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Author Topic: De Niro Last Smile  (Read 36132 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #60 on: July 19, 2005, 04:58:41 PM »

I'll go along with this, except with the part about Noodles turning Max into a baddie. When Noodles has his interview with Senator Bailey, he makes it clear that he's sticking with the story as he originally understood it: once upon a time he had a friend...... Things went bad for Noodles. Things went bad for the friend. But that's the way the friend had wanted it.

Juan Miranda brings up a very good point about that final smile. It *may* have positive connotations, but it must be viewed with irony also. Noodles is happy, Noodles is at peace . . . but Noodles is a loser. He spends 35 years going to bed early, sleeping his life away. In 1968 Max prods Rip van Noodles awake: he wanders around a bit, decides his dreams are better than reality, and then goes back to sleep.

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leonehayrani
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« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2005, 05:33:56 PM »

I understand your point about Noodles sticking to the "original" story (i.e., that Max died in 1933), but that could be interpreted many ways.  I think that one way someone can interpret it is that it is a way for Noodles to achieve a kind of moral victory, or something along those lines, out of nothing by refusing even to recognize Max's survival and rise to power, a way to snub Max, and live with it all.  That's not necessarily correct (and, of course, Noodles does not give a positive response when Max asks if Noodles' refusal to kill him is revenge), but I think it is a way to interpret it.  That interpretation would work if it's an opium dream or not, and if it is a dream, then it could work along the lines that I mentioned in my previous post. 

Noodles in the dream (assuming it is one) refusing to recognize Max does not necessarily mean that Noodles dream has not turned Max into the baddie.  It seems to me that Noodles' mind could dream about Max being the baddie to make Noodles feel better, and then still have Noodles try to stick with the idea that Max died in 1933 in order to clinch it.  It doesn't mean that Noodles really is sticking to the dead Max idea, only that he's telling that to Max. 

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #62 on: July 19, 2005, 09:07:51 PM »

I understand your point about Noodles sticking to the "original" story (i.e., that Max died in 1933), but that could be interpreted many ways.  I think that one way someone can interpret it is that it is a way for Noodles to achieve a kind of moral victory, or something along those lines, out of nothing by refusing even to recognize Max's survival and rise to power, a way to snub Max, and live with it all.  That's not necessarily correct (and, of course, Noodles does not give a positive response when Max asks if Noodles' refusal to kill him is revenge....
In fact he gives a negative response. "That's just the way I see things" means, No, this is NOT my way of taking revenge. The fact that Leone anticipated this idea and had Max voice it so that Noodles could deny it (sincerely) should mean that THAT interpretation is off the table. Otherwise, why even bring it up? Clearly, SL wanted to close off a particular avenue of interpretation.

Of course, Noodles doesn't *literally* believe that Max died in 1933: he can see "Senator Bailey" standing right in front of him. But reigning paradigms are never changed merely because of inconvenient facts.......

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #63 on: February 16, 2006, 10:40:43 PM »

From the BFI monograph by Adrian Martin (28):

"Leone described The Hoods as 'a perfect and loving hymn to the cinema', but in a peculiar way. 'Grey told me he had written the book against Hollywood, while he was imprisoned in Sing Sing. But, on the contrary, his book resembled a voice-over by a bad Hollywood screenwriter.' Leone was intrigued, above all, by the manner in which generic 'citations, allusions, adventures and even psychological considerations' had unconciously entered and shaped Grey's account of his own life."

Martin cites as his source Jean A. Gili, 'Entretien avec Sergio Leone', Positif no. 340, June 1984, p. 7.

I believe this quote is key to our understanding of the final smile and the film as a whole.

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« Reply #64 on: February 17, 2006, 05:54:16 PM »

I'd just like to say that regardless of Leone's reason for having Noodles smile, I think that the ending to OUATIA is easily the best ending to any of his movies and is one of the best movie endings I've ever seen period.  Its ambiguous quality goes along perfectly with the feeling of the rest of the film. 

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Paco Belmondo
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« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2006, 01:11:03 PM »

Let me make things more confusing.   Grin

I hope I am not the only one to have noticed that during the final scene, as Noodles is smoking the opium, he makes a face that hints of disgust right before he puts down the pipe.  Maybe he stopped smoking the opium (out of disgust) before it could actually make him high.  That would put his smile in a different context.

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« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2006, 06:17:29 PM »

I think Sergio is really smiling at us at the end.   

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2006, 10:39:18 PM »

Smiling with us, rather, one cineaste to all others.

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« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2006, 10:34:56 PM »

Smiling with us, rather, one cineaste to all others.
agree completely  (wasn't that fun?  just like old times)

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Young Noodles
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« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2006, 01:25:48 AM »

I think Leone's message with the smile is irony, I was in the film and Sergio was a michevious kind of sarcastic and ironic guy.  Also, the truth was that his friends werent' really dead.

Did Max know that Noodles made the call?  Did he go through with the heist at all?

.....hmmmm

What do I know, I'm a newbie here. 

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #70 on: May 01, 2006, 08:24:59 AM »

And then, maybe the smile is the outward expression of these thoughts:

It's all a dream
Light passing by
On a screen
And there's you and I
On a beam
Speeding through the universe
Thinking is the best way to travel

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« Reply #71 on: May 04, 2006, 08:38:47 PM »

That must've been a song or poem.

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« Reply #72 on: June 22, 2006, 12:37:55 AM »

I think I know why he smiles at the end, and i haven't heard anyone else make this suggestion, either on this site or anywhere else (what's Frayling's view in the biography?).

He smiles because he realises that Max has faked his death and is really alive. This shot is at the end because it changes the complexion of the whole film. Up til then we've thought that he's spent the last 30-odd years grieving about killing his best friend. But it turns out he knew all along that Max was still alive.

i'm pretty sure i know what the garbage truck scene means too: as someone else has suggested, Max doesn't really end up in there (whether jumping or being thrown) he just makes it look as though he might have been. I.e. he fakes his own death again to get out of the corruption scandal engulfing him. He's doing it in a way that signals to Noodles, and only Noodles, that it's fake: by hiding behind a grabage truck. When they first met it was when Noodles was similalrly using a vehicle to hifde something - the wagon Max was driving to hide the drunk they were going to roll from the cop. So hiding something via a passing vehicle is something that has special meaning only for the two of them but no one else. Everyone else will think Bailey/Max is in the garbage truck but not Noodles.
(Actually this has got long, i oughta post it separately...)

i hope to write up these ideas more fully in an essay on the film one day. it is, without doubt, the greatest film ever.

simon

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Kurugen
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« Reply #73 on: November 06, 2006, 08:43:14 PM »

he smiles because he had 1 of the CRAZIEST dreams ever.

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Silenzio
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« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2006, 09:15:24 PM »

Quote
he smiles because he had 1 of the CRAZIEST dreams ever.

I had a crazy dream once...


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