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: Missing scene in OUATIA DVD  ( 22413 )
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« #15 : July 12, 2003, 06:47:30 AM »

It's always been said (don't know if it's true though) that the original cut of the movie circulating in Italian theaters and TV was the authentic version Sergio wanted to appear on screens...

Well, I'm Italian and have never ever seen that scene. I'm also quite sure that what we have always seen here in Italy was the same cut showed that very first time in Cannes, and available now in DVD.

To cut it short, I don't know what I'm missing but I'm sincerely happy not to have that scene included, since Leone always said that the Italian/Cannes version was his one and only director's cut...
 
 
Ehm, I have to apologize and correct myself, actually that flashback scene IS in the dvd, so now I'm left with a doubt and a question for you all guys: are you sure that the '84 Cannes version included that scene?



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« #16 : July 12, 2003, 08:55:38 AM »

I don't know about the version that premired at Cannes, but I do know that the flashback to childhood is included on the DVD and most versions I have seen. I guess my main problem with it, is the fact that they are repeat shots (Max on mama's wagon, the williamsburg bridge ect...) which to me seems very sloppy in Leone's case. Think of the final flashbacks in OUATITW or FOD, and how they reveal something new, crucial, that has been building in the narrative. Also, I think that final meeting between Max and Noodles doesn't need the flashbacks because Noodles says it all in his dialogue ("I have a story too Mr Bailey", ..."It wen't bad for him, wen't bad for me too, but it was a great friendship"...) it's more dramatic, bleak and ambiguous this way. And the final flashback in anycase, is the opium den, which is [/b] beautifully constructed.


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« #17 : September 13, 2007, 09:46:10 AM »

Some time ago I started a big process: to read all the old threads on this forum! I've started with OUATIA and after that I'll move on to DYS, then to OUATITW etc. all the way up to AFOD. After that I don't know what I'm gonna read, maybe general discussion... I know this is gonna take some time, maybe years ;D

Anyway, this is an interesting thread that IMO deserves bumbing. I'll throw my two cents in.
I totally disagree.  It's not revenge at all.  If Noodles wanted revenge, he would have shot him.  What Noodles did instead is to not acknowledge him, but not out of spite.  Out of love.  Love specifically for the more innocent version of Max that he knew as a boy.  That's why there is the flashback.   When he sees Max he relives those memories, and those are the things he treasures.   It's a great moment.
I totally disagree with this opinion. Noodles revenges in the worst manner I could imagine. Max regrets - or at least acknowledges - that he's done terrible things to Noodles and wants somehow recoup it. The best way he can think of is letting Noodles to kill him, since that's what he thinks Noodles wants. Maybe Noodles indeed wants to, but he does something much more terrible. He acts like he didn't know Max (to him he's been dead for 35 years) and leaves him alone with his regret 'till the end of his (very short)days. I don't know if Max jumps in the garbage truck but that doesn't matter since he's going to die anyhow in a way or another very soon.

OUATIA is VERY different from others Leone's film. It 's a mature opus , very human , realistic and for the first time with a looser heroe: imagine Harmonica or Joe facing Senator Bailey: strong music, dark eyes, shooting and bloody revenge... I'm sure that Sergio hoped to quit these previous domains and he really  succeeded.
Yeah, this is very different kind of movie than his earlier films, and so is the "duel" very different than before. This is a sign of Leone getting more mature. None of the characters in his westerns would have missed the opportunity to revenge like this. "If you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."

I think the flashback works fine during the scene between Noodles and Max. I see the danger of it, the danger of getting too sentimental. But somehow it is avoided. I don't know how Leone manages to do such a thing that would fail in hands of any other director. I mean, that kind of flashback is something you see in chick flicks! On the surface it looks like another "oh, those were the days!" montage but there is something much deeper that is just indescribable.   


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« #18 : September 13, 2007, 10:16:53 AM »

I agree with many of the opinions you have expressed in this post moviesceleton. 

The only thing I would add is that towards the chronological end of the film Noodles' spirit is broken. A bit like Harry Grey, he's had all the adventures one could normally expect in a life, he's led a fairly tedious existence for the last 35 years and he's not about to embark upon any new and challenging enterprises. He's not massively angry at Max - he views him with some disdain and may prefer to disassociate the person standing in front of him with his former friend.

In a long film like this - and personally I wish it was much longer - the montage is not only appropriate since Noodles and Mr Bailey are talking about their different views of the past but important for viewers.  As always Leone handles it well.


« : September 13, 2007, 10:36:23 AM shades »
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« #19 : September 13, 2007, 10:48:24 AM »


Anyway, this is an interesting thread that IMO deserves bumbing. I'll throw my two cents in.I totally disagree with this opinion. Noodles revenges in the worst manner I could imagine. Max regrets - or at least acknowledges - that he's done terrible things to Noodles and wants somehow recoup it. The best way he can think of is letting Noodles to kill him, since that's what he thinks Noodles wants. Maybe Noodles indeed wants to, but he does something much more terrible. He acts like he didn't know Max (to him he's been dead for 35 years) and leaves him alone with his regret 'till the end of his (very short)days. I don't know if Max jumps in the garbage truck but that doesn't matter since he's going to die anyhow in a way or another very soon.
I can understand this reading, but I'm certain it is a misreading. Consider the progession in thought Leone takes us through in his final 3 films. OUATITW consists of a very simple revenge arc. DYS returns to the theme in more developed form: Mallory once took revenge, came to regret it, and when given the chance to take revenge in later circumstances, rejects that path (and subsequently receives a beatific vision). In OUATIA we get another example of a character offered a chance at revenge who declines to take it; I find it hard to believe Noodles does so in order to exact a more thorough revenge, if for no other reason than this seems contrary to the way SL has been developing his revenge/anti-revenge theme over several films. Also, Noodles in old age is not a spiteful fellow. And what is most important to him are his memories. Those memories are based on a false understanding of the past (we learn), so for Noodles to take revenge he must acknowledge that he has been duped. There is more at stake here than just the discovery of a single act of betrayal, however. Noodles has built his memories on the belief that he was the betrayer, that his friends paid the price for his failure. That is the story that has helped him make sense of his life. To admit otherwise would entail the repudiation of 35 years of thought and reflection. Given the choice of accepting the truth or continuing to live with his false but nonetheless important memories, Noodles chooses the latter. He cannot take revenge on Secretary Bailey, because he must continue to believe that his friend Max died in 1933. How could shooting Bailey, a man he has just met, help?



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« #20 : September 13, 2007, 01:38:10 PM »

Interesting and reasonable idea, DJ O0 and there is no way I could upset your theory. But it isn't any better or worse or more right or wrong than the one I provided. They both rely on what is seen in the movie. The only idea of yours I won't swallow without proper chewing is the one where you draw the straight line through the trilogy. Counting those three films together like that is a bit :-\ I just don't see them as strong trilogy. On the other hand, Leone himself said they are a trilogy...


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« #21 : September 14, 2007, 11:30:38 PM »

Whether they were part of a trilogy or not....whether Leone viewed them as such..... not sure it really matters.  I would agree with Dave that Leone would return to his familiar themes (friendship, betrayal, revenge) in each movie and he would further develop his ideas and add more depth in how he depicts them in each subsequent film.

I also agree with the idea that Noodles does not allow himself to be manipulated by Max, because it would mean revision of his memories.  I don't think he decides to not acknowledge Max to spite him.  If there is any satisfaction or spite involved, it's very minimal.  Noodles tells Max he won't do it because it's the way he "sees" things.  The way he saw things and wants to continue to see them.  As for Max, perhaps he acknowledges his betrayal to Noodles, but his main motive in bringing Noodles back has very little to do with setting things right. I don't think he's interested in redemption by giving Noodles a shot to get back.   He's again concerned with himself.  He knows his time is not for long, and he would rather have Noodles be the one to take him out.  "I can accept that".  It's about how he wants it done and what he finds acceptable.

I do believe Max falls back on his contingent plan and jumps in the back of the garbage truck.  I don't think it was an elaborate plan to pull another escape or that he was pushed.  He committed suicide.  I think Noodles' line in which he wishes him well because otherwise it would mean a lifetime of achievement was a waste sets this up for the conclusion.  Max literally becomes waste by his own doing.  With what he has done throughout his life, and the choices he made, he'd rather jump into the back of that garbage truck than slowly wait for the mob to eliminate him.

The flashback scene in Max's study is well done.  I also think that Leone pulls that one off very well.  It has an emotional effect on the viewer but I wouldn't say it comes across as too sentimental.  The flashback also has useful purpose within the narrative of the film. It seems like it fits because it helps pull together the time periods as the film is winding down and also shows what Noodles' state of mind is.  Noodles' story is a tragedy.  By no means is he an idiot.  When he returns, there are moments when he's following up on things that you can tell he's piecing things together.  He knows somewhere inside before he sees Deborah that there's a possibility Max is alive.   Even after he has confirmed what crossed his mind, and heard it straight from the source, he still refuses to "see" things differently. 

« : September 15, 2007, 12:10:14 AM Noodles_SlowStir »
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« #22 : September 15, 2007, 09:03:24 AM »

I also agree with the idea that Noodles does not allow himself to be manipulated by Max, because it would mean revision of his memories.  I don't think he decides to not acknowledge Max to spite him.  If there is any satisfaction or spite involved, it's very minimal.  Noodles tells Max he won't do it because it's the way he "sees" things.  The way he saw things and wants to continue to see them.  As for Max, perhaps he acknowledges his betrayal to Noodles, but his main motive in bringing Noodles back has very little to do with setting things right. I don't think he's interested in redemption by giving Noodles a shot to get back.   He's again concerned with himself.  He knows his time is not for long, and he would rather have Noodles be the one to take him out.  "I can accept that".  It's about how he wants it done and what he finds acceptable.

I do believe Max falls back on his contingent plan and jumps in the back of the garbage truck.  I don't think it was an elaborate plan to pull another escape or that he was pushed.  He committed suicide. 
In the sense that he knew the Organization was going to rub him out and he let them do it. He'd decided to die, and his preferred method was Suicide By Friend. Failing that, he opted for Suicide By Associates.

Good point about Max's motives. Yes, it's all about him, even up to the very end. He doesn't care about squaring things with Noodles, the appeal for revenge is just a button to push. He thinks he can manipulate Noodles one last time, but he's wrong.

I like the idea of allowing a lot of weight to rest on Noodles apparently throwaway expression, "That's just the way I see things." The film is filled with visions, many of them false; film by its very nature provides audiences with things to see. I note that Noodles doesn't say, "That's the way it is" or "That's how things are." The Palace of Memory is a House of Mirrors, even as cinema is nothing more than an elaborate Magic Lantern show.



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« #23 : September 20, 2007, 12:08:19 PM »

I like the idea of allowing a lot of weight to rest on Noodles apparently throwaway expression, "That's just the way I see things." The film is filled with visions, many of them false; film by its very nature provides audiences with things to see. I note that Noodles doesn't say, "That's the way it is" or "That's how things are." The Palace of Memory is a House of Mirrors, even as cinema is nothing more than an elaborate Magic Lantern show.

Yes.  I like how you state it Dave.  In a film that's so concerned with dreams, memory and cinema, vision is important.  The more I would watch it, the more the line "That's just the way I see things" seemed significant.  You're right it could of been expressed differently.  It's precise. 

With memories it seems there can be so many deceptive paths one could follow.  One could follow the path that Noodles takes which is to hold steadfast to a false understanding or perception.  Or the other extreme, a path that includes constant revision of memories which also takes the person very far away from reality.

Interesting that moviesceleton revived this thread.  I think it kind of dovetails with his thread questioning the meaning of cinema and the strength of its appeal.  There were quite a few things pointed out which make cinema unique.  The collaborative nature of film.  The collaboration of many individuals and arts.

I think the moving image of cinema is more powerful in expression than the other arts.  So much can be communicated visually in just a small clip of film.  It may also by its nature have greater accessibility than other arts and disciplines.  I think also there's the vision/reality aspect of cinema that's talked a little bit about here.  In our dreams and memories, there's this lack of reality.  Cinema is unable to capture reality as we know it.  It lacks the visual depth and time of reality.  Perhaps it’s the art form at present which possibly comes closest to depicting reality, but more importantly, it mirrors more closely the lack of reality in our dreams and memories.  As a result it's closest to our psychology.  How our mind perceives and makes sense of reality.

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« #24 : September 20, 2007, 08:20:58 PM »

I've found myself leaning towards Dave Jenkin's views.

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« #25 : September 20, 2007, 09:02:23 PM »

This may be a good juncture to drop this back into the discussion. I originally posted this on the "Last Smile" thread:
Quote
From the BFI monograph by Adrian Martin (28):

"Leone described The Hoods as 'a perfect and loving hymn to the cinema', but in a peculiar way. 'Grey told me he had written the book against Hollywood, while he was imprisoned in Sing Sing. But, on the contrary, his book resembled a voice-over by a bad Hollywood screenwriter.' Leone was intrigued, above all, by the manner in which generic 'citations, allusions, adventures and even psychological considerations' had unconciously entered and shaped Grey's account of his own life."

Martin cites as his source Jean A. Gili, 'Entretien avec Sergio Leone', Positif no. 340, June 1984, p. 7.

I believe this quote is key to our understanding of the final smile and the film as a whole.

Add to this the fact that a magic lantern theater is the front for the opium den, and you have a series of interlocking references to "dream factories"......



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« #26 : September 21, 2007, 04:56:16 AM »

Grey also said that the only thing in his book that was untrue was Max's death.  If you look hard enough I suppose you will see parallels, similarities and hidden meanings in everything.  In any event it doesn't matter - Leone didn't want to make a factual documentary about a gangster's life.  He gave us a masterpiece of entertainment which can be enjoyed, remembered and talked about long after the first viewing.

There are many things in the film which are open to the viewers' interpretation. It is a pity that Leone was not allowed to make it whatever length he preferred - a longer film may have helped those who do not understand it fully or are unable or unwilling to make their own interpretation. 

I think DJ goes with the dream theory, which is his right and privilege.  I most certainly do not and I'm happy with my interpretation of everything in the film.  This may partly explain why it's my favorite movie but DJ prefers OUATITW.  OUATIA does get compared to a painting or piece of art - I feel very privileged to be a member of a small group who can admire its obvious beauty but also see its intrinsic qualities.  If someone does not have the mental capacity or inclination to see these qualities, that is either sad or their choice.  We may as well try to explain why someone should appreciate a Picasso, Rembrandt or Michelangelo.


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« #27 : September 21, 2007, 09:26:42 AM »

Actually, I hate the dream theory. And as for preferring one Leone to another, I hold SL's last four films in equal regard, pretty much. The point about all the references to cinema is that memory is like watching a film in many ways: we replay scenes from our life in our minds, and good directors that we are, often change things (unconsciously) to improve the mise-en-scene, drama, and especially, order things so that the star (ourselves) comes off looking good. Eventually, we end up with very vivid recollections that are just as fabricated as a movie. This was the case, according to SL, with Harry Grey and his life, so that's the approach SL took with Noodles in the film. And that became one of the themes of OUATIA.



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« #28 : September 22, 2007, 02:40:38 AM »

Sorry, DJ, you're slowly converting me - Noodles as portrayed by Harry Grey seemed too good to be true (highly intelligent, erudite, a stud, handsome, tallish, adept with a knife and a gun - even the betrayal was covered up with good motives and the death of his mother) - but I thought Leone made him sadder and more realistic, with a few failings and weaknesses.

For me Leone's earlier work is beautifully filmed, innovative and fun but a bit escapist.  Not many of us will have built railroads, been involved in gunfights, blown up bridges etc.  However some us will have been part of a group of boys, growing up together, having good and bad times, unreturned love, aspiring for improvement in status and wealth, regret, suffering the consequences of betrayal and guilt.

« : September 22, 2007, 05:56:18 AM shades »
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« #29 : September 22, 2007, 05:40:02 AM »

Noodles as portrayed by Harry Grey seemed too good to be true (highly intelligent, erudite, a stud, handsome, tallish, adept with a knife and a gun - even the betrayal was covered up with good motives and the death of his mother) - but I thought Leone made him sadder and more realistic, with a few failings and weaknesses.
That's all to the good, if true (I haven't read The Hoods). I think we can all agree that the young Noodles material has the ring of truth, and the Noodles-in-old-age stuff, which was invented by Leone and his scriptwriters, presents a credible older man. It's all the young-gangster-in-love material that has the feel of celluloid: the stuff Leone was suspicious of. But SL found a way to make it work within the context of the film. Great move, I'd say.



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