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: Tarantino Speaks  ( 332 )
dave jenkins
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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)
QT is a smart feller!

« : May 23, 2019, 09:11:05 PM uncknown »

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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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