what I would call the wrong reasons.

Corbucci was not a great director, but he had the talent and the balls to become one, only that he somehow preferred it to become a commercial hack again, after his too brief period of greatness. It is incredible how ordinary looking his later comedies are.
But I think that his best westerns (Silence, Mercenary and parts of Django) are on par with Leone. For me not as great as GBU and OUTW, but I prefer them to all of Leone's other films. At least that his best westerns are superior to any other SW.


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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 05:52:08 AM »

Its been a while since I've read the book what did he say about Sollima and Pertroni those are the other two S Directors that I like a lot. I also like Keoma, but that is the only Enzo G. Castellari film I've seen.

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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 06:01:18 AM »

I agree that Corbucci's influence on the genre is equal to Leone. And I think that Corbucci's best work is perhaps more interesting than the two first Leone westerns. But I don't think that they're better films. All the Corbucci movies that I have seen seems flawed, but he's so much more extreme in his best works, and that is what is great about him. But what I find wrong with Cox is that he blames the failures in Corbucci's work, on just about everything except the director himself. He goes all Freud on Leone, trying to find an explanation for his potrayal of women in his movies, while he glorifies Corbucci and his idealism. But I also don't get why he dislikes The Mercenary. I think it's one of the absolute best non Leone SW's. The score is one of the best of the genre, the actors are great, and it's visually very beautiful. Also the duel between Musante and Jack Palance is one of the best SW duels i have seen. And it is lifted straight out of For a Few Dollars More. So I kinda get the feeling that the reason Alex Cox doesn't like this film, is because it borrows so much from Leone. Then again, I think that Leone took a thing or two from The Mercenary when he made Duck You Sucker

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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 06:14:28 AM »

He seems pretty crazy about THe Big Gundown and Face to Face, but not so much on Run man Run. But overall I think he regards Sollima highly. Can't rememer what he thinks of Petroni, but I think he likes Death Rides a Horse. He writes early in the book that he thinks that all the good SW were made before 1970, so I guess that leaves  out any praise of Castellari, but I'm not entirely sure.

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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 06:36:30 AM »

He seems pretty crazy about THe Big Gundown and Face to Face, but not so much on Run man Run. But overall I think he regards Sollima highly. Can't rememer what he thinks of Petroni, but I think he likes Death Rides a Horse. He writes early in the book that he thinks that all the good SW were made before 1970, so I guess that leaves  out any praise of Castellari, but I'm not entirely sure.

OK Thanks Afro

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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 09:31:21 AM »

No, he is not so fond of Face to Face. I'm neither.

And for another better known SW he doesn't care about Day of Anger which not even got an own chapter.

The book is an interesting read, but I disagree very often with his views. About half of the films.

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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 11:25:56 AM »

I agree that it is odd that Day of Anger doesn't get a chapter in the book, but I do remember that he mentions it somewhere. And besides Van Cleef, Al mulock and good old Benito, he is not too fond of the movie. I thought the movie could have been great with a more serious approach, starting with casting someone else than the extremely annoying Giuliano Gemma. He totally ruins an otherwise fine spaghetti.
Are you sure about Cox's position regarding Face to Face? I thought he loved the movie, guess i should read up on the Sollima westerns if that's case..

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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2011, 01:05:40 PM »

He says that Face to Face "doesn't deliver on its own excellent premise". And that it is "weird, original and entertaining" but also "slow-moving, silly and having ludicrous hair cuts". But he has seen only the cut version. and he is not as negative about it as he is about The Mercenary.

About The Mercenary, he does not even mention that the film does not end when it has to end if it were just another Leone clone, and that it has later on an ending after an ending. I think nobody has done this before in a genre film. And it changes the meanings of the film a lot.
I don't understand his understanding of the film. Especially as he then is ready to see in Companeros a decent film, "better than the one it imitates".

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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2011, 01:12:39 PM »

Here are btw his favourite SWs:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Alex_Cox%27s_Top_20_Favourite_Spaghetti_Westerns

Interestingly despite his fondness for Corbucci there are 3 Leones before Dajngo and Silence. Especially GBU on #3 is a surprise, cause if you read his chapter on GBU he has a lot to complain about it.

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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 05:42:00 PM »

Interesting with that list, and you're right about GBU. When I read his chapter about the movie, I thougt he was way too critical. Of course there are flaws in the film, but they are very superficial compared to The Great Silence and escpacially Django, but he makes it seems as though GBU is a very flawed movie. Also, he seems to have an intense dislike for Eastwood, why, I don't know. It's nice to see that he does put Leone at the top of his list though, but by reading his book, I got a completely different impression. His review of DYS is ridiculous. And saying that Jason Robards is an unimportant and silly character as Cheyenne, is in my opinion very wrong.

I think the book is best when it is dealing with the overall genre of SW's. He's got some great historic and cinematic observations. But I strongly disagree with most of his personal views on the most important movies of the genre. But still, it's great reading, and it is nice to have a so called "expert", who is critical about Leone, which one certainly can't say Frayling is. But for me, Frayling is the true expert. At least when it comes to the real Sergio

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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2011, 05:45:28 PM »

Frayling's very astute about Leone (occasional errors notwithstanding) but his analysis of other Spaghettis is often lacking. I love watching interviews with him though, his enthusiasm for and love of his subject is very evident.

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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2013, 10:20:46 PM »

I haven't read anything by Cox; all I know about him is the infamous, laughable, egregious error he made in his little piece of commentary on the OUATITW dvd, in which he talks about a scene supposedly being out of place and quite obviously doesn't know wtf he is talking about; I elaborate on it here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11263.msg156271#msg156271

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