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Author Topic: So what title best fits this film?  (Read 41958 times)
Bill Carson
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« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2007, 02:49:37 AM »

Now that I think about it some more, I kind of love the "Once Upon a Time" title because it fits with the Once Upon a Time theme with 'West' and 'America' which Sergio intended it to do so. We have the 'Dollars' Trilogy and the 'Once Upon a Time' Triology. Both bloody brillant.

I was preparing to reply to this discusion, when I read your comment whit which I totaly agree. I mean that the main and only title should be "Once Upon a time...", expecially because of the "two trilogyes" - like you said, and like I think for quite some time. There is the "dollars" trilogy, that is most of all (among many other things) linked with lust for many and greed... Second trilogy, "once upon..." trilogy, have that too, but also have (among many other things), in much more way, some other themes (better say themes that directly shows "human flaws"). In OUATIW that is revenge, in DYS or OUATTR that is revolution and in OUATIA that is political power, coruption... Beside that I simply love the title "Once Upon a time..." more then others.

Well, say "Once Upon a time... the revolution",  and not "in the revolution", and it will rub you the good way Smiley

BTW, that's the one i prefer. But may be i'm biased, since it is the only title we know in France...

When I watched this movie for the first time (some, allmost 20 years ago, on our national television) they announced it as: DYS - "our translation" of that title of course, but later on it was allways called "Once Upon a time there was the revolution" - litteraly translation from our language, and I must say that this title allways looked and sounded best to me.  Smiley

« Last Edit: July 27, 2007, 04:45:36 AM by Bill Carson » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2009, 09:15:14 AM »

... Once Upon A Time... The Revolution : was the first title, the one that sergio prefered, and was released only in France...

Indeed. Interestingly note how the French "Il était une fois la révolution" parallels the Italian "C'era una volta la rivoluzione" much better than the awkward English "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution".

"Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Once Upon a Time in America" work well in English because of the word in. However only "C'era una volta in America" has the word in in the Italian name. Here are the literal translations of the French and Italian titles (note the addition of in in the French version of the first one however that parallels the English case):

Once Upon a Time in the West
C'era una volta il West: This was a time the West
Il était une fois dans l'Ouest: It was time in the West
 
Once Upon a Time... the Revolution
C'era una volta la rivoluzione: This was a time the revolution
Il était une fois la révolution: It was a time the revolution

Once Upon a Time in America
C'era una volta in America: This was a time in America
Il était une fois en Amérique: It was a time in America

« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 09:41:20 AM by Novecento » Logged
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« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2009, 09:23:27 AM »

From http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=4180.msg134930#msg134930

Leone always intended the italian title to be "Giu La Testa"... Leone NEVER intended the title to be "Once Upon a time...the revolution!". This title was made and meant (by the French studios, distributers...whatever...) to capitalize on his previous success in France with OUATITW.

Actually Leone did want to call the film "C'era una volta la rivoluzione". This was his desired Italian title and it was only the French title that maintained it. Here are his comments in Simsolo p.149 following his discussion about the Mao citation at the beginning and the theme of revolution:

"And I had wanted to call the film 'Once upon a time... the revolution'. It was only in France that it was named in this way. In Italy the distributor said that it could be confused with Bertolucci's 'Prima della rivoluzione', filmed 5 years earlier! So I chose 'Giu la testa'..."

Ex post facto explanations are always to be looked on with suspicion, especially in Leone's case. Put another way: SL was always more trustworthy about his motives before events than after.

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« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2009, 09:39:34 AM »

Ex post facto explanations are always to be looked on with suspicion, especially in Leone's case. Put another way: SL was always more trustworthy about his motives before events than after.

I don't think such a cynical view of Leone is entirely warranted. In the Simsolo chapter, Leone talks about the revolutionary theme of the film and the Mao quote on the nature of revolution that he was upset had been removed in the retitled "Fistful of Dynamite" versions. Leone wanted this to be about the nature of revolution and he wanted the title to reflect this. Seeing as Leone already knew at this stage that he wanted to make "Once Upon a Time in America", it seems highly likely that he would have chosen this name because he realized he would have a second trilogy after his first three films had developed into a trilogy of their own.

I assume that the French name maintains Leone's original title, while the English one does not, because "Cera una volta la rivoluzione" translates rather awkwardly as "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution" (see my above post). Consequently, with the film already being retitled in Italy, why not retitle it in English accordingly? If the film had not been retitled in Italy, then this would have been a different matter.

« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 09:48:32 AM by Novecento » Logged
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« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2009, 11:27:37 AM »

But what is remarkable about this movie is that all those titles fit the movie very well. Usually with foreign movies the story goes downhill with each new title being invented for a different market, but here we basically got one good after another.

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« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2009, 11:31:34 AM »

So what title best fits this film? - I'm not 100% sure, but I'd go with Giù la testa. It's a subjective choice anyway.

But, A Fistful of Dynamite, C'era una volta la rivoluzione/Once Upon a Time... the Revolution, Duck, You Sucker, those are all pretty darn good titles.

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« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2009, 01:46:50 PM »

I won't say anything about the Italian titles (no idea which one would fit), but I'll say that I would rank the titles like this:

1. Duck, You Sucker. I think it best fits the semi-comic nature of the film, and, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the title Leone advocated? If I were a producer handling this film, I would not interfere with the director's vision, especially when it's a director who had already proved twice (in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West) that he knew how to make truly awe-inspiring films. I myself would not have chosen this title if I were Leone, but I rank this first because I am definitely not Leone, and this is what he chose, so this is what I go with.

2. Once Upon a Time... the Revolution. This is probably my favorite title just because it ties it to his other late works, although I still see this as flawed: why not Once Upon a Time in the Revolution? It would make it fit so much better with Once Upon a Time in America, and Once Upon a Time in the West.

3. A Fistful of Dynamite. Frankly it might sound cooler than either (I guess), but it just doesn't fit the film. Duck, You Sucker is not about an archetypal, gunslinging anti-hero (although this movie does use archetypes and anti-heroes, to a lesser extent), it's more about two lost souls trying to make it out alive in a politically charged war.

I'm due to rewatch this one sometime, as my memory of it is foggy.

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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2009, 02:10:21 PM »

I used to be hostile towards Duck, You Sucker! as a title but I've gotten over it.

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« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2009, 02:19:10 PM »

I used to be hostile towards Duck, You Sucker! as a title but I've gotten over it.

It's the same thing here in essence: after watching The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the first time, I checked through his filmography, and when I saw this I thought "Huh. Duck, You Sucker. What a dumb name for a film."
But I got over my attempt to ignore the title.

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« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2009, 02:55:11 PM »

1. Duck, You Sucker. I think it best fits the semi-comic nature of the film, and, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the title Leone advocated?

You stand corrected (at least in Leone's, albeit later, stated opinion)

« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 02:57:30 PM by Novecento » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: November 29, 2009, 03:12:53 PM »

You stand corrected (at least in Leone's, albeit later, stated opinion)

So Leone later advocated another title? Pardon me if I sound naive to some of you.

Edit: don't answer me. I took the liberty of reading the rest of the discussion, but thanks for alerting me.

« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 03:18:04 PM by stoicamerican » Logged
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« Reply #41 on: November 29, 2009, 05:33:41 PM »

Interesting. But I'm still waiting for any shred of evidence that existed before the film was released that SL wanted the Once Upon a Time title for the film. Like a copy of the shooting script with that title, or production logs with that title, or correspondence referring to the film by that title. Anything like that. Anything at all.

Still waiting.

While just about every reference book (even the English language ones like Frayling, Cox etc) cites 'C'era una volta la rivoluzione' as the original title after a treatment called 'Mexico' had been acquired, this does not of course mean that they are all correct. Maybe they all copy from each other; maybe they all use the same set of interviews.

Here are a couple of shreds for you from an interview with Vincenzoni:

1. "... we started to chat about 'Once Upon a Time, the Revolution'. From the first moment it wasn't going to work - with Peter Bogdanovich directing and Sergio Leone producing."

2. "... it is the opening of 'Giu la testa', when Steiger pees over the colony of ants on the tree"

In the former, he is referring to the script; in the latter he is referring to the final film. Now the question prompting the latter specifically uses the name 'Giu la testa' which may explain the discontinuity in terminology, but not the use of 'Once Upon a Time, the Revolution' in the former.

Also, I prefer to give Leone the benefit of the doubt in what he says and treat him as innocent of lying until proven guilty; the onus is on the prosecutor to find the evidence...

still waiting...  Wink

If Bogdanovich is to be believed, Leone was insisting on Duck, You Sucker as a title even before filming started, and interviews with Leone recounted in STDWD back up his assertions. Perhaps after the fact he wanted to link his last three films as a loose trilogy but that didn't seem on his mind at the time.

This refers to the discussion over the translation of 'Giu la testa' as 'Duck, You Sucker' and has nothing to do with the original title.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 01:32:18 AM by Novecento » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2009, 03:45:27 AM »

Just another thought: Why would Leone want to claim to have suggested the title "C'era una volta la rivoluzione" in any case?

While "Duck, You Sucker" sounds rather strange in English, the Italian "Giù la testa" is absolutely fine and there would be no reason to distance himself from that at a later date even if he did later accept his English version of the name to be poor. Furthermore, Leone has no problem that "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" does not have a name that connects it to the later treatment of this as the third part of the "Trilogia del dollaro", so why would he care that "Giù la testa" doesn't contain "C'era una volta..." if it hadn't been his original intention to name it in that way?

« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 03:46:34 AM by Novecento » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2009, 05:47:52 AM »

I would prefer OuTtR as title, but think mostly of it as Giu la testa.

But even with the OuT title I never viewed it as part of a trilogy. It does not fit with the other too.

And DYS and AFoD are simply too stupid sounding imo. German title (Death Melody / Todesmelodie) is also forgettable.

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« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2009, 03:34:56 PM »

Duck You Sucker because it's fun to say. But it's a terrible title.

It should be called: Sean...Sean, Sean

lol

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