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Author Topic: Visual Motifs (Doors, Mirrors, Timepieces)  (Read 17456 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2012, 08:32:05 AM »

just looking through an old thread and found this comment on the mirrors http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=37.msg1997#msg1997

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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2012, 09:50:53 PM »

                                                MIRRORS

There are at least 5 times in OUATIA where I can recall the scene involving mirrors (if I'm missing any, please add 'em!)

A) in one of the most memorable scenes in the film,young Noodles looks in a mirror as he is escaping New York; then we are immediately introduced to old Noodles 35 years later, looking into the same mirror

B) As the gang (in its first scene as children) walk in the crowded streets of the Lower East Side, they pause to look into a mirror on the street.

C) When Noodles returns to Fat Moe's after having been gone for a while  --(dating and raping Deborah, "seeing her off" at the train station, spending time "by the Chinks" mourning her," -- he looks into a mirror as he walks into the back room.

D) Noodles's meeting with "old" Deborah takes place entirely in front of a completely mirrored wall

E) Bailey's study has a couple of small mirrors on the wall



What's the significance of all this?

B occurs just after Deborah says, "Just look at yourself, David Aaronson!" So the theme has something to do with people "seeing themselves"; I remember someone once said that at the end, when Secretary Bailey looks out the window at his young son, he is "looking at himself," as a youngster.



I think I agree with you on the importance of Deborah and her association with mirrors. It's a significant association.  When young Deborah says look at yourself to Noodles, it affects him for the rest of his life.  He seems to be "measuring" himself each time he looks at himself.  In addition,  I think older Noodles sees his own mortality.  Quite natural.  Particularly when he returns to the train station and looks in the glass.  I think this is what he sees.  I think Jill in OUATITW is going through this same type of process when she's looking in the mirror left alone at Sweetwater.  She's considering where she is in life, what could of been, what to do, what are the possibilities for her now......

Under B when the group looks in the mirror, there's one observation I would like to add.  I don't think it's an original thought but it's not on this thread.  Not sure if it could be on another thread.  When Domenic looks in the mirror, he sees death.  He sees his own death.  Mirrors in some literature and other films (such as Cocteau's Orphee) are associated with death.






SL fixes his camera on the reflection of the wagon so as to foreshadow the scene in which Domenic dies in the arms of Noodles by the wagon wheel.


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« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2012, 04:03:55 PM »


I think I agree with you on the importance of Deborah and her association with mirrors. It's a significant association.  When young Deborah says look at yourself to Noodles, it affects him for the rest of his life.  He seems to be "measuring" himself each time he looks at himself.  In addition,  I think older Noodles sees his own mortality.  Quite natural.  Particularly when he returns to the train station and looks in the glass.  I think this is what he sees.  I think Jill in OUATITW is going through this same type of process when she's looking in the mirror left alone at Sweetwater.  She's considering where she is in life, what could of been, what to do, what are the possibilities for her now......

Under B when the group looks in the mirror, there's one observation I would like to add.  I don't think it's an original thought but it's not on this thread.  Not sure if it could be on another thread.  When Domenic looks in the mirror, he sees death.  He sees his own death.  Mirrors in some literature and other films (such as Cocteau's Orphee) are associated with death.






SL fixes his camera on the reflection of the wagon so as to foreshadow the scene in which Domenic dies in the arms of Noodles by the wagon wheel.



That's an interesting point  Afro Although it would only be possible to pick up on it with multiple viewings.

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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2012, 05:46:01 AM »

That's an interesting point  Afro Although it would only be possible to pick up on it with multiple viewings.
I don't think something like that is meant to be "picked up" consciously. It's a nice and subtle touch if it is in fact intentional, but I think it's meant to have a subconscious effect on you.

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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2012, 12:47:41 PM »

I still say that Deb should have looked older when she was looking at herself in the mirror, but as she actually DID appear when "seen" through Noodles' eyes.

And I didn't like casting of McGovern, she had no charisma compared to Connelly.  You could tell then that Connelly had "it".

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« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2012, 12:55:45 PM »

And I didn't like casting of McGovern, she had no charisma compared to Connelly.  You could tell then that Connelly had "it".
Yup.

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« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2012, 10:14:18 PM »

I don't know why so many people didn't like McGovern. I thought she was terrific.

I mean, maybe you think she wasn't as hot as the other girls, but she is different, she is supposed to be the nice sweet girl, as opposed to Carol and Eve who are more the "gangster molls," they are blondes, and Deborah is the good girl, traditionally indicated by the brunette. You have to believe that she is nice and sweet and pretty enough that Noodles would actually fall for her, and I think it's believable. Even if you think the others are hotter. And her acting performance is just fine too. Really, I think it's unfair how much criticism McGovern gets here.


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« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2012, 05:19:55 AM »

Lol I wouldn't call her "nice". She's far more dangerous than any other girl! And she's a bit hotter than Peggy, but maybe that's just me Wink

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« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2012, 06:31:23 AM »

Lol I wouldn't call her "nice". She's far more dangerous than any other girl! And she's a bit hotter than Peggy, but maybe that's just me Wink

haha in the movie Peggy is actually a combination of two girls from The Hoods: Peggy and Fanny. Fanny was a fat girl that Noodles made out with in the bathroom; Peggy was the whore who later ran her own brothel. The movies just combines them into one girl. (It's one of several places that the movie combines characters from the book).

btw, in the book, Peggy is supposed to be a great whore (it doesn't explicitly say that she is hot; but I guess it can be assumed if she is this great whore). The gang helps her out after she has problems cuz some guy holds up the whole place a few times. This part isn't brought out as clearly in the movie; in the movie, we just happen to see them in her office getting paid, so it can be assumed that they provide protection for the brothel, or perhaps are silent owners of it, but it's never really mentioned. Also, in the movie she says "I work in a high class joint now, where they pay me by the pound." That's a bit inaccurate; as we see later on, she actually runs the joint!

the whorehouse is an amazing set. as with so many Leone/Simi sets, it's based on paintings (I forgot whose). how many other directors would go to such lengths to decorate a set like that, which is used for one scene?  It adds so much; every scene is so great to look at for the production design alone. IMO OUATIA has the greatest production design of any movie ever. Just unbelievable. As Frayling often says, the production design by Carlo Simi is one of those aspects of Leone's movies that is still underrated.

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« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2012, 10:11:15 AM »

I don't know why so many people didn't like McGovern. I thought she was terrific.

I mean, maybe you think she wasn't as hot as the other girls, but she is different, she is supposed to be the nice sweet girl, as opposed to Carol and Eve who are more the "gangster molls," they are blondes, and Deborah is the good girl, traditionally indicated by the brunette. You have to believe that she is nice and sweet and pretty enough that Noodles would actually fall for her, and I think it's believable. Even if you think the others are hotter. And her acting performance is just fine too. Really, I think it's unfair how much criticism McGovern gets here.

Completely agree with you. Yes Connelly was sweeter and had more charisma but that is obvious bcos she was a child. The older Deborah will have more of the cares of life and will be more sober..more repressed. This is a film about time and its effect on characters. Noodles is certainly more spontaneous when younger, and serious and sober when older. the child hood sequencs are the most engaging and the adult sequences are more sober and melancholy. Leone knew what he was doing when he directed this film! Smiley


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« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2012, 10:29:23 AM »

Lol I wouldn't call her "nice". She's far more dangerous than any other girl!

Ultimately yes, she turns out a bit different, and that is one of the many ironies of the movie.

But during the days before she went to Hollywood, I think that McGovern is absolutely believable as a girl that Noodles would fall for. When someone goes head over heels for someone else, it is usually about more than just looks; there is some deep connection that they feel. Though looks are important of course. McGovern's job is to be believable as a character that Noodles would fall for. Even if you may not think she's that hot, the point is that it is absolutely believable IMO that Noodles falls for her. Both in looks and personality. Yeah, he screws around with whores and random babes, but there is one girl that he MUST have, that really means something to him. and not getting her destroys him.

IMO McGovern as Deborah is as good a casting decision as any.


and btw, I was reading on p. 445 of STDWD that Larry Rapp, the actor who played Fat Moe "was... a newcomer to film -- he was a garment salesman who sent his photograph to a casting agent friend on the off-chance." I think Rapp was simply awesome, one of the best performances in the movie (btw,  according to imdb, he was in one previous movie http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0710858/ )

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« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2012, 09:05:37 AM »

I'd guess Rapp is a friend of Joe Pesci as they've appeared in several films together. 

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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2013, 11:56:49 PM »

Wow, I need to pay even closer attention the next time I watch it, there's so much to look for and look at.

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