Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2017, 04:36:55 AM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Films of Sergio Leone
| |-+  Once Upon A Time In America (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  The Hoods
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 6 7 [8] 9 10 ... 12 Go Down Print
Author Topic: The Hoods  (Read 77913 times)
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #105 on: August 21, 2012, 07:59:21 AM »

Noticed this photo on a Russian website.  I obviously can't confirm its authenticity, perhaps the editor of the page, irresistible julia, has more details.


Harry Grey

Translated page

http://tinyurl.com/dxhsxgv


Original

http://www.livelib.ru/author/12960

 

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:08:56 AM by chris » Logged
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #106 on: August 26, 2012, 02:30:11 AM »

He's Hal Roach, Chris.

Yes you're right HG.  There's also some more probable misinformation on a similar Russian site, claiming that Harry Grey wrote a short story for Basketball stories magazine under the name of Harry Goldberg in 1937.

Hey Chris, some news about Simeon's answer?

My letter to Simeon was sent about 5 days ago and it's a bit early to expect a reply. If Simeon is willing to provide further information, the 3 things I would like are:

Confirmation on whether or not his father was ever imprisoned in Sing Sing.

Does the dedication in The Hoods "To my true and loyal mob M., B., H. and S." mean Mildred, Beverle, Harvey & Simeon?

A photo.

If, as Simeon says, his father ran dockside storage facilities and was physically strong and tough enough to deal with the myriad teamsters and gangsters that controlled the waterfront and territories in New York, Sergio Leone's comment that he carried out a war against the gods of organized crime makes more sense. I also wondered about Simeon's comment that one of his father's friends was Charlie Bronson.


Logged
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #107 on: August 26, 2012, 01:03:03 PM »

"Sergio Leone's comment that he carried out a war against the gods of organized crime": who said this and what does that mean?

Sergio Leone said the equivalent of it in French.  What it means is anybody's guess.

From page 183 of Simsolo's Conversation Avec Sergio Leone:

Simsolo:  N'aimez-vous pas tendrement Noodles?

Leone:  ...je le regardais s'exposer tout seul pour mener une guerre sans succès contre les dieux du crime organisé...

Harry's brother Hyman has of course written several books.  These include 'How I Became A Girl Reporter' which is said to be complete and unabridged and contains some biographical details.  Hyman lived with his mum and dad for 25 years and I think there's something in there about Brooklyn.  Not expecting much but it's cheap and I'll get hold of a copy and have a look through it.

  

« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 02:06:57 AM by chris » Logged
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #108 on: September 06, 2012, 04:16:22 AM »

Chris, some news? New census found, Hyman's article or Simeon's answer?

All my best

There's been no response from Simeon and I'm still waiting for Hyman's biography to arrive.  It looks like things may have happend to the family in 1920.  Harry's sister may be in hospital and Harry may be living as a boarder with Leo Rosenfeld in the Bronx.

 

Logged
titoli
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8010



View Profile
« Reply #109 on: September 16, 2012, 02:37:58 PM »


I start from the premise that if Sergio called Noodles' character David Aaronson, one between his name or surname must be true, even if, for a pre-existing agreement or for respect towards Noodles, he's never could tell us, through his last creation, his real name, only giving us some clue to allow us to guess who he was.

The italian edition of the book as republished in 1983 has a long preface (6 pages) by Leone (that's the only reason I bought it today: i usually prefer editions in the original language). I don't care about the movie, so I won't go through this thread to sort things out, but I just want to translate what he writes at the start:"My new movie...is freely inspired by the recollections of David Aaronson detto ("called") Noodles, that you're holding now in your hands.". That it is not what one would write if D.A. was a name invented by Leone: that would be unfair towards the reader who expects the preface to be clarifying, where possible, not to muddle things more.  So D.A. is the real name of Harry Grey? If it weren't I should think that Leone was duped about the real identity of the man ("that I haven't seen in a long while", specifies L.)  or that L. chose an improper way to express himself.

« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 02:50:30 PM by titoli » Logged

chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #110 on: October 03, 2012, 12:09:16 PM »

I've now read the 160 page autobiography of Harry Grey's brother Hyman.  Hyman is a lot more humorous and laid back than described in 'The Hoods'.  

Regrettably there's no significant information in the book about Harry and the other members of the family and the book focuses mostly on Hyman's interviews with famous people and his short army service.  Hyman confirms that he was born in Brooklyn and then moved to the Bronx.  In 1917 when the family were living in Washington Ave in The Bronx, he attended PS42 school nearby and was involved in the strike against the Gary System of Education.  In 1925 he was fired from the Sun newspaper for being drunk at work and both brothers seem to share a common passion for pretty women, food and alcohol.  For 2 months in 1939 he tried living in Manhattan but didn't enjoy the experience and moved to Brooklyn.

As mentioned previously, it looks like the family split up in 1920 but got back together prior to the 1925 census being taken.

In 'The Hoods', Noodles complained that, when his father was out of work, he attended schul 4 hours a day and all day Saturday.  In 1915 the family had a restaurant business and lived at 1589 Washington Avenue The Bronx but by 1920 this house was occupied by Rabbi Wiener.  Shortly afterwards the building was replaced with a synagogue and in 1925 Harry's mum and dad were both unemployed.



 




« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:08:04 AM by chris » Logged
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8313

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #111 on: October 03, 2012, 03:03:23 PM »


Recent photo


 


I've heard that in many of those neighborhoods that were Jewish long ago but are now mostly black and/or Hispanic, there are many former synagogue buildings that were taken over by churches, but certain logos and symbols of its days as a synagogue are irreversibly etched into the building

As you can see in this picture, this Hispanic church has Stars of David still on the gates and above the windows of the building

« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 03:04:45 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #112 on: October 04, 2012, 12:18:24 PM »

I'm increasingly convinced Noodles invented his mob lifestyle; and how's possible a mobster is also a talkman show at radio programs?

Personally I think that, at present, we have insufficient evidence to say one way or the other.  We know that Grey dropped out of school early and was probably involved with petty crimes as a youngster.  It's also probable that he went to the Jewish Protectory in Hawthorne and during his adult years had dealings with the mob.  Sergio Leone's statement that Grey was Frank Costello's right hand man overstates it but it's probable that he was involved in low level criminal activities.

Grey's statement that the only liberty with truth he took in 'The Hoods' was the death of Max may just mean that the events in 'The Hoods' are based on true events.  He makes it clear within the book that it is not a true autobiography:

"a factual, biographical piece?  Nah, no good.  The actual facts would land me and everybody else in jail.  I'll treat it as escapist stuff, omitting time and slightly camouflaging the place.  That's it.  I'll sort of blend factual happenings into fiction."

Some of the biographical details which Grey's son gave Palm Springs may be untrue.  Imagine their reaction to the following: "My father dropped out of school, committed petty crimes as youngster and was sent to a Jewish Protectory.  During the prohibition years he ran several speakeasies, did drugs, consorted with prostitutes and his gang became involved with New York's Mafia and organized crime.  He murdered 27 people and served several prison sentences."

I can find no evidence that Grey received a honorary degree in literature and art or was a frequent guest speaker for the BBC on the Roaring Twenties and Thirties or that his wife Mildred was the "Maybelline" girl, a Hunter College graduate in English Literature or a Primary School teacher.  In the 1940 census Mildred stated that the highest education grade she achieved was grade 4 at High school.

Mildred's sister Eva however did graduate from Hunter College in 1926 and was a Primary School Teacher at PS 245 in 1931.

There is of course another Harry Grey who is just as famous as our Harry.  He was born in about 1904 and died on 17 Oct 1963.  A music director and producer of numerous shows and movies.  Also did interviews with the BBC.

http://imdb.com/name/nm0002590/

Quote
Furthermore, who Leo Rosenfeld (the guy you stated was living with Noodles in a Bronx flat during 20's) was? .. i'm referring to the man you mentioned in your post last time..

It looks like Leo Rosenfeld was a friend and neighbour of the Goldbergs.  In the 1915 census he is shown as a neighbour and in the 1940 census he is living in the same house as Harry's father.

According to one website, the synagogue in Washington Ave was built in 1931 and its market value in 2011 was $2,225,000.  Ellen Levitt has written a book 'The Lost Synagogues of The Bronx and Queens' and a photo of the Washington Ave synagogue is on the front cover.

The page below gives more details of the Synagogue:

http://avotaynu.com/books/gifs/LostSynagoguesBronxQueensSamplePage.pdf

  

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 07:07:47 AM by chris » Logged
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8313

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #113 on: October 04, 2012, 12:34:17 PM »

Personally I think that, at present, we have insufficient evidence to say one way or the other.  We know that Grey dropped out of school early and was probably involved with petty crimes as a youngster.  It's also probable that he went to the Jewish Protectory in Hawthorne and during his adult years had dealings with the mob.  Sergio Leone's statement that Grey was Frank Costello's right hand man overstates it but it's probable that he was involved in low level criminal activities.

 

where did you see that Leone said that Grey was Frank Costello's right hand man? I've never seen that.

Grey did mention in The Hoods that his gang was sometimes hired by big mobsters to do hits, including some bug guy named Frank ,and Leone figured that it must have been Frank Costello. (btw, in The Hoods, he also mentions being hired for hits by other big mobsters, including Al Capone). But nowhere that I've see has Leone ever said anything about Grey being anything close to Costello's "right hand man." To the contrary, Leone said the opposite, that Grey was basically a small-time loser with a big imagination. (This info is from STDWD, maybe you have another source where Leone did say this statement; but from everything I've see from Frayling quoting Leone, he thought Grey was a nobody).


Personally, I never thought that anyone doubted that Grey was somehow involved with crime. I mean, after all, he was in Sing-Sing, and he did insist on secrecy during his meetings with Leone (at first, he insisted Leone come alone, but Leone was able to convince him that he had to bring along his brother in law Fulvio Morsella as interpreter, since Leone hardly spoke any English). So while Leone certainly thought that Grey had certainly exaggerated/imagined/fantasized many of his "experiences," -- and IMO this is very obvious when you read some of the nonsensical shit in The Hoods -- he didn't doubt that Grey was somehow involved with criminal activity.

Wtf was Grey doing in Sing-Sing -- was it something completely unrelated to gang activity? Why did he insist on secrecy in his meetings with Leone - was that all part of his act? Come on, Harry Goldberg. I don't see any reason to doubt that Grey was somehow involved in criminal activity.

p.s. there was a gangster named Gangy Cohen who ran away from New York to escape the mob after doing a hit -- and then his old buddies saw him a few years later.... as an extra in the movie Golden Boy (1939) 

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 12:42:00 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #114 on: October 04, 2012, 01:30:10 PM »

where did you see that Leone said that Grey was Frank Costello's right hand man? I've never seen that.

Oreste de Fornari - The Great Italian Dream of Legendary America p.23
Sergio Leone: "In New York I contacted Harry Grey, an old Jew from Odessa, who had been a gangster, had been Frank Costello's right-hand man."


A later interview with Jean A Gili is nearer the truth:
Sergio Leone: "Harry Grey's name was Goldberg and he was a Jew who, I think, worked in perfect symbiosis with the Italians.  In the book he constantly cites a certain Frankie, a character that I included in the film in a short sequence.  This Frankie was most probably Frank Costello.  So I think Grey must have been one of Costello's men."

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 01:59:04 PM by chris » Logged
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #115 on: October 04, 2012, 01:48:19 PM »

p.s. there was a gangster named Gangy Cohen who ran away from New York to escape the mob after doing a hit -- and then his old buddies saw him a few years later.... as an extra in the movie Golden Boy (1939) 

Gangy Cohen was also in It's A Wonderful Life and a double for Hoss Cartwight in the TV show Bonanza.  But the part I remember him most for was a hitman in Crime Inc.

http://morethanyouneededtoknow.typepad.com/the_unsung_joe/2008/11/index.html

 

Logged
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8313

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #116 on: October 04, 2012, 03:07:53 PM »

is there  some inconsistency with what Leone told Frayling and what he said in the the other interview? or perhaps they are both accurate; is it possible that he worked closely with Costello yet Leone would still consider him a nobody?

from The Hoods, it seems to me that Grey mentions at times being hired to big mobsters for hits, and also there is a sequence where he has opium dreams about the crime syndicate in New York (this big sequence where he writes he is having an opium dream and in his dreams, he describes many of the biggest mobsters, with names slightly altered but its obvious who he is talking about). But generally the gang seemed pretty independent, not like part of some crime family. But who fucking knows what yo can trust from The Hoods, so much of it is clearly bullshit, that you don't know what to believe

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #117 on: October 05, 2012, 04:16:13 AM »

We have only Simeon's word that his father was born in Kiev.  Like many of the facts in the biographical details he provided, it may or may not be correct.  Many of the significant events happened long before he was born and he is reliant on information provided by others.

I have not yet seen any firm evidence that Harry Grey was incarcerated in Sing Sing.  On the other hand I have not yet seen any firm evidence that he was not incarcerated in Sing Sing either.  Some editions of 'The Hoods', e.g. the Bloomsbury 1997 edition, do not bear Mickey Spillane's endorsement or that it was written in prison by author Grey.

I don't think there have been many interviews between Frayling and Sergio Leone.  STDWD is a massive undertaking but much of the information in the chapter on OUATIA is taken from other people's work and interviews.  These days I very rarely quote Frayling.  I prefer to go to the original source and if possible the actual words used by Sergio Leone which usually will be in French or Italian.  Sometimes these cannot be found.

_  _  _


(1)  Brief translated extract from Oreste De Fornari's 1983 interview with Sergio Leone:

Sergio Leone: "The story of this film started way back in 1967.  The late Giuseppe Colizzi, who before making his debut in a Western with Dio perdona... Io no! did an apprenticeship with me for a year (helping to shoot and edit The Good, the Bad and the Ugly), told me about a novel, The Hoods, upon which the episode of the robbery at the casino in Ace High was based.

The novel struck me as a modest affair but full of curious details.  In New York I contacted Harry Grey, an old Jew from Odessa, who had been a gangster, had been Frank Costello's right-hand man.  In fact the novel makes mention of a certain Frank, and Max too was inspired by a real person.

At 73 years of age Grey was offered another job, but his wife advised him against it and after two months, they saw Max in handcuffs on TV.  Grey had written the novel during the fifteen years he spent in Sing Sing (but if you ask me his wife, an elementary school teacher, really did the writing).  Grey told me he had written it in Sing Sing to contest the films he had seen about gangsters, but what struck me about it was precisely its similarity to Hollywood films.  Fantasy had won out over reality.  But you could tell that the episodes about his adolescence were things he had really experienced."

_  _  _


(2)  Part of a translated 1984 interview between Jean A Gili and Sergio Leone.  Sergio Leone's take on Italian, Jewish and Irish gangsters, The Godfather movie, the roots of the Combination and Gangy Cohen:

Jean A Gili: "Do you think that the minorities in the American population were more responsible for organized crime?"

Sergio Leone: "All I know is one thing: we exported farmers and they imported gangsters.  That's really the truth.  It can be explained as a certain way the immigrants protested, it can be explained by Sacco and Vanzetti, by the way certain minorities in America are treated, Ellis Island, the most dreadful hunger.

These people went over there dreaming of an America and later found themselves confronted with a very different reality and situation.  That some abused of this state of affairs doesn't justify becoming criminals, but it was definitely a little because of this.  People descend into crime, little by little, they are victimized once, then twice... and then finally they say no.

In The Godfather this evolution was shown very well.  We should also add that, in effect, the people who emigrated were those who would absolutely not tolerate offenses: a Sicilian has a hard time tolerating certain repression, the same goes for an Irishman.  And because of this, these were the men who reacted the most violently and who later became criminals.  And, moreover, they understood the corruption there perfectly well.  They adapted to the world in which they found themselves.  That's how I see it, and I think it's the truth.

There's also something else extremely fascinating about the Italians.  The Jews were much more intelligent; they were always more or less behind the desk, taking advantage of the Italians' taste for putting on a show.  The Italian is more theatrical, he likes to go out in the street.  But the most important figure in American crime during the past years, someone who was higher up than Lucky Luciano or Al Capone, the one who pulled all the strings of the entire organization, was a Jew.

The Italians had quite a lucid and productive example to follow, the clerical hierarchy.  They already knew that you started from the priest, and then you needed the bishop, the cardinal, until you could finally reach, after various filters, right up to the Pope.  If then, the Pope gave an order – since in the clergy, orders were not discussed but executed – the cardinal had to do what he had to do, and the bishop the same, and the priest the same.  This implied a solid defense.

I remember an anecdote that I wanted to put in the film, then finally I didn't, or rather I had Noodles say about his disappearance, "I went into the world's ass-hole for thirty-five years, for all those years I went to bed much too early."

Anyway, there were two partners in Chicago; the Organization called one of the two and ordered him to kill the other.  He didn't argue; he went and killed him.  It was understood that after the murder he would leave his car and get into one of the Organization's cars that would drive him to a safe place.  After the murder, however, the man got out of his car and, instead of getting into the car following him, he dashed into the woods nearby and disappeared.

After thirteen years, he was found in Hollywood, working as an extra in a costume epic.  This man had left everything, house, loved ones, work, since he knew that just the way he had killed his partner, he would also have been killed.

So, you never escape from the Organization, even if you leave, even if you run away, if you lose yourself in the void..."

 

« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 04:37:38 AM by chris » Logged
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8313

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #118 on: October 05, 2012, 05:56:37 AM »



I don't think there have been many interviews between Frayling and Sergio Leone.  STDWD is a massive undertaking but much of the information in the chapter on OUATIA is taken from other people's work and interviews.  These days I very rarely quote Frayling.  I prefer to go to the original source and if possible the actual words used by Sergio Leone which usually will be in French or Italian.  Sometimes these cannot be found.




Frayling met Leone in 1982, the same year of his first formal interview with Leone. I don't know how many more formal interviews he conducted with Leone, but it seems he was pretty close with him. In fact, there is far more info in STDWD on OUATIA than any other movie, which I figure may be due to the fact that Frayling was around during the making of the movie, or simply because that movie was the most recent one, or some combination of both.

If you look at Frayling's Notes, you'll see that he frequently cites these interviews Leone did with Smiloso, de Fornari, and others. Besides, are these translated interviews you are quoting any more reliable than the translated interviews/discussions that Fraylking uses? Anyway, I have no reason not to trust Frayling's statements of Leone's opinion on Grey. Of course, a direct quote is always better. But if Grey was really some big shot, that would really change the whole perception of the movie, and Leone's whole idea about Grey's reality being indistinguishable from his fantasies. If he really was such a big guy and his statements are all true, that kills the whole idea of Noodles as Leone presents him in the movie.

Anyway, I wonder if this apparent contradiction is reconcilable; maybe Grey did work closely with Costello for a time, but in the grand scheme of things wasn't much of anyone. Who knows. Plenty of people crossed paths with the mob leaders. As for my personal opinion, Leone's opinion of Grey as described by Frayling makes more sense to me: The Hoods has the craziest shit, so much of it is so obviously fake (how about the story with the Atlantic City casino, or the paper machine, or the stiff in the coffin that the gang supposedly scared to death?  Roll Eyes) Grey seems to be a real loser. I just can't see a guy who really was a big mobster writing a ridiculous book like this.

But hey, wtf do I know  Wink



« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 12:00:58 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
chris
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 305


View Profile
« Reply #119 on: October 05, 2012, 07:23:21 AM »

Frayling has done a great job but he chooses which extracts he wants readers of his book to see.  For me I'd rather see the whole picture and make my own mind up on what is important and what is not.  And of course STDWD contains errors, e.g. shuffling off to Buffalo by train (repeated in Howard Hughes book), which will mislead readers and others who focus their attention solely on this book.

 

Logged
Pages: 1 ... 6 7 [8] 9 10 ... 12 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.037 seconds with 19 queries.