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Author Topic: Wow, this movie is genius!  (Read 7382 times)
Poggle
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« on: April 27, 2005, 03:22:28 PM »

I had been bed ridden for the past two days due to a cold, so I watched OUATITW and I had received DYS in the mail on that day(I was doing a Leone marathon), so I popped this in after I was done with OUATITW.

It was very entertaining for the first 20 minutes or so and then I thought "What the hell!?" because the plot seemed so thin, the whole thing with the bank robbing plot was kind of weak and done before and it seemed so low budget-like and I'm used to Leone's movies getting bigger and bigger and more serious by the movie and I didn't expect Leone to go back to the Fistful of Dollars style and budget.

So I sat back and enjoyed what I could, but when they arrived at Santa Verde(That's what it's called, right?) I was amazed at how everything was just turned on its head! From then on to the end of the movie I was amazed at how great and entertaining it was. The epic scale, the story, etc., I didn't even want it to end. I was glad, and surprised, at how great and long the movie really was. The last thing I was expecting from watching Juan and Sean's cat and mouse game was for it to become a serious, emotional movie about revolution/war and the relationship between two men on such a big scale.

My appreciation for Leone went up a million times a million. The whole concept of making it seem mediocre and low budget-y and then slowly turning it into something really big and serious is so unexpected and genius. It's like Sergio's Stairway to Heaven. It starts off going in one direction and then at the blink of an eye going in a totally different one at the halfway mark and ends with a grand finale.

Did anyone else here feel that way when watching the movie? When people comment on how this movie is on the level of FFDM and that it's Leone's weakest film, sometimes I think that they didn't really watch the whole thing.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 05:05:30 PM »

I think you've nailed it. The movie starts out as cheap exploitation and changes into the greatest buddy movie ever, with amazing political commentary along the way. It's one of the greatest conjuring tricks in cinema. A work that only a genius could produce.

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SeanSeanSean
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 05:14:13 PM »

Thanx Poggle.
You reminded me of how I felt about this film when I first saw it, way back in '71.


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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2005, 03:39:39 PM »

I never had the feeling that the movie was cheap. Even in the first stages of the story you can't help noticing the difference between Leone's style and whatever other B-movies director. The work on dialogues, that with the camera and on every small particular makes the difference: you can 't mistake Leone for Corbucci. True, Leone should have been adamant about imposing Eli Wallach to backers: each time I see Steiger trying to give vivacity to his natural wooden appearance, I cringe inside myself.
Still, I think this movie (even with some defects) is on a par with his best, with the exception of my favorite FAFDM: I still can't understand why it went so underrated.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2005, 05:08:42 PM »

The cheapness (or the appearance of cheapness) is in the storyline. Of course, great production values are evident in the casting, the set design, the music, etc. from the very beginning.

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Poggle
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2005, 01:01:21 PM »

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I never had the feeling that the movie was cheap. Even in the first stages of the story you can't help noticing the difference between Leone's style and whatever other B-movies director.

I'm talking about how Leone's movies feel bigger and bigger with the budget and how I was expecting something to bridge OUATITW with OUATIA budget-wise and during the pre-Santa Verde scenes in DYS I was kind of shocked at how he took his FOD-budget approach(Not even FFDM!), but of course when they reached Santa Verde and the story took a twist I was amazed at the sudden change of budget and story the whole time Cool

And concerning the "cheap" storyline, I think of it in the same way I think of a movie like The Pianist where it's about a character going through a historical situation as opposed to a linear A to B story. If you notice, everything is really in Juan's perspective. We meet Sean when Juan does, we don't get any of the startling revelations about the revolution and who Sean is until Juan does, etc. so I think the audience is thrust into the chaos like Juan is and what his objectives are as they change throughout the movie. And does Juan have countless changes of heart throughout the whole movie Tongue I also think of it as a regular man's "Political Revelations" movie like Born on the 4'th of July.

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titoli
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2005, 04:47:31 PM »

The cheapness (or the appearance of cheapness) is in the storyline.

Where should lie the difference between this and the previous movies's storylines?

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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2005, 07:13:06 PM »

The cheapness (or the appearance of cheapness) is in the storyline.

Where should lie the difference between this and the previous movies's storylines?
Well, this movie starts out with a slob pissing on some ants. Then this slob hitches a ride and we get to see close-ups of people eating. Then the slob's trashy family shows up, allowing the slob to rob the men and rape the one woman. Then the slob drops his victims naked into the mud with a bunch of pigs.........

Can you think of any other film with a less promising beginning? And then the whole gets transmuted into something incredibly sublime. Amazing.

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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2005, 07:22:25 PM »


And concerning the "cheap" storyline, I think of it in the same way I think of a movie like The Pianist where it's about a character going through a historical situation as opposed to a linear A to B story. If you notice, everything is really in Juan's perspective. We meet Sean when Juan does, we don't get any of the startling revelations about the revolution and who Sean is until Juan does, etc. so I think the audience is thrust into the chaos like Juan is and what his objectives are as they change throughout the movie. And does Juan have countless changes of heart throughout the whole movie
This is a really excellent point. We don't want to sell Sean and his story short, that's half the equation in this greatest of all buddy movies. But Juan does get extra special attention in DYS: we begin with him, and, in a sense, he's the last man standing at the end. And, Poggle, you're right about the countless changes of heart: Juan is possibly Leone's most complex character. This may be why, of all the characters in all the movies, Juan is the only one to have 2 entire musical themes dedicated to him.

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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2005, 07:14:27 AM »

I agree it is genius - this film has depths that his other movies only momentarily  plunge to ( with perhaps the exception of OUATITW which 'gets close' but no where near if you take my drift).

Perhaps this is why it's so inaccsesible - perhaps it's simply like asking 10 year olds to read war and peace ? Maybe it's why it's taken 30 years to finally surface - perhaps were all finally  'grown up enough' to get it now!!

Even from the word go the symbolism of juan pissing on the ants sets the whole thing in context. That's kind of what the whole movie is about - human ants just being pissed on.
Then the 'aristocracy' in the stage talking about juan like he is an animal while they are 'troughing' on their food, the woman 'imagining' the lustful antics of the peasant classes - so obviously stirred by those thoughts - just highlights their hypocrisy. Brilliantly they end up naked like pigs in 'sh*t' - the REAL animals.

Morricone score, the cinematography, the story, the characters - I actually think rod steiger is a great juan ( no pun intended!!) even though I disliked him first becuase of my not being able to 'let go of tuco' - now I see he's actually progressed that character to the next level - the sensitivity he shows in the cave or the railroad car is truly touching. Even Steiger himself came to realise and admit that Leone had 'allowed him to shine' as an actor. I now believe wallach/eastwood combo would have been a mistake for this movie - they would have hauled the bagagge of the dollary trilogy with them and detracted from the characters spiritual journey.

Coburn is quintissential charming rogue - and yet what darkness lies beneath - how different his life would have been if the love of a good woman had stayed true.

This movie has now knocked OUATITW of it's perch as my favorite all time movie.

Incredible score too - morricone's music is subtle but haunting and charming at the same time.

Anyone who has previously ignored this movie but loves the rest of leone's work is truly missing out on one of the finest he's ever done.


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Poggle
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2005, 03:22:51 PM »

Yeah, I think this movie really filled the void of emotions, settings, etc. that I felt was left in my knowledge of Leone, big time. You know when you're familiar with all but one or two things of an artist and you could kind of tell that a certain mood and environment hasn't been portrayed, but you know that they have to exist in their catalogue? That's how I felt. Kind of like a musician who you know has a "Voodoo Child" or a "Little Wing" that you haven't heard yet.

As much as people say Steiger is a Tuco ripoff, I admit I kind of didn't see the similarity Embarrassed On a scale between Tuco and Tony Montana I would put Juan right smack in the middle, in his characteristics and mannerisms of course, minus the "Pigs!" and "Mangs!".

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titoli
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2005, 03:52:47 PM »

Quote
Well, this movie starts out with a slob pissing on some ants. Then this slob hitches a ride and we get to see close-ups of people eating. Then the slob's trashy family shows up, allowing the slob to rob the men and rape the one woman. Then the slob drops his victims naked into the mud with a bunch of pigs.........

Can you think of any other film with a less promising beginning?


three baddies are waiting for somebody at a railway station: one whiles the time with his fingers, another with a fly and another with water dripping on his hat.

I think that every story-line, when told, is cheap, expecially when  it is meant to be resolved in pure cinematographic terms. If it is cinema, then it must be discussed in purely cinematographic terms. and everybody here seem to agree that they are high even in DYS. Personally, I don't like the throwing in the pigsty or the too explicit comments made by the passengers. But I like the way the situation is built up to the conclusion with the robbery and the dialogues that follow. And, about cheaper beginnings, you just need to see the Hollywood films relesed nowadays, where cheap are beginning, middle and end.   




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dave jenkins
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2005, 05:47:21 PM »

Morricone score, the cinematography, the story, the characters - I actually think rod steiger is a great juan ( no pun intended!!) even though I disliked him first becuase of my not being able to 'let go of tuco' - now I see he's actually progressed that character to the next level - the sensitivity he shows in the cave or the railroad car is truly touching. Even Steiger himself came to realise and admit that Leone had 'allowed him to shine' as an actor. I now believe wallach/eastwood combo would have been a mistake for this movie - they would have hauled the bagagge of the dollary trilogy with them and detracted from the characters spiritual journey.

Wallach for Tuco was great casting, but he's an entirely different character from Juan. The thing we enjoy about Tuco is his consistency. You can't count on Tuco, but you can count on Tuco to be Tuco.

Maybe Wallach could have played Juan, but, like you say, he would have brought the baggage from GBU with him. The important thing about Juan is that he *does* change, and more than once. Steiger brings these changes off brilliantly.

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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2006, 12:16:18 AM »

Well, this movie starts out with a slob pissing on some ants. Then this slob hitches a ride and we get to see close-ups of people eating. Then the slob's trashy family shows up, allowing the slob to rob the men and rape the one woman. Then the slob drops his victims naked into the mud with a bunch of pigs.........



how is what you described not a promising beginning?
I sure as hell havent seen that before in the first 20 minutes of any movie. That should keep you locked on for the next two hours and ten minutes.

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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2006, 10:11:15 AM »

I agree the "pissing" scene is great and i love seeing Juans reaction to Coburns explosions in the far distance and the accompanying introduction of the "Sean" chants

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