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Author Topic: Jason Robards  (Read 20657 times)
General Sibley
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2003, 05:54:32 AM »

These are all good points, especially Cheyenne needing to be "slow,slow,slow".   The character is critical to tying things together, and that's why I don't like Robards in the part.

He's supposed to be this brutal desprerado coming to the end of the line, and looking to get out of the business and settle down.  But again, just my opinion, I never find anything in Robard's performance to convince me that he's some superbadman.  

Kermit asked about who could be better?  Was just kidding about Wallach, he'd be way over the top and you don't want anyone chewing the scenery in this role.  But Karl Malden comes to mind - very versatile, quiet and understated, slow if you will.  And I'm sure he could play a believable killer who would be nasty enough to also keep a gang of likewise similar killers under control.

This character has to be a leader of a pack of killer wolves - someone who is always being challenged by the young dogs and is mean enough to instill fear in them.  Is Robards convincing as the alpha dog?  IMO he's not.   He might have been more believable as a brooding loner like Harmonica, but he's not a leader who can keep the subordinates in line with fear like Frank.

I'd take him on in a second, and this character should be someone that you would never ever want to challenge.  I don't care if he has to reveal a softer side or not, he still needs to put the fear of God into you.

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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2003, 08:58:44 AM »

karl good but the director chose robards.
the beauty of leone is the his method.
gonzo kinda guy.  Grin

« Last Edit: December 06, 2003, 08:59:15 AM by KERMIT » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2003, 09:59:37 AM »

Jason Robard's character is absolutely brilliant! I think he showed a versatility; to be able to be mean and thoughtful. The bar room scene is very complex in terms of everyones different emotions. Jill is scared then confused of Cheyenne, Harmonica is cool but looking for information and Cheyenne himself is conveying an appreciation of Jill albeit slightly crude. His attitude towards Harmonica is provoking, contemptous and then later he shows admiration for him. My point is Jason Robards was able to show all those different emotions to those different actors perfectly.
Once upon a Time |in the West is supposed to show the death of the stereotypical characters in the west so it is obvious that the outlaw character must be an actor like Jason Robards- a liile mean but not completely, He is at 'the end of the line' as Frank so aptly put it to Harmonica.


I totally agree and have always thought the same myself.  To me, Robard's just some old man who looks like he should be working in a horse stable.  But maybe Leone meant it that way.  After all, listen to Cheyenne's music.  Not as dark as Harmonica's or Frank's.

I would have preferred a more menancing Cheyenne.  I think the scene where he's introduced: enters the swinging doors and slowly looks up, eyes shifting, is silly.  The way he drops his shoulders and raises his head looks fake.

That said, however, could the movie have handled three hardened personalities?  Was Cheyenne there to lighten it up in places?  

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General Sibley
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« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2003, 01:09:54 PM »

I just caught a glimpe of "Cincinnati Kid" last night, which is what reminded me of what a fine character actor Karl Malden was.   He was great as the cuckold "Shooter", but then he could also play a tough-as-nails priest in "On the Waterfront".  You'd never imagine him getting the girl, which is why he would have been good as the guy who pines after Jill but never wins her heart.

He played up against some very charismatic leading men (Brando, McQueen) and still held his own without having to emote or hunch his shoulders or glue on some silly whiskers to convey some weight and dignity and power on the screen.  Plus he had enough of a sense of humor that he could have added some of the lightness that was needed for the role.

Sorry for straying a little, but I still think Robards sucked as Cheyenne  Wink

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General Sibley
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« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2003, 01:18:42 PM »

Oh, and another strike against Robards -

Could you make any argument that Eastwood, Wallach and Van Cleef didn't totally nail their parts in GBU?

Woods & DeNiro in OUTIA?

Or Fonda & Bronson in OUTITW?

Seems to be 50/50 re Robards in this thread, any of the above wouldn't never be questioned.

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« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2003, 02:51:57 PM »

Actually. Ive never got around Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes, Apart from the particular nasty opening....
Colonel Mortimer is too ingrained in my head. I find it very hard to watch sometimes. This is more of a personal opinion thou really.  Undecided

Not sayin he isn't a nasty piece of work in GBU.

Who else could you suggest for the Cheyenne part?
I keep coming up with similiar actor performances in my head.
Lee Marvin, but he ain't gonna make a convining half breed.  Undecided
Anthony Quinn would be too overblown.. but mexican.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2003, 02:58:26 PM by The Smoker » Logged

General Sibley
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2003, 03:58:11 AM »

That's right, I completely forgot that the Cheyenne character is supposed to be a half-breed.  Robards is so utterly convincing on that account too.  Half of what, Bronx & Brooklyn?   Robard's Cheyenne is as believable as Tony Curtis doing Shakespeare, "What light on yonda window breaks".

And hey, hey, hey - no cracking on Angel Eyes!  He's the best Grim Reaper of all time, "Make sure they get the good treatment" - gulp.

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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2003, 06:09:09 AM »

Cheyenne isn't excactly the villain of the piece, hence he doesn't have to be as menacing as Frank. I think Robards does a wonderful job, and he is utterly convincing as an ageing bandit wanting to leave his past behind him.

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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2003, 09:14:22 AM »

Richard Boone might have been able to do a good job of playing Cheyene, if we are not looking for someone that looks more Mexican

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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2003, 03:03:50 PM »

Oh, and another strike against Robards -

Could you make any argument that Eastwood, Wallach and Van Cleef didn't totally nail their parts in GBU?

Woods & DeNiro in OUTIA?

Or Fonda & Bronson in OUTITW?

Seems to be 50/50 re Robards in this thread, any of the above wouldn't never be questioned.

Not that I would make any such suggestions, but I know of a lot of people who criticize Fonda and Bronson.  (which p***es me off) And Van Cleef as well.  I even know of Leone fans who dislike OUATITW.  

Personally, I think you should get off Robards' case.  He did fine.

But anyway, Karl Malden would've done a great job . . . Wink

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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2003, 01:59:46 AM »

Richard Boone might have been able to do a good job of playing Cheyene, if we are not looking for someone that looks more Mexican
hec ramsey meets cheyene.
like clint, boone got his start on american t.v. westerns.
i wonder what richard boone,s schedule was back then.
hombre was being filmed ?
boone could get pretty sadistic w/out a word said.
i can hear richard boone now after gunning down someone he really wanted to avoid. " this is the part i hate the most...groan".  Grin

« Last Edit: December 08, 2003, 02:26:34 AM by KERMIT » Logged
General Sibley
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2003, 07:58:27 AM »

Someone found fault with Angel Eyes?   Shocked Wow, tough crowd.

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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2003, 08:00:08 AM »

Boone's reply in Hombre. "Well now, I wonder what hell is going to look like."

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« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2003, 05:26:44 PM »

Someone found fault with Angel Eyes?   Shocked Wow, tough crowd.

There's just no pleasing some people, General.  Here's a comment I came across on the IMDb:
Quote
deus12ex
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Date: 24 September 2003
Summary: Great Score - shame about the film.

3 men out west seek hidden loot in the civil war.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly starts brilliantly, with each of the three in question shown in their own opening scenario. Eastwood is quickly established as the 'Good', Van Cleef the 'Bad' and Eli Wallach as the 'ugly'. Though generally there's no difference in their characters, as they all steal, kill and betray. Blondie (Eastwood) and the ugly repeatedly steal from the law by collecting ransom demands for the latter, not stopping at one to forgo the increasing value on his head. Van Cleef murders anyone for money. There a rather spirited bunch. From their on the experience becomes tedious and very slow. There are some great set-pieces including a battle on a bridge involving hundreds of extras, and the standoff at the end is excellently done, with extreme close-ups that heighten the tension. Once again the Italian scenery is efficiently, if excessively used. It's just a shame that it's alloyed by Wallach's hamming and a ten minute scene of Eastwood crossing the desert - sound exciting ?. The film is badly dubbed but even this doesn't mar the enjoyment as much as Ugly's cringe worthy sentimental scene with his brother, superfluous ? -not entirely. It does lead to some 'Good-Ugly' relationship humour which is where most of the film gets it's laughs. To be fair, none of the humour seems out of place with all the explosions and blood as the film doesn't take itself entirely seriously (Sergio Leone seems to have been satisfied with the over-the-top performances by virtually every character except Eastwood and Van Cleef). But this doesn't matter - because the score is one of the best for any western ever.

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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2003, 02:12:58 AM »

I think Robards did a very good job in OUTIW, he brings much humanity to the film.  I dare even say he's the only character we care about.  We're intruiged by Harmonica, we like to see beautiful Cardinale and her Italian temper, but Cheyenne is the one we care about.  I think he's essential to the film.  Actually you couldn't take anybody away from the script, because al the characters seem in perfect balance.

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