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« : April 26, 2019, 04:43:13 AM »

In his "foreword" (really just a long tape-recorded ramble) to Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece, QT takes the opportunity to talk about his favorite film, GBU. He eventually gets to OUATITW, but I find his comments below quite interesting. I have returned Tarantino's spellings to American ones, and cut some of the repetition.

Quote
I love [GBU] more than [OUATITW] because I think it’s funnier and a little less self-satisfied with its own masterpieceness. It has been my favorite since I was a little kid because I saw it when I was crazy young and loved it. That’s never changed . . . GBU is my favorite movie and my favorite line in all movies is: “There are two kinds of people in the world. . . those with loaded guns and those who dig.” That movie is consistently witty, but with a certain kind of wit, a certain sense of humor. That is, this weird mythic macho gallows sense of humor that runs throughout the whole thing. It is just so funny. Almost whenever they open their mouths, you hear some of the funniest lines I have heard in my life. To think that it was written in Italian and then we hear the translated version and it is still that funny—it just blows me away. . . . And the cinematic set pieces and the orchestration of music with the images. Obviously those things. I think it’s a combination of those with the fact that . . . I remember even feeling this from the point when I was a little boy watching it . . . the characters are so disreputable. The fact that Eastwood being called The Good is ironic. The whole world he created, there’s something really special about it.

The characters are so disreputable and you follow this really weird rag-tag adventure with them where they’re tossed from one situation to another. That really shouldn’t be as compelling as it is, nor should they be as compelling as they are. But they are. Wherever they get tossed you go with them to that place. It never seems disjointed. It never seems like it’s a bunch of vignettes strung together. You truly go on an adventure and it never proclaims itself as an adventure, other than they’re looking for the gold. We want these characters to have a bond—especially Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach. It kills us that they don’t. So we emotionally supply the bond, which is one of the reasons why we have a rooting interest in the movie. We emotionally supply the bond that the characters on screen obviously don’t have because we are now bonded with them. We care about them. . .

To me one of the most weird things in the history of cinema is, after going through this incredible journey in GBU, we have fallen in love with Eastwood and Wallach. . . but they still screw each other over. You actually think that the Man With No Name might just hang Tuco at the end of the movie and it is so crushing you are thinking, “Can’t you guys just feel something of the way that we feel toward you?” No one else would do a three-hour epic where there really is no bond between these guys no matter what they have been through. There’s a beauty in that. They’ve gone through so much together. You love them. You can’t believe one would betray the other in that way. But then you also know that Tuco would have done the same thing to him in two seconds, if not worse . . . Probably worse. But the thing is you go through this adventure with them and then you have this emotional commitment that you add to it. Then after this whole rag-tag adventure, it ends up at that shootout. Which by the way, he shot the showdown in the bullring as if the looking for the grave scene, the “ecstasy of gold” wouldn’t be enough. As if the Civil War scene wouldn’t be enough. He goes to that bullring and I think the greatest piece of music  ever written for a movie is matched with the greatest scene ever shot. I mean, really.
Nothing profound here, but QT has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the movie, and he probably expresses the sentiments of many. I like the fact that he has a glimmer of understanding of what GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge would be like. An unstoppable force like Tuco would certainly come after his "friend-o" for the money he stole. It's all Tuco's money, and he can't stop until he gets it all back.



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« #1 : April 26, 2019, 05:07:29 AM »

In his "foreword" (really just a long tape-recorded ramble) to Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece, QT takes the opportunity to talk about his favorite film, GBU. He eventually gets to OUATITW, but I find his comments below quite interesting. I have returned Tarantino's spellings to American ones, and cut some of the repetition.
Nothing profound here, but QT has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the movie, and he probably expresses the sentiments of many. I like the fact that he has a glimmer of understanding of what GBU 2: Tuco's Revenge would be like. An unstoppable force like Tuco would certainly come after his "friend-o" for the money he stole. It's all Tuco's money, and he can't stop until he gets it all back.

True dat....


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« #2 : April 26, 2019, 03:06:44 PM »

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Almost whenever they open their mouths, you hear some of the funniest lines I have heard in my life. To think that it was written in Italian and then we hear the translated version and it is still that funny—it just blows me away. . . .

This comment implies that somehow the humour was not lost in translation. I've always been curious about what was really said in the Italian dialogue given that Mickey Knox claims to have translated the GBU script into English so that the dialogue matches the lip movements of the actors. One would think that would require significant massaging of the dialogue in some areas.

Cenk Kiral interviewed Mickey Knox back in 1998 about his role in GBU and OUATIW. Here's an excerpt:

Quote
Can you please explain the function of your job when you were working with Leone and how you met him?

Well, I think it was through Eli Wallach, who is an old friend of mine. His agent was also my agent, and he convinced Sergio to use me to direct the dubbing of GBU in New York, which means I had to adapt the whole movie into the proper English. I did all the dialogue. United Artists came to me and said "this is America, everything has to be in perfect synch". I mean the dialogue with the lips. That wasn't an easy job for that picture. Sergio didn't give a damn about the sound, because all of his films were dubbed after the pictures were finished anyway. Many times different actors doing the dialogue part. So this gave him the freedom to shoot a picture without worrying about the sound, meaning visually he can do anything he wanted. And, in fact he did.

How was the script writing process working? - Did the scripts already have the dialogue, or did you write them all?

How it worked was this way: he had a very poor translation from the Italian, and in most spots the American actors changed the dialogue when they were doing it. So in many cases I had to re-lipped if I could. German actors had to speak German, Spanish actors spoke Spanish, Chinese actors spoke Chinese. In the end, all had to be done in English. I knew what they were saying, because I had the Italian script. I knew the sense of what they were saying. But I had to find out the right dialogue not only in terms of move the story along, but also to fit the lips. It's not an easy thing to do. As a matter of fact, it took me six weeks to write, what they say, 'the lip-synch script'. Normally I would have done it in seven to ten days for a normal movie. But, that wasn't a normal movie (GBU).

So, when you started working with Leone, the Italian version of the scripts already had the dialogue, right? Let's take OUTIW for example, since your involvement is much more than GBU throughout the making of it. How exactly process worked in that film?

In that film, it already had all the dialogue in Italian. I had to adapt it to English, meaning that in many cases, especially in a Sergio Leone picture, where there are peculiar phrases, I had to find the equivalent, but not the same, in English. Because if you translate it directly from Italian, it makes no sense.
How about those ever-famous one-liners, like "there're two kinds of spurs..."? Were they your inventions?

In GBU, I tried to follow his intentions all the time. I didn't want to intrude my ideas of what the script should be. Most of them were his ideas. Sometimes, it was the actors' ideas. But, he was pretty good about that. He knew what he wanted and he did have a sense of humour. So, he did those type of one-liners in Italian which had to be translated to English. Some of them couldn't be. That's when I had to invent things that were American. A lot of the Italian quips, wits, and what you call as one-liners, weren't easy to translate, like in any language.

There is one quite famous of those "one-liners" in OUTIW, which goes like 'people like him have always something to do with death'. I am particularly curious about it. Was that line one of your adaptations, or was it already in the original Italian script as it is?

Well, I wrote it obviously, but it was probably the same in the original Italian, but I don't remember exactly. All the English dialogue is mine. I mean, in terms of adapting it from Italian, but I didn't originally write the Italian script. Somebody else did it, like Sergio Donati, but the English version is all mine.

But, I must say that you've done an excellent job. Many fans of Leone still remember those famous one-liners. There are even books about Leone referring to those famous one-liners. Prof.Christopher Frayling, who wrote one book on Spaghetti Westerns, and who is about to release a huge book on Leone's biography, is anxious to hear from you regarding to your efforts for Leone pictures.

Well, actually the only two films I've worked for Leone were GBU, and OUTIW.

A couple of years ago an Italian fluent in both Italian and English generously agreed to provide a DIRECT translation of the Italian language track. I was surprised to learn that his direct translation was nearly identical to the English language track. There were very few discrepancies.

« : April 27, 2019, 09:08:33 AM Lil Brutto »

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« #3 : May 01, 2019, 12:52:33 PM »

Thanks for posting that DJ. It seems like he may not have been the best choice to discuss OUATITW when he goes on about GBU like that.

I get where he's coming from, and GBU is certainly the more immediately entertaining movie.



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« #4 : May 23, 2019, 09:09:56 PM »

I have said GBU is masterpiece that didn't try to be one.
OTW set out.to be a.masterpiece.
Which is why GBU is the 'better ' masterpiece'. 8)
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« : May 23, 2019, 09:11:05 PM uncknown »

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« #5 : June 02, 2019, 01:45:09 PM »

From https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/06/quentin-tarantino-on-how-spaghetti-westerns-shaped-modern-cinema/

Quentin Tarantino on how spaghetti westerns shaped modern cinema
In the realism, the set pieces, the operatic music, Sergio Leone was pointing the way towards modern filmmaking
Quentin Tarantino

"The movie that made me consider filmmaking, the movie that showed me how a director does what he does, how a director can control a movie through his camera, is Once Upon a Time in the West. It was almost like a film school in a movie. It really illustrated how to make an impact as a filmmaker. How to give your work a signature. I found myself completely fascinated, thinking: ‘That’s how you do it.’ It ended up creating an aesthetic in my mind.

There have only been a few filmmakers who have gone into an old genre and created a new universe out of it. I really like the idea of creating something new out of an old genre. To some degree, Jean-Pierre Melville did it with the French gangster films. But those Italian guys — Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, Duccio Tessari and Franco Giraldi — did it best. They mostly started off as critics and worked their way up to screenwriters. And then they became the second unit guys, the guys that deliver the action. You have to go to the French New Wave to find a group of men who loved cinema as much as they did — except Leone and the others had a thriving film industry they could work their way into.

Leone’s movies weren’t just influenced by style. There was also a realism to them: those shitty Mexican towns, the little shacks — a bit bigger to accommodate the camera — all the plates they put the beans on, the big wooden spoons. The films were so realistic, which had always seemed to be missing in the westerns of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, in the brutality and the different shades of grey and black. Leone found an even darker black and off-white. There is realism in his presentation of the Civil War in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that was missing from all the Civil War movies that happened before him. Wild and grandiose as it was, there was never a sentimental streak. Every once in a while he would do a sentimental thing like when the Man with No Name would hand a smoke to a dying soldier in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but that’s just about as close to sentimentality as he got.

In the late 1960s, American westerns let the Italians take over because Italian movies weren’t tired. They seemed like a response to the westerns that we’d been seeing for ever. The combination of the surreality and the violence. They don’t seem that violent now, but they seemed very violent then, because they didn’t take it that seriously: Italians laugh at violence, that special type of gallows humour. And there was the youth and energy. And, by the way, in the Spaghetti westerns, they weren’t old and bloated stars. A lot of the heroes were young guys from earlier American western TV series. But they dressed cooler, they acted cooler. They were the perfect thing for the 1960s revolution that was happening at the time.

Designer Carlo Simi is one of the unsung geniuses — Leone’s secret weapon, as much as Ennio Morricone. There was nothing special about the sets and costumes in the American western movies of the late 1960s: the costumes were always from the costume department of whatever studio they were shooting at. Carlo Simi, on the other hand, was creating outfits that have a comic-book panache, sometimes literally — like one of the three Sergios actually saw a comic book: ‘Hey, give them a cape like this.’ These crazy costumes can do half the work for the characters, whether that be the bad guys or the heroes or the adventurers. Leone once said they were like suits of armour. They have this pop-cultural zeitgeist to them. The dusters in Once Upon a Time in the West, like the trenchcoats in Melville’s films, are timeless. With Leone’s westerns, you are literally talking about the best production design, the best costume design, and the movies with the best props of all time. There’s no equivalent to it.

People sometimes think that Leone was the first Italian to make spaghetti westerns. But of course he wasn’t. Sergio Corbucci was doing a spaghetti western in 1964, the same time Leone was doing Fistful of Dollars. But he wasn’t trying to do something different at that time — he was actually trying to be more like the American westerns, and this is reflected in the music, which isn’t operatic at all. It was Leone who put the music to task and turned it to opera. I know there are examples that will be contrary to what I am saying, but it feels as if Leone is the first guy ever to cut picture to music in that way. Before him it just happened by accident where somebody thought it would be cool for a little sequence, but didn’t think they should do it for the rest of the movie. But the way we cut to music now: you pick some rock song and you cut your scene to that song. That all started with Leone and Morricone, and particularly with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Morricone and Leone affected my films in every way, shape and form. First off, the surf music, Dick Dale, ‘Misirlou’. I never understood what surf music had to do with surfing. To me, it always sounded like rock’n’roll spaghetti western music: Morricone music with a guitar-driven beat. I’ve always said that Pulp Fiction was a modern-day spaghetti western. Then I started using bits of music Morricone had written for other movies. Then I worked with him as my composer — which I’d never done before with anyone. It went from him not getting it, and then him getting it — him literally seeing my way — and then to me working with him on The Hateful Eight.

There was very little place for Sergio Leone to go after Once Upon a Time in the West, which is why he did this kind of weird disappearing act. But when it comes to Once Upon a Time in the West, it’s both the end of something and the beginning of something. It is the end of the spaghetti western as we know it. It’s the end of this magnificent genre which wasn’t given any respect in its time for the most part, even in America and especially Italy. Look at Roger Ebert’s and Pauline Kael’s reviews of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and forget about looking up someone like Sergio Corbucci in the New York Times, I mean they’re so completely disrespectful it’s not even funny. Yet this fantastic genre employed all these technicians and all these actors, made over 300 movies in a period of four or five years, and Once Upon a Time in the West ended it.

When it comes to the filmmakers of the 1960s that mean the most to filmmakers of the 1990s and 2000s, I believe that Leone is pointing the way towards modern filmmaking. There is the excitement and the action scenes that you would see developed later in films like The Terminator. There is a sizzle to the action scenes. When Elvis Mitchell [the critic, scholar and broadcaster] shows a film to his young students — this movie from the 1950s, this movie from the 1960s, this movie from the 1940s —  it’s only when he shows them a Sergio Leone, if they haven’t seen it before, that they pick up. That’s when they start recognising the elements. That’s when they’re not just ‘I’m looking at an older movie now.’ It’s the use of music, the use of the set piece, the ironic sense of humour. They appreciate the surrealism, the craziness, and they appreciate the cutting to music. So it is the true beginning of what filmmaking had evolved to by the 1990s. You don’t go past Leone, you start with Leone.

For my money I think he is the greatest of all Italy’s filmmakers. I would go even as far as to say that he is the greatest combination of a complete film stylist, where he creates his own world, and storyteller. Those two are almost never married. To be as great a stylist as he is and create this operatic world, and to do this inside a genre, and to pay attention to the rules of the genre, while breaking the rules all the time — he is delivering you a wonderful western."

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« #6 : June 02, 2019, 02:32:38 PM »

I have said GBU is masterpiece that didn't try to be one.
OTW set out.to be a.masterpiece.
Which is why GBU is the 'better ' masterpiece'. 8)
QT is a smart feller!

I can understand the fascination for an accidental masterpiece, but you won't sell me the idea that actively trying to be make a masterpiece is some kind of [EDIT] flaw.

« : June 02, 2019, 11:45:51 PM noodles_leone »


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« #7 : June 02, 2019, 05:11:31 PM »

I can understand the fascination for an accidental masterpiece, but you won't sell me the idea that actively trying to be make a masterpiece is some kind of tare.
By "tare" are you referring to a weed that resembles a kind of desirable plant (like wheat?).



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« #8 : June 02, 2019, 05:55:47 PM »

RE: Mickey Knox:

I believe that by GBU, he only came aboard after the movie was shot, to write the English dub for the lines spoken by actors in other languages.

In OUATITW, I believehe was there all along, writing the English dialogue from the script by Donati/Leone, which presumably was in Italian.

Is this correct?



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« #9 : June 02, 2019, 11:45:17 PM »

By "tare" are you referring to a weed that resembles a kind of desirable plant (like wheat?).

 ;D

Google translate let me down.
I meant "flaw".

« : June 02, 2019, 11:46:25 PM noodles_leone »


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« #10 : June 03, 2019, 02:09:13 AM »

RE: Mickey Knox:

I believe that by GBU, he only came aboard after the movie was shot, to write the English dub for the lines spoken by actors in other languages.

In OUATITW, I believehe was there all along, writing the English dialogue from the script by Donati/Leone, which presumably was in Italian.

Is this correct?

That's how I remember it.

When UA bought the rights for the Dollar trilogy they had no real idea if they could make money with them, and Leone and Grimaldi had no idea either, otherwise they wouldn't have sold the rights for all 3 films for an "apple and an egg" (new expression for you guys, keep it). But after the first 2 started making a big profit (without being very successful) UA apparently put more care in the dubbing of GBU, and for OUTW it was clear that they wanted this film to be a hit in the USA too, so it made sense to involve Knox before the shooting started. Cause it was still important to hide the fact that these were foreign films.

« : June 03, 2019, 02:47:04 AM stanton »

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« #11 : June 03, 2019, 02:16:41 AM »


 I know there are examples that will be contrary to what I am saying,

Actually this is one of the most true passages of QT's celebrating of the Leone style.
Which shows QT's enthusiasm for Leone, but goes too far in many respects. Especially again in the odd comparing of Spags to US westerns, those which preceded Leone and those which were made at the same time. A guy like QT who has watched so many films should know better.


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« #12 : June 03, 2019, 02:40:41 AM »

Thanks Cusser for copying that....


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« #13 : June 03, 2019, 09:20:32 AM »

Yeah, it's behind a pay wall and isn't available otherwise, although, of course, it's an edited version of the introduction to Shooting a Masterpiece.



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« #14 : June 04, 2019, 07:47:15 PM »

I can understand the fascination for an accidental masterpiece, but you won't sell me the idea that actively trying to be make a masterpiece is some kind of [EDIT] flaw.

No. Just that the self- conscious attempt at being ' arty'  rarely results in a Masterpiece.

« : June 04, 2019, 07:51:29 PM uncknown »

"Other Morton's will come along  and they'll kill it off"

My article on the restoration of the The Big Gundown
http://thekinskifiles.blogspot.com/2009/01/cinemaretro-13-big-gundown.html
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