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Author Topic: "Something to do with death"  (Read 57229 times)
Dust Devil
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« Reply #75 on: May 16, 2011, 01:37:52 AM »

We've been through this maaaaaaany times so far...

To me, the most amazing thing is how certain people seem to have absolutely zero imagination. I sometimes wonder how they even enjoy movies with a frame of mind like that. Not to mention, it is clear pretty much all mentioned in CJ's rationale here goes beyond somebody's subjective accommodation of dimmed, ghostly hunches. I mean, these things are all there, everybody can see them and everybody does see them, so what's the problem with accepting a deeper/different explanation of the whole thing? Especially if it doesn't radically erode the meaning of the story, if at all. The W-revenge journey/premise remains absolutely intact.

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« Reply #76 on: May 16, 2011, 02:13:24 AM »


To me, the most amazing thing is how certain people seem to have absolutely zero imagination.

and some people seem to have very, very wild imaginations  Wink

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« Reply #77 on: May 16, 2011, 05:03:00 AM »

Well what can I say, I personally, think its a much better mythic Avenging Angel type story with this interpretation .i.e., Frank is a cold blooded killer who has no reserves about not only killing a child (young Harmonica) but using that child in a horrendous way for his own amusement before doing so. Frank is good at what he does he rises to the top of his brutal profession killing various obstacles to his ambitions.

What I think, sets the whole thing in motion is Frank's killing of the McBain children, repeating then and there in spades his crime of infanticide. His original "sin" the spirit of young Harmonica becomes then the instrument of his judgment, the entity that will settle mortal accounts. That is why Frank looks so genuinely troubled and puzzled when, the answer he gets when he asks Harmonica who he is, is names "Dave Jenkins, Calder Benson, Jim Cooper and Chuck Youngblood", all dead men.

My take is that only Frank recognizes/reacts to these names because only he knows that he killed them, and no one on earth but he should know. So Harmonica, to Frank, transforms into something unknown, then and there, and the unknown  is what is ultimately feared by all men, and Frank from then to the end has that nagging fear slowly building inside him.

Now if you go with the theory that Frank left Harmonica alive, my question would be what took so long for Harmonica to find him, in that part of the Southwest. We are talking, if Harmonica is 12-15 years old at his brothers hanging, and he looks about 35-40, about 20-25 years after the fact. You would think that as soon as Harmonica became proficient with a gun he would be after his ass and that Frank would be expecting him to be, no?


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« Reply #78 on: May 16, 2011, 05:16:16 AM »

Of course, anything could have happened. But as a general rule, I don't like using my imagination too much unless I am forced to.  Maybe just cuz I am lazy and unimaginative  

(btw, we have to find a phrase/initials to call this theory... how about the "YHR theory"  [for "Young Harmonica Resurrected"]. I'm not good at that sort of thing but we need to find something as a quick reference, rather than continually repeating "the theory that Frank killed the young Harmonica..."  anyone have any ideas?...)


As i understand it, the YHR theory rests essentially on 3 points (please correct me if I am wrong);


a) It would have been dumb for Frank to leave a potential avenger alive;

b) we see at the McBain ranch that Frank has no qualms about shooting a kid when he deems it necessary; and

c) the old and young Harmonica wear similar clothing


IMO that is not nearly enough of a reason to force me to accept a theory that is kind of out there....

RE: a) in formal logic: "It would have been very unwise for A to not commit action X; therefore, we must believe that A indeed committed X." (ok, I am terrible at formal logic; I flunked high school math. But still,) it seems like a dubious assertion to me  Wink...  

RE: b) Frank kills Timmy cuz one of Frank's men accidentally says Frank's name, ie. Frank wanted to prevent Timmy from telling the authorities "one of the men was named Frank." However, according to CJ's contention that it was Frank's MO to kill would-be avengers, why would Frank only decide to shoot Timmy after Frank's identity is revealed? Shouldn't he have shot him anyway, cuz Timmy may have grown up to be an avenger?
(On the other hand, you can answer this simply by saying that i) Timmy was much younger than the young Harmonica; hence much less likely to have strong memories of the event and want to take vengeance; and ii) Frank was counting on nobody (including would-be avengers) finding out he was responsible for the McBain massacre; he believed Cheyenne would be blamed for it, (and presumably either strung up for it or chased by vengeance-seekers or bounty killers). So he only felt threatened once his identity was revealed.

RE: c) I just watched the scene with the arch again, and realized for the first time that indeed, the young and old Harmonica wear the same clothing. IF the YHR theory is correct, (which I am in no way agreeing to), this is the best argument for it.
However, I think it’s just that Harmonica has sort of become like a Miss Havisham-type character (from Dickens's Great Expectations: she was a woman whose finace’ abandoned her at the altar; she was so traumatized that her life “stopped” at the moment she found out he abandoned her, eg. she stopped all the clocks in her home at that moment; spent the rest of her life wearing the wedding gown and sitting on the same chair  that she was on when she found out the news). Likewise, Harmonica’s brother’s death has obviously haunted Harmonica; his clothing and harmonica symbolize how his life “stopped” at that moment; it is only when he finally gets his vengeance on Frank that he can he be freed from this trauma and is he able to tear the harmonica off his neck, as he has no use for it anymore. Similarly, he always wore the same clothing cuz his life never moved on from that moment, in an emotional sense


« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 06:30:02 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #79 on: May 16, 2011, 05:25:08 AM »

Cheyenne says Harmonica has ''something to do with death'' (inside him), to Jill, on the top of everything else written here, by us in favor of the more paranormal interpretation of the journey, tell me, why do you think that line is there in first place? Just another 'mistake'?

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« Reply #80 on: May 16, 2011, 05:27:49 AM »

You left out that only Harmonica knows the names of the dead men that only Frank knows that he killed.

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« Reply #81 on: May 16, 2011, 05:32:52 AM »

Cheyenne says Harmonica has ''something to do with death'' (inside him), to Jill, on the top of everything else written here, by us in favor of the more paranormal interpretation of the journey, tell me, why do you think that line is there in first place? Just another 'mistake'?

I am not arguing against the supernatural theory. All I am saying is that if the supernatural theory is correct, then the moment of Harmonica's death and resurrection is at the end of the first scene at Cattle Corner Station. However, I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...

« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 05:36:01 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #82 on: May 16, 2011, 05:39:58 AM »

You left out that only Harmonica knows the names of the dead men that only Frank knows that he killed.

1) Again, I am not arguing here that the stdwd theory is incorrect; I am just saying that if it is correct, I believe Harmonica's death (and subsequent resurrection) are after he is shot by the Woody Strode character in the opening scene; I am disagreeing with your contention that Harmonica was killed as a child at the arch

2) I think it is purely speculation to say that only Frank is supposed to know that he killed those men...

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« Reply #83 on: May 16, 2011, 05:50:45 AM »

I am not arguing against the supernatural theory. All I am saying is that if the supernatural theory is correct, then the moment of Harmonica's death and resurrection is at the end of the first scene at Cattle Corner Station. However, I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...

I don't understand this... You think he was killed (and resurrected) at the train station, by Frank's gunslingers? That doesn't really fit into the STDWD theory...

Harmonica was probably killed as a child, in the scene at the arch (spawning throughout the movie). Don't know when he came back, in flesh and blood, but it doesn't really matter - he seems to know all there is to know about Frank.

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« Reply #84 on: May 16, 2011, 05:53:11 AM »

Now if you go with the theory that Frank left Harmonica alive, my question would be what took so long for Harmonica to find him, in that part of the Southwest. We are talking, if Harmonica is 12-15 years old at his brothers hanging, and he looks about 35-40, about 20-25 years after the fact.
Hmmm, I'm not so sure about that. The Golden Spike was driven in 1869, and if Morton's transcontinental adventure is supposed to be analogous, then by your reckoning Frank hung Harmonica's brother in 1844--possible, but an awful early date for desperados to be inhabiting Monument Valley. I'd be more inclined to go with 1854, and the reason Harmonica couldn't catch up with Frank any earlier than he did was because he, like so many, got caught up in the War Between the States. Why does Harmonica look so old then? Well, hard living can do that to a man. He may look 40, but he's really a very weary 30.

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« Reply #85 on: May 16, 2011, 05:53:49 AM »

Quote
I believe CJ is arguing that Harmonica was actually killed as a child by Frank at the arch, and that his "resurrection" as a character that has stdwd takes place long before this movie...

No I'm not saying that at all, I'm saying Frank killed young Harmonica, his "resurrection" takes place either at the moment Frank decides he is going to, or when he kills the McBain children repeating his infanticide. Between Harmonica's brother's hanging and either of those moments is when Harmonica "comes back" as they say.

Another way to put to make it absolutely clear, Between Harmonica's brother's hanging and the decision to kill Mcbain's children Harmonica is D-E-A-D.

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« Reply #86 on: May 16, 2011, 05:54:53 AM »

1) Again, I am not arguing here that the stdwd theory is incorrect; I am just saying that if it is correct, I believe Harmonica's death (and subsequent resurrection) are after he is shot by the Woody Strode character in the opening scene; I am disagreeing with your contention that Harmonica was killed as a child at the arch

Yeah, but that doesn't resonate with the STDWD theory, as CJ says: Frank was terrified when Harmonica told him the names of the people he killed. The feel and music in those bits of scenes wouldn't be as that by mistake.

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« Reply #87 on: May 16, 2011, 05:57:06 AM »

CJ: RE: your earlier point of why Harmonica waited this long to go after Frank: that is a good point, but that is one of those things I think you have to chalk up to the language of cinema. I know this sounds as a cop-out, and I know you often try to make the language of cinema as close as possible to the language of life, and I completely sympathize with the sentiment: I want movies to be as realistic as possible. But the fact is that there is a certain suspension of disbelief that is necessary when watching movies, a certain faith in the language of cinema. Ok, now that my ridiculous shmaltzy speech is done.....

There could be all sorts of answers for that. (Did you ask the same question in FAFDM, ie. why Col. Mortimer waited that long to go after Indio?) It's not all that easy to find a wanted criminal. I am sure that neither Indio nor Frank had a publicly listed phone number; heck, Frank had a hideout in Indian country.

Furthermore, Frank's job, presumably over many decades, was as facilitator/hitman for Mr. Morton and his fictional railroad, which stretched from the Atlantic all the way to Arizona at the time of the film. Frank had likely spent the past several decades traveling all over the country with Mr. Morton, to "remove small obstacles from he track... travel(ing) a long way..." blowing holes in Morton's problems. There is no indication that Frank had been chilling for years in the Southwest in plain sight.

and btw, I think Harmonica looks a lot older than 35-40. Bronson himself was born on Nov. 3, 1921, which would have made him about 46 at the time of filming; I think he looks even older than that

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« Reply #88 on: May 16, 2011, 05:58:58 AM »

And we're forgetting Harmonica has been making appointments with Frank long before the McBains were massacred. Who knows for how long? Perhaps he enjoyed playing with Frankie's nerves, but the death of the kids triggered in him the need to finally see the job through, once and for all.

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« Reply #89 on: May 16, 2011, 06:00:53 AM »

CJ: RE: your earlier point of why Harmonica waited this long to go after Frank

See my post above.

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