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Author Topic: "Something to do with death"  (Read 57260 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #105 on: May 17, 2011, 06:19:16 AM »

I disagree, and NO its unknowable, deal with it.

Let me ask you this.... define "SOMETHING"?

or

tell me exactly what happens when you die?

As far as Nevada Smith its one long revenge tale, nothing supernatural, its only worth buying used from Amazon, it was the last American Western I saw before I saw my first Leone Western (FAFDM) and I though it was cool, little did I know.  Afro

I agree that it is possible that Harmonica has certain qualities that humans don't have, while retaining other human qualities. But it's gotta be somewhat internally consistent.

Sorry if I am not making myself clear; what I am essentially saying is that I am willing to suspend my disbelief and believe in a new set of rules, but only if those rules are followed coherently.

Eg.  Let me quote a few paragraphs from Roger Ebert's review of The Shining: (btw, I highly recommend reading the entire review on that film; it is great. Here is the link http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060618/REVIEWS08/606180302/1023)
But I will paste here a few specific paragraphs I want to focus on; the final one is the most important:



But there is a deleted scene from "The Shining" (1980) that casts Wendy's reliability in a curious light. Near the end of the film, on a frigid night, Jack chases Danny into the labyrinth on the hotel grounds. His son escapes, and Jack, already wounded by a baseball bat, staggers, falls and is seen the next day, dead, his face frozen into a ghastly grin. He is looking up at us from under lowered brows, in an angle Kubrick uses again and again in his work. Here is the deletion, reported by the critic Tim Dirks: "A two-minute explanatory epilogue was cut shortly after the film's premiere. It was a hospital scene with Wendy talking to the hotel manager; she is told that searchers were unable to locate her husband's body."

If Jack did indeed freeze to death in the labyrinth, of course his body was found -- and sooner rather than later, since Dick Hallorann alerted the forest rangers to serious trouble at the hotel. If Jack's body was not found, what happened to it? Was it never there? Was it absorbed into the past, and does that explain Jack's presence in that final photograph of a group of hotel partygoers in 1921? Did Jack's violent pursuit of his wife and child exist entirely in Wendy's imagination, or Danny's, or theirs?

The one observer who seems trustworthy at all times is Dick Hallorann, but his usefulness ends soon after his midwinter return to the hotel. That leaves us with a closed-room mystery: In a snowbound hotel, three people descend into versions of madness or psychic terror, and we cannot depend on any of them for an objective view of what happens. It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing.

Yes, it is possible to understand some of the scenes of hallucination. When Jack thinks he is seeing other people, there is always a mirror present; he may be talking with himself. When Danny sees the little girls and the rivers of blood, he may be channeling the past tragedy. When Wendy thinks her husband has gone mad, she may be correct, even though her perception of what happens may be skewed by psychic input from her son, who was deeply scarred by his father's brutality a few years earlier. But what if there is no body at the end?

Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue. It pulled one rug too many out from under the story. At some level, it is necessary for us to believe the three members of the Torrance family are actually residents in the hotel during that winter, whatever happens or whatever they think happens.




Of course, I don't mean to compare The Shining to STDWD. I just mean to say that I am willing believe in a new set of rules for the duration of a movie, but I have to understand in a certain sense what they are and that they are basically being followed; not that the rules are essentially whatever the writer decides they should be at the moment.

But heck, anytime I think I am confused, I just take the easy way out and refer to the end of OUATIA; specifically, the end of the scene in Debra's dressing room, and the shot of Noodles looking back and forth from the disappearing garbage truck to the emerging cars of drunken revelers... Life and cinema, merging into one....  Beautiful? Hopefully. Coherent? Possibly not. Enjoyable? Well, that depends on the filmmaker.
Viva Leone!

 Wink

« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 03:27:39 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #106 on: May 17, 2011, 06:53:28 AM »

... life was so much simpler when I didn't know anything about "supernatural" theories.
I just thought that Harmonica was a "normal" avenger, a tormented man walking around for 30 years haunted by the memory of his brother's death; and the harmonica was the symbol of his anguish he was walking around with for all those years, captured beautifully by the haunted tune played by Harmonica and by Morricone's harmonica theme.
 When he kills Frank, he can finally tear off the harmonica, symbolizing that he is finally freeing himself of that all that torment. I think Bronson was cast perfectly; there is a certain melancholiness about his face, especially when he has the tight closeups in the final duel, wonderfully projecting the state of anguish he has lived in.

Though I am (reluctantly) beginning to come around to believe that the "supernatural" theory may be corect, I still don't understand why Leone had to put that in there; I think the sory could have worked just fine without it. But oh well....

(ok, I know I just used repeated the words "torment," "haunted," and "anguished" way too many times than should be allowed in 2 paragraphs; but there are only so many synonyms I can use here. I think that coming up with those 3 was a pretty good  Wink)

« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 02:25:56 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #107 on: May 17, 2011, 11:23:02 AM »

... life was so much simpler when I didn't know anything about "supernatural" theories.
I just thought that Harmonica was a "normal" avenger, a tormented man walking around for 30 years haunted by the memory of his brother's death; and the harmonica was the symbol of his anguish he was walking around with for all those years, captured beautifully by the haunted tune played by Harmonica and by Morricone's harmonica theme.
 When he kills Frank, he can finally off the harmonica, symbolizing that he is finally freeing himself of that all that torment.
That puts it well, I think.

I'd add that Harmonica, although he started out as an avenger of his brother, ends up being more than that. In tracking Frank he has discovered all the other men Frank has killed, all the Dave Jenkinses of the world, if you will. He therefore adds their names to what amounts to a class action vengeance, so that when Harmonica delivers justice it is not only for his brother alone but for all Frank's victims.

If one wants to juice things up with supernatural theories one is free to, but they aren't necessary.

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« Reply #108 on: May 17, 2011, 02:32:40 PM »

Quote
If one wants to juice things up with supernatural theories one is free to, but they aren't necessary.

Unless you are asked to explain the disappearing bullet wound.  Huh

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« Reply #109 on: May 17, 2011, 03:02:10 PM »

Unless you are asked to explain the disappearing bullet wound.  Huh

Some might still call it a minor continuity error ...

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« Reply #110 on: May 17, 2011, 03:12:57 PM »

If you believe it is a continuity error, it would be helpful to know in what order the scenes were filmed....

btw, I am generally one who refrains from any wild explanations of movies; I think simplest is always best, unless one is absolutely forced to take a deeper meaning (Dust Devil would call it having "zero imagination"; I wear that label with pride Smiley) However, in this case, I think it is a biiiiiiig stretch to say there was that kind of fuck up in the continuity....

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« Reply #111 on: May 17, 2011, 03:46:45 PM »

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However, in this case, I think it is a biiiiiiig stretch to say there was that kind of fuck up in the continuity....

I'd have to agree, too many irons in that fire.

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« Reply #112 on: May 18, 2011, 02:24:46 AM »

Actually you don't see the wound disappear, but only the tiny hole in the coat. In the scene at the well you still see a hole in his shirt in the shoulder region.
If he is able to repair his coat with god like powers, why he don't repair his shirt? And why he don't repairs it immediately at the station.

So, here is the most simple explanation: Harmonica has a spare coat, cause as he always wears the same clothes he has bought himself 2 of the same kind long ago (but at the time of the film he doesn't own a spare shirt).

Now let's try it again:

Harmonica was shot as a child (but the actual scene doesn't give the slightest clue for that), than he was reborn as an adult as a sort of semi-god (or whatever you call it), but he's not god enough not to get wounded, but he is god enough to let this wound disappear. But for unknown reasons he did not do this wonder immediately, but only sometimes later. Or the bullet went through him without hurting him (but makes a hole in his coat), but then still slams him to the ground.
(And why does this semi god wears so out worn clothes? And why does a god travel with a bag? Wink)

Cigar Joe, I really appreciate your opinions, and please don't be mad at me for saying it that directly: But this theory is imo ab-so-lute-ly ridiculous.

And you seem to imply that this was Leone's intention, not only a possibility for an interpretation. And you take the vaguest clues and you make lots of far fetched assumptions for your theory, but you ignore everything which speaks against it.

Sorry, but this all makes zero sense for me. And for the film ...

« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 02:30:33 AM by stanton » Logged

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« Reply #113 on: May 18, 2011, 03:17:25 AM »

I disagree, and NO its unknowable, deal with it.

Let me ask you this.... define "SOMETHING"?

or

tell me exactly what happens when you die?

As far as Nevada Smith its one long revenge tale, nothing supernatural, its only worth buying used from Amazon, it was the last American Western I saw before I saw my first Leone Western (FAFDM) and I though it was cool, little did I know.  Afro

just to clarify: Of course you can't know all the exact powers Harmonica has and doesn't have (it's a movie!)

I meant to say that based on what you know from watching and analyzing the movie, are there any particular powers that you can tell me Harmonica definitely does have, and any areas you where as far as you can tell, he is definitely like all other humans? I am not asking you for everything; all I want to know is if there are any specific powers that you can confidently say you are sure that Harmonica has, or any that you are sure he does not have?

I am asking this for a specific reason: cuz I can accept a movie in which the screenwriter creates a character that has powers that other humans don't have, no matter how small or big those powers are, as long as they are defined, consistent, and understandable to the viewer. What I have difficulty accepting is a screenwriter creating a character with powers that are something that we will never define nor concern ourselves with being consistent about, and the only rule seems to be that the powers are whatever the writer decided they are (or aren't) in a particular scene.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 03:19:31 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #114 on: May 18, 2011, 04:47:11 AM »

Actually you don't see the wound disappear, but only the tiny hole in the coat. In the scene at the well you still see a hole in his shirt in the shoulder region.
If he is able to repair his coat with god like powers, why he don't repair his shirt? And why he don't repairs it immediately at the station.

That is correct, its, let me spell it out again, S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G to do with D-E-A-T-H, what I really don't know, the spirit of Vengeance. . .Revenge. . . or is he like a mythological Demi-god of Greek Mythology, or an agent of Death,  I don't know, its supposed to be vague. And the more undefinable it is the better for the film.

But it whatever it is, its not instantaneous, he's still in part human (didn't the Olympian Gods usually have to assume a human or animal form when they returned to Earth?) the bullet knocks him down, kills the human part (maybe) he arises up later and his human part fashions a sling out of his coat

When we see him next at the trading post he's healing and he has the use of his arm again also, but the hole in his coat and the wound are still visible.

By the time he reaches the McBain's ranch the wound is completely healed and the hole without any blood stains remains only in the shirt, as far as the coat from then on there are no clear views where you can see so I'll have to assume it's disappeared.


Quote
So, here is the most simple explanation: Harmonica has a spare coat, cause as he always wears the same clothes he has bought himself 2 of the same kind long ago (but at the time of the film he doesn't own a spare shirt).

That he carries around in his carpet bag  Grin

[qoute]

Now let's try it again:

Harmonica was shot as a child (but the actual scene doesn't give the slightest clue for that), than he was reborn as an adult as a sort of semi-god (or whatever you call it), but he's not god enough not to get wounded, but he is god enough to let this wound disappear. But for unknown reasons he did not do this wonder immediately, but only sometimes later. Or the bullet went through him without hurting him (but makes a hole in his coat), but then still slams him to the ground.
(And why does this semi god wears so out worn clothes? And why does a god travel with a bag? Wink) [/quote]

How about this instead Harmonica was brutally killed as a child after being made to participate in a horrendous way in the hanging of his own brother for the amusement of one scum of the Earth named Frank. Frank is about to commit the same exact infanticide again and this time in spades, that triggers something that puts events in motion using an agent (a demi-god for want of a better word) in the form of the adult Harmonica never lived long enough to become. This Harmonica has Something to do with DEATH, his human part can be wounded, even killed, but the "other" part cannot, and this "other" part can re-animate and heal the human part in time.

He uses the bag BTY to conceal his holstered gun.


Quote
Cigar Joe, I really appreciate your opinions, and please don't be mad at me for saying it that directly: But this theory is imo ab-so-lute-ly ridiculous.

And you seem to imply that this was Leone's intention, not only a possibility for an interpretation. And you take the vaguest clues and you make lots of far fetched assumptions for your theory, but you ignore everything which speaks against it.

Sorry, but this all makes zero sense for me. And for the film ...

But I can equally say.....

Your explanation shows absolutely no imagination, degrades Leone and his crew with an unexplained continuity error, and ignores OBVIOUS cinematic clues that speak against a mere mortal status for the character.

Sorry to upset your apple cart.

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« Reply #115 on: May 18, 2011, 05:03:26 AM »

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all I want to know is if there are any specific powers that you can confidently say you are sure that Harmonica has, or any that you are sure he does not have

I think the only thing specific thing you can say is that he will not RIP until Frank is dead. Their leitmotif's are almost identical combining at the end as the denouement plays out. 

We are dealing with what can be vaguely called the genesis of an American Mythology, and this is all remotely based on Greek/Roman mythology, so, to get a grip on it all, you'd probably have to get a book of Greek/Roman mythology and begin to read the various mythological stories and get a general feel for them and how the various characters interact.

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« Reply #116 on: May 18, 2011, 05:19:51 AM »

STDWD simply means for me that he brings death, that he is a killer, or at least a man who kills other people for justice or revenge.
And "ancient race" is about the twilight western themes of OUTW, the money (or business) replaces cowboys, replaces the "old values" theme.

I mean this is a western and not a fantasy film, and I need more evidence, and especially obvious evidence to accept such a theory for a genre film. Pirates of the Caribbean is indeed about ghosts. But even in Django the Bastard, in which the hints of Django being a resurrected revenger of the past are much more obvious, it is done in a way that you can assume it, but must not. And this Django also gets wounded, which is enough reason to see in him also not more than a human being. albeit one with a ghostly aura.

And I don't think it is degrading to have a continuity error. Such things happen for several reasons.
That Max kills his friends to fake his death, but then becomes a senator which is a publicly known and seen man, so that everybody from his past must recognize him, well that's a real big flaw. One which could destroy the whole film for people concerned with logic and "reality". But I notice it as a flaw, but it doesn't hurt the film for me, or the film's idea of Noodles living with the undeserved guilt he took.

So I really don't care for this small continuity thing, which most people never have noticed. And for which I still can find a simple explanation if I like to find one, an explanation which doesn't take me away from the reality of the film.
And that his wounds are healing so fast is again a thing which always happens in genre films. And that people are near death in one scene, and in the next are fighting as nothing had happened.
In reality Harmonica probably would have died due to the dirt which comes in the wound on gangrene anyway.

And if Leone really would have been interested to show Harmonica as a sort of a ghost, then he surely would have skipped his wounding.

Again, I don't see any reason to have in an earthy film like OuTW a ghost. It makes sense for High Plain's Drifter (where it is in the end also not absolutely evident, but a strong possibility), but not in a Leone film.

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« Reply #117 on: May 18, 2011, 05:32:26 AM »

stanton I've said all I'm going to say about it I just think we'll have to agree to disagree.  Afro

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« Reply #118 on: May 18, 2011, 05:44:30 AM »

Yeah, I see it that way too. And that's ok.

I haven't expected to convince you, but it was fun.

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« Reply #119 on: May 18, 2011, 06:36:15 AM »

stanton: how do you explain the fact that Harmonica wears the exact same clothes as a child (presumably a young teenager) and as an adult, about 30 years later??


« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 08:13:06 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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