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Sergio.L
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« on: January 11, 2008, 05:24:07 AM »

Here's a german interview from 1972 (after the release of Duck You Sucker)

http://images.zeit.de/text/1972/10/Zt19720310_013_0044_f

Sergio talks about OUATIA

*He said that he wanted to have Paul Newman or Steve McQueen for the part of Max.
*He said that the story is about a 70 year old gangster who returns to New York after 30 years to commit a contract killing (Max).
*Noodles realizes that politicians are the better gangsters
*Noodles commits the contract killing (!!!) and returns to his friends (new friends? I don't know... It's not in the interview)

Sergio also describes the opening sequence: it starts and ends with romantic sequences at the bottom of the Hudson
He said that the shooting starts during the next months (1972!!!)


Sergio also talks about the Don Quixote project, starring Jason Robards and Peter Ustinov



excuse my english. I tried my best to translate the interview

« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 07:15:30 AM by Sergio.L » Logged

Sergio.L
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 07:07:34 AM »

Many thanks, Sergio. L. Interesting stuff. Your english is a lot better than my german.  Afro

lol

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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 07:11:28 AM »

I've heard about the opening sequence (underwater cemetery). I think Leone's vision of the film changed a lot during the years and he had to make many cuts (Milchan forced him to do the cuts). I read in Frayling's book that Leone didn't have a final shooting script in 1972. So I think at that time Sergio wasn't quite sure himself how the story would end. He had a clear vision of the opening sequence (as with the Leningrad project).
But if Noodles would have killed Max the movie would not have been so metaphoric. Honestly I love all of Sergio's visions, but idea of a cement kimono sounds a little cheesy to me...
The version in 1972 would have been more based on The Hoods than the final film in 1984. 

« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 07:12:37 AM by Sergio.L » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2008, 12:40:48 PM »

This is an interview from a book called Italian Filmmakers Self Portraits

Gili:

With the passing of the years had the final screenplay become very different from the first adaptation?

Leone:

Yes, it had changed a lot. For example, there were, shall we say, historical things in the 1968 part that were clearly understandable; with the passing of the years, they became less so. We eliminated those. Initially the film was supposed to begin in a completely different way. I had written the first part with an American screenwriter who afterwards made a movie with Frankenheimer; he practically stole that first part by giving it to John Frankenheimer's 99 And 44/100 Dead. The film was released and it was a bad film; there's this sequence in the beginning that I wanted to do, a cemetery along the Hudson River. So, we changed the original screenplay a lot. I first started writing with Medioli and Arcalli, and then Arcalli died and I worked with Benvenuti and De Bernardi. I gave them all the childhood part, a little because I remembered a film that they had written with Franco Rossi, Friends For Life. Ferrini did the last part, that is, he collaborated with us on the writing of the final script, but the treatment was already finished when he joined

Gili:

Did the long period of waiting and the screenplay's long development help the film?

Leone:

I don't know. One thing is absolutely sure: the way it was conceived, the film was more than one film, it was two. Grimaldi, in fact, was hoping it would become two long episodes, a bit like 1900, and this, for better or for worse, was something that remained. Even after the cuts, it was constructed like that. This was so true that I still have an hour more to add for TV, an hour already edited but not dubbed, that would make the film four and a half hours long. Maybe you can tell where it was cut.... nevertheless, the film is rigorously structured. Clearly, the film might be a little bitter to taste, since it is born out of nothingness, that is, out of the limbo of opium. There's this character who appears and who, suddenly, in twenty minutes of the film, goes into oblivion and returns without the public knowing the characters' or story's background. Then little by little there's a long flashback to his childhood, which to me is crucial, since childhood, of course, is the platform for the entire story of this great friendship between two characters. It's a little like Once Upon A Time In The West , a dance of death with a man plunging into oblivion . If the film had a subtitle, it could also be called, " Once Upon A Time A Certain Kind Of Cinema". It's a homage to things that have interested me; we find here a preoccupation with death which, after fifty, comes automatically. I see that I've started reading the obituary columns now, though I never read them before

Gili:

How long did the shooting take?

Leone:

It lasted six or seven months, with a few short breaks and one month devoted to traveling. In fact, Once Upon A Time In America is equal to two films. If you consider that I shot Once Upon A Time In The West in fourteen weeks, automatically I needed thirty for this one






I've never heard of a version in which Noodles is fleeing the city by bus. but the opening sequence at the level crossing would have been great - but too expensive. he wanted to do that scene without cutting! Noodles young and old at the same time - I don't know how Leone would have done it...

I have another question:

In The Hoods the Combination's hired killers are called Mendy, Trigger and Muscels. In the final film they are called Mandy, Trigger and Beefy. But in an early script the three characters are totally different. They are called Sal, Carmine and Pasquale. Does someone know why?

And in The Hoods and in the early script there is a character called Salvy the Snake, a gay gangster. Was Salvy the Snake changed to Chicken Joe in the final movie?

« Last Edit: January 12, 2008, 12:48:14 PM by Sergio.L » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2008, 11:44:35 PM »

Salvy served the same function as Chicken Joe. I definitely think they're the same character.

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Sergio.L
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2008, 01:03:02 PM »

The phrase "cement kimono" is mentioned a couple of times in The Hoods and it seems to have been a popular method of getting rid of people at that time.  Leone does most scenes well and I don't suppose we'll ever know exactly how it would have turned out. 

Of course Leone would have done the scene well, but according to Leone's comments in Frayling's book, The Hoods is full of gangster cliches. Only the childhood sequences seemed to be realistic. And the idea of a corpse whose feet are set in concrete still sounds strange to me. But all of Sergio's ideas sounded like dreams - everything is larger than life. Nobody else than Leone could have handle such a scene.

There are many things in the film which viewers have to interpret for themselves. My reading is that when fleeing the city, Noodles goes to a Bus, Ferry & Railway Terminal. 

you could be right, but nobody knows it for sure.

I've not seen clarification on this but the dialog and the roles of the three are quite a bit different in the movie - presumably because only Frank Gio (Muscles/Beefy) had the Brooklyn accent De Niro was so keen on.

yeah, I think Frank Gio's accent is also the reason why he is the leader of the killer squad in the movie. In the book Mendy (Mandy) is the leader, but Brega did not speak any English.

Crowning's men in the early script were Salvy the Snake & Willie The Ape and these were changed in the movie to Chicken Joe and Willie The Ape. There's also another character in The Hoods called Chicken Flicker who's not used in the movie.

Fitzgerald (Fitz) was not used in the movie, too. He's an important character in the book. Leone had to cut him out.

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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2008, 01:06:15 PM »

Salvy served the same function as Chicken Joe. I definitely think they're the same character.

I think so, too.

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