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Author Topic: A Meager Groggy Review  (Read 6317 times)
Novecento
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2009, 03:56:24 PM »

Upon repeat viewings, the film's weakest aspect is Cheyenne, the "romantic bandit" who falls for Jill and reluctantly ends up on the right side. He's far too eloquent and verbose to be a convincing tough guy, and casting Jason Robards in the part certainly doesn't help matters. The pistoleer introduced shooting his way out of a sizeable prison escort (albeit off-screen) and later rescues Harmonica from a slew of Frank's henchmen seems an entirely different character from the half-baked philosopher musing about the life of an outlaw and warning Jill about the propensity of cowboys to pat her behind (one of the film's most awkward moments). Frank and Harmonica's brief exchange before the final duel says far more about the subject of the dying breed of gunslingers than any of Cheyenne's long-winded stem-winders. Robards gives a fine performance with what he has, but the character just seems out of place, and his lengthy death scene makes the movie a beat too long.

Just been reading Alex Cox's "10,000 Ways to Die". It seems Cox is of the same opinion as you Groggy.

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Groggy
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2009, 07:55:39 PM »

I noticed more mistakes (not just in names) and in most cases I guess it was typos or laziness (i.e. unwillingness to read your own text after yourself or something like that), but in this case it borders on ignorance, because it's constant...

I'm not big on proofreading, I'll admit that much.

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But I had great time reading your blog.

Why thank you. I'm a narcissist at heart and always appreciate complements. Afro

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It, again, reminded me of how much I want and have always wanted to see Lawrence of Arabia...

The essay I wrote of that film is far from my best work. I tend to find my long ramblings lacking compared to my shorter reviews. Still, good to hear you liked it.

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And it explained a lot of your recent signature pictures to me. Grin

In dis universe, dair is one absolute... everything... FREEZES! Cheesy

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Groggy
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2009, 07:58:23 PM »

Just been reading Alex Cox's "10,000 Ways to Die". It seems Cox is of the same opinion as you Groggy.

It might just be because Cheyenne is such a departure for Leone. In his previous films his characters spoke economically about issues of plot and characters. Then you have a character citing long and verbose stream-of-consciousness speeches about a variety of subjects - starting with himself, but moving onto other concerns. And really he seems almost superfluous to the film at times; other than rescuing Harmonica and killing Morton he doesn't do a great deal of importance (I will say he's cool in his intro scene, but he's almost a different character there). I did think even the longer Morton-Frank scenes were very well-written and acted, but Leone seems, frankly, out of his depth with the Cheyenne scenes.

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marmota-b
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 10:52:44 PM »

The essay I wrote of that film is far from my best work. I tend to find my long ramblings lacking compared to my shorter reviews. Still, good to hear you liked it.

Actually, I did not read the whole thing, because I still want to see the film, and want to see it more or less unprejudiced... I just read a few bits here and there, which was enough to remind me I want to see it.

You narcissist, your blog is dangerously interesting to people like me. I was reading it instead of The Art of Translation by Jiri Levy, which I should have been reading.
Though I was reading that one in the afternoon, and it was good, too.

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There are two kinds of films in this world:those which stay,even when their genre is forgotten,and those which don't.
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2009, 08:08:48 AM »

The Art of Translation
Sounds horrible Afro

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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2009, 12:57:22 AM »

Sounds horrible Afro

Actually, it doesn't sound as horrible in Czech. Just like a book on translation... which it is, and a pretty good one, with lots of examples. Probably a bit dated, as he mentions "Soviet marxistic translation theory" several times, but I cannot hold that against him. He was writing it in a time when Soviet marxistic translation theory was a real thing.
I think the best proof that it is useful is the fact our teachers have us read it, along with Peter Newmark (who, as it turns, has honorary doctorate of our university...) and Susan Bassnett-McGuire.

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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2009, 10:22:55 AM »

It's a pain working with accute and grave accents etc but Google Translate offers the following:

How did you get the idea of casting Jason Robards as Cheyenne?
I had admired him from the theater.  And I was won over.  He is an amazing actor.  He has a disturbing power, coupled with a romantic look.  It is true that he very much resembles Humphrey Bogart but he can also play the roles of Leslie Howard.  Bogart could not.  And Howard could not work on the register of Bogart.  No, Jason Robards is an exceptional actor.  In writing the role of Cheyenne, I had thought of him.  My character is a mixture of many contradictory feelings.  At the beginning of the film, one can doubt his intelligence.  But the scene on the train shows us how he is clever, intelligent and cunning.  Even if he has an almost grotesque tone, he is filled with a reality that reinforces his mythology.  He knows he belongs to a world that must die.  And Jason Robards was as close to him as one could be.

Ennio Morricone identified evil with the character.  He had proposed several themes for him.  None satisfied me.  After a dozen attempts, he insisted on defending one.  It was a beautiful melody.  Ennio asked me to wait until it was orchestrated.  The day of the recording, he made me listen to the theme with all the instruments.

It was fantastic, but it was not for Cheyenne.  It was not a question of quality or interpretation... It did not suit him.  So I went to the piano with Morricone.  I said: Have you seen Lady and the Tramp by Walt Disney?  So you have to understand that Cheyenne is like the Tramp, a son of a bitch, a thief, a fighter, a smart alec.  But he is also romantic, gentle, proud and full of love.  At that moment, Morricone tapped the keys of the piano.  And a good theme came right away.  And it fitted the character perfectly.  And Jason Robards.

Robards has the reputation of being a difficult actor.  Did you have any difficulties?
I had turned down Kirk Douglas for the role.  When I told him I wanted Cheyenne to be played by Jason Robards, Kirk made a gesture to signify the admiration he had for this actor.  But for our first interview, Robards arrived completely drunk.  I was disappointed.  I left.  His agent asked me to give him a second chance.  I agreed.  But I told him: If Robards is drunk on the set, I will break the contract.  And you, his agent, will have to pay for all the scenes that I have to shoot again with a new actor.  But there was never any problem.  Even if he drank all night, Robards was on the set.  Punctual.  Impeccable.  Never drunk.  Henry Fonda admired him very much.  He thought that Jason Robards would have appeared before him in the credits.  During the filming, there was a very dramatic moment.  We learned of the assassination of Robert Kennedy.  Robards was crying.  He came to ask if we should continue working.  It was afternoon.  I stopped everything until the following day.  Jason was truly an exceptional man: a hypersensitive person, a rejected romantic and an actor of genius!


Sergio Leone on Jason Robards (from Entrevista a Sergio Leone):

The best actor that I have directed is Jason Robards. For example, as Fonda also says "When Jason Robards does a scene which does not work, he remains three months; when we do it - and I am thinking of myself a lot - one remains a week". This is trying to say that he has his own personal public, apart from the quality of the scene... He learns very quickly. He is a unique actor that has not caused me any problems. when I direct I have the actor see all that I want; when I have indicated to him the action, he has had me see the same thing in four distinct ways, each one so perfect that I have not known which to choose. This is the greatness of an actor."

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