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Author Topic: So what title best fits this film?  (Read 42013 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #45 on: December 03, 2009, 09:52:24 AM »

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...
I don't see it as lying. There is telling the truth, lying (deliberate falsehoods), and the thing that people do 90% of the time they discourse, saying what is untrue without deliberation. Film directors, especially good film directors, are particularly vulnerable on this last point. They like telling a good story, and they know how to improve a story with re-tellings. This is something I noticed while reading tons of Hitchcock interviews: unless the question put to him was highly technical, AH could never give a straight answer. And even in the case of technical questions Hitch was stingy about giving his collaborators credit. He wasn't lying in those interviews, but his representations of past events were less than the whole truth.

SL liked telling stories too. There are plenty of examples where we have reason to be skeptical of how he remembers things. I'll just point to one that has resurfaced here on the thread "Santi Busts a Myth." According to Frayling, SL maintained that Santi was director on DYS for 10 days. We now know, with Santi's more reliable testimony (more reliable, because Santi was the one most directly affected) that this is Totally Untrue. I don't say SL was lying, though, just misremembering, and no doubt because at one point he envisioned Santi as the director. In the case of the Once Upon a Time... title idea, also, we have an example, I suspect, of SL misremembering. I could be wrong. But until something shows up in writing, in a document produced prior to filming, I will continue to be skeptical.

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« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2009, 06:41:31 AM »

I'll just point to one that has resurfaced here on the thread "Santi Busts a Myth." According to Frayling, SL maintained that Santi was director on DYS for 10 days. We now know, with Santi's more reliable testimony (more reliable, because Santi was the one most directly affected) that this is Totally Untrue.

Well Frayling actually quotes Donati right underneath who puts it closer to one day; I was more interested that Santi didn't even realise he was supposed to be the director at all! The thing is that Donati arrived on the set later, or more specifically before Coburn and Steiger were engaged but after the equipment had already arrived in Spain and some initial shooting had already begun. Leone is not misremembering, he is just presenting the facts in a different way according to his interpretation of them.

I don't say SL was lying, though, just misremembering, and no doubt because at one point he envisioned Santi as the director. In the case of the Once Upon a Time... title idea, also, we have an example, I suspect, of SL misremembering. I could be wrong. But until something shows up in writing, in a document produced prior to filming, I will continue to be skeptical.

As for "Once Upon a time... the Revolution", there is no other person involved here with whom Leone could miscommunicate or have a misunderstanding. Maybe he is simply misremembering and misleading himself, but I am certainly not one to judge without evidence. I also think it is notable that Vincenzoni refers to it early on with the "Once Upon a Time..." title. Until any solid counter-evidence comes forth, it seems unfair to doubt Leone's sincerity.

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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2010, 10:06:38 PM »

Perhaps this should be "the film with no name" as none of the titles are raelly satisfactory?

(Personaly I prefer Gił la testa)

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« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2010, 02:54:27 AM »

I was just watching an excellent French documentary "When the Western Made its Revolution" on the French DVD of "O'Cangaceiro". Interestingly, one of the commentators said that Leone's original "Once Upon a Time..." title was not allowed in Italy due to the Italian Communist party kicking up a fuss about it! I had never heard that as the reason before.

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« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2010, 09:31:02 AM »

(Personaly I prefer Gił la testa)

You would.

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« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2010, 11:58:44 AM »

I was just watching an excellent French documentary "When the Western Made its Revolution" on the French DVD of "O'Cangaceiro". Interestingly, one of the commentators said that Leone's original "Once Upon a Time..." title was not allowed in Italy due to the Italian Communist party kicking up a fuss about it! I had never heard that as the reason before.

I dunno, to me that sounds like another example of documentaries not doing all their homework.

Leone and all his collaborators have stated before in past interviews, etc. that the producers didn't allow the "Once Upon a Time.." title simply because they reasoned that the public would confuse it with Bertolucci's "Before the Revolution."


To me, that seems the most likely reason.

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« Reply #51 on: January 27, 2011, 07:19:19 AM »

I strongly believe that"Once Upon A Time.. the Revolution" is the best title. That fits the essence of what Leone tried to convey in his other "Once Upon a Time" movies, ie. the justaposition of a fairy tale ("once upon a time") with a real concept (eg. America, the West, or the Mexican Revolution). eg. as how many real stories are sort of fairy tales, in that how they exist in someone's mind is not how they really were, and how people's dream of them is different from reality.
For example, people romanticize the West, or America, or the Mexican Revolution, but much of it is a fairy tale, hence "once upon a time."

 The title "Duck, You Sucker" (Leone erroneously believed that to be an American phrase, no matter how much the American actors tried convincing him otherwise) also conveys one of the themes of the film, ie. Leone's disillusionment with revolution, and possibly something of a counter to the many movies that were released at the time that glorified the Mexican Revolution. Leone did not believe in the ideals of revolution as did many of the big Leftists at the time. That is why he put that quote from Mao at the beginning: to show how while some people may glorify  revolutions, there is in fact nothing glorious about them. it is interesting to note that Sergio Donati, who was indeed a big leftist, did not like the film, or Leone's use of Mao's quote; I guess he would have preferred that leone had made another Viva Villa!
 Leone believed in staying out of things ("ducking," or "keeping your head down," as "Giu La Testa") and focusing on your own life and family. So the title "Duck, You Sucker" while not nearly as good as "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution," also conveys a theme of the film.

Fistful of Dynamite is a terrible title and conveys none of the themes of the film. After "Duck, You Sucker" did not do well in theaters in America Leone merely repackaged the film as "Fistful of Dynamite" to try to capitalize on the success of his earlier films.

It is interesting, as Christopher Frayling notes, that the countries where the film did best were those which used the title "Once Upon a Time... The Revolution." (I believe it was France and possibly some others)

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« Reply #52 on: January 27, 2011, 09:30:34 AM »

It is interesting, as Christopher Frayling notes, that the countries where the film did best were those which used the title "Once Upon a Time... The Revolution." (I believe it was France and possibly some others)

Let's not forget, though, that the OUATITW had also been a huge hit in France. This, I think, is a successful instance of a studio cashing in on a previous film's title (as the US/UK tried to do with the Fistful of Dynamite moniker). OUATITW did little-to-no business in America, so I doubt the Once Upon a Time... title for DYS would have made much difference.

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« Reply #53 on: January 27, 2011, 10:58:40 AM »

Let's not forget, though, that the OUATITW had also been a huge hit in France. This, I think, is a successful instance of a studio cashing in on a previous film's title (as the US/UK tried to do with the Fistful of Dynamite moniker). OUATITW did little-to-no business in America, so I doubt the Once Upon a Time... title for DYS would have made much difference.

that may well be so; though of course, trying to cash in on previous success with catchy titles didn't work for Leone when he repackaged DYS in America as "Fistful of Dynamite"!

btw, the only thing I dislike about DYS is the title! It is a terrific film. And the main musical theme is just incredible; Edda's voice makes you wanna cry!

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« Reply #54 on: January 28, 2011, 10:37:51 AM »

that may well be so; though of course, trying to cash in on previous success with catchy titles didn't work for Leone when he repackaged DYS in America as "Fistful of Dynamite"!

I think the scope of these 2 movies (FO$/FODynamite) are too different for that strategy to work. Not to forget that 1971 is pretty far from 1964.
OUATITW was such an amazing success in France, the Once Upon A Time title strategy could not fail. Same with OUATIA, which did good, but not "as good as a Leone film".

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« Reply #55 on: January 28, 2011, 10:41:03 AM »

And the main musical theme is just incredible; Edda's voice makes you wanna cry!

Yes. As much as I love OUATITW, this theme is my favourite.

I think the scope of these 2 movies (FO$/FODynamite) are too different for that strategy to work. Not to forget that 1971 is pretty far from 1964.

I think that's it. People who flat out love FOD might be a bit confused by DYS.

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« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2011, 03:13:12 PM »

Let's not forget, though, that the OUATITW had also been a huge hit in France. This, I think, is a successful instance of a studio cashing in on a previous film's title (as the US/UK tried to do with the Fistful of Dynamite moniker). OUATITW did little-to-no business in America, so I doubt the Once Upon a Time... title for DYS would have made much difference.

I was just checking the references in Frayling. It seems that Leone first made the comment on record about his original title "Once upon a Time, the Revolution" not being allowed due to Bertolucci's "Before the Revolution" in an article published in 1973.

The film was released in France in 1972, so this interview wouldn't have occurred too long afterwards. Consequently, while he still might have been making this story up on the basis of the French release, this would have happened very quickly after the original release in any case.

To me the situation seems very similar to the Dollars Trilogy. Leone only named the 'sequel' "For a Few Dollars More" to irritate Jolly film; with GBU, it then emerged as a loose trilogy. The "Once Upon a Time..." trilogy is similarly a loose trilogy (with one of the three films again not having the trilogy's name in the title), but this certainly makes it no less of a trilogy.

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« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2011, 05:46:35 PM »

Should have been
Once Upon A Time

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« Reply #58 on: July 01, 2011, 07:37:39 PM »

Should have been "Once Upon a Time in the Revolution".

The English title of OUATITW was able to add in when the original Italian didn't have it (as did the French title for OUATITW, but notably not for DYS), so I don't see why it shouldn't be added here. Since the name was never used outside of Italian, the decision was probably never made, but it's certainly better than "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution" or "Once Upon a Time, the Revolution" which are both awkward.

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« Reply #59 on: July 04, 2011, 10:56:51 PM »

Should have been "Once Upon a Time in the Revolution".

The English title of OUATITW was able to add in when the original Italian didn't have it (as did the French title for OUATITW, but notably not for DYS), so I don't see why it shouldn't be added here. Since the name was never used outside of Italian, the decision was probably never made, but it's certainly better than "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution" or "Once Upon a Time, the Revolution" which are both awkward.

I have to disagree with you here: IMO, "OUAT in the Revolution" would sound very weird; "OUAT... The Revolution" is a great title.

The theme of the film is how revolutions may initially seem great and romantic, but ultimately just cause death and destruction. The focus is not on the Mexican Revolution per se, nor on a specific incident or story that occurred in the film; rather it is on the whole concept of revolution itself, which Leone was taking a stand against ( my understanding is that Leone was opposing the film industry in Italy at the time  which was dominated by pro-revolutionary hardcore Leftists). Leone's "Once upon a time" titles in general connote the combination/juxtaposition of fantasy and reality; in the context of this film, it refers to how revolutionaries may view revolutions as all wonderful and romantic -- like a fairy tale ("once upon a time") -- but they are ultimately just violent and tragic.

"OUAT in the Revolution" seems to me to imply a reference to a specific incident that happened during the revolution, which IMO does not properly convey the theme of the movie, which is a reference to revolutions in general.

You may counter this by noting that OUATITW and OUATIA both use the word "in." The title and theme of both of those films also refer to a fairy tale involving a real place/time (ie. the Wild West and America, respectively, from Leone's foreign perspective). But since both of those titles refer to a specific place (the West and America), it makes sense to use the word "in." However, "the revolution" is more of a concept/idea and not a specific place; hence,  the word "in" sounds very awkward. IMO "Once Upon a Time... the Revolution" is a terrific title.

« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 11:04:11 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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