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Author Topic: Harmonica's Tearing of Jill's Lace Bodice  (Read 22711 times)
KERMIT
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« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2004, 11:32:52 AM »

harmonica is telling jill early on in the film what cheyanne observes. get water to the men working. look sexy. improve moral. an get the town up.


« Last Edit: January 11, 2004, 02:38:18 PM by KERMIT » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2007, 06:44:18 AM »

Every once in a while you get something worth while off of an Imdb post, this is the best explanation of the lace tearing sequence that I've read.

Only one poster on our thread touched on it but didn't quite come this close.

(from rexknobus on Imdb.com)


Watch the scene again and pay real close attention to exactly what Harmonica does. He very clinically rips her dress apart, exposing her. He looks at her, not with lust, but with an artist's eye -- he's creating an image. He doesn't take any real pleasure in man-handling her. Look at his hands; he doesn't grab a quick feel. Look at his eyes; he looks away from her and outside. Then he sends her out to the well. He follows, grinning like an idiot, then does a slow turn as he takes off his jacket. The two assassins up on the hill see a beautiful woman with tussled clothing, and grinning fool who is unarmed and off-guard, off-guard because he just had a tumble in the hay with the beautiful women. Looks like a perfect time to ride in and kill them both. Ooops -- Harmonica had his pistol concealed in his hat and guns them down. Jill can only stare at him; not because he's the fastest gun, but because he's the smartest.

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« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2007, 12:45:09 PM »

I can agree with that...

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« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2007, 04:01:15 PM »

That's an interesting interpretation, but requires giving the boys on the hill a lot of credit. I doubt they can really see many details from that distance. The standard reading is more likely: Jill with lace looks like a tourist passing through, but without it looks like someone who is settling in, doing the chores, not very anxious to move on. The boys were probably told to give her the benefit of the doubt, give her time to clear out, etc. But when it looks like she intends staying, they swoop in for the kill (and Bronson, who is hanging back, they probably don't notice at all . . . until it's too late).

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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2007, 10:34:16 AM »

I agree Dave. I also think Harmonica was rough with her because she took a shot at him
the previous evening. But what else would he expect her to do???

« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 10:49:09 AM by geoman-1 » Logged
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« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2007, 03:13:28 AM »

I think rexknobus is right. And I think this scene where Harmonica tears up Jill clothes is not meant for those Frank's gangsters. It is a show for us. Leone took  a common clishe and turned it upside down. Tough unknown stranger is attacking beautiful widow, he is trying to rape her. Or does he? Sergio wanted to ruin our expectacions, and he suceeded entirely. If he doesn't want her body, then what does he want? Result: his actions are very odd to us, wich adds to the aureol of mystery around Harmonica's character. Also, this scene prepared us for future events in this movie. He is not after quick pleasure, that is what we can conclude from this scene; he is not after money either, we can see it from the auction scene and after when he returned "his farm" back to Jill.
So IMHO, this is only one step, a small revelation in Harmonica's character, which separates him from the other characters (all other characters are seeking some kind of materialistic satisfaction, at least at the begining of the movie; Jill-safety and money, Cheyenne-money, Frank-money, power, women).
Pleasures of our world have no meaning for Harmonica. IMO, the only two moments where he showed some kind of  emotions is (and I don't think it is coincidence both times in the interaction with Jill), bathtub scene-When he felt urge to explain to her why he spared Frank's life, and in the famous "someday" scene when he looks at her with those eyes. Jill is the only one that can reveal those "positive emotions" in Harmonicas mind, afection, maybe even love.
Of couse he felt something for Cheyenne when he dies, but those feelings are connected with Thanatos, Death and we can put them together with his feeligs about his brother.

 

« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 03:14:32 AM by poderator » Logged
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« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2007, 10:40:13 AM »

I think rexknobus is right. And I think this scene where Harmonica tears up Jill clothes is not meant for those Frank's gangsters. It is a show for us. Leone took  a common clishe and turned it upside down. Tough unknown stranger is attacking beautiful widow, he is trying to rape her. Or does he? Sergio wanted to ruin our expectacions, and he suceeded entirely. If he doesn't want her body, then what does he want? Result: his actions are very odd to us, wich adds to the aureol of mystery around Harmonica's character. Also, this scene prepared us for future events in this movie. He is not after quick pleasure, that is what we can conclude from this scene; he is not after money either, we can see it from the auction scene and after when he returned "his farm" back to Jill.
You've explained what Harmonica's actions are NOT, but you haven't said what they are. You are right that the stripping of the lace from Jill has dramatic impact, one SL intended for his audience. But SL's intentions are not Harmonica's. To put it another way, Harmonica doesn't know he is SL's puppet, he acts, from his POV, independently of the will of the director. So he has to have a reason for doing what he does, one that ties in with the plot. Stripping Jill is a strategy of some kind; he expects to gain some advantage thereby, and it has something to do with the gunmen on the hill. I've come to my own conclusion on the matter, but since we don't get a clear expression of intent from Harmonica, other interpretations are possible. That's part of the fun of the film.

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« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2007, 01:51:11 AM »

I wrote this on IMDB while ago, and I was refering to the dilemma expresed in the first post on this thread; was he or wasn't he "forcing himself on Jill". I think there is no doubt whatsoever that he tears Jill's lace was for a purpose of setting his trap. It the way he did it that I find mostly interesting.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064116/board/thread/84473244?d=84539898#84539898
So I don't think anyone here is thinking that Harmonica wanted to rape Jill. It was a perfect trap, sort of speak. I was refering not to the why Harmonica did what he did, but HOW?  To set trap for Franks men, is why, HOW he did it, rexnobus already explained.
So both POV are equally important for a plot, WHY- in order to kill Frank's men, and HOW- for us to see his true agenda.  Afro

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« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2007, 05:14:34 PM »

There is no doubt that Bronson was aware of the men on the hill and wanted to make Jill appear to be settled and staying, rather than overdressed and leaving.  For me, the crucial action by Bronson is to stop Jill getting his water from inside the house.  He makes her go out to the well - I like my water fresh - and this causes the two men to take their chance.

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« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2007, 05:29:09 PM »

Yes, it is the very picture of domesticity, a woman going out to the well for water. It is the action of someone planning to stay, hence, the decision by the men to ride her down.

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« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2008, 01:45:11 PM »

A Marxist perspective:

Quote
...Jill arrives in McBain's Sweetwater . . . wearing the fine clothes . . . that apparently her profession has enabled her to afford. Then Harmonica literally recuts her dress by tearing off the long sleeves and lace in a series of gestures that look like rape but turn out to be his attempt to mold her into some kind of superpeasant, whose now partially exposed breasts suggest her maternal relation to the new social order that is struggling to be born out of the masculine desert. (182, 183)

Quote
Harmonica cannot be killed because in some sense he is already dead. But, for the same reason, he is not really capable of love and the communal social identity that love makes possible. Yet he fosters such a community in his attempt to shape Jill into the kind of revolutionary subject he cannot be. After he recuts her fancy dress in the scene that resembles a rape, he tells her to fetch him some water from the well because he likes his water fresh. Though this request is actually a stratagem that enables him to gun down the men Frank has sent to kill Jill, it also articulates symbolically his relation to Jill, since he is part of death's landscape that only Jill's water can revive. Even Frank recognizes a tremendous life force in Jill that makes him regret having to kill her. In this respect, Frank, Cheyenne, and Harmonica share the same death drive that finds its only possible reversal in Jill's vitality, which takes the form of sexual pleasure for Frank, coffee for Cheyenne, and water for Harmonica. (185)
Work Cited
Patrick McGee, From Shane to Kill Bill: Rethinking the Western (2007)

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« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2008, 12:16:38 PM »

So we got another man who says Harmonica is not a living man.  Afro

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« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2008, 03:32:14 PM »

He may not be speaking literally . . .

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« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2008, 04:00:42 PM »

   when I was a student in fine art faculty(movie depertment), I asked this one of my teacher,who also helped me to finish my thesis.Anyway He told me , Sergio Leone usually(not always of course) uses simple images and most of time he brakes all classic cliches.
 in this scene He does both of them.Charles Bronson appears like a rapist which is also very similar to Clint Eastwood (FOD).He tears off Jill's Lace just to terminate her New Orleans backround.Now she is in the middle of wild west!!!
  I will also share some interesting stuff about DYS and FOD!!!
 

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« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2008, 08:28:42 PM »

Again, it is important to distinguish between proximate motives (why the characters do what they do), and ultimate motives (why the filmmaker has the characters do what they do). Harmonica has a specific stratagem in mind, one that requires a change in Jill's wardrobe. As it happens, this new look fits in with one of the narrative arcs of the story: the transformation of Jill from a New Orleans whore into the respectable proprietress of Sweetwater Station. And since Jill also functions symbolically--she is the personification of Civilization--the fact that Harmonica has a hand in that transformation speaks to one of the film's themes: violence makes civilization possible, but once it has begun, civilization must banish violence from its midst if it is to survive.

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