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Author Topic: Dream Theory IMDB  (Read 35983 times)
noodles_leone
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« Reply #75 on: November 09, 2013, 06:47:44 AM »

The dream doesn't add much, the ambiguity of the ending does. Especially since the two early periods of the movie were writen by a guy who was dreaming his own life. The fact that you cannot say what is real, what is the dream and what is just cinema is one of the main points of OUATIA. It's as much about this than it is about friendship/love/betrayal.

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chris
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« Reply #76 on: November 10, 2013, 03:10:09 AM »

Good point. Ambiguity is an important part of the movie.  It stimulates thought and discussion long after the movie was first seen, promotes repeat viewings and it reflects more accurately real life during the 1920s and 1930s in that world where the truth about many events may never be known.

   

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #77 on: November 10, 2013, 04:38:58 AM »

one thing is absolutely clear: that Leone intended for the movie to at least have a dream as a possible interpretation. Not that he necessarily wanted the story to be a definite dream, but he absolutely intended that the movie should have a dream as a possible interpretation.
Check out this vid at 00:46 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOxhq227RhI
(I've shared this clip before on this threda and elsewhere, but the previous link was taken down; this is a new link)

The speaker (I believe it's one of the screenwriters) says that as they were leaving the first showing of the film in a theater in Rome (I'm not sure if it was technically the "premiere," but whatever...) someone asked Leone about the meaning of the final smile, and Leone said that maybe, just maybe, it was all an opium dream.

So, whether you prefer thinking of the film as a dream or not, I think it's clear that Leone intended the movie to be a dream at least as a possible interpretation.

and btw, the fact that the script makes no specific mention of a dream is not an argument against the dream theory. A script doesn't necessarily discuss the meaning behind a film or the interpretation of a film, (especially if something is intended as a possibility; if it's intended as a m"maybe," as a double meaning, rather than as THE meaning.)

if the final smile in OUATIA is supposed to indicate a dream, it wouldn't be necessary for the script to say "this is supposed to indicate a dream."

Here is how the OUATIA script ends:


SCENE 162 OPIUM DEN (1933) Interior. Sunset.
The old CHINESE LADY greets him. In a moment he's stretched out on a mattress and dragging deep on a long-stemmed pipe.

He holds the smoke in his lungs for a long time before letting it spiral out and up towards the ceiling. The smoke is harsh and kind and cleansing. It wipes out memories, strife, mistakes... and Time.


I don't think that's inconsistent with a dream interpretation. I've hardly ever read any non-Leone scripts, so maybe those who have can clarify this, but my assumption is that a script doesn't discuss interpretations. If the movie really intends the dream at least as a possibility, would the script have to add, "This has all been a dream"?

« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 05:09:27 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: November 10, 2013, 05:51:10 AM »

You're quite right drinkanddestroy about Sergio Leone's intention that the movie should have a dream as a possible interpretation and in fact at times it seems that that was the interpretation he favored.  Sorry if recent posts have concentrated on the no dream point of view and the possible lack of value or benefit it adds to the movie.

In any event I'll go with the director that the movie offers a double reading.  So in my mind the opinions of those who support the dream theory are equally as valid as those who don't.

 

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #79 on: December 17, 2013, 06:15:58 AM »


------

* and btw, forget all the crap about color TV; there was no TV at all in 1933.

yeah, if you look at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television it says that the very early technologies were around in the late '20's, but this was the real early stuff that basically nobody except the inventors knew about; I don't believe typical people knew anything about television in 1933, and TV's certainly wouldn't have been available in bars/restaurants, like the TV on the wall in Fat Moe's. So once you're making the argument about how the dream theory is implausible cuz Noodles couldn't anticipate color TV, you should actually be making the same argument about him anticipating TV in general

not so fast, d&d

 I read that television is briefly mentioned in this 1932 movie Attorney for the Defense http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022644/board/nest/223479906?ref_=tt_bd_2
and this movie just played on TCM - here is the clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdXJPW92JbU


« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 06:33:19 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #80 on: April 23, 2014, 04:11:18 AM »

Reading Frayling's interview with Martin Scorsese from ONCE UPON A TIME IN ITALY (the companion book to the 2005 Autry exhibit). Here's a piece (on p. 205) where Scorsese is talking about OUATITW and then segues to OUATIA:

And I guess if you look at Once Upon a Time in the West - my favorite of his pictures; I eventually saw all the others - it is the most John Ford of his movies. In a funny way, Leone's pessimism is the pessimism you find in the late pictures of John Ford - Two Rode Together, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and pictures like that. And when you get to Once Upon a Time in America, the Chinese box idea is very interesting - it's a dream within a series of dreams. Once again, what ties them all together is death. Death is almost like the protagonist of the picture; it's a film about memory, obsession, and friendship - or loyalty in friendship. Ultimately, this may have been for him a conscious act of love for what he felt was American cinema. And I remember him telling me - well, he said this a number of times - he used to say that the title should really have been There Was Once a Certain Type of Cinema rather than Once Upon a Time in America.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 10:50:21 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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noodles_leone
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« Reply #81 on: April 23, 2014, 06:29:22 AM »

I don't think that's inconsistent with a dream interpretation. I've hardly ever read any non-Leone scripts, so maybe those who have can clarify this, but my assumption is that a script doesn't discuss interpretations. If the movie really intends the dream at least as a possibility, would the script have to add, "This has all been a dream"?

A script is supposed to write only what will explicitly be on screen and on the soundtrack. No interpretation, no poesy. So this ending ("It wipes out memories, strife, mistakes... and Time.") isn't by the book anyway. If you want that idea to cross your reader's mind, you have to put something like: "The only clock in the room slowly disappears in the smoke". That would mean that you need that shot in the film.
On the other hand, when you're Sergio Leone, you don't care about going by the book. People will read your script anyway and won't come back at you because of technical details. Some other directors take liberties with these rules, the main one being Tarantino. His "leaked" script is full of notes that are not supposed to be in a script ("in gorgeous 70mm").

Anyway, if the movie is a dream, the only way to see it in the script  would be to have a character say "so it was all a dream!"

« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 06:32:01 AM by noodles_leone » Logged


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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #82 on: April 23, 2014, 10:59:15 AM »

A script is supposed to write only what will explicitly be on screen and on the soundtrack. No interpretation, no poesy. So this ending ("It wipes out memories, strife, mistakes... and Time.") isn't by the book anyway. If you want that idea to cross your reader's mind, you have to put something like: "The only clock in the room slowly disappears in the smoke". That would mean that you need that shot in the film.
On the other hand, when you're Sergio Leone, you don't care about going by the book. People will read your script anyway and won't come back at you because of technical details. Some other directors take liberties with these rules, the main one being Tarantino. His "leaked" script is full of notes that are not supposed to be in a script ("in gorgeous 70mm").

Anyway, if the movie is a dream, the only way to see it in the script  would be to have a character say "so it was all a dream!"

also, I would assume some directors' shooting scripts are more precise with instructions than others' are. Did Leone intend all along to freeze Noodles's final smile? Or perhaps that last bit of instruction about the smoke wiping out memories and time etc. was meant as a little note to himself, "find some way - during shooting and/or editing to convey the possibility of a dream," and he turned that into the final freeze-frame.
Either way, none of this is inconsistent with a dream theory.

(And btw, I assume I've said this somewheres before - maybe even on thos thread but I am too lazy right now to go back and read through all 6 pages -  but if it's not a dream, there is no motherfuckinggoddamned way in the world that Bailey, who owns a pistol, is gonna kill himself by getting crushed to death in the teeth of a garbage truck; that alone has to tell you that those people who say everything is only literal are idi-idi-idiots.)

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« Reply #83 on: April 23, 2014, 02:15:29 PM »

If Sergio Leone had wanted part of the movie to be interpreted solely as a dream, he could have shown this easily during the filming.  It seems he deliberately wanted some ambiguity and the ambiguity and the director's statements that the film offers a double reading are fine with me.  For me the dream theory on its own adds nothing and for me is of no value other than to play its part in the ambiguity in the movie.

The shooting script contains additional items apart from scene setting, action and dialogue and it may or may not be significant that pages 318 and 319 which relate to the garbage truck scene are missing.  It's possible that these pages were deliberately removed prior to public release to preserve this ambiguity.

Suicide is one of the repeated items in the script - Max's idea to rob the Federal Reserve Bank, Eve with her pills, Carol's mistaken thoughts on Max's death, Cleopatra committing suicide, the garbage truck scene etc.  As filming progressed several ideas in the script were altered and the repeated suicide theme no longer has the same prominence.

Thirty years after the movie was made and almost 40 years after the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, none of us know with certainty what happened to Jimmy or Max.  Some think that Max tricked Noodles for the third time into believing that he had died.

Last year the Daily Mail newspaper carried an article on Jimmy:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345297/Jimmy-Hoffa-Source-claims-Jimmy-Hoffas-body-sent-WOOD-CHIPPER-remains-found.html

  

« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 02:19:40 PM by chris » Logged
drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #84 on: April 23, 2014, 02:55:25 PM »

If Sergio Leone had wanted part of the movie to be interpreted solely as a dream, he could have shown this easily during the filming.  It seems he deliberately wanted some ambiguity and the ambiguity and the director's statements that the film offers a double reading are fine with me.  For me the dream theory on its own adds nothing and for me is of no value other than to play its part in the ambiguity in the movie. 

He DID show that it was a dream - with the "framing device" of the opium den, and the final smile.

I wouldn't necessarily say "interpreted solely as a dream." The point is not, "This is a dream, period, you were fooled into thinking it's real.... And then he woke up, joke's on you..." cuz that would indeed be stupid. The point is that it works on various levels, and one of them is definitely a dream. As Scorsese said, "a dream within a series of dreams." For some reason, the anti-dream-theory people make it seem as if the dream-theory renders the whole story meaningless, like when a little kid writes a story and ends it with, "And then I woke up... haha, it all means nothing." And that is emphatically NOT the case here. The movie still has meaning despite being a dream; in fact, it has even MORE meaning BECAUSE it is a dream. It involved dream on many different levels: The "American Dream," as conveyed by the God Bless America song. And the dream of cinema  - this movie was Leone's homage to the American gangster film in the same way OUATITW was Leone's homage to the American Western film - as Scorsese quotes Leone saying the movie should have been called There Was Once a Certain Cinema. And Leone was inspired to create the 1968 part of the story - the part that is being dreamed - after meeting the elderly Noodles and realizing the guy was living in a dream world in which he could no longer distinguish fantasy from reality.
So, the idea that part of the plot in a movie about various dreams could also "only" be occurring in a character's dream doesn't ruin anything. If it's a movie about various dreams, and part of it can also be read as a dream in itself, that is just part of the themes of the movie - dreams within dreams. Remember also that one of the big themes is Time. Well, dreams is a wonderful way to play against that - in a dream, there is no restriction of time - you can be in any Time and place you want to.
None of the beauty of OUATIA, and none of the themes of OUATIA, and none of the interpretations of OUATIA, are in any way diminished by the idea that whatever occurs after Noodles enters the opium den can be viewed as a dream.

(p.s. I've still never had a single person attempt to explain why there is a pagoda outside Bailey's house on Long Island, or why the kids are driving 1930's cars there, if it's not a dream).

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« Reply #85 on: April 23, 2014, 03:22:37 PM »

So now you have decided for us that it is a dream?

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chris
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« Reply #86 on: April 24, 2014, 09:34:47 AM »

...(p.s. I've still never had a single person attempt to explain why there is a pagoda outside Bailey's house on Long Island, or why the kids are driving 1930's cars there, if it's not a dream).

I've offered explanations on the cars and pagoda on numerous occasions before so I won't waste my time further.

I don't think it's that clear cut and unambiguous, drinkanddestory.  As I understand it, you're accepting that the director wanted to have hallucinatory and dream elements in the movie but refusing to accept his statement that it was edited carefully and on purpose so that it would have a double meaning.

The white jaguar in the procession during the garbage truck scene looks the same as the white jaguar at Bailey's mansion.  The kids could be just dressed up formally and have hired classic cars for an evening out.  The beer bottles thrown out of the cars don't look like beer bottles from 1933.  The pagoda is just a tentative link in anticipation of the following scene.  After the procession of cars goes by Noodles looks down.  The cars and the pagoda could have triggered a memory.  Noodles could just be remembering an important time in his life when he betrayed his friends, went to an opium den to seek solace and is similar to the ending of the book when Noodles stretched out on his back, all his aches and tiredness flowed out of him and he felt safe and at peace.

He DID show that it was a dream - with the "framing device" of the opium den, and the final smile.

I don't know anyone who, on their first viewing of the movie, thought that all or part of the movie was dream.

I get the feeling that the dream idea appealed to Leone but some of the other people who worked on the movie weren't as keen. We know that De Niro for example wanted more realism and Stuart Kaminsky thought that ambiguity was in fact a more realistic way of telling the story in that world where things aren't simple and clear cut and very often the whole truth never emerges. Changes were made to the scenes, action and dialogue as filming took place and even into the editing room. I also get the feeling that after the movie was released, Leone definitely preferred the double reading option.

This is supported by Leone's statements and the fact that pages 318 and 319 in the shooting script relating to the garbage truck scene were removed.  I think it highly likely that these contained things which were not compatible with the preferred ambiguity option.

  

« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 10:18:24 AM by chris » Logged
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« Reply #87 on: April 24, 2014, 10:03:40 AM »

Missing pages found!    Cheesy

 



  

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stanton
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« Reply #88 on: April 24, 2014, 01:15:25 PM »

Well, if the 1968 parts are only a dream I immediately drop my rating for OUTA to a solid yet unimpressive 6/10.

Luckily it is impossible for me to view it as a dream.

Re-watched the last scenes yesterday to make sure that it is what it always was.

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« Reply #89 on: April 24, 2014, 01:23:29 PM »

Missing pages found!    Cheesy

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