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Author Topic: Big Themes  (Read 11749 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2009, 02:22:05 PM »

That's kind of the way I see it, too. Betterville is a Union POW camp, but it's clearly modeled on the Confederate Andersonville. The Union had POW camps, but I don't think any were notorious for mistreatment the way Andersonville was. But for Leone's purpose, the Union and Confederate sides are mirror images of each other, so a Betterville is necessary to balance an Andersonville. Each side shares the blame equally for not just the war, but the way the war is conducted. It has been said that the American Civil War provided us with the first instances of modern warfare; certainly the template for the abattoirs of WWI was developed there. Nothing is more inimical to duels of honor and the code of personal combat--the bread and butter of Leone's characters--than such dehumanizing environments.


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dave jenkins
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« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2009, 02:39:40 PM »

I find it interesting - maybe its just me - that the film slowly shifts perspective from the Rebels to the Yankees as the film goes along. We see a lot of Rebs in the first part of the film and of course there's the concentration camp scene, but the final battle is all from the Union perspective and the Captain is (with the exception of Tuco) the most sympathetic character in the film. I wonder if there's something significant to that or if I'm just reading something that isn't there.
You're forgetting the film flips back again: the last soldier we see is the dying Confederate that Blondie compassionately gives a smoke to. Both sides are treated with the same even hand.

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