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Author Topic: Harmonica's life  (Read 23218 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2005, 03:24:42 PM »

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I think there is one problem with the fact Harmonica being the man with no name or even more the Rapper, it's the fact... that Harmonica does have a past... The past we see in the flash back, so it fits bad with Harmonica being the Grim Reaper, unless he is a total hallucination.


I was thinking along the lines of Harmonica not making it much past the hanging of his brother, my scenario is Child Killer Frank kills Harmonica soon after his brother hangs, then Grim Reaper takes Harmonica's form,, clothes and all when Franks "time" finally arrives.

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« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2005, 11:18:36 PM »

well, first off... harmonica is most definitly kicked by his brother... just watch it.

the grim reaper thing just got a whole lot more interesting when someone brought up the "i hope you'll come back someday"... (nods)"someday"... and put that together with the something to do with death line and i think you have a pretty god analogy... it's great to think about in the sense of adding another dimension to harmonica's eerie character... but do i think he really is death... no... do i think it would take something away from the revenge factor of his being... yes... but it's very interesting all the same... intentional or not... the thought of him being an incarnation of death is definitly there... but that doesn't mean we need to debate the possibility of whether or not he really is... that is foolish... but since i am a foolish guy, i will say that i don't think he would have waited so long(even the two days that the story takes place) or try so hard to arrange a meeting with frank, or killed so many men to get to frank himself, or saved jill's ass so many times... or befriended cheyenne, or had cheyenne die at the end... why was it cheyenne's time? and by the gun of morton?... then again, alot like fistful, everyone involved does die with the exception of jill and harmonica... maybe, as death, he was sent in to clean up this whole mess... it's all very interesting to think about.

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Harmonica: So, you're not a businessman after all.
Frank: Just a man.
Harmonica: An ancient race...
cigar joe
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« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2005, 04:22:17 AM »

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well, first off... harmonica is most definitly kicked by his brother... just watch it.

the grim reaper thing just got a whole lot more interesting when someone brought up the "i hope you'll come back someday"... (nods)"someday"... and put that together with the something to do with death line and i think you have a pretty god analogy... it's great to think about in the sense of adding another dimension to harmonica's eerie character... but do i think he really is death... no... do i think it would take something away from the revenge factor of his being... yes... but it's very interesting all the same... intentional or not... the thought of him being an incarnation of death is definitly there... but that doesn't mean we need to debate the possibility of whether or not he really is... that is foolish... but since i am a foolish guy, i will say that i don't think he would have waited so long(even the two days that the story takes place) or try so hard to arrange a meeting with frank, or killed so many men to get to frank himself, or saved jill's ass so many times... or befriended cheyenne, or had cheyenne die at the end... why was it cheyenne's time? and by the gun of morton?... then again, alot like fistful, everyone involved does die with the exception of jill and harmonica... maybe, as death, he was sent in to clean up this whole mess... it's all very interesting to think about.


I agree its ponderous man ponderous, lol.

Ever hear Guy Clark's or Jerry Jeff Walker sing "Desperados Waiting For A Train".... Just like Harmonica, that sonofabitch is commmin'.....

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Tim
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« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2005, 07:31:14 PM »

  I always thought Harmonica's brother kicked him away rather than have him suffer knowing if only he could have stood up a little longer, his brother would be alive.

  This way, Harmonica won't feel responsible for his brother's death.  Just my take.

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« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2005, 09:05:25 PM »

Some really good comments here, and CJ in particular, some great observations. But I think we have to be careful to maintain a distinction between Harmonica as a character who has "something to do with death" and the idea that he is Death personified. Harmonica does have a backstory, so we should treat him as a man who operates as death symbolically. I think we want to do this, if for no other reason than it makes the film more interesting. To be too literal (Harmonica is Death himself)closes off other possible readings. If Harmonica is only Death symbolically, however, than he can also be other things: avenger, redeemer, man of the west, etc.

It's helpful to compare OUATITW with High Plains Drifter in this regard. In HPD, Eastwood is slowly revealed to be some kind of supernatural agent (angel of vengence, demon, Death). There is no reason to have him disappear in the heat haze at the end if he is NOT supposed to be supernatural. Now, while I like HPD, and think the whole approach works, I have to say that the film has nowhere near the depth of OUATITW. And part of the reason for this is that the characters in Leone's film are invested with references to many many cultural archetypes. It is very difficult to bring this off in a movie, which is why it hasn't been done often. But when we have a movie that *has* accomplished such a thing, we should celebrate the fact, and not attempt to sell any of its characters short.

So, by all means, let's identify Harmonica with death, but not exclusively.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2005, 11:28:17 PM by dave jenkins » Logged


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cigar joe
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« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2005, 09:33:08 PM »

 
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So, by all means, let's identify Harmonica with death, but not exclusively.


agreed

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« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2005, 01:50:50 PM »

Man, this is very well said.

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« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2005, 09:14:51 AM »

I still maintain that Harmonica falls rather than kicked away. The brother's legs seem dangling. I don't see a forceful kick.
I see Harmonica just fainting and falling. Is'nt there a build up to this, with his closeup: sweating and exhausted lQQk?
Finally, if he was kicked away, would'nt he projected farther?

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« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2005, 12:41:22 PM »

I assure you. Look at this moment carrefully, in slow motion. Just after the brother has finished to speak, he has a quick movement, looking at the back maybe, then the image immediately shows Harmonica falling.  Plus, if these two shots are put one after another, the brother speech then immediately after Harmonica's falling, there is a reason of meaning.

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« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2005, 04:03:20 PM »

I'm sorry Dlanor, I did just that, at 4 different speeds on the DVD. As I see it, the kid buckles and that's it for the brother. The kid falls flat, to his knees then down.
When the neck snaps, the next scene shows the feet still on the shoulders. IMHO, this can only mean Harmonica buckled. But then again this is my opinion, maybe we should Email Bertolluci to settle this.

Even though i've seen this film some 30 times since 1969, I have only recently noticed the kid is dressed the same as the adult Harmonica, thanx mainly to comments read here. Meaning fashion changed slowly in old west or is it symbolism as suggests cigar joe and others.

God, I love this film!

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« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2007, 03:28:17 PM »

to the frank killing/not killing kids issue - I was just thinking he might have changed a bit throughout the years. There's even said something like that, if I remember right... anyway, I thought he might have been just a little baddie somewhere out in the West, while now he's working in big bussiness and doesn't make compromises anymore. Something like that.
("Just a little baddie" is meant a bit ironically...)

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« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2007, 12:44:57 PM »

Has he future? He had something to do - he did it. What then? Going back to the other world from he came? (LOL, see the lyrics of Manowar's Dark Avenger)

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« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2007, 12:50:41 PM »

Has he future? He had something to do - he did it. What then? Going back to the other world from he came?

I'm always wondering about it as well.

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« Reply #43 on: June 13, 2007, 02:20:44 PM »

I think he's a little like the istari (valar-send-maias): he had a human form, but his power and his wil in non-human. Or, when he's mortal...
Will he ever come back?
I can imagine it - 20 years pass, and he comes back once to Jill, to get a coffee, not much speek... (in a cold, snowy day) and he goes again... to die.  Cry

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« Reply #44 on: June 13, 2007, 06:53:08 PM »

Except that Harmonica doesn't drink coffee. He likes water, and he likes his water fresh.

Actually, the request for water is a ruse. Harmonica, in fact, is one of the few characters in the film not associated with liquids. There are the good guys seeking liquids (Jill is always looking for a bath, Cheyenne is always looking for coffee) and the bad guys (Morton's quest for the Pacific, the fact that Wobbles works in a laundry) who are associated with water, but Harmonica stands apart. Water is, after all, necessary for life, and Harmonica has something to do with death.

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