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: Leone westerns are spanish westerns  ( 821 )
noodles_leone
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« : October 05, 2023, 06:37:23 AM »

So I'm just back from 2 weeks in Andalucia where I saw tons of spots where Leone shot his westerns. I saw places used in DYS (mostly), FAFDM, OUTITW, GBU and also MNIN. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Sad Hill, which is to the north of Madrid (I stayed between Cordoba, Almeria, Granada and Sevilla). I'll share pics and vids later when I get some time. The most striking thing though is the fact Leone's westerns, and especially the dollar trilogy, are spanish westerns way (WAY) more than they are italian ones. Walking around in the cities or the desert in the south of spain felt like being part of those movies. The landscapes, the architecture, the set design of the interiors, the way of life (indlucing empty streets where you can barely see that someone is spying at you from behund a curtain), the weather, the wind, the dust, the flies. Desperately looking for an open bar in the middle of the afternoon in a little village lost in a red canyon. The way all of this makes you feel, walk, talk. The locations inspired way more the final experience than Leone's italian roots. And I'm talking as somebody who has seen some of the Leone locations in the US as well as his share of real wild west. Including around the mexican border, in all of the 4 states.

By the way, for those of you who have access to Facebook, the following page was a huge help:
https://www.facebook.com/albertogambaricercatore

It features tons of comparison shots (screengrab from the Leone film + photo of how it looks today) with GPS coordinates. One example that I visited for instance:



Quote
Guadix, Provincia di Granada, Spagna

37?18'39.7"N 3?07'30.6"W

« : October 05, 2023, 06:56:50 AM noodles_leone »

dave jenkins
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« #1 : October 05, 2023, 07:38:09 AM »

So I'm just back from 2 weeks in Andalucia where I saw tons of spots where Leone shot his westerns. I saw places used in DYS (mostly), FAFDM, OUTITW, GBU and also MNIN. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Sad Hill, which is to the north of Madrid (I stayed between Cordoba, Almeria, Granada and Sevilla). I'll share pics and vids later when I get some time.
Looking forward to those.

I'm not sure I can go along with a Spanish designation for SL's westerns. Who classifies films by where they were shot? Is Lawrence of Arabia then a Spanish picture also? Is The Train a French film?

Obviously locations are a big part of the feel, the aesthetic of a film. But they aren't everything. Especially in auteur cinema, where a director's vision (sometimes a producer's) does the most to shape the final content. The sensibilities that permeate SL's films are his own. Needless to say, there was not a Spanish bone in his body.

But maybe you were just being provocative so that people would actually open the thread. OK. I remember years ago having a conversation with a woman who was somewhat familiar with the SW concept and I mentioned to her that they were largely filmed in Spain. The news took her by surprise, and I'm sure there are many people who don't realize this so it's worthwhile making a point of it every now and then.

And I guess that's what you've done.



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noodles_leone
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« #2 : October 05, 2023, 08:47:58 AM »

No that's what I actually felt while I was in the area. Almost every day (just not when I was in the big cities). I'm not the kind of person who thinks nationalities have too much importance anyway, so of course those films are Leone movies first, way before they're italian or spanish or anything else. But people have been writing and discussing about how italian they are for decades. I've spend a lot of time in Italy and while I wouldn't say there is nothing italian in them, I've never been highly convinced about the whole "italian" thing. They are european more than amerian, that's for sure. But now I've been where they've been shot and I see how much the location influenced them, including the way people move in it, including the art direction of the interiors, including a certain way of life (that I haven't seen in Italy, including in the hottest days over there... while it's everywhere in Andalucia in september/october 2023). People over there seem like they're in a Leone movie. The atmosphere in the little villages lost in the desert is exactly what Leone recreated.


dave jenkins
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« #3 : October 05, 2023, 03:37:29 PM »

But he was using those locations to "play" the US Southwest and/or Mexico. Most people think those recreations are uncannily accurate. So then, on your argument, Leone's westerns are actually American.



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noodles_leone
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« #4 : October 06, 2023, 01:29:11 AM »

They are supposed to be, but then again, I way see more andalucia than southern border. I've been in all 4 states along the mexican border (maybe I only stayed in the northern part of new mexico, I don't remember exactly) and never felt like I was walking in a Leone movie, and I never felt like I was seeing people live in a Leone movie. In Andalucia, I did all the time. It is also possible that Andalucia didn't develop that much (which is a fact, for many reasons, including a train line that was shut down in 1984 and that tons of people were counting on), so it kinda stayed like it was in the 60's (which wasn't THAT different from what it was a centurry before). The area is in a state of disaray with tons of abandonned building. The booming olive oil industry might actually change things (they are planting olive trees everywhere, in a short while shooting western movies over there will be challenging) while the southern border of the US evolved faster.
I have only been in actual mexico for 2 hours so I cannot comment on what happens at the south of the border.

Anyway, all I can say is: not only does Andalucia look like what's pictured many scenes in the dollars trilogy, but it also feels like it.

« : October 06, 2023, 01:38:16 AM noodles_leone »

dave jenkins
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« #5 : October 06, 2023, 03:57:33 AM »

Anyway, all I can say is: not only does Andalucia look like what's pictured many scenes in the dollars trilogy, but it also feels like it.
Show us.



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« #6 : October 06, 2023, 04:24:29 AM »

Not sure you can see what I'm trying to express in the pics I took but here is a batch anyway!

https://www.icloud.com/photos/#003-nEOhwU7B42fq4xidx0Xiw

(The link expires in a month)

Tons of regular vacation pics but some of the Leone locations are shown. An interesting point about the place where Jack Beauregard fights the wild bunch: they now removed the train tracks, but it was real train tracks at the time. So Leone shot, on the same segment:
- The wild bunch fight
- Cheyenne on Morton's train
- Tuco laying Mario Brega on the tracks to cut the handcuffs

... but now the train tracks have been removed. There are still real, active train tracks a bit further away that stopped me from seing some of the following stuff, that are only minutes away from that location:
- many portions of OUATITW's Flagstone
- the "looks like we are short of one horse" train station
- Frank discovering the train has been attacked
- some other MNIN stuff

The whole plain is a field used for growing I don't know what (most of the area is used for olives now but only a small part of that particular location features olive trees). Migrant workers are working there, but it's a very hot and windy place. They use a scarf to cover their face from the dust. The wife stayed in the car while I was taking the pics: way too much wind. A bit further away, in the same plane and easily noticeable from the MNIN location: tons of windsmills and solar pannels.

Also interestingly enough it seems like Leone never filmed the place I saw that looks the most like from an american western: the desert of Gorafe. You can see many pics in the previous link, we did a long hike over there. The sand is red, it looks like Arizona, Utah or many places in Mexico. I feel like it would have been the perfect spot for the coach scenes in DYS and other Leone scenes. Yet he often chose places where the sand was whiter (which is also a kind of landscape you can see in the US, including in Texas but it mostly reminds me of new mexico).

« : October 06, 2023, 04:31:26 AM noodles_leone »

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« #7 : October 06, 2023, 04:40:47 AM »

Nice pictures looks like you had a great time, too.


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noodles_leone
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« #8 : October 06, 2023, 04:45:18 AM »

A terrific time. It will now be my own little unexpensive american west for as long as I stay in Europe.

CJ, do you have any idea if big jars with a pointy bottom were used in america in the 19th century? I have trouble finding good pictures but you can see some behind angel eye there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E303pbjYRdo&t=26s
(that scene, uncluding the interior, was shot in Spain)

They have a pointy bottom so they cannot stand and need to be stored in special furniture (or sometimes in holes made for them in a wall). I'm asking because i saw tons of them in Spain (they aren't in use anymore, but you can see that many households still have them from the grandparents or something).

Also, on thing in Leone's westerns that is either Italian or American but definitely not spanish: stray dogs. In Andalucia, they have stray CATS everywhere.

« : October 06, 2023, 04:47:04 AM noodles_leone »

dave jenkins
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« #9 : October 06, 2023, 07:58:51 PM »

Also, on thing in Leone's westerns that is either Italian or American but definitely not spanish: stray dogs. In Andalucia, they have stray CATS everywhere.
I'm sure they HAD stray dogs at one time, but by now they've all been eaten. With the dogs gone, the cats moved in.



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cigar joe
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« #10 : October 07, 2023, 04:18:16 AM »

A terrific time. It will now be my own little unexpensive american west for as long as I stay in Europe.

CJ, do you have any idea if big jars with a pointy bottom were used in america in the 19th century? I have trouble finding good pictures but you can see some behind angel eye there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E303pbjYRdo&t=26s
(that scene, uncluding the interior, was shot in Spain)

They have a pointy bottom so they cannot stand and need to be stored in special furniture (or sometimes in holes made for them in a wall). I'm asking because i saw tons of them in Spain (they aren't in use anymore, but you can see that many households still have them from the grandparents or something).

Also, on thing in Leone's westerns that is either Italian or American but definitely not spanish: stray dogs. In Andalucia, they have stray CATS everywhere.


There were glass bottles with round or pointy bottoms that are called "torpedo" bottles nowadays. The reason for the round bottom was so that the liquid inside would keep the cork stopper wet.

"Torpedo bottles, also known as Hamilton bottles, were used for aerated or carbonated water. They were oval shaped with a neck at one end, and were deliberately designed so that they could not be stored upright. The goal was to keep the cork wet so that it did not dry out and crack, thereby releasing the carbonation."

That doesn't make sense though for Spain, but hey made oil amphorae with pointed bottoms for shipping because they could be stored better and not break the pointed bottom was stronger than a flat bottom with edges.








"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!
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