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Author Topic: Is my reaction to the film normal for a first timer?  (Read 10606 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2009, 03:43:08 PM »

Why do you think I'm judging him on a Tuco basis?

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« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2009, 03:46:55 PM »

Why do you think I'm judging him on a Tuco basis?
For me he's too eloquent and verbose to be convincing as a tough-guy gunslinger and Robards' casting certainly doesn't help (Wallach would at least be convincing as the tough-guy).

I do agree that Cheyenne's death takes too long.

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« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2009, 03:47:22 PM »

I'm saying that because Wallach was considered for the part.

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« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2009, 03:51:19 PM »

I'm saying that because Wallach was considered for the part.

Oh, okay then.   Smiley

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« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2009, 03:55:41 PM »

Oh, okay then.   Smiley

 Afro

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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2009, 07:36:54 AM »

I just wish Leone had Noodles see the key in a less-obvious way, like see a leave blowing, look over and see the key.

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« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2009, 02:07:29 AM »

I first saw this film as a teenager in the cinema and was immediately blown away by the story, the characters and the music. There used to be re-reuns every summer, at least up to 1972. We had the soundtrack at home and regularly played and discussed our feelings about the music, often right after supper. We all thought Henry Fonda stole the film.

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« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2011, 07:49:40 PM »

1. First time I saw OUATITW I absolutely HATED it; I thought it moved painfully slowly andI couldn't understand it at all (I hadn't really watched any Westerns in my life besides Leone's, to that point), but then as I read up more about it and its meanings and watched it again and again while understanding the themes, I grew to absolutely love it

2. I think Elizabeth McGovern was great as Deborah

3. Joe Pesci could not have worked as Max; he totally looks Italian and could never pass for a Jew

4. I never bought the "Harmonica as supernatural" theory; he was friggin' shot in the shoulder and didn't die. I never thought people would die froma shot in the shoulder, assuming they received decent first-aid/medical care

5. I do agree that Cheyenne does not quite come off well as a bandit; I really like Robard's performance; I think the mistake is probably more in the writing for his part than in his acting. We never really see anything that would justify Cheyenne's being considered a tough bandit, (though he kills off a posse off-screen... Perhaps it would have been better if he would have killed the posse on-camera instead). Also, I don't think Cheyenne's musical theme works well for him. Sure, it is a nice tune, and I know it is meant to convey the romantic bandit; but to me, it conveys romantic but not bandit; IMO there is nothing in that theme that would convey anything that is bandit-like or menacing

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« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2011, 11:56:15 PM »

Also, I don't think Cheyenne's musical theme works well for him. Sure, it is a nice tune, and I know it is meant to convey the romantic bandit; but to me, it conveys romantic but not bandit; IMO there is nothing in that theme that would convey anything that is bandit-like or menacing

Good point! Angel Eyes' "Sundown" works better in this respect...

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« Reply #39 on: July 26, 2017, 12:34:24 AM »

I was about 16 when I first saw it, and I found it beautiful. And liked it better with every re-watching. It's like good wine.  Afro

I don't mind the slowness. It's so calming. I never liked movies in which someone's shot or something explodes in every two minutes.

That "slow" opening scene is just adorable. Those faces, that fly, that dropping water...

My take on it was most like this.  Only to elaborate a bit, I didn't full understand what was going on the first time I saw it. I was drawn by the visual style of filming, and also the script, which sounded like short snippets of eloquent speech that always hit the nail on the head.  I also love the music.  So most of my draw to this movie initially was just the experience of watching it, and not thinking too deeply into it.  It wasn't till the second and third times that I started having questions, and thus have stumbled onto this message board.   Afro 

I think the biggest flaw with OUATITW is the character of Cheyenne himself. For me he's too eloquent and verbose to be convincing as a tough-guy gunslinger and Robards' casting certainly doesn't help (Wallach would at least be convincing as the tough-guy). I mean, here's a guy who's introduced shooting his way out of a sizeable prison escort (albeit off-screen) and single-handedly rescues Harmonica from a slew of Frank's men, but in between these scenes all he does his philosophize about how rough his life is and how hot he finds Jill. He's certainly not a character with an equivalent in Leone's earlier works, where most dialogue served purely expository purposes, and I have to say he's out of place in a film with lengthy near-silent scenes like the train station opening and the final duel. Not to mention he gets many of the film's most awkward scenes and speeches (the "pat your behind" scene is cringe-inducing) and his death goes on way too long for my taste.

Groggy, I kind of get what you mean by this.  I wouldn't go as far as to think this was a flaw.  But it wasn't initially obvious for me to link the type of person Cheyanne was, to an infamous bandit of that area.  While I think it's unusual that a movie focuses so much on his personable side, over being just a brutish gang leader, I think he's a likeable character.  It also reminds me that this movie leans towards a more theatrical approach over a realistic approach.  There are many situations in this movie that remind me that it's not really trying to represent reality, but rather an artistic expression of it.  I think situations like the heavy focus on a gang leader's surprisingly soft and philosophic personality is an example of this. 

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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2017, 01:09:58 AM »

I think the biggest flaw with OUATITW is the character of Cheyenne himself. For me he's too eloquent and verbose to be convincing as a tough-guy gunslinger and Robards' casting certainly doesn't help (Wallach would at least be convincing as the tough-guy). I mean, here's a guy who's introduced shooting his way out of a sizeable prison escort (albeit off-screen) and single-handedly rescues Harmonica from a slew of Frank's men, but in between these scenes all he does his philosophize about how rough his life is and how hot he finds Jill. He's certainly not a character with an equivalent in Leone's earlier works, where most dialogue served purely expository purposes, and I have to say he's out of place in a film with lengthy near-silent scenes like the train station opening and the final duel. Not to mention he gets many of the film's most awkward scenes and speeches (the "pat your behind" scene is cringe-inducing) and his death goes on way too long for my taste.

As Frayling says, Leone used to put a Mediterranean/chatterbox/carnivalesque character in his movies, playing against the American character. And Leone used to say that this was the character he loved the most. Most famous example is Tuco in GBU, played by Eli Wallach-  he is the only one whose name we really know, the only one whose family/backstory is revealed. Similar type of idea with Juan Miranda played by Rod Steiger in DYS (Leone initially wanted Wallach for the part, but United Artists wanted a bigger movie star so they forced Steiger on Leone.) The lovable chicken thief. Playing against the strong/silent American characters with whom they form a "business" partnership: Blondie (Eastwood) and Sean Mallory (Coburn).

I don't recall for certain whether or not Frayling specifically mentioned Cheyenne in this context, but I think we can do so. He is the loudmouth, the likable character, even though he is a bandit. Talks a lot, unlike Leone's American characters. Harmonica here is the strong/silent character who becomes partners with Cheyenne (in taking care of things for Jill).

Cheyenne is certainly more cerebral than Tuco or Juan, so maybe you can handle the carnivalesque Mexican chicken thief talking a lot but not the more serious Cheyenne. Cheyenne has in common with Tuco and Juan that is ethnic, likable bandit, talks a lot - but he is not carnivaleque like the other two. But maybe that's because Cheyenne has to be more menacing than Tuco or Juan. Unlike Groggy, I think the movie did a decent-enough job of showing him to be menacing early on so that we don't forget he is a bandit and a killer.

So, IMO it's wrong to say that the Cheyenne character doesn't have a precedent in Leone's ouevre. He certainly has a strong precedent in Tuco and Juan, though he is not identical.

Remember also that OUATITW - intended as a homage to the AW - consciously borrows stereotypical characters from AW lore, including those which Leone previously had never used. So, if characters have no precedent in Leone's ouevre, that shouldn't be surprising. But I don't think a Cheyenne-like character is unprecedented in Leone's work.

 

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