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Author Topic: bath-tub shot  (Read 3014 times)
Pablito
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« on: November 15, 2003, 11:19:57 PM »

I've looked over the back-pages here and I didn't see this mentioned before. If it has been mentioned, my apologies. I'd hate to get off on the wrong foot with my very first post.



When Tuco stands up to fire the last shot in the famous bath-tub scene, he has to reach over the stall and fire downwards, causing him to have to turn his hand sideways (palm towards the floor) to get off the shot. As everyone knows, this firing "technique" has now become a cliche in modern film-making, so much so that I recently saw it conspicuously parodied in a comedy film.

I don't know much about firearms, and I have no idea how useful this sideways (palm towards floor) style of firing would be, but I do know that it's fairly new in film-making and is very wide-spread.

Being that GBU was released in 1966, I'm thinking this might be one of the first instances of this kind of shot in films; and even though Tuco fires that way out of necessity, it still adds a stylish touch to the sequence, and I suspect that, given the film's huge influence, it might have rubbed off a bit on future generations.

Of course, I could be all wet.


I just watched the film again tonight, and I suppose I must have watched it close to fifty times. I'm delighted to find this forum. GBU is still in the top five of my all-time favorite films, and I think it's the greatest western ever made.

Thanks.

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KERMIT
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2003, 12:50:53 AM »

all three  $$'s films set a new pace in the use of firearms in film.  Grin  wallach used a finnesse in wiping off the soap suds from his pistol.  when tuco says "when you gotta shoot, shoot....ect", he seems cynically apologetic towards the man he shoots.  did wallach improvise, or did leone demonstrate how he wanted tuco's pistol to be held ?

as he is about to finish off one of the three bandits, hired by tuco to ambush him  in his hotel room,
blondie utters two words to the confused bandit. "your spurs". blondie seems to be holding his pistol in an almost efeminate way as he aproaches the remaining bandit he intents to eleminate.  

when either of these men want to make a point w/ pistol already drawn, they always cock their pistols, as if to say i told you nice the first time, or do it now.   Wink
did leone come up w/ this gesture ?

welcome PABLITO  Grin






« Last Edit: November 16, 2003, 01:26:16 AM by KERMIT » Logged
General Sibley
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2003, 06:16:54 AM »

Pablito, I think you're on to something there.  There's a few film majors on this site, and they can probably back you up on that.  Maybe that symbolizes the devolution of man?  I don't recall John  Wayne ever shooting that way  Wink

Tarantino is a huge Leone fan, and half of his characters use the "palm down" technique - it's become shorthand for ubercool bad guy nowadays.

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And what if your hand should shake a little?  And that Gringo so fast on the draw.
Sackett
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2003, 10:07:03 AM »

Holding a pistol sideways is an inaccurate way to shoot.
So is fanning by the way.  Anyway, in WW2, it was found that shooting machine guns buck off target when held upright.  The British began desiging theirs with special straps that would hold the gun sideways so that it would SPRAY lead in a horizontal direction, instead of vertical.
In today's movies, the fashion seems to hold your semi-auto sideways so that you may also spray lead in a horizontal way. Again, it is innacurate, but gangstas aren't interested in accuracy, they want to fire as many shots as possible and hopefully hit someone.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes the innocent that get hit from this ridiculous style of shooting.  But then gangstas don't care about who they hurt.

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Pablito
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2003, 03:29:42 PM »

Thanks, Kermit, for the welcome!

And thanks, GS and Mac for your replies.

Just wanted to mention that I remember the comedy film I refered to, which made a bit of a joke about the pervasive "palm-down" shooting style: it was "Bringing Down The House", with Steve Martin. I don't remember the exact details, but one of the characters is holding a gun on somebody, and another character politely reaches over and turns the pistol sideways for him, with an impatient "come on, do it right" sort of expression.

Interesting about Tarantino. In his films, as in Leone's, there seems to be a very narrow distinction between the "good" and the "bad" guys; but for me it's much harder to actually like the characters in any of the few Tarantino films I've seen than it is to like someone like Tuco, or Blondie, for instance.

And in closing, I just picked up "A Fistful Of Dollars" on DVD and I can't wait to watch it. My wife loved GBU (I'll pretend it had nothing to do with squinty Clint for the time being Undecided ), and is eager to see more in that vein.

You gotta realize, up until now her idea of a "western" is Vicente Fernandez and some really big hats.

See you around.

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Walter
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2003, 08:54:15 AM »

Holding a pistol sideways is an inaccurate way to shoot.
So is fanning by the way.  Anyway, in WW2, it was found that shooting machine guns buck off target when held upright.  The British began desiging theirs with special straps that would hold the gun sideways so that it would SPRAY lead in a horizontal direction, instead of vertical.
In today's movies, the fashion seems to hold your semi-auto sideways so that you may also spray lead in a horizontal way. Again, it is innacurate, but gangstas aren't interested in accuracy, they want to fire as many shots as possible and hopefully hit someone.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes the innocent that get hit from this ridiculous style of shooting.  But then gangstas don't care about who they hurt.

I think the reason Tuco held the gun sideways was in a way because it was the wrong way. He was not posing, just being careless and nonchalant, with the shot almost as an afterthought. Showing that to him, shooting comes natural and relaxed.

The gangstas do it the other way around, making everything a studied pose. Everything has to be a ritual with those guys, and Hollywood is picking that up.
I especially remember The Rock - a very silly and bad movie in my opinion, by the way - were a supposed Navy SEAL held the gun sideways. Yeah, right, like an extremely highly trained soldier would hold the gun like he was on the streets of South Central, LA....  Tongue  

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