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Author Topic: An ancient race  (Read 11306 times)
Banjo
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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2006, 02:13:32 AM »

CWC was depressing enough with that poor bunnie getting clobbered Cry

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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2006, 01:07:00 PM »

RIP poor bunny.

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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2006, 08:06:07 PM »

You people better not see Bertolucci's 1900 then Tongue

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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2013, 04:05:16 PM »


Frank: Just a man.

Harmonica: An ancient race. Other Mortons will be along, and they'll kill it off.


My take on what I consider the greatest of all quotes/dialogue from any movie-

To me it's really about 3 things... First there is the whole western movie idea, they are a dying breed, JUST MEN who go out and do what they believe to be right no matter what others say nor how much money they throw at them. Everything that, I believe, Leone loved about the west, in the movie anyway, was being killed off by mortons, oportunists out for the big bucks who will sweep out anything in their way. I also think the fact that he says that "morton's will come along and they'll kill IT off" instead of them is important in understanding what he said(probably your point of discretion). I personally think IT  are those things that don't have a price, things which real men like harmonica and McBain did in the old west before "morton's'" came along and killed it off. Harmonica, frank(at the end anyhow), and McBain were men of an ancient race, men that didn't live by the money they made, but just did what they had to do, what they thought was right, whether people thought it was right or wrong.... Instead all the MEN disapear and are replaced by businessmen doing what they had to do to get more money....

wow, an excelent analysis; would just add that this is not an issue of a "western" or even of a time frame of this western, but a general human position lived on until today. Now it comes to me there were discussions on whether ther is a politics in Sergio's films or not; and thats it - depends on how is it defined; where is the border line between the life and politics.

Off topic, but may be interesting and QUESTION: Im not an English native speaker and have a problem with the meaning of "ancient" in the context "man - an ancient race"  ; when I went trough some dictionaries all stated what I thought before - that its something that hapenned a long time ago; however, a local dubbing expressed it as a "dying off race" e.g. something that still goes on.

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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2013, 07:24:56 PM »

although this bit of dialogue is very important to the theme, it always bothered me how Harmonica has it with Frank, like they're discussing philosophy like a couple of old buddies. Harmonica despises Frank more than anyone in the world, Frank traumatized him when he killed his brother, he is walking around for all those years with the trauma, symbolized by the harmonica that he wears like a cross around his neck, (trauma which isn't relieved until he kills Frank, at which point he can finally tear the harmonica off his neck). I just think that if I was in Harmonica's position, I'd just wanna say let's go and shoot it out, I wouldn't sit there chatting philosophy, as if the two men reach some sort of understanding or something. Harmonica despises Frank and I just don't think that bit of dialogue would occur between men that despise each other like that.

Of course, the dialogue itself is important for the movie, but maybe it could have been done differently, like between Cheyenne and Frank or Cheyenne and Harmonica or whatever.

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« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2013, 03:02:16 AM »

Harmonica despises Frank
Does he really? I mean, of course they're not friends and Harmonica wants to kill Frank but is "despise" the right word to be used here?

Of course, the dialogue itself is important for the movie, but maybe it could have been done differently, like between Cheyenne and Frank or Cheyenne and Harmonica or whatever.
Is Cheynne of the ancient race? Just wondering.

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« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2013, 03:48:44 AM »

although this bit of dialogue is very important to the theme, it always bothered me how Harmonica has it with Frank, like they're discussing philosophy like a couple of old buddies. Harmonica despises Frank more than anyone in the world, Frank traumatized him when he killed his brother, he is walking around for all those years with the trauma, symbolized by the harmonica that he wears like a cross around his neck, (trauma which isn't relieved until he kills Frank, at which point he can finally tear the harmonica off his neck). I just think that if I was in Harmonica's position, I'd just wanna say let's go and shoot it out, I wouldn't sit there chatting philosophy, as if the two men reach some sort of understanding or something. Harmonica despises Frank and I just don't think that bit of dialogue would occur between men that despise each other like that.

Of course, the dialogue itself is important for the movie, but maybe it could have been done differently, like between Cheyenne and Frank or Cheyenne and Harmonica or whatever.

Whilst I liked this dialogue between the two, there was something off with this scene that I couldn't pinpoint, and I think you nailed it. But I do understand that it kind of shows a mutual respect between the two in that they are both dying breeds of the old west, Fonda was the villain of the west and Bronson was the hero of the west, and soon their types will be extinct.

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« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2013, 03:56:47 AM »

Does he really? I mean, of course they're not friends and Harmonica wants to kill Frank but is "despise" the right word to be used here?



ARE YOU KIDDING?Huh April Fools Day is still 8 days away. How would you feel toward someone who killed your brother?

Frank killed Harmonica's brother, an incident that has traumatized Harmonica since he was a young boy -- he carries that harmonica around, playing that haunting melody, it symbolizes his pain and trauma; trauma and pain that is only complete when he kills Frank; it's only then that he can tear off the harmonica from his neck; he needs it no more; his mission is complete.

He has made it his life's mission to track down Frank and kill him, to avenge his brother's death.

"Despise" is, if anything, too kind a word to describe the feelings Harmonica has toward Frank.

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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2013, 03:59:03 AM »


ARE YOU KIDDING?Huh April Fools Day is still 8 days away. How would you feel toward someone who killed your brother?

Frank killed Harmonica's brother, an incident that has traumatized Harmonica since he was a young boy -- he carries that harmonica around, playing that haunting melody, it symbolizes his pain and trauma; trauma and pain that is only complete when he kills Frank; it's only then that he can tear off the harmonica from his neck; he needs it no more; his mission is complete.

He has made it his life's mission to track down Frank and kill him, to avenge his brother's death.

"Despise" is, if anything, too kind a word to describe the feelings Harmonica has toward Frank.

*man kills your brother, and is approaching you*
You: Let's talk about philosophy, shall we?

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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2013, 06:28:01 AM »

"Despise" is, if anything, too kind a word to describe the feelings Harmonica has toward Frank.
"Despise" implys lack of respect. Harmonica might despise Morton - but Frank he hates. There's a difference.

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« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2013, 06:40:07 AM »

Of course, the dialogue itself is important for the movie, but maybe it could have been done differently, like between Cheyenne and Frank or Cheyenne and Harmonica or whatever.

No! It's more than "important to the movie", this IS the movie. These two guys, they are "ancient race" and that's when they meet they talk about philosophy. They hate each other but don't despise each other, just like MS said. They despise modern world.
Frank is an asshole and he killed Harmonica's brother. This has to be settled. And that's more important to Harmonica than anything else in the world. However, they're both facing the modern world, they despise it, and it's slowly killing their friends, their way of life, everything they stood for. And since Harmonica has basically no life appart from vengeance, and since Frank has been trying so hard for years to adapt (and that's all he has been doing during the whole movie), that's kind of important to them. And here "kind of important" probably means "obsessive". That's what every one is talking about during the whole movie.

The meaning of the dialogue is "we kill each other, but we're doing it the right way, between people who share the same value; we hate each other but a world made only of Cheyennes, Harmonicas and Franks would be a much better place than what is going on. Fuck so called civilised America."
It's also important to Harmonica to let Frank know EXACTLY why he is killing him (not because he's an asshole, not because he's a bad guy, not because he killed Jill's familly, just because of his brother) and to Frank to have some dignity and correct his mistake (his mistake is not killing people, it's trying to adapt) before dying.

The question isn't "would we act like Harmonica?", it is "would he behave this way"? The answer is quite obvious: yes, ancient race people behave this way.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 06:46:40 AM by noodles_leone » Logged


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« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2013, 08:00:06 AM »

I'm closer to Noodles views on this, for me it is THE Mythological Western vengeance confrontation, between an ancient race of mythological beings not mortal men.

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« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2013, 02:43:16 PM »

find me one dictionary that says "despise" is related to a lack of respect.

Every definition/synonym listed by a dictionary will use words like "loathe" "detest," "feel contempt for," etc. But nevermind the semantics over your erroneous definition. The point is that Harmonica hates Frank with every fiber of his being. Frank has traumatized Harmonica to the point that Harmonica's entire life's mission has been to kill Frank and avenge his brother's death. Harmonica is tormented. the harmonica music is one of those very rare brilliant pieces of film music that tell the story, you could figure out the story from the music. That music represents pain echoing from the recesses of his soul, a pain deep down, calling out and begging to be released. A trauma that has defined Harmonica's life.


So much so that he has to kill Frank himself. When Frank's men are paid off by Morton and want to ambush Frank in Flagstone, Harmonica stops them from doing so -- not because he feels it would be undignified to for Frank to die from a bullet in the back rather than a proper duel playing by the rules (and let's remember, Frank himself hasn't palyed by "the rules"; he has massacred a family including little kids in cold blood -- but because he, Harmonica, wants to be the one to pull the trigger. To avenge his brother's death. And to tell Frank, the moment before dying, that he is avenging his brother's death.

We don't know what went on between Harmonica's brother and Frank, and why Frank killed him. But we do know that that incident has scarred Harmonica for life. No, more than that, it has DEFINED his life. His life has been tormented by that and his life's mission is to avenge that.

Harmonica hated Frank as badly as any one man can hate another man. And I don't believe he had an ounce of respect for him just because he was a gunfighter and perhaps played by some sort of "code of the gunfighter." Perhaps it's true that Harmonica and Frank share the same outlook on the new, changing world: they both know that the new world has no place for them. But sharing an outlook with someone on a particular point does not mean that you have to respect him in any way, or sympathize with him in any way, or despise him any less. So even though they may share the same outlook (and fate), it doesn't make sense to me why Harmonica would want to have that chat with Frank -- why he would want to seem to sympathize with him or relate to him on any level. He despises him fully till the end and I just don't think that he would have that chat.

Again, that chat perhaps could have involved Cheyenne instead -- Harmonica and Cheyenne or Frank and Cheyenne. (Maybe you can argue that between the three of them, Frank and Harmonica are the two "main" characters, I don't know). But I just didn't like that dialogue occurring between Frank and Harmonica; that dialogue would seem to be taking place between 2 men who sort of in some way sympathize with each other; and even though it's true that new world is killing off the likes of Harmonica just as it is Frank, I just don't see Harmonica wanting to share any "understanding" with the man he hates with every fiber of his being.

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« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2013, 03:22:43 PM »

In my vocabulary, respect and contempt are contradictory. Thus lack of respect = contempt = despise. But I'm not the native English speaker here...

I think the whole concept of a duel shuns the notion of despising your opponent. The way I see it, offering a duel is indeed an act of respect. 

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« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2013, 04:28:21 PM »

In my vocabulary, respect and contempt are contradictory. Thus lack of respect = contempt = despise. But I'm not the native English speaker here...

I think the whole concept of a duel shuns the notion of despising your opponent. The way I see it, offering a duel is indeed an act of respect. 

--- I don't wanna harp on the semantics, I'll just say I believe that Harmonica hated Frank with every fiber of his being and didn't respect him either. He hated Frank in the way free people hate Nazis.


A duel has nothing to do with respect. When you wanna kill someone, and it's the Wild West (or more accurately, the Western movie genre), you can't just put a bullet in back of his head like in The Godfather; but you have to go through this "fair fight ritual" called a duel. That's just the way it's done in Westerns. (Please don't respond with the examples from Westerns where people were shot in the back. yes, those happened, but generally in cases where it was A) a demythologizing/revisionist/anti western; or B) a very very bad guy. the point is that anyone who is not very bad, and some who are thoroughly evil, have to go through a duel to kill the guy). Not out of any respect for your enemy; if anything, it's for your OWN respect: a respectable guy only kills someone playing by the rules of a duel; you aren't  a respectable guy if you kill outside the rules of a duel. And you aren't manly. You are a tough guy if you can play by the rules and face your opponent and still kill him.
 I can bring you a hundred million and one examples from AW's of people who killed others in a duel without any respect whatsoever for them; nothing but complete and total contempt; despising; hatred. you name it. Are you saying Frank Miller or Will Kane had respect for each other? Mortimer and Indio? Blondie and Angel Eyes?  The examples would be endless.

So, if you are an Italian in the 1960's and working for the godfather, you can put a bullet in back of someone's head; but if you are a WASP 80 years earlier and riding the saddle yourself, you had to go through a duel to do so.  It has nothing to do with "respect." It's just the way you killed someone. At least in the a movies!

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