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Author Topic: 30 Westerns in Once  (Read 105272 times)
grandpa_chum
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« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2005, 09:13:17 PM »

oh the gunfighter is incredibly under rated, it's one of my favorite american westerns

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« Reply #46 on: June 08, 2005, 07:28:52 PM »

I got my copy of the new Frayling book, Once Upon a Time in Italy, which has lots of cool poster art and a bunch of interviews. One item that is sure to interest readers of this thread is a 5-page chart entitled "Leone's Citations of American Westerns." In the left-hand column you get a description of something that occurs in OUATITW, and on the right side info about the film or films that are supposedly being referenced. I say "supposedly," because some elements don't really seem to match. BTW, Frayling doesn't claim that this is his take on the references; he leaves the responsibility with Bertolucci, Argento, and Donati, whom he interviewed on the subject.

An example of something that doesn't seem to match is as follows. When Jill asks Sam why they are stopping at the trading post, Sam replies "Don't the trains stop?" This is supposedly a reference to: "_Dodge City_... In the opening sequences, a buggy races against a locomotive, and Colonel Dodge contentedly observes, 'Iron men and iron horses--that's progress.'"

Huh?

Sometimes, however, the chart makes sense. It observes, for example, that there is an auction scene in How the West Was Won where a character played by Debbie Reynolds has to sell an expensive mansion for a song. Later, Reynolds is shown traveling through Monument Valley with the Prescott family in a four-wheel buggy with a horse called Sam. Okay, I can see that one.

So, the chart, while interesting, is very hit or miss.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2005, 04:13:38 AM »

cool I'll have to pick that up.

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« Reply #48 on: June 09, 2005, 12:45:10 PM »

I got my copy of Frayling's new book this week, but haven't had time tocrack it open yet.

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« Reply #49 on: June 10, 2005, 10:57:02 PM »

Iti s interesting that Leone, in his interview in Frayling's SL:OUATII, makes a point of saying how much he liked Warlock, and then in the Vincenzoni interview that guy goes so far as to claim Warlock was actually L's favorite Western. More study of this film may be required.........

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« Reply #50 on: August 06, 2005, 06:20:33 PM »

I have long been puzzled by a couple of shots in the final flashback of OUATITW.

Harmonica's brother is about to be hanged, and the montage gives us a shot/reverse shot sequence depicting the exchange between the brother and Frank. Suddenly, we see close-ups of members of Frank's gang (one is eating a piece of fruit). We do not know who these men are, we have never even seen them before (except in long shot), and they will not show up again. They really have nothing to do with the plot, but provide a certain ambience that (perhaps) only on-lookers can supply.

The sudden introduction of the faces of the gang members is striking and, as I said, somewhat hard to account for. Recently, however, watching The Quiet Man (on AMC) I saw something very similar occur in THAT film's one flashback scene. John Wayne is back in his corner, while the man he has killed lies motionless on the mat. We cut back and forth between Wayne and the prone body. Suddenly we get closeups of onlookers: perhaps a trainer, other ring personnel; we don't really know because, again, these are people who are never introduced and never appear again.

Perhaps Ford did this in other places, but I was struck by the fact the Leone not only copied this technique, he used it, as Ford had done, in a flashback.

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« Reply #51 on: August 29, 2005, 09:34:19 PM »

Just saw Rio Bravo and I couldn't spot anything. If I remember correctly Woody's rifle is a sawn off and Wayne's gun in Rio Bravo isn't, so I wouldn't even say that was a reference

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grandpa_chum
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« Reply #52 on: August 30, 2005, 12:39:26 AM »

I have long been puzzled by a couple of shots in the final flashback of OUATITW.

Harmonica's brother is about to be hanged, and the montage gives us a shot/reverse shot sequence depicting the exchange between the brother and Frank. Suddenly, we see close-ups of members of Frank's gang (one is eating a piece of fruit). We do not know who these men are, we have never even seen them before (except in long shot), and they will not show up again. They really have nothing to do with the plot, but provide a certain ambience that (perhaps) only on-lookers can supply.

The sudden introduction of the faces of the gang members is striking and, as I said, somewhat hard to account for. Recently, however, watching The Quiet Man (on AMC) I saw something very similar occur in THAT film's one flashback scene. John Wayne is back in his corner, while the man he has killed lies motionless on the mat. We cut back and forth between Wayne and the prone body. Suddenly we get closeups of onlookers: perhaps a trainer, other ring personnel; we don't really know because, again, these are people who are never introduced and never appear again.

Perhaps Ford did this in other places, but I was struck by the fact the Leone not only copied this technique, he used it, as Ford had done, in a flashback.

That is a fascinating thought that I never thought of... I mean I always loved those two flashbacks... in fact I've made it clear a number of times, maybe on different boards, that the quiet man flashback is by far the best flashback I've ever seen not in a leone film of course, and individually I loved the close-ups of the onlookers in both of those flashbacks but never put two and two together that they were similar, in fact I never really even knew why I adored the sequence so much, but that explaination really caps it, they create this feeling during an epic event, they are nameless faces given star-like attention, it's really brilliant in both of those flashbacks, added in pace with morricone's beat in one and the flashing of the photographers bulb in the other, pure brilliance in editing.

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« Reply #53 on: September 14, 2005, 10:53:11 AM »

Here's a reference that isn't specific to OUATITW but that I think is important to Leone and the Dollars movies. The music in "Gunfight at O.K. Corral" has a lot of whistling in it. Very reminiscent of Alessandro's work in Fistful, etc.

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« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2006, 10:25:33 AM »

For a change, here's a Western that references OUATITW: The Train Robbers (1973). This was on AMC last weekend and I watched the beginning which goes like this: A semi-deserted train station platform: no music, only the sound of the wind and the things the wind causes to make noise: three men ride up to join the man already waiting for a train (and its passenger) that is a day late........

From there things go downhill rapidly, entertainment-wise, but the nod to SL is kinda fun.

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« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2006, 09:04:11 AM »

Anyone seen Firecreek? Supposedly, Hank Fonda does a turn in it as a proto-Frank type villain. It's out on DVD in R1 on 8/15, so I thought I'd give it a look.

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« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2006, 11:40:49 AM »

  Firecreek is a good western, with great roles for Fonda and Jimmy Stewart.  And while Fonda does play the bad guy, I wouldn't compare him to Frank on an evilness-scale.  His gang on the otherhand....

  Good western to pick up if you haven't seen it.  Kinda similar to High Noon, with a sheriff finally snapping and having to defend his town while the townspeople cower in fear, or at least most of them.

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« Reply #57 on: July 31, 2006, 05:33:16 PM »

Seriously doubt it's a direct reference, but I watched "Doctor Zhivago" again today and I noticed a crane shot pretty much identical to one in OUATITW.  When Zhivago is captured by the Red Partisans and they ride off into the forest, the camera pans up slowly as the music reaches a climax to reveal a simply huge forest.  Reminded me of the crane shot revealing Flagstone in OUATITW.  I'm not saying it's a reference, but I found it interesting that the two shots in question were practically identical. 

Also, during the massacre of the White soldiers in the field, the panning down of the camera until the machine gun barrel pops into frame also reminded me of Leone, GBU in particular, with guns suddenly sliding into frame.  If you've seen "Zhivago" and GBU you know what I mean.  Again, I doubt it's a reference, but it's a neat thing to pick up on.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #58 on: August 01, 2006, 02:25:35 PM »

Seriously doubt it's a direct reference, but I watched "Doctor Zhivago" again today and I noticed a crane shot pretty much identical to one in OUATITW.  When Zhivago is captured by the Red Partisans and they ride off into the forest, the camera pans up slowly as the music reaches a climax to reveal a simply huge forest.  Reminded me of the crane shot revealing Flagstone in OUATITW.  I'm not saying it's a reference, but I found it interesting that the two shots in question were practically identical. 
I have no doubt that Lean influenced Leone. In this case, though, both directors may have been thinking back to one of the most famous crane shots in cinema history: the slow reveal of massive Confederate casualties in Gone With the Wind.

An intereting side project would be to do a systematic comparison between Lean and Leone. Every time I watch the scene in DYS shot in Azucareza San Torcuato, Gaudix (the disused sugar factory where firing squads execute victims in long concrete trenches) I think of Lean, although I'm not sure why.

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« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2006, 04:32:05 PM »

You're probably right about "Gone With The Wind", as I've said I haven't seen it myself.

But I can see what you said earlier about their editing schemes, the match being blown out/desert in "Lawrence" etc. has quite a few equivalents in Leone's films, particularly OUATITW, which is absolutely full of such edits.  One device Lean likes to use is sound from the next scene being played over the old scene before the cut, I don't recall if Leone ever used that device.  Lean also deals with violence in a very sparse way (at least I think so), i.e. there's a lot of build-up to the battle scenes in "Lawrence" for instance but none of them last for more than a minute or two.  Also trains are very prominent in the work of both directors, for whatever that's worth.  You could also argue that the Ural Train scene in "Zhivago" was very Leone-esque in its use of natural sounds and silence.  There was quite a bit of music composed for that scene but it was all cut out.  And it's hard to watch the desert scenes in GBU without thinking of "Lawrence" (though I believe "Greed" was the primary inspiration).

I think Frayling said that the opening of "Great Expectations" may have influenced the "Ecstasy of Gold" scene in GBU, but again I've not seen the former so can't comment on that. . .

Both directors were also very anti-authoritarian, though that can be said of about 80% of film directors working at the time.

My opinion isn't that Leone deliberately referenced Lean's work, but he kind of internalized some of his techniques, consciously or subconsciously. 

« Last Edit: August 01, 2006, 04:37:10 PM by Groggy » Logged


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