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Author Topic: The Great Silence aka Il grande silenzio (1968)  (Read 98903 times)
cigar joe
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« on: February 07, 2004, 10:02:48 PM »

Got it in the mail today and watched it. It definitely wasn't Leone, but it was ok.

I enjoyed seeing Klaus Kinsky Frank Wolf and Luigi Pistilli and some of the rest of Leone's character stable. The shots in the snow were great and it reminded me of McCabe & Mrs. Miller, but where it lacked was in its budget. It looked cheap and would have improved with better sets. The town of Snow Hill didn't have any reason to exist. The action shots were good and also the stage in the snow.

The other weak area was in the gang of horseless outlaws that were running around out in the snow they didn't seem to have much of anything not even snowshoes and not much of an explanation of why they were there. There was not a believeable story line on the process of the bounty hunting and why would there seem to be more wanted men than townspeople, lol.

Though I haven't seen The Big Gundown in 30 years Itill seem to remember it being much better.

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2004, 06:43:57 AM »

Continuing and expanding.....

Ok here again is an example of buyer beware. I plunked down about $20 for the Great Silence, mostly through researching different boards and accumulating opinions, and for the most part I picked this film based on that.

Now my tastes in westerns run to stories that are believeable and plausible. Basically, is it a storyline that could have happened? Once you throw in weird stuff and add jugglers and acrobats and hidden guns in banjos (Sabata for example) you loose me. If I want to see that I'd watch re-runs of the Wild Wild West, lol.

The Great Silence was a dark and brooding story it had what at that time was some pretty graffic violence and the juxtaposition of blood and snow was good, it had a good flash back sequence a shocking (for that time ending) and music by Morricone. As a Spaghetti Western at face value it delivered, which at the time was what it was created for.

The back story line of Silence and his motives was good.  And the portrayal  of  the character of Loco was done well by Klaus Kinsky.

But the rest was very far fetched. Like I posted before you have a gang of outlaws some with sickles (looking like medieval grim reapers with their hoods and great coats) with no reason to be there, walking easily over the top of deep snow unaided by snow shoes, while at the same time horses are breaking through and struggling.  Its as if it was filmed at a ski resort with packed powder, which it come to think of it probably was, lol.

The town of Snow Hill was way too small and the gang of outlaws and the gand of bounty killers seemed to out number the town.

This like I said was ok, also, must add that except for Klaus Kinsky the dubbing wasn't up to snuff and it was noticeable, but it was very low budget, so get it if you want to see violence more graffic than Leone and very nice western winter snow shots, but check reality at the door.


« Last Edit: February 08, 2004, 06:45:49 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2004, 02:27:54 PM »

I rate the Big Gundown better, saw the last 20 minutes on Encore Westerns Friday night.  In Silence, remember how Frrank Wolfe's gun wouldn't shoot because it was "too cold"?  The snow didn't stop Loco's gun hidden in the snowbank from working.

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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2004, 02:51:03 PM »

Quote
I rate the Big Gundown better, saw the last 20 minutes on Encore Westerns Friday night.  In Silence, remember how Frrank Wolfe's gun wouldn't shoot because it was "too cold"?  The snow didn't stop Loco's gun hidden in the snowbank from working.  

If you think about it the Spaghetti craze was preceded by the Sword & Sandal craze, and look at those movies, the majority of the Hercules and Machiste were crap too, but the audiences they were made for eat them up.

So its really even more special what Leone achieved, and even sadder that his total output was work was shortened by circumstances beyond his control.

You know I'm starting to wonder now if the Spag movies
that actually played in the theaters on Broadway in NYC were the best of the whole lot.

Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
Death Rides A Horse
The Big Gundown
Once Upon A Time In The West

I might give "A Bullet For the General" and "Django" a shot. I expect a little more from ABFTG, and Django I'll get just for a hoot. I'm really hope that "The Big Gundown" gets some decent DVD release.

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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2004, 06:47:35 AM »

I have yet to see The Great Silence, but I am intrigued to do so. Is it on sale in the UK anyone?

'A Bullet for the General' is one of my favourite Spaghetti Westerns, Leone included. That and 'The Big Gundown' are fantastically serious studies of Western politics, with a bit for the genre fans thrown in (Volonte in 'Bullet', Van Cleef and a delightfully evil Austrian gunslinger in 'Gundown'). Django I found very very weird - but a great watch.

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2004, 05:10:52 PM »

Hi Austin,
Tell me how "A Bullet For The General" compares to Leone, mostly is it realistic and believeable, and how is the movies attention to detail? This information would help a lot, thanks.
cj

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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2004, 02:39:37 AM »

Franco Solinas's script is full of Marxist undertones, but 'A Bullet for the General' can also be enjoyed on a purely plot-based level. Volonte is magnificent as a gold-hungry bandido, and Klaus Kinski is his usual exuberant self (this time hurling grenades in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost - oh, and the Revolution).

If you, like me, are interested in the Mexican Revolution, this film is the one for you. It's full of thoughtful studies of the realities of coups d'etat, like the difficulty of forming post-revolutionary governments in a largely illiterate society, and the essentially mercenary nature of many people's 'principles'.

It also has some truly great scenes - the hold up of the train by Cuncho's gang right at the start draws you straight in, and shows you some brutal realities of the Revolution right from the off. Also, the narrative subtly shows revolutionary convictions awaken in Volonte's bandit as the film progresses.

I'd say it is believable (if you look closely enough you can spot some pertinent CIA references), but I'm not going to spoil the plot, because it's worth watching. The attention to historical detail strikes me as being similar to Leone's now you mention it - the larger picture may not narrate exactly what 'happened', but the little details place you firmly in the Mexican Revolution (anti Diaz graffiti, peon village pageants).

Anyway I'm rambling now - not everyone's cup of tea, but for me up there with Leone.

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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2004, 09:18:31 PM »

OK, speaking of the "Great Silence", I tried to purchase this DVD about four months ago and found it to be out of stock everywhere I looked on Internet, and phone calls to distributor Fantoma in San Francisco were not answered, not even an answering machine so I'd say it will be out of print for quite a while or forever.  Since I hadn't ever seen it, wife bought it for me on Ebay, and it arrived, U.S. Version, widescreen, alternate ending, etc.   So tonight, by chance, I took my daughter to the mall 2 miles from the house, and wandered into Suncoast Motion Picture company, and they had two brand new copies in stock for $24.99 each (U.S. Region 1).  So maybe their website http://www.mediaplay.com/ also has it available.

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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2004, 05:01:49 AM »

Cusser, ok as a Leone afficianado, what besides "The Big Gundown" have you found to be close to Leone's level?

When I purchased TGS on Amazon I also got Pocket Essential's "Spaghetti Westerns" to get free shipping. They list 31 SW's that are worthy of listing.

The top rating in the book is 5/5 and they gave Silence a 5/5 but it seams to give it for the novelty of the snow setting, and the daring of the non trational happy ending. To me it did pre date McCabe & Mrs. Miller's use of a winter setting, and Klaus Kinsky was good in his role, and he seemed to have the same dubber as in FAFDM.

Other than that the story wasn't very believable, but then most SW's in general are not believable, so as a representative of the genre it probably makes sense to get a 5/5.

What I need is a "A Leone Lovers Guide to Spaghettti Westerns" or maybe on this board we can make our own. Whats important to me is the whole package:

Is the story within the realm of possibility.
Is the cinnematography outstanding.
Is the acting good.
Is the dubbing done well.

A big budget helps but if the above are all outstanding a low budget done with style is good.







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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2004, 12:36:41 PM »

Though I haven't seen The Big Gundown in 30 years Itill seem to remember it being much better.

If you like The Big Gundown, Cigar Joe
you should checkout Sollima's other spaghetti westerns Face To Face. Is his other great one
Volonte, Tomas Milan & William Berger

Avoid Run Man Run its just a Big Gundown reworking with No Lee Van Cleef just Thomas Milan.

Im sorry but i love The Great Silence. It was hyped to death for me. I had a friend bang on about it for a year.

But still it delivered something unqiue from Leone's world.
Jean Lous Trintignant is fantastic. And what a sucker punch ending.  Wink I was reeling for 2 days after a first viewing.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2004, 12:45:42 PM by The Smoker » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2004, 12:58:07 PM »

The closest i have found to Leone in style is Corbucci's The Mercenary. 3 protagonists, double crossing, cool hero (even lights cigars on people's back) and gundown in circle with Morricone score.
Other than Great Silence and Big Gundown i like Django ,Django Kill, Companeros and Face to Face.

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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2004, 03:20:08 PM »

Don't get me wrong I'm not looking a carbon copy of Leone's story lines maybe its that I'm looking for just good production values.

I was thinking today about how the story may have been made a little more believable. Lets say the "gang of outlaws" who live up in the mountians walk over the top of the snow and feed on dead horses are instead a gang of cannibals who feed on dead travelers (or even kill and eat travelers) who have tried and failed to make it over the passes into Snow Hill.

That would make Klaus Kinsky and his band of bounty killers more believable, and it would make the reward offer understandable. The way its portrayed now the outlaws are just pathetic.

TGS also has the love scene between Silent and Penelope (that here name?) which was also daring at the time.

It would be nice if someone could could take a little time do some serious redubbing.

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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2004, 01:08:22 PM »

Ravenous (1999) is worth a look if your into Cannibal Westerns.
A Antonia Bird film starring Guy Pearce (LA Confidential, Momento) Robert Carlyle. Its set in the Sierra Nevadas Mountains 1874.
Same bleak winter settings.
They nit in some interesting Native Indian Mystism about "Wendigo", a spirit who feeds on others with insatiable hunger.
but the second half is pure vampire movie.



Its spoiled only by great but sometimes dodgy soundtrack.

But not bad rental movie.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2004, 01:22:21 PM by The Smoker » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2004, 05:11:14 PM »

No, lol, I'm not into cannibal westerns I thought it would make the Great Silence a bit more believable with the cannibal angle.

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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2004, 05:12:50 AM »

The film has been out of print for a while, but was recently re-released. I bought it, saw it, and loved it. Although i knew how the film would end, it didn't ruin the experience of watching it. Two questions though:

1 - In the interview on the dvd, Alex Cox claims that most people consider this to be the best spaghetti ever, better than Leone's. I've never seen it on any critics lists or anything like that, who is Alex talking about?

2 - I often have a hard time recognising Mario Brega without the beard. Who was he in this film? The guy who burnt Trintignant's hand? And by the way, who was Brega in "Once Upon A Time In America"?

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