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Question: Does DYS work as the middle chapter of the Once Upon a Time trilogy?
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Author Topic: DYS and the OUAT Trilogy  (Read 7382 times)
Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« on: July 23, 2009, 07:43:55 PM »

I really like DYS and feel that is the equal or better of the rest of Leone's films.  But I was thinking if it works as part of the OUAT trilogy.  For one thing I'm not convinced that any of Leone's films can be thought of as being part of a trilogy.  Even the Dollars trilogy was creating by a clever marketing campaign (the myth of the Man with No Name).

DYS would seem to work better as a continuation of GBU.  Juan is Tuco, Sean is Blondie, maybe Ruiz is Angeleyes and Villega is the Union captain.  DYS expands and deepens GBU's themes of poverty and violence.  Both war and revolution benefit the few and slaughter many people.  GBU starts as an adventure, becomes more haunted and complex, and then ends as an adventure.  DYS starts the same way but ends with a very somber tone.  GBU is like adolescence, where you can be confronted by serious issues but can also hide from them.  DYS is adulthood, there's no place to hide.  The two movies complete either other.  (FaFDM and OUATITW also have similar themes:  the decline of old world romanticism and chivalry, the railroad as the dubious agent of change)

DYS might work with OUATIA with their common theme of poverty or OUATITW can work with OUATIA because one is about the end of old America while the other is dealing with the evolution and end result of the new society that was created in OUATITW.  But do all three of them work together?

Anyway I would love to hear any thoughts and ideas from the rest of you.   Smiley

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Groggy
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 07:26:45 AM »

Yeah, I don't exactly see the Once Upon a Times as a real trilogy. The films don't have any real connection with each other and claiming DYS fits into a trilogy "that touches three periods of America" is rather a stretch.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 09:30:39 AM »

claiming DYS fits into a trilogy "that touches three periods of America" is rather a stretch.

My feelings exactly.

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Novecento
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2009, 09:37:20 AM »

Yeah, I don't exactly see the Once Upon a Times as a real trilogy. The films don't have any real connection with each other and claiming DYS fits into a trilogy "that touches three periods of America" is rather a stretch.

Actually, I'd always viewed the trilogy as Leone's broad yet localized take on the development of America: the Wild West of the late 19th century; the Mexican revolution of the early 20th century; the second wave of immigrants in the first half of the 20th century.

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Novecento
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2009, 09:40:15 AM »

DYS would seem to work better as a continuation of GBU. 

Alex Cox suggests that Clint's picking up of the poncho towards the end of GBU may be viewed as signifying the stage before his arrival at the beginning of FOD wearing the poncho.

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noodles_leone
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2009, 09:52:30 AM »

Alex Cox suggests that Clint's picking up of the poncho towards the end of GBU may be viewed as signifying the stage before his arrival at the beginning of FOD wearing the poncho.

Leone said it. ("Conversations avec Sergio Leone", Noel Simsolo)

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2009, 01:49:41 PM »

Alex Cox suggests that Clint's picking up of the poncho towards the end of GBU may be viewed as signifying the stage before his arrival at the beginning of FOD wearing the poncho.

I guess.  I took it to mean that Blondie, by wearing the poncho from FoD and FaFDM, was now at full power and that he was firmly in control over Tuco and Angeleyes.  Just because Leone said it doesn't make it the only interpretation.  I forget but I think it was DJ who said something very smart along those lines.

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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2009, 02:06:41 PM »

In one of our film classes the point was made that once a film is finished the director is just another spectator. Authorial intent is all well and good, but that does not exclude other ways of looking at something.

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noodles_leone
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2009, 03:12:53 PM »

Old debate. I'm not entering it: do with the intentions of Leone what you want Smiley
(anyway, that's still something he said years after, in the mid 1980's, so it could also be a spectator standpoint and not even his real intention)

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 04:00:45 PM »

(anyway, that's still something he said years after, in the mid 1980's, so it could also be a spectator standpoint and not even his real intention)

Good point.  Also I've heard that Leone would change his viewpoint or alter stories over the years.  Directors and others who change movies don't seem to understand that their creating a new movie, not a director's cut of an existing movie.

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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 06:34:26 PM »

Leone said it. ("Conversations avec Sergio Leone", Noel Simsolo)

Yeh, you're right. I thought I'd read that somewhere before but I read the Alex Cox book much more recently.

Good point.  Also I've heard that Leone would change his viewpoint or alter stories over the years.

I've just re-read the relevant section of Simsolo again where Leone describes it as if he intended it to be this way. He actually ties it in really nicely with a discussion of the triel in the circular arena with the trilogy then also forming a complete circle as Clint rides off to begin his adventures in FOD.

He also says that he had the graveyard constructed around the circular arena to make it seem as if all the corpses in the graveyard were the spectators.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 10:33:04 PM »

I've just re-read the relevant section of Simsolo again where Leone describes it as if he intended it to be this way. He actually ties it in really nicely with a discussion of the trial in the circular arena with the trilogy then also forming a complete circle as Clint rides off to begin his adventures in FOD.

He also says that he had the graveyard constructed around the circular arena to make it seem as if all the corpses in the graveyard were the spectators.

I still believe that any movie is open to multiple interpretations or then why watch movies to begin with.  But thanks for Leone's thoughts on this.   Afro

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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2009, 05:30:34 AM »

If a film is done and shown, then anybody's opinion is as good as the director's, (or any other people creatively involved in the making of the film).

But of course, a director's take on his own film deserves more of our interest then the opinion of the salesman living next door.
Only, we shouldn't trust them too much. All people involved in making a film have reasons to make up things by hindsight.

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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2009, 11:51:34 AM »

I really like DYS and feel that is the equal or better of the rest of Leone's films.  But I was thinking if it works as part of the OUAT trilogy.  For one thing I'm not convinced that any of Leone's films can be thought of as being part of a trilogy.  Even the Dollars trilogy was creating by a clever marketing campaign (the myth of the Man with No Name).

DYS would seem to work better as a continuation of GBU.  Juan is Tuco, Sean is Blondie, maybe Ruiz is Angeleyes and Villega is the Union captain.  DYS expands and deepens GBU's themes of poverty and violence.  Both war and revolution benefit the few and slaughter many people.  GBU starts as an adventure, becomes more haunted and complex, and then ends as an adventure.  DYS starts the same way but ends with a very somber tone.  GBU is like adolescence, where you can be confronted by serious issues but can also hide from them.  DYS is adulthood, there's no place to hide.  The two movies complete either other.  (FaFDM and OUATITW also have similar themes:  the decline of old world romanticism and chivalry, the railroad as the dubious agent of change)
You have some good observations here. I would add that the idea of one-up-manship that surfaces in FAFDM returns in a more developed form in DYS. Recall the hat shooting scene between Monco and Blondie and the boy's comments about the games people play. Then consider the initial contest between Juan and Firecracker in DYS: every time Juan threatens the other (or does something to inconvenience him) Firecracker responds by blowing something up. I have argued elsewhere that the contest continues throughout much of the film, though with increasing subtlety: for example, Mallory's ploy to get Juan caught up in the Revolution is a response to Juan's killing off Mallory's employer. Mallory has had his meal ticket taken away from him, so he makes sure Juan won't have the chance to make any money either. Eventually socio-political events overtake the "game" and obviate it, but not before a bond is established between the two men. The friendship follows that pattern established between Monco-Mortimer and continued by Blondie-Tuco.

All of which is to say that there is a natural progression from FAFDM to GBU to DYS. Although there is also a buddy relationship in OUATITW (between Harmonica and Cheyenne), that film as a whole bears less resemblance to the other Leones than the other Leones bear to each other. Indeed, it's possible to imagine OUATITW as having never been made: if Leone had made FAFDM, GBU, and DYS without OUATITW intervening, we would not feel that anything was missing. OUATITW, with its conscious use of archetypes and  reliance on earlier Westerns, is sui generis, and thus really can't be grouped with the other Leone films.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2009, 06:10:12 PM »

Very true.  Of course OUATIA continues the buddy relationship even further, focusing on the toll that time, betrayal, and fate has on the lives of Noodles and Max.  Maybe rather than two trilogies, we could say that FoD is a prototype, OUATITW is a standalone effort, and FaFDM/GBU/DYS/OUATIA is Leone's life's work on the nature of male friendship and the way that politics or greed or ambition destroys that most sacred of bonds.

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