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Author Topic: The Prison camp orchestra (two-part question).  (Read 17033 times)
Calamity Jane
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« on: September 09, 2008, 10:25:33 PM »

I don't know if this question has been asked before, but here it goes:  Does anyone know why the actors in the orchestra at the prison camp have not been listed on the GBU credits?  There's no mention of them on the IMBD site.  Just curious because the camera focuses on them on and off through the whole scene of Tuco getting beaten.   

My second question in relation to the orchestra is, why does the camera zoom in on the fiddle player - the one that stops playing in the middle of the song - what was the reason he stopped playing the fiddle?  Here's my guess so you can say whether or not I'm right on this.  The only thing I can see in that scene when he stops (and even shortly before he does) is that he's looking through the window and knows what is going on inside; he can see Tuco getting beaten and, when Tuco is thrown a hefty punch by Wallace, he gets thrown back against the wall by the force of the punch.  The fiddle player sees this and it was too shocking or disturbing for him to continue playing. It also appears as if he's shedding a few tears because of the brutality that Tuco is going through.  I take it, the fiddle player is familiar with the 'routine' of prisoners getting beaten and tortured in that building.  What's your take on this scene?  It has grabbed my curiosity, so I thought I'd post this to see what everyone else believes, thinks or knows about this scene.  Thanks!   Wink

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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2008, 11:34:35 PM »

(1) don't know

(2) Agree about the fiddler.

Good story on the DVD extras how Mickey Knox came up with the "more feeling" dialog bit.

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2008, 12:45:43 AM »

Yeah - got that right!   That was a great line in the movie, I have to say, regardless of how brief that scene is - Cheesy

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2008, 12:53:03 AM »

The way I take that scene with the fiddler, he's sitting (or standing) in 'perfect alignment' with the window of the building where Wallace is beating Tuco and can see what's going on inside.  It's as if he's directly in-line with the window and thus, has a view of what happens inside.   What I also don't get is why the camera focuses briefly on those other two guys - the one with the freckle-face and the other that has a blank stare.  The only thing I can think of or make of that is that they, too, know what goes on inside that building and are not liking the inhumane treatment of the prisoners - I don't know.  That's the only assumption I can come up with on that.  As for the fiddler, I think that, by switching the camera back and forth from Tuco to the fiddler and back to Tuco, it's as if Leone is trying to say that we have to pay attention to the fiddler because 'he knows something' or he is greatly distressed and disturbed by what's happening to the prisoners, including Tuco.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 12:42:54 PM by Calamity Jane » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2008, 01:45:28 AM »

I don't know if this question has been asked before, but here it goes:  Does anyone know why the actors in the orchestra at the prison camp have not been listed on the GBU credits?  There's no mention of them on the IMBD site.  Just curious because the camera focuses on them on and off through the whole scene of Tuco getting beaten.   

My second question in relation to the orchestra is, why does the camera zoom in on the fiddle player - the one that stops playing in the middle of the song - what was the reason he stopped playing the fiddle?  Here's my guess so you can say whether or not I'm right on this.  The only thing I can see in that scene when he stops (and even shortly before he does) is that he's looking through the window and knows what is going on inside; he can see Tuco getting beaten and, when Tuco is thrown a hefty punch by Wallace, he gets thrown back against the wall by the force of the punch.  The fiddle player sees this and it was too shocking or disturbing for him to continue playing. It also appears as if he's shedding a few tears because of the brutality that Tuco is going through.  I take it, the fiddle player is familiar with the 'routine' of prisoners getting beaten and tortured in that building.  What's your take on this scene?  It has grabbed my curiosity, so I thought I'd post this to see what everyone else believes, thinks or knows about this scene.  Thanks!   Wink

A couple of years ago Diego Montero, a GBU fan in Salas de los Infantes, organized a  GBU 40th Anniversary celebration in Salas. A couple of the band members were there, including one of the harmonica players and a singer. They said that the the band consisted of real musicians and they were paid very well for the part. They had to rub a powder in their eyes to make them red and watery etc. The scene was probably inspired by a John Taylor Civil War sketch (made late 1800s) showing a band of prisoners sitting in a half circle and playing music. Carlo Simi had a copy of the sketch and there is a still showing both the sketch and Sergio  Leone! The musicians were not part of an established band (they were from Salas and nearby towns) and it would have been awkward to credit all of these extras. I had an interview with one of the musicians, and Diego Montero gave me the names of most of the band members - I will include the interview + photos/names in my GBU book when it finally comes out. I have a large stack of text plus a large stack of the page designs (i.e. photos). There are quite a lot of DVD frames and it would be nice to replace them all with higher resolution Blu-Ray framegrabs.
The camera focuses on one of the fiddle players to capture his emotions etc. I think the fiddle player had his back to Angel Eyes's barracks. One of the prisoners explains to Blondie that Wallace keeps beating as long as the music plays.

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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2008, 02:24:09 AM »

Yes, I think the camera focuses on the fiddle player as he can see exactly what is happening to Tuco in the hut. It's all part of the creating the tension. I also believe he has the perfect face for a 'young soldier drafted into the war going through hell'.
As you say when Tuco receives a particularly nasty punch from Wallace he, and others look away.
We are supposed to get the impression that this was routine within the camp.
I think it says in the DVD extras how Leone got this idea from either concentration camps or POW camps of WWII.
Plus the dude next to CLint tells us "Wallace will punch your friend as long as the song goes. So many of us have had a session in there."
They used to cut that bit just leaving him looking at Blondie and then looking away again. Something that always left me puzzled!

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2008, 12:48:47 PM »

Yes, I think the camera focuses on the fiddle player as he can see exactly what is happening to Tuco in the hut. It's all part of the creating the tension. I also believe he has the perfect face for a 'young soldier drafted into the war going through hell'.
As you say when Tuco receives a particularly nasty punch from Wallace he, and others look away.
We are supposed to get the impression that this was routine within the camp.
I think it says in the DVD extras how Leone got this idea from either concentration camps or POW camps of WWII.
Plus the dude next to CLint tells us "Wallace will punch your friend as long as the song goes. So many of us have had a session in there."
They used to cut that bit just leaving him looking at Blondie and then looking away again. Something that always left me puzzled!

That was my thought exactly; that the fiddler can see Tuco being punched and beaten and so, the inhumane treatment of Tuco and the prisoners gets his emotions going.    I've noticed that the band members looked away when the fiddler stopped playing his violin.  When he starts playing, the others look at him, but why, I don't know.   When I get the 2-disc DVD, I'll certainly watch the interviews and the extras - sounds like it would be very interesting to hear all the little details.  Cheesy

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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2008, 01:28:18 PM »

I don't think any member of the orchestra necessarily has to see what's going on to know what's happening. Like the guy tells Blondie, torture sessions with Wallace is a regular feature of camp life. So the fiddler can be picturing the action in his mind and that would be enough to make him break down.

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2008, 01:59:05 PM »

A couple of years ago Diego Montero, a GBU fan in Salas de los Infantes, organized a  GBU 40th Anniversary celebration in Salas. A couple of the band members were there, including one of the harmonica players and a singer. They said that the the band consisted of real musicians and they were paid very well for the part. They had to rub a powder in their eyes to make them red and watery etc. The scene was probably inspired by a John Taylor Civil War sketch (made late 1800s) showing a band of prisoners sitting in a half circle and playing music. Carlo Simi had a copy of the sketch and there is a still showing both the sketch and Sergio  Leone! The musicians were not part of an established band (they were from Salas and nearby towns) and it would have been awkward to credit all of these extras. I had an interview with one of the musicians, and Diego Montero gave me the names of most of the band members - I will include the interview + photos/names in my GBU book when it finally comes out. I have a large stack of text plus a large stack of the page designs (i.e. photos). There are quite a lot of DVD frames and it would be nice to replace them all with higher resolution Blu-Ray framegrabs.
The camera focuses on one of the fiddle players to capture his emotions etc. I think the fiddle player had his back to Angel Eyes's barracks. One of the prisoners explains to Blondie that Wallace keeps beating as long as the music plays.

That's amazing - wish I had been there for that!  Even to meet the attending band members would have really been a huge treat!  I'm not quite sure where Salas is, but I never said I was good in geography either - lol.  If I was able to go to the 40th anniversary of the movie, I certainly would have wasted NO time finding it on the map - lol.    It's fantastic that Diego knew the names of the band members - that's wonderful, considering they weren't credited - Cheesy   I can't wait for your book to come out!  I'll make sure I'm the first in line to get it - lol.   Are you going to have a 'GBU trivia' page with little oddities and interesting trivia about the movie?  If not, there's an idea for you to add to it   Afro.  

When the camera zooms in on the fiddler, you can clearly see his eyes are focused on something intense, which of course, has to be nothing else but Tuco getting his butt kicked in the building.    Do you know the name of the actor that plays the fiddler?  If not, that would be another great little tidbit to research so that you can include it in your book, eh?  Cheesy  Just some ideas for you.  I, too, am an aspiring writer, but I write screenplays, though not even close to finishing them yet.  I'm working on two right now, but I haven't made much progress with them in a while - have to get back to working on them, now that I'm in-between jobs; not working, though I am looking - lol.

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 02:03:28 PM »

I don't think any member of the orchestra necessarily has to see what's going on to know what's happening. Like the guy tells Blondie, torture sessions with Wallace is a regular feature of camp life. So the fiddler can be picturing the action in his mind and that would be enough to make him break down.

I don't know, DJ.  As I stated in my previous post, when the camera zooms in on the fiddle player, you can clearly see that his eyes are fixed on something, which I think is the hut.  Considering the band isn't that far from the hut, it appears as though he can clearly see through the window.  If you notice in the shot where Wallace throws a punch and Tuco gets slammed against the wall, the camera goes right to the fiddle player - he stops playing because he's overcome with emotion.  If the fiddle player couldn't see what was happening inside the hut, then he would have continued playing, having not seen the heavy blow that Tuco got from Wallace.   That's just an observation and conclusion I've come up with from those two scenes between the fiddler and Tuco's beating.

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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 02:08:31 PM »

A couple of years ago Diego Montero, a GBU fan in Salas de los Infantes, organized a  GBU 40th Anniversary celebration in Salas. A couple of the band members were there, including one of the harmonica players and a singer. They said that the the band consisted of real musicians and they were paid very well for the part. They had to rub a powder in their eyes to make them red and watery etc. The scene was probably inspired by a John Taylor Civil War sketch (made late 1800s) showing a band of prisoners sitting in a half circle and playing music. Carlo Simi had a copy of the sketch and there is a still showing both the sketch and Sergio  Leone! The musicians were not part of an established band (they were from Salas and nearby towns) and it would have been awkward to credit all of these extras. I had an interview with one of the musicians, and Diego Montero gave me the names of most of the band members - I will include the interview + photos/names in my GBU book when it finally comes out. I have a large stack of text plus a large stack of the page designs (i.e. photos). There are quite a lot of DVD frames and it would be nice to replace them all with higher resolution Blu-Ray framegrabs.
The camera focuses on one of the fiddle players to capture his emotions etc. I think the fiddle player had his back to Angel Eyes's barracks. One of the prisoners explains to Blondie that Wallace keeps beating as long as the music plays.

That's interesting. I would expect that if the band consisted of real musicians it wouldn't be so obvious that at least some of them are not actually playing. This is particularly noticeable with the younger fiddler and the flute player. It is also clear that the purported singers are moving their lips when nothing is being sung, so at best they are totally out of sync with the tune (an editing problem?) and at worst they are not singing. However, if we can ignore those details, it is quite a dramatic scene and the expressions in the prisoner's faces are priceless (except, perhaps, for the one behind the young fiddler, who seems to be smiling and about to start laughing for a few seconds).

For the ones who have the special edition DVDs, I think that the deleted scene included in the second DVD depicting Tuco's extended torture is definitely worth watching. Personally, I don't know why that scene was not included in the movie DVD. I would expect that with nowadays' technology, that scene could have been digitally cleaned and restored (though they state it could not). Oh well, maybe in the "next" version (somehow, I think/hope there will me more and better versions in the future).

« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 02:12:17 PM by Bandolero » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2008, 01:40:56 AM »

I don't think any member of the orchestra necessarily has to see what's going on to know what's happening. Like the guy tells Blondie, torture sessions with Wallace is a regular feature of camp life. So the fiddler can be picturing the action in his mind and that would be enough to make him break down.
Totally. I think it's an important part of the scene that the players don't see what's going on but they still know. Because the fiddler probably has been through the same beating he knows what's going on, but because he can't see Tuco's beating he can only imagine it and that's even worse since your imagination can be much more cruel than reality.

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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2008, 09:48:26 AM »

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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2008, 02:17:50 AM »

Totally. I think it's an important part of the scene that the players don't see what's going on but they still know. Because the fiddler probably has been through the same beating he knows what's going on, but because he can't see Tuco's beating he can only imagine it and that's even worse since your imagination can be much more cruel than reality.

I agree, it's not clear if the playing soldier can see what is happening inside the hut, but sure they know, both because they already played before during prisoners torture (as tells a soldier to Blondie), and also because they can hear the screams coming from inside: in fact the fiddler stops playing after Tuco screams louder than ever, and then the union soldier tells them to play louder in order to cover Tuco screamings.

By the way, just a curiosity: the actor playing this union soldier is the same in Gił la testa playing the second train officer killed by Juan while he's travelling to Mesa Verde (the "job" he made together with Villega). I don't know his name but the guy is surely italian. In the torture scene when he tells the players to play louder you can see his labial clearly saying "Pił forte!", in italian meaning "Louder!"

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Calamity Jane
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2008, 02:36:39 PM »

I never heard the union soldier telling the band to 'play louder' - he only says "More feeling", then soon afterwards, when the fiddler stops playing, he says: "Play that fiddle, you!"

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