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Author Topic: FoD, underrated?  (Read 9806 times)
noodles_leone
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« on: March 26, 2003, 12:31:39 PM »

I just would like to say that this movie is often considered as leone's weakest movie... I can't agree: it's a beautiful movie, one of the best movies that i know. It isn't as good as the two once upon a time, but it is still better than a fistful of dollars and for a few dollars more... I think it is the same level as gbu.

Unfortunatly, james coburn and rod steiger both died last year... R.I.P

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shorty larsen
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2003, 01:54:06 PM »

In Leone's own words, it's a transition movie.

It begins like a typical Leone western movie, and then turns into something else, something new.

Leone already treated the subject of war, violence, cruelty in GBU, but with FOD he's coming up with something new, something more "engaged" (I don't know if I'm using the right word in english).

The movie was shot in the early 70's, a "revolutionnary" period in many senses, and Leone is giving his own opinion about revolutions, a very original opinion.

He was not the first, Gillo Pontecorvo did already "Queimada" or "Burn" in 1967, where he shows in a movie (the first times in movies, because litterature had been talking about theses for yeras) how manipulated a revolution (and revolutionnary people) could be.

Noodles, chek the excellent explanation of Nighteagle, who's italian and can give us a more complete vision of Italy in the 70's: "DYS is a child of the early 70īs in Italy when society was under a crushing stress ending in student revolts, street fights and Red Brigade terrorism. Movies dealing with mexican revolution were well accepted, because they reminded of a situation close to what was going on in Italy then.Sollima and Damiani had big success with Big Gundown, Run Man Run and Bullet  for the General. The knife-throwing Cuchillo was even a banner for student movements in urban fights, like el Che Guevara.
Leone was , under these circumstances, forced to depart a little from the usual  style of filmmaking, tending towards a more "intellectual" style, still maintaining his wit and great feel for the visual perception . Great movie!".

I also agree that it's a great movie. The fact that Leone didn't want to realise it at the beginning doesn't mean that the movie is his weakest one. Personally and sentimentally FOD is my Leone's favourite movie.

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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2003, 03:47:01 PM »

Most people on this board probably know my views on this movie.I think it,s hugely under-rated,and in many ways it sees Leone trying new things,such as character developement in the classic sense and yes,a stronger political element.I love the way the film starts out in comic vein,almost as a spoof,than gets more and more serious.It is cleverly constructed,notice how the early scenes of the film are chiefly daylight,than as chaos sets in more and more scenes are dark.
I think one of the best scenes in the film is the bit in the rain when Sean watches Dr.Viega point out some of the revolutionaries and they are shot,while in the same scene we also flash back to Ireland where Sean,s friend betrays him and points him out in a pub.The editing and the music bind both the past and the present together in a wonderful cinematic moment.
I also think the pairing of Stieger and Coburn works wonderfully,Steiger over-acting contrasting with Coburn,s more laid-back style.

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2003, 05:09:29 AM »

Jon, your words are music to my ears. I love this movie in a particular way even if it's not my Leone's best one (that is OUTIA).
DYS (or FoD or whatever you want to call it) is a film that can't be considered minor in Leone's filmography, even though it can be called a transition one, as it really is. So many things to see, to catch with the eye better than with dialogues, and comic episodes and sad moments... to me it's another unforgettable painting from Sergio.
And I will never forget my own surprise when, after the stagecoach introduction, out of a cloud of dust (provided by explosions) comes out... a motorcycled man! What I thought in that moment was that Leone was really great, and with a never ending hunger to astonish his public.

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shorty larsen
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2003, 01:44:50 PM »

Jon, the scene you talk about, the shot of the revolutionnary was inspired by the painting of Goya during the napoleonic invasion of Spain.

That's what Mr Frayling says in his book. He also says that he saw that painting at Leone house and his wife told him that the painting was one of Leone's favourites.

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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2003, 08:22:43 PM »

  I must admit to not being a big fan of this film - it's a bit OVERrated IMO by many people.  It's good, yes, but not "ingenious" or even close to Leone's better films.

  I too think it's sad that both Juan and Sean died within months of each other . . .  Cry Both great actors in their own way.

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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2003, 03:06:38 PM »

The problem with AFOD being underrated is because the long version is rarely available for everyone to see. And people miss what this film is really about: a love story between two men. Juan the "chicken thief" is a constant reminder of the guilt Sean carries amidst the current revolution. The doctor is the catalyst for the crucial haunting flashbacks. Sean redeems himself by helping to restore Juan's faith. Sergio has never been better in using Morricone's music in telling this story. Very powerful stuff, especially at the end and only in the long version.

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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2003, 04:43:07 PM »

I agree I have yet to see a definitive version of this film, I'm awaiting the DVD.

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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2003, 05:41:43 PM »

The version TCM and Showtime air is two hours fifty-three minutes. Not quite Leone's original length, but far superior to the worthless 'PG' version which is 15 minutes shorter.

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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2003, 01:45:42 AM »

Sadly the forthcomimg DVD is the 132 min.version .Why this when the longer is indeed far better and Once Upon A Time In America has come out in it's full version?

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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2003, 01:37:39 PM »

CORRECTION! The longer version which has been aired on TCM and Showtime is 2:33 not 2:53.

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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2003, 04:40:26 AM »

I do so hate when people talk about the 2 hours 12 minutes version as worthless. In my opinion it is much superior because the long version is just far too long. And in many scenes I was just giving up of boredom. Obviously, Leone didnít know when to stop. What the US distributor did out of the film was amazing. It made the film faster and more entertaining and it removed coarse violence and language out of the film. I like much better to see the film without that dreadful opening (Mao quote and Steiger urinating) and without that terrible rape scene (which is cut half way in the short version). I wish the recent DVD had contained the shorter version and all the essential scenes from the longer cut (Steiger dynamiting Aschenbach, the killed sons) had been as supplementary material on the disc. Then everybody should be happy, right?

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Jon
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2003, 10:35:48 AM »

I'm surprised to find anyone who thinks a shorter version of a Leone film is better than a longer one.IMO the short version is definatealy not worthless,it was my introduction to what quickly became one of my favourite films.But when I first saw the longer version[on CH 5]i found it to be far superior.Some violence was initially cut to get a PG in the US,but put back in I think it improves the film,for example,the flashback shooting of David Warbeck's character is far more effective and in a way far more poignant.The 'dead sons'scene is far more moving although admittedly it wasn't bad in the other cut.The lengthy mine scene makes he plot make more sense.

There are only two things I prefer about the shorter version[which is why I still have it],firstly I agree with you the 'rape' was distasteful mainly because it was meant to be funny and isn't.and secondly,the short version has part of the final flashback which was missing from the longer one,[unless you get the Italian DVD].

Otherwise i disagreev with you a lot!

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Il Tramonto
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2004, 08:11:29 AM »

This is one of my favorite Leone films and favorite movies of all time. I think that this movie is equal to, if not better than, For a Few Dollars More. Everything works in this movie- the great characters, the amazing and haunting score by Morricone, the depth and complexity of the subject matter, and the bits of humor throughout which makes the movie even more enjoyable. This movie contains my favorite Leone flashbacks, which are also some of the most beautiful and haunting scenes of all time. The second to last flashback where Juan shoots his friend is very heartbreaking and that scene alone gets the biggest emotional reaction out of me than in any other Leone film. But next to the flashbacks, I also really like the machine gunning of the "Stormtroopers" on the ridge. Such beautiful scenery......I'd really love to visit the site where that was filmed someday.

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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2004, 09:36:45 PM »

I am constantly amazed at the knowledge of you people when it comes to Sergio's movies.  Wonderful intelligent people you all are!.  I myself, am just a "working class" Sergio fan, (4 years secondary Education is a good enough one).  FoD in my opinion is very much underated, though i often wonder if "Clint" would have played Coburns character, would the movie have been a massive hit?.  Not to take anything away from Coburn, as he always played the "world weary" character to perfection (FoD, Cross of Iron, etc).  Keep up the good work.............

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