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Author Topic: I often agree with what Frayling says, but...  (Read 7796 times)
Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« on: July 25, 2009, 08:31:56 PM »

I wanted to bring up something that I heard Frayling say.  He said that DYS represents the first time Leone's characters change and grow because in FaFDM for example Manco remains Manco, Mortimer remains Mortimer.  I completely disagree.  Mortimer was once a rather gallant figure but his sister's death and changes in society (because of the damn trains!) reduces him to a bounty killer.  He's successful but kills only for money and not for higher ideals.  Manco meanwhile comes from a more mercenary era and only knows that you have to kill or be killed.  At first the two regard each other as a threat.  But as the movie goes along, they are forced to work together to defeat Indio's gang and by the end have developed respect for one another.  Mortimer has been restored to his legendary status as a war hero and southern gentleman, and he no longer cares about the money.  Manco still cares about cash but Mortimer has had a profound effect of him, he respects the older man's need for vengeance.  The characters we met at the beginning would still be fighting over the reward money.  So my question is:  what the hell is Frayling talking about?

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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 04:55:45 AM »

I guess he overlooked it its a small change comparatively whereas in DYS its the theme in a way.

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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 08:05:49 AM »

Plus Mortimer's change occurs before the film itself takes place, so I'm not sure that really counts.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2009, 09:47:43 AM »

I guess he overlooked it its a small change comparatively whereas in DYS its the theme in a way.

Okay but he should have said that Leone characters have undergone changes in the past but in subtle ways and not to the degree that Juan and Sean did in DYS.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2009, 09:52:23 AM »

Plus Mortimer's change occurs before the film itself takes place, so I'm not sure that really counts.

I'm talking about the changes to both characters are the movie progresses.  Neither the Manco nor the Mortimer we meet at the start of the film would have been willing to share or give up the reward money.

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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2009, 10:31:24 AM »

I'm talking about the changes to both characters are the movie progresses.  Neither the Manco nor the Mortimer we meet at the start of the film would have been willing to share or give up the reward money.

Yeah, you're probably right, but you know, critics like the characters to go big on humanistic thoughts. Contemplate about the absurdity of war, loss of human lives, destroyed families, and big issues like that.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2009, 12:24:44 PM »

Yeah, you're probably right, but you know, critics like the characters to go big on humanistic thoughts. Contemplate about the absurdity of war, loss of human lives, destroyed families, and big issues like that.

I agree, thats probably what Frayling was talking about.  But, there are other ways for people to change.

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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 11:25:36 PM »

I wanted to bring up something that I heard Frayling say.  He said that DYS represents the first time Leone's characters change and grow because in FaFDM for example Manco remains Manco, Mortimer remains Mortimer.  I completely disagree.  Mortimer was once a rather gallant figure but his sister's death and changes in society (because of the damn trains!) reduces him to a bounty killer.  He's successful but kills only for money and not for higher ideals.  Manco meanwhile comes from a more mercenary era and only knows that you have to kill or be killed.  At first the two regard each other as a threat.  But as the movie goes along, they are forced to work together to defeat Indio's gang and by the end have developed respect for one another.  Mortimer has been restored to his legendary status as a war hero and southern gentleman, and he no longer cares about the money.  Manco still cares about cash but Mortimer has had a profound effect of him, he respects the older man's need for vengeance.  The characters we met at the beginning would still be fighting over the reward money.  So my question is:  what the hell is Frayling talking about?
I grant that Monco changes (subtly), but I'm not sure Mortimer does. It's true that he earns his living as a bounty hunter, but he does that only so he can stay in the hunt for Indio who he is seeking, of course, for personal reasons. The money is a means to an end: once he's on Indio's trail the money is no longer necessary. Once Indio is dead his mission has been accomplished and he can go home. I don't really see that Mortimer's character has changed, just his circumstances. He goes back to being who he was before; the bounty-hunting phase was always only intended to be temporary.

I think you can always show some change in the dynamics between the "buddies" in SL's films. Even Blondie develops a begrudging respect for Tuco at the end of GBU (the man who shoots Tuco down from the noose is not the same who leaves him to die in the desert). In Leone films friendships develop and deepen, but there isn't necessarily any spill-over from those into the rest of their lives. The characters' conduct viz a viz others and the world around them remains essentially unchanged. The great exception here seems to be Mallory, who, over the course of DYS, works out a kind of redemption by eschewing revenge. Perhaps Juan is changed by Mallory's self-immolation, but on that point we can only speculate.

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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2009, 09:05:36 AM »

Not quite sure of what you're saying Jinkies. I've thought that Juan changes quite a bit over the course of the film, albeit reluctantly.

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2009, 10:10:44 AM »

Well, yeah. You don't discover your family massacred and not be affected by it. I retract the last sentence of my previous post.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2009, 01:15:54 PM »

I'm not sure Mortimer does. It's true that he earns his living as a bounty hunter, but he does that only so he can stay in the hunt for Indio who he is seeking, of course, for personal reasons. The money is a means to an end: once he's on Indio's trail the money is no longer necessary. Once Indio is dead his mission has been accomplished and he can go home. I don't really see that Mortimer's character has changed, just his circumstances. He goes back to being who he was before; the bounty-hunting phase was always only intended to be temporary.

The movie opens with the passage, "where life has no meaning, death sometimes had a price."  Mortimer likely couldn't do anything else with his skills in such a savage time.  He was probably searching for Indio on the side but until he saw Indio's wanted poster, he was killing men like Calloway just to survive.  Manco is a younger man and doesn't remember a time where men fought for ideals like honor or family.  When they decide to work together, I'm sure that Mortimer intended to take his half, otherwise he would have told Manco upfront that he could have all of the money.  But, when Mortimer kills Indio, he finds that the money has no meaning to him.  He's a changed man and as he rides off into the sunset, a symbol of an earlier era of gentlemen, Manco has a respectful, maybe even envious, look on his face.

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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2009, 03:58:31 PM »

With the exception of Frank (maybe others), Leone's characters' intentions are revealed, it's his version of development. Personally, I think it suited his westerns perfectly. When his characters do show heart, it isn't contrived because the audience isn't conditioned to expect such scenes appearing in his films.

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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2009, 04:04:37 PM »

When they decide to work together, I'm sure that Mortimer intended to take his half, otherwise he would have told Manco upfront that he could have all of the money. 
Not necessarily. He doesn't want to reveal his true motivation, and it would certainly sound weird to Monco if Mortimer said he wasn't interested in the money. If he had said that then Monco would have been too suspicious to form the partnership to begin with. So Mortimer played him, at least until enough trust was exchanged between the two so that he was willing to confirm Monco's guess about the girl's photo in the pocket watch.

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Colonel GŁnther Ruiz
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2009, 07:29:44 PM »

With the exception of Frank (maybe others), Leone's characters' intentions are revealed, it's his version of development.

Okay, I can agree with this.  Rather than the characters themselves changing, its our perception of them that is different.

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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2009, 02:01:33 AM »

Not necessarily. He doesn't want to reveal his true motivation, and it would certainly sound weird to Monco if Mortimer said he wasn't interested in the money. If he had said that then Monco would have been too suspicious to form the partnership to begin with. So Mortimer played him, at least until enough trust was exchanged between the two so that he was willing to confirm Monco's guess about the girl's photo in the pocket watch.

Though, maybe, just maybe, he was initially gonna take the money for Indio's gang, but changed his mind in the process, because he didn't want a talented young man like Monco going around his whole life as a bounty hunter.

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