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Author Topic: Mistakes in Frayling's DVD Commentaries  (Read 25294 times)
Cusser
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« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2012, 07:49:54 AM »

Most of the old guard critics (Crowther, Kael, Sarris) treated Leone with contempt, if not active hatred. Certainly their reviews reek of condescension and critical arrogance. Strangely Roger Ebert seems to have been one of the few who liked (most of) Leone's stuff back then.

And didn't Ebert's FIRST review actually pan GBU Huh  And only decades later he wrote areview with a "fresh look", and then recognized its quality?  I know in film class (1974) that the professor dissed them all (I asked him about them); but - of course - he had never seen any of them.  He was from the Engish department, and hosted Saturday evening films on local channel. 

I think too many critics draw from other critics' writings, and don't view films/write comments of their own.

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2012, 08:15:19 AM »

Ebert gave FAFDM 3 stars (his highest possible rating is 4 stars; plus he has a separate "Great Movies" list)
Here is that review http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19670515/REVIEWS/705150301/1023 (he writes that he didn't see FOD "but I wish I had." You'll notice that in the early years of his reviews -- he began in 1967 -- they were much shorter than they would be later on).

He gave GBU 3 stars in his original 1968 review http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19680102/REVIEWS/801020301/1023
but he later added it to his Great Movies list -- admitting that he saw it in his first year as a critic, when he "did not always value instinct over prudence" and was probably influenced by the general bias against Spags http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030803/REVIEWS08/308030301/1023 (This review is printed in the materials of The Sergio Leone Anthology dvd set).

He gave OUATITW 2 1/2 stars http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19690606/REVIEWS/906060301 (I am not sure which version he saw; I guess I could forgive the low rating if he saw the chopped version)

and he gave the 229 minute version of OUATIA 4 stars http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19840101/REVIEWS/401010365


So yeah, I'd say he was pretty decent to Leone. (Though  back in the late 60's his word probably didn't carry much weight). But he needs to add both OUATITW and OUATIA to his Great Movies list. (Personally, I consider all 6 of Leone's movie to be all-time greats). He is constantly adding to that list -- I noticed that both Stagecoach and TMWSLiberty Valance were added in the past year -- so maybe they'll make it on there. (He also recently put Johnny Guitar there.... but that's another story...)


Ebert has always been quite progressive (to say the least). He gave The Wild Bunch 4 stars in its initial release http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19690803/REVIEWS/908030301/1023 and when a critic (I think from Readers Digest criticized). it loudly at the screening at a Warner Bros. retreat, Ebert jumped up to defend the movie.

 He also gave 4 stars upon initial release to Bonnie and Clyde http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19670925/REVIEWS/709250301 and Easy Rider http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19690928/REVIEWS/909280301/1023 (and later added 'em all to his Great Movies section). Those 3 movies are probably the litmus test of where you were as a critic in the late 60's  Wink

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« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2012, 09:36:58 AM »

Thanks Drink, you've saved me the effort of tracking those reviews down.

It seems likely to me that Ebert saw the edited version of OUATITW. Did American critics even get to see the long version at the time?

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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 09:43:06 AM »

Thanks Drink, you've saved me the effort of tracking those reviews down.

It seems likely to me that Ebert saw the edited version of OUATITW. Did American critics even get to see the long version at the time?

just type the name of any movie into the search box at http://rogerebert.com/ and it'll pull up anything. It's a good site (for movies, but not politics!)

I can't know which version of OUATITW Ebert saw, but I believe -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- that the author of the Video Watchdog article says that he saw the full version in an early screening in Chicago before it cut for wide theatrical release. If some kid in Chicago could see the full version, wouldn't a critic in Chicago have seen it too? But who knows.

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« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2012, 09:43:24 AM »

Quote
when a critic (I think from Readers Digest criticized). it loudly at the screening at a Warner Bros. retreat, Ebert jumped up to defend the movie.

David Weddle recounts the premiere at some length in his biography of Peckinpah. Apparently Peckinpah and the cast were getting bombarded with insults and queries by critics and Ebert was the sole person to defend them. I remember one female critic asking why there was so much blood, and Ernest Borgnine saying something like "Lady, did you ever see anyone who was shot and didn't bleed?"

In fairness Peckinpah had far more defenders than Leone, especially Pauline Kael. I guess they all saw The Wild Bunch after the premiere.

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« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2012, 09:56:43 AM »

here is the specific page in the Video watchdog article http://imageshack.us/f/13/vwwest003.jpg/

where the author says it was a "public sneak preview" in Chicago. So I guess Ebert would have seen it. besides, Ebert says in his review that including intermission, the film is nearly 3 hours long. I guess that means he probably saw the 3-hour version, but who knows.

Somebody should definitely email him and tell him to re-watch and re-evaluate OUATITW. He has occasionally re-reviewed a movie upon a new dvd release or something, and changed his earlier opinion . eg. he gave THE GRADUATE 4 stars upon initial release http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19671226/REVIEWS/712260301/1023
but then recanted on the 30th anniversary and knocked it down to 3 stars http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970328/REVIEWS/703280304

And he has occasionally given a film less than 4 stars on initial review, but later added it to his Great Movies list, as he did with GBU. Well he should reconsider OUATITW as well. (Strangely, he gave The Godfather part II only 3 stars, http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19740101/REVIEWS/401010314/1023 ......but he later added it to his Great Movies list http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081002/REVIEWS08/810020300/1023  while insisting that he has not recanted and and would not change a word from his original review. I am still trying to figure that one out.

Ebert writes about the incident with the Reader's Digest critic in his 1995 review of the Director's Cut version of The Wild Bunch http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950317/REVIEWS/503170305/1023

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, here is his Great Movies review of THE WILD BUNCH http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20020929/REVIEWS08/209290304/1023

Okay, I think that's enough Ebert links for a while....  Wink

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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2012, 08:41:33 PM »

Most of the old guard critics (Crowther, Kael, Sarris) treated Leone with contempt, if not active hatred. Certainly their reviews reek of condescension and critical arrogance. Strangely Roger Ebert seems to have been one of the few who liked (most of) Leone's stuff back then.

Andrew Sarris was probably the lone voice in praising Leone and Eastwood . Eastwood especially was loathed by New York critics. I once  wrote a letter to  the Village Voice  praising Sarris for his insight into Eastwood's films-    the   letter was published!
 Kael actually liked the films. She wrote a positive review of GBU based mainly on its anti-Hollywood western attributes.
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2012, 08:47:21 PM »

Damn, sorry Mr. Sarris!

Kael's capsule review of GBU is reproduced in this thread:

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=8001.0

It doesn't strike me as very positive. Even if taken as praise it embodies the condescending tone mentioned.

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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2012, 08:48:26 PM »

I like Ebert but his has one big flaw as a critic - he NEVER mentions the music score.
How can one write a full length review of GBU and not mention Morricone's contibution Huh!

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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2012, 08:49:53 PM »

Damn, sorry Mr. Sarris!

you should also say "Rest in peace"  as he just passed away Cry

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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2012, 08:51:33 PM »

you should also say "Rest in peace"  as he just passed away Cry

Not only that, I started a thread.

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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2012, 11:41:00 PM »

I like Ebert but his has one big flaw as a critic - he NEVER mentions the music score.
How can one write a full length review of GBU and not mention Morricone's contibution Huh!

-- In Ebert's "Great Movies" review of GBU, he says that Morricone's "lonely, mournful scores are inseparable from the film." (6th paragraph at this link http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030803/REVIEWS08/308030301/1023 ) But that's definitely not enough; he should have emphasized it more. If you check up the two reviews of The Godfather Part II
(I provided the links in a previous post here), Ebert goes on and on about the music, and how it creates the whole mood of the movie, and how we feel is based on the music. He is correct about GFII, but he should have given similar mention to Morricone's scores, which IMO are at least as important for Leone's movies as Nino Rota's are for Coppolla's

-- In the 7th paragraph of that review, Ebert discusses how the Dollars films, like other Spags, are really foreign films. This is the point that Frayling says he was trying to make from the beginning: don't view these as ersatz Hollywood westerns. These should be viewed entirely as Mediterranean movies. (I think Frayling would say that Ebert's line that these films have a "subtly foreign flavor" doesn't go far enough; but that these are foreign films, plain and simple.)

-- In the final paragraph, Ebert says "Leone made two other unquestioned masterpieces, Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. Well Roger, if they are unquestioned masterpieces, how about a new Great Movies review for each of 'em?

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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2012, 05:42:44 AM »

He said the film opens in 1861, but Arch Stanton's grave marker said April 3, 1862, so I would think later.  I'll give him the benefit there.  


Arch Stantonīs grave was dated 3rd Febuary 1862

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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2012, 12:41:31 PM »

-- In Ebert's "Great Movies" review of GBU, he says that Morricone's "lonely, mournful scores are inseparable from the film." (6th paragraph at this link http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030803/REVIEWS08/308030301/1023 ) But that's definitely not enough; he should have emphasized it more. If you check up the two reviews of The Godfather Part II
(I provided the links in a previous post here), Ebert goes on and on about the music, and how it creates the whole mood of the movie, and how we feel is based on the music. He is correct about GFII, but he should have given similar mention to Morricone's scores, which IMO are at least as important for Leone's movies as Nino Rota's are for Coppolla's




sometime i think D&D's sole mission in life is to corrct the 'mistakes' of others.
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2012, 02:45:11 PM »

 Grin

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