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Question: Did James Woods jump into the garbage truck at the end of Once Upon a Time in America?
Yes   -34 (60.7%)
No   -9 (16.1%)
I really do not know   -13 (23.2%)
Total Voters: 52

Author Topic: Did James do it or not?  (Read 28989 times)
Jupa
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« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2003, 06:39:45 AM »

Obviously it's pointless to debate whether he jumped in the truck; it's symbolism and whatnot after all.  I would just like to say that jumping in a freakin' garbage truck with those stomach-churning threshers seems like one of the WORST methods of suicide I can imagine.  Why the hell didn't he just use the gun on himself?

If he had shot himself,there would have been clear proof of his suicide,i.e. his body.But jumping into the garbage truck has the advantage that it is quite difficult to find your body and thus verify your death.If you just want to disappear for good,jumping into a garbage truck is your choice.  Grin

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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2003, 09:34:18 AM »

Od,I didn't know about Leone's Hoffa comment.Very interesting...

I love the paralel between Max and Jimmy Hoffa - "we know but we don't know" - that's pure Sergio to reference his work with American knowledge. We want to beleive it is Max - a life gone to waste - but it's ambiguous. Max disapears and we are left with the grinding teeth and garbage as a metephor. It is interesting the interview with James Woods on the DVD "making of .." excerpt; he says he was present on set (suggesting his contract hadn't run out as Frayling suggests) and Leone chose to use a body double anyway to make it even more mysterious.

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aaronson
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2003, 02:36:27 PM »

Max did.
Why?because he is a garbage (Idon't know if garbage is a bigger insult than bastard in english ,but in french "ordure " is very strong)
So a garbage must search a trash to die or even a truck , but nothing else.

Shooting  himself with a gun is definitively too noble for a garbage .


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Jon
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2003, 07:07:11 AM »

Good point.I think at the end Max realises that he is 'garbage'.If Noodles HAD shot him than Max would have died with a sense of nobility,having the person whose life he took over take HiS life.But no,Noodles does not allow that,and Max kills himself in the most appropriate manner.By the end of the film,Noodles has attained a small amount of dignity,while Max lost all his.

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alexander
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2003, 10:09:05 AM »

Woods' character certainly, definitely, jumped into the garbage truck, watch it again a few times, absolutely happened.  Also, he arranged for that truck to be there (no regular pickups at night) in case Noodles couldn't go through with it.

you know, i think the reason for the truck was scarier than that. i think the truck was there "in case Noodles couldn't go through with it." i think the truck was meant for noodles.

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Jon
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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2003, 12:49:47 PM »

I 've never thought of that,but it's definately an interesting idea,and it does make sense,after all,it is indeed doubtful that Max would have let Noodles live if he refused him,especially after hevung confessed everything.

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alexander
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2003, 06:03:41 PM »

right! i feel that after max realized what a scum bag he was he decided to use the truck for himself. or did he?..

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cigar joe
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« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2003, 05:49:58 PM »

alexander, I think you hit upon an interesting point, exactly who was the garbage truck for!

If Noodles had shot Max, he would have left his body in the mansion and left. Who would have known to take his body and put it in the truck, Max would have had to have left prior instructions to somebody.

If Max prefigured that Noodles would not shoot him then the truck had to be his backup suicide plan.

If Noodles had answered Max's plea for Noodles to shoot him with his standard "You're crazy Max" would Max have then shot Noodles? Then the truck might have been for the both of them. Max teaching Noodles a final lesson by not only taking away everything from him but in the end also his life. Then Max commits suicide and disapeering at the same time with Noodles to spare Deborah and David?

 

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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2003, 07:29:27 AM »

My Opinion:
When Noodles exits the Bailey's mansion he says something like: I Hope that the investigation will not turn out...
It means to me: Secretary bailey, you had betrayed me, Patcsy, Cockeye, every friends you have for 35 years and now you want to die to avoid a trial?
The Max I know was over this....

I think Noodles gives Max the key to escape from his bad future and to escape again by changing name etc...

I think Bailey did not jump in the garbage because there was no blood inside, and in every scene of killing in this masterpiece there is blood...and in this important moment there is not...

I think once again, Max flees, just like Noodles did 35 years ago...
finally MAx did something that Noodles said....






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chico
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2003, 01:16:29 PM »

Surely the parallel is between Max and jewish mobster Meyer Lansky rather than teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa.

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« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2003, 04:07:41 PM »

Surely the parallel is between Max and jewish mobster Meyer Lansky rather than teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa.

No, Lansky died of natural causes,an old man, his wealth and Influence were all gone. Jimmy Hoffa disapeared at a time when much investigation surrounded him, and a garbage truck was spotted at the place where he was last seen.

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Debby-2000
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« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2003, 10:35:12 AM »

IMO you should not be so fixed on whether Max is jumping or not.

The whole garbage trunk scene is a parallel scene that repeats the ealier scene where the boys wait for the horsewagon to cover the cop's view, so they can rob the old man, and just there, Max I think it is, turns up, helping the man.

So it's all a kind of dejavu, something that comes out of Noodles memories, as an updated memory, as he stands in front of senator Bailey's house, realizing that his own view/mind all the time has been figuratively blocked and that life has been a failure.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2003, 10:38:56 AM by Debby-2000 » Logged
cedet
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2003, 11:05:51 AM »

Nice Shot Deby-2000, I did not see it that way until now, thanks!!!

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Walter
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« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2003, 04:30:11 PM »

IMO you should not be so fixed on whether Max is jumping or not.

The whole garbage trunk scene is a parallel scene that repeats the ealier scene where the boys wait for the horsewagon to cover the cop's view, so they can rob the old man, and just there, Max I think it is, turns up, helping the man.

So it's all a kind of dejavu, something that comes out of Noodles memories, as an updated memory, as he stands in front of senator Bailey's house, realizing that his own view/mind all the time has been figuratively blocked and that life has been a failure.


Yes. Yes. The theory certainly is valid, on a symbolic level.

But in the plot, I always felt that Max wanted to be punished, and he wanted Noodles to do it. Of those who had the right to punish him, Noodles was the only one left. It was not just a suicide, he knew that he would be murdered before the trial anyway, so he had nothing to lose.
Noodles then turns the tables, and refuses this revenge. Perhaps to punish Max in his own way, by saying that the Max he knew had been dead for a long time. Or perhaps even in distaste for his former life as a murderer, as it seemed like he had gone straight for many years.

Why the garbage truck? The symbolic value is important, and I buy a lot of Debby-2000's analysis here.

But logically, Max may have had arranged his body to be picked up by the truck. So he made the pick-up anyway in a grotesque way, that also served like a self-punishment. Or even as a demonstration before the eyes of Noodles: "See what I'm doing to myself out of shame and love!"  

« Last Edit: December 01, 2003, 04:30:52 PM by Walter » Logged

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Jupa
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« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2003, 04:27:57 AM »

Quote
I love the paralel between Max and Jimmy Hoffa - "we know but we don't know" - that's pure Sergio to reference his work with American knowledge.

I think Mr.Woods also said something like "we don't know,yet we know" in some Sergio Leone documentary (cannot remember the name).He said that after all these years he still received questions about whether his character jumped into the garbage truck.And his answer was something like "I really don't know if Noodles jumped into the truck".

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