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Author Topic: "Something to do with death"  (Read 56601 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #165 on: May 03, 2016, 05:36:08 AM »


Personally, that  remark of his never bothered me, actually it gave even more depth to the character. The question that really should be asked is: does HE think he could settle down with Jill if she'd be willing to go for him?
He would have liked to. But now that he's fatally shot he knows it isn't gonna happen. He has something to do with death himself.

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« Reply #166 on: May 03, 2016, 11:51:05 AM »

Yes, that's another point why this short scene is bad. As I said somewhere before, it is as if in 2001 there is suddenly a short scene between the match cut from the bone to the spaceship. Annoying ...

Oh so true!!!

Although, now that we're on the topic of the bone-spaceship match cut, I've always felt the cut could have been done a little cleaner. The bone should have been caught in a straighter fall towards the end, and at the moment of the cut been more aligned with the angle of the spaceship.

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« Reply #167 on: May 03, 2016, 12:46:04 PM »

He would have liked to. But now that he's fatally shot he knows it isn't gonna happen. He has something to do with death himself.

Old dreamer.

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« Reply #168 on: June 30, 2016, 08:47:54 PM »

My two cents as a new fan of OUATITW: it never occurred to me that the superhuman aspects of Harmonica were anything more than typical Western-hero conventions. The only thing that struck me odd was how he knew pieces of the conversation ("killing one more") between Cheyenne and Jill, which seemed more creepy than supernatural.

As far as "something to do with death," I found that phrase to be extremely raw; people who have watched others die carry it with them, often to the point of thinking themselves unable to experience life in the same way other people do. In this Old West gunslinger context, death is always as close as your next draw.

Hell, in this movie people walk away from dead bodies all over the place. Preoccupation with death stifles the art of living; in the world of OUATITW, death is as omnipresent as the rising sun. I have no problem with Cheyenne's phrase describing a kind of doomed, damaged person—ones who are all around you every day.

Isn't it tragic to realize that Harmonica's act of vengeance didn't cleanse him of his demons? As for his coat, I figured most cowboys could handle a needle and thread  Wink

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #169 on: July 01, 2016, 07:59:46 AM »

My two cents as a new fan of OUATITW: it never occurred to me that the superhuman aspects of Harmonica were anything more than typical Western-hero conventions.
Exactly. And Harmonica can have "something to do with death" without being himself dead or being death personified.

You raise an interesting point about the Culture of Death that the characters in OUATITW inhabit. In our own culture, where death is hidden away or alibied (as in "This isn't a funeral, it's a celebration of a man's life"), when one has to confront the death of others (as is inevitable the older one gets) it can be something of a shock. Not so in the West as depicted by Leone (and don't forget that "going West" is an old euphemism for dying). As you say, it's all around, and people just don't have the "luxury" to dwell on it. To keep living, people acknowledge the reality and move on. Still, Jill is a transformative figure, and we see through her how the culture will change.

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« Reply #170 on: July 01, 2016, 08:44:11 AM »

Frayling mentions how Leone referred to OUATITW as a "dance of death." And we know how in the German version, Frank tells young Harmonica, "Play for me the song of death" (rather than, "Keep your loving brother happy,") which is also the name of the movie.

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« Reply #171 on: July 01, 2016, 02:25:32 PM »

"Play for me the song of death"
The "song of death" can be a description of the death rattle a man makes when he expels his final breath. Leone nicely plays on this by having Frank expel his final breath through the very harmonica Frank gave Harmonica at his brother's death.

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« Reply #172 on: July 01, 2016, 04:57:46 PM »

The "song of death" can be a description of the death rattle a man makes when he expels his final breath. Leone nicely plays on this by having Frank expel his final breath through the very harmonica Frank gave Harmonica at his brother's death.

One of the final tracks on the soundtrack is called Death Rattle. The death of the characters a metaphor for the death of the Old West and the beginning of, as Leone said, "a world without balls." Also, was supposed to be Leone's farewell to the Western movie.

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« Reply #173 on: July 02, 2016, 03:06:41 AM »

Frayling mentions how Leone referred to OUATITW as a "dance of death." And we know how in the German version, Frank tells young Harmonica, "Play for me the song of death" (rather than, "Keep your loving brother happy,") which is also the name of the movie.

Actually, in that scene the German lines are so much better than Leone's lines. In fact it is fuckin brilliant. But they shouldn't have changed the title either.

He actually says "Come on kid (or little one), play me the song of death", and his smile is so perfect when he says this.

I also never understood why it is his brother and not his father, cause the hanged one is so much older, and avenging the father's death is the more traumatic redemption. In Germany, without the original line, everyone automatically assumes it his his father.

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« Reply #174 on: July 02, 2016, 06:34:21 AM »

Actually, in that scene the German lines are so much better than Leone's lines. In fact it is fuckin brilliant. But they shouldn't have changed the title either.

He actually says "Come on kid (or little one), play me the song of death", and his smile is so perfect when he says this.

I also never understood why it is his brother and not his father, cause the hanged one is so much older, and avenging the father's death is the more traumatic redemption. In Germany, without the original line, everyone automatically assumes it his his father.

So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?

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« Reply #175 on: July 03, 2016, 10:42:47 AM »

So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?
And therefore it is only in the English-language versions that they are brothers, and in other versions the relationship could be different?

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« Reply #176 on: July 03, 2016, 11:54:53 AM »

I have heard that in the German-language film there is no line about brothers so the assumption is that he is Harmonica's father.

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« Reply #177 on: July 03, 2016, 12:14:27 PM »

So does that mean that in the German version it's never made clear what the relationship between them is?

Yes, as I said, everyone thinks it his father. But I assume everybody understands that they are related.

As far as I remember it is the also his brother in the original version.

Anybody has an idea why Leone took the brother instead of the father? And why is his brother so much older? Did he had a brother complex? Wink

Answers like "who cares" are not accepted ...

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« Reply #178 on: July 03, 2016, 02:15:35 PM »

Yes, as I said, everyone thinks it his father. But I assume everybody understands that they are related.

As far as I remember it is the also his brother in the original version.



Of course they are related. In the flashback, they both look Indian, or at least half-Indian (much more than Charles Bronson does, although Bronson does have a slightly ethnic look.)


"As far as I remember it is also his brother in the original version" - you mean in the English version? Of course it is his brother. Frank says, as he stuffs the harmonica into Young Harmonica's mouth, "Keep your loving brother happy." (Perhaps a similar concept to the concentration-camp orchestra at Betterville, which is based on the Nazis' sadistically forcing orchestras of Jews to play music while their people were being slaughtered.)

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« Reply #179 on: July 04, 2016, 02:46:22 AM »


"As far as I remember it is also his brother in the original version" - you mean in the English version?

Original = Italian

Of course ...

And I obviously know the English dialogue for that scene according to what I wrote before.

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