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Author Topic: Major Dundee (1965)  (Read 70202 times)
noodles_leone
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« Reply #285 on: January 27, 2015, 02:50:55 AM »

A shitty project?

I'm talking about the project that was brought to Pecknipah, not the finished film!
It was supposed to be just a "consumable" movie: quickly done, quickly seen, quickly forgotten. Sam managed to make art out of it, that's amazing but there still are flaws that come from what the project was when he said "yes".
Evidence supporting the previous statement: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0831694/

I agree with pretty much everything that you wrote afterwards, just with less enthusiasm, hence the rating.  Wink

Also to be clear: if I had to bring movies on a desert island, I'd chose RitHC or FoD over any film that I gave a similar rating, because I like the directors so I know that I can watch these movies and focus on the classic/soon to be Peckinpah and Leone stuff in it and forget about the TV part. That doesn't mean that the flaws aren't there, so they have to be in my rating.


A quick note on Peckinpah:
To me, there are directors that try to make flawless films (Fincher, Cameron, Leone...) and directors that focus on doing great things and don't really care for flaws (Eastwood, Allen, Noe...). Both kind can suck and both kind can be great. Peckinpah doesn't really care for flaws. Not sure where I would put Scorsese.
Leone, I think, is the only one that managed to make two flawless masterpieces (GBU and OUATITW, his other ones are flawed, even if I still consider DYS and especially OUATIA as masterpieces).

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« Reply #286 on: January 27, 2015, 03:54:20 AM »

.
Leone, I think, is the only one that managed to make two flawless masterpieces (GBU and OUATITW, his other ones are flawed, even if I still consider DYS and especially OUATIA as masterpieces).

I consider FAFDM up there with Leone's greatest work. It didn't have the money (and therefore) the size/scope of some of Leone's other movies, but it is an absolutely flawless movie IMO. I know you have some problems with the way Massimo Dalamano lit it, thank God I am too dumb (or too smart or too different than you or whatever you wanna call it) to notice that. FAFDM is perfection. Not a wrong moment. (I mean, if you wanna get nitty-gritty, you can find a flaw in any movie. Like, wtf is Manco doing in blackface in that scene where he goes to get the money from the safe?  Grin And a long time ago, I used to think that once the gang reaches Agua Caliente, the movie goes slightly downhill, that that last third or so isn't as good as the first 2/3. Certainly, the El Paso town set is so beautiful, it feels a shame to leave it and go to a shitty Mexican town of Agua Caliente. But for me, FAFDM is as unflawed as a movie can be. ) God, I love this movie. The look and feel and texture makes this so great. The production design is my favorite of any Western ever (OUATIA is my favote among non-Westerns.) The towns, especially El Paso my favorite movie set, period. The beat-up wooden look of the towns. You can just feel the smell of cigar smoke in those lovely saloons in White Rocks and El Paso. The trains. Did I mention the great beat-up wooden buildings? So great. The cigars. The saloons. The faces. ... The opening shootout between Mortimer and Guy Calloway. Incredible.
Oh, and the music. The main theme. The musical stopwatch. The duel theme. The amazing song "The Vice of Killing" that plays as the gang flees El Paso after the bank robbery.
Oh, and did I mention that fat sandwich the bank guard in El Paso is eating when the safe blows up?
The beautiful hotels in El Paso. Beautiful in a rough and rustic sense. The red brick and wood structures. The LOOK of this film. God Almighty.
And the characters. The Man with No Name, Colonel Mortimer, and the greatest villain in Western history, Indio.  Less serious themes than GBU and OUATITW; FAFDM is more fun and games. But every bit as great

Okay, I'll spare you and stop here. I can go on endlessly about this baby (and that's pretty much what I just did). Like talking about a girl you love, you can delineate (and repeat) her wonderful attributes and it never gets tired. I just wanna throw my arms around this movie and hug it.

Flawless, buddy. A flawless masterpiece. A great movie. Not because it's an early film of a filmmaker who went on to be great or for any sentimental value like that. No, FAFDM is one of Leone's great works. Maybe his greatest. If you said it was the greatest movie of all time, I wouldn't argue. But hey, who needs to rank stuff and make lists of best, second-bst,m third-best, etc.? Not me. This baby is a masterpiece by a filmmaker who made masterpieces, and I'll leave it at that.

Oh, and btw, did I mention the LOOK of this movie?

 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

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« Reply #287 on: January 27, 2015, 12:14:49 PM »

Being an 8/10 film FAFDM has its share of flaws though which conflicts with the stronger parts. It is a bridging film for me. Everything which is great in FAFDM is better in GBU. In the 2nd half of FAFDM Leone ran often out of ideas and went on with some silly story telling.

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« Reply #288 on: January 27, 2015, 02:03:04 PM »

Incoming D&D rant in 3... 2... 1...

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« Reply #289 on: January 27, 2015, 03:31:28 PM »

I'm talking about the project that was brought to Pecknipah, not the finished film!
It was supposed to be just a "consumable" movie: quickly done, quickly seen, quickly forgotten. Sam managed to make art out of it, that's amazing but there still are flaws that come from what the project was when he said "yes".
Evidence supporting the previous statement: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0831694/

http://www.coldbacon.com/writing/mannyfarber-termiteart.html

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« Reply #290 on: January 28, 2015, 05:57:05 AM »

I'm talking about the project that was brought to Pecknipah, not the finished film!
It was supposed to be just a "consumable" movie: quickly done, quickly seen, quickly forgotten. Sam managed to make art out of it, that's amazing but there still are flaws that come from what the project was when he said "yes".
Evidence supporting the previous statement: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0831694/

And?

Peckinpah re-wrote most of the screenplay. What it was supposed to be I don't know, but when Peckinpah began to shoot it, it was "his" film.

I'm sure I can turn a dumb screenplay with a few changes into an intelligent one, and when one re-writes a third or half of it, it can have turned into a completely different movie. Which maybe betrays then the intentions of the original writer.



Quote
A quick note on Peckinpah:
To me, there are directors that try to make flawless films (Fincher, Cameron, Leone...) and directors that focus on doing great things and don't really care for flaws (Eastwood, Allen, Noe...). Both kind can suck and both kind can be great. Peckinpah doesn't really care for flaws. Not sure where I would put Scorsese.
Leone, I think, is the only one that managed to make two flawless masterpieces (GBU and OUATITW, his other ones are flawed, even if I still consider DYS and especially OUATIA as masterpieces).

I think I can't really agree with that. But I thin we agree that a film must not be perfect to be a  complete masterpiece.

2001 is probably a flawless film, but GBU and OUTW have some minor flaws. A few things which I could imagine to be better. Nothing important. The sheer overwhelming power of The Wild Bunch easily swipes away some flaws.
But in Leones early westerns the flaws are touching essential parts of the films.

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« Reply #291 on: January 28, 2015, 09:10:11 AM »

And?

... and I see it in the final film. That's where we disagree. The thing is that what I felt when watching the film was confirmed afterwards, when I read about the way it was done.


I think I can't really agree with that. But I thin we agree that a film must not be perfect to be a  complete masterpiece.

2001 is probably a flawless film, but GBU and OUTW have some minor flaws. A few things which I could imagine to be better. Nothing important. The sheer overwhelming power of The Wild Bunch easily swipes away some flaws.
But in Leones early westerns the flaws are touching essential parts of the films.

Hum, perfection doesn't exist in real life but GBU and OUATITW's flaws are so minor that I call them perfect, while I see bigger flaws in 2001. Apart from that we agree at 100%, so I sincerely don't understand what you "can't really agree with"...
By "perfection" here I mean removing flaws. It has very little to do with the film being worth something outside of the value of craft itself.

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« Reply #292 on: January 28, 2015, 11:28:01 AM »

The best movies (whatever that is) are rarely the flawless ones (whatever that means). You show me one person who would, on a min. 10 movie-evenings sample, watch 2001 more times than either GBU or OUATITW and you have a beer from me. Afro

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« Reply #293 on: January 28, 2015, 12:04:32 PM »

In my top 20, about a third of the movies are flawless to me, the other ones are (sometimes heavily) flawed. Considering how hard it is to remove every flaw, which means that flawless movies are very rare, that's still a good score for the flawless ones.

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« Reply #294 on: January 28, 2015, 12:07:18 PM »

What's a "min. 10 movie-evenings sample"?

If you mean that people would never watch 2001 more than the 2 Leones you are wrong.

I have at least watched 2001 as often as those 2. Eight and a Half also. But not sure which was the most. The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid are 2 more thread r4elated contenders.

2001 alone in the theatres about 12 or 15 times. OUTW also in that region. Unfortunately GBU not a single time. It was never shown nearby (sob). The 2 Peckinpahs I watched about 6 or 7 times, which was every time that was possible. Eight and a Half maybe 5 times. Apocalypse Now also 5 or 6 times. If I have lived in a big city there would be others.

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« Reply #295 on: January 29, 2015, 07:55:52 AM »

10 evenings the picked audience would have to watch a movie.

I respect your input, but then again, I doubt it would correlate much to the bulk of the movie goers.

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« Reply #296 on: February 21, 2015, 04:57:06 PM »

Jumping in a bit late: I don't think Dundee was hurt by studio editing, though that's an appealing argument for auteurists to make. The script was still being written during shooting and it badly shows. I guess some of the pacing issues might be resolved but there's still a ragged, improvised feel to the second half that I doubt more footage would resolve. Did the long scenes of Dundee getting wasted in Durango add much to the 2005 cut? (I did like the strategy scene where they find Riago's body, it at least makes sense of the final battle.)

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« Reply #297 on: February 22, 2015, 02:11:32 AM »

How a film can be hurt by wrong editing is tricky to say. Dundee works fine enough for me as it is, but there was so much cut out that it is very likely that a cut supervised by Peckinpah with a runtime of 160 - 180 min and a differently used score would change a lot.
There is a meal brawl scene in The Left Handed Gun which works for me, but Arthur Penn says that it was wrongly edited, and he shot if for another way of editing. He also says that the editing did hurt the film generally. They did not cut out much, but it affected the film's rhythm, and changed the meaning of other scenes. Penn: "The rhythmic monotony is really the biggest problem of the film".

I also never saw any pacing issues in any version I watched. And (apart from a childhood watch) I started with an 118 min version followed by the the 122 min one. And Dundee became better with every scene added. For example in the 122 min version is a brief scene which shows Warren Oates and one of the black soldiers changing a smile while observing the French troops. This short segment gives the shortly thereafter happened execution scene of Oates a different feeling.

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« Reply #298 on: February 22, 2015, 02:18:11 AM »

... and I see it in the final film. That's where we disagree. The thing is that what I felt when watching the film was confirmed afterwards, when I read about the way it was done.



Coming back to this, Noodles, I still don't have an idea which problems you have with RtHC? What is wrong caused by the original script?

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« Reply #299 on: February 22, 2015, 02:27:07 AM »

Coming back to this, Noodles, I still don't have an idea which problems you have with RtHC? What is wrong caused by the original script?

I'd have to watch it again before answering this. I can only remember the feeling I got while watching (only once) it years ago and then getting my feeling "confirmed" by what I read afterwards about the film.

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