Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => A Fistful of Dollars => Topic started by: titoli on August 18, 2007, 10:05:13 PM

Title: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 18, 2007, 10:05:13 PM
...made prior (or even after) to 1964 would you show back to back with FOD to illustrate everything Leone went up against?
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 19, 2007, 02:43:36 AM
Thats a good question... it would have to be one with a lot of mellodrama, too much dialog, little action, and a big love interest.  A sung title song by the "Sons of the Pioneers" would be a bonus. ;D

Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 19, 2007, 03:15:36 AM
Well, any singin' cowboy 30's and '40's movie would fit in. But I don't think we could take them as examples as much Hollywood production had distanced itself from that output in the '50's.  I was rather thinking about some more evolute example from the 50's which retains some of the western blood but waters it  down by sticking to some schlock  Hollywood rules. Shane comes to mind. But probably there's something else.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 19, 2007, 11:25:10 AM
Here's one, watching it as I type "San Antonio" with Errol Flynn, overblown Hollywood, at its worst.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: The Peacemaker on August 19, 2007, 01:50:37 PM
Here's one, watching it as I type "San Antonio" with Errol Flynn, overblown Hollywood, at its worst.

I really liked that one!
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 19, 2007, 02:47:04 PM
Well in "San Antonio", everyone's way too clean, it has way too much of a love story, and it has a lot of overblown sterotypes.

Any early cheap John Wayne Republic Picture would do too where the heavy (villian) really is the heavy. It seems that AMC on early Saturday mormings always has one of these on.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Leonardo on August 19, 2007, 03:10:09 PM
Thats a good question... it would have to be one with a lot of mellodrama, too much dialog, little action, and a big love interest.  A sung title song by the "Sons of the Pioneers" would be a bonus. ;D


Right, CJ. If I may add:
- Neatly pressed shirt and no dust at all on clothes and face after a 30 miles ride.
- No visible sweat after a 5 minutes fight
- Hair perfectly combed in every scene, in particular the hero and his lady
- The bad guys mostly dressed in dark clothes
etc. etc.
So my next question is: don't you think that 99% of westerns produced before Leone were of this type??? ;)
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 19, 2007, 03:31:22 PM
A lot for sure but the worst were in the late 30's to early 50's. By the time you started getting the Psycological Westerns after WWII things began to change a bit the heros were becoming flawed rather than "boy scout" types.

A lot of early John Wayne Republic Pictures were like the boy scout type.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 19, 2007, 04:03:14 PM
But I don't think they were what Leone was shooting at. Later Hollywood western did that too, partially. His aim was higher.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 19, 2007, 06:54:35 PM
Quote
I was rather thinking about some more evolute example from the 50's which retains some of the western blood but waters it  down by sticking to some schlock  Hollywood rules. Shane comes to mind. But probably there's something else.



Try "No Name On the Bullit" (1959) with Audie Murphy.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 19, 2007, 09:24:18 PM
Why not show the American Western at its best, and then SL excelling such an example? I'd pair Vera Cruz with a Leone. Or is it the Italian way to fight only straw men?
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: The Peacemaker on August 19, 2007, 09:26:51 PM



Try "No Name On the Bullit" (1959) with Audie Murphy.

I wanted to see that.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 20, 2007, 04:40:15 AM
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Why not show the American Western at its best, and then SL excelling such an example? I'd pair Vera Cruz with a Leone. Or is it the Italian way to fight only straw men?
 


I don't think its that, I believe he wants an example of an average B American Western from the pre Leone period to match up against what I consider Leone's  B "A Fistul Of Dollars".
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Groggy on August 20, 2007, 06:20:31 AM
Why not show the American Western at its best, and then SL excelling such an example? I'd pair Vera Cruz with a Leone. Or is it the Italian way to fight only straw men?

Very good point. It's not really fair to compare Sergio's movie to "Paradise Canyon" or a Gene Autry movie like "The Phantom Empire". It would be like comparing "Attack of the Crab Monsters" to "Jaws" or "Psycho".
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 20, 2007, 07:30:41 AM
Vera Cruz would be ok, but it has well know stars, which would be sort of the reverse, no?
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 20, 2007, 11:56:13 AM
I think Warlock is american western at his best. Saw it again the other day. A sublime trio of actors. A story with some unexpected trait of sadism. I don't think FOD excels it. To choose between the two would be a hard call. And I'm not referring to B-movies. I thought I was clear on that when I proposed Shane.
 
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 20, 2007, 01:08:15 PM
Sounds good to me do either Shane (which actually, with Billy D. Wilde Jr and baby Jesus both a bit obnoxious, that may be the one to go with) Or Warlock. O0
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 20, 2007, 02:16:31 PM
Warlock was a favorite of SL's, so it would be apposite. Interesting, titoli, that you like it too. It's nobody's fave over here. What do the descendants of Romulus see in it?
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 20, 2007, 02:54:19 PM
I don't think my explanations will be enough to make the descendants of barbarians change their respectable opinion.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 20, 2007, 08:40:47 PM
 ;D I'm not looking for an argument, I just want to know how others see things.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 21, 2007, 01:42:21 AM
Give yours, in the meantime.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: cigar joe on August 21, 2007, 03:47:34 AM
I would think you'd really want a typical low budget oater with no big name stars against low budget AFOD which also had at that time no big name stars.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 21, 2007, 05:26:57 AM
No, because that was the kind of western that big time Hollywood and Leone both dodged: but in a different way.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 21, 2007, 07:58:04 AM
Give yours, in the meantime.
Well, there are some good things about Warlock, certainly. The situation is interesting: you have more than just the champion hired to oppose the bad guys, you have the town suspicious of the champion, which eventually leads to a 3-way confrontation. Fonda and Widmark are very good (I'm not a big fan of Quinn). I don't like the two love interests: again, this violates Leone Rule #1 (twice!)and wastes a lot of time. Also, the good guys end up having things too easy, especially when DeForest (Bones McCoy) Kelly unaccountably decides there has to be a clean game and makes himself the referee. At that point all the tension goes out of the plot.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 21, 2007, 11:52:51 AM
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The situation is interesting: you have more than just the champion hired to oppose the bad guys, you have the town suspicious of the champion, which eventually leads to a 3-way confrontation.

Well, I think you have more than that: Fonda and Quinn are two exploiters, who have no interest in the establishing of the law if not as a way to a fast buck. In fact, as they become the representants of law and order, at the same time they step up on whoring and gambling into town. Their past is, to say the least, shady (Quinn was also a pimp, apart from being a cool-blooded assassin).

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I don't like the two love interests: again, this violates Leone Rule #1 (twice!)and wastes a lot of time.

Maybe Fonda love's interest, though that makes Fonda final decision all the more poignant. But the other girl in the picture is basic in many occasions to the development of the action and to shed light on Quinn's background. What I find dubious is the casting. Was it possible that there weren't younger and prettier girls at hand? Now I understand that they had to take actresses from Rome (Mangano, Loren, Lollobrigida. Yes, I know, Magnani as well, but for different reasons).

Quote
Also, the good guys end up having things too easy, especially when DeForest (Bones McCoy) Kelly unaccountably decides there has to be a clean game and makes himself the referee. At that point all the tension goes out of the plot.

Yes but at that point the movie's over. De Forest had his life saved  by the law (that time was Fonda) and so he feels he owes. I do not find that unaccountable. Also he saved Widmark's hand before, so if there's anything unaccountable it should be his behaviour then and successively when he informs Widmark on the dirty gambit prepared for him. But we were led to believe there was some special relationship between the two, as he was the one who led or received Widmark when he went to give the warning not to come into town to the ranch. 
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 21, 2007, 02:49:22 PM
Well, I think you have more than that: Fonda and Quinn are two exploiters, who have no interest in the establishing of the law if not as a way to a fast buck. In fact, as they become the representants of law and order, at the same time they step up on whoring and gambling into town. Their past is, to say the least, shady (Quinn was also a pimp, apart from being a cool-blooded assassin).
Quinn is all you say, but not Fonda. The film is at pains to show how different the men are (Fonda seems intent on giving his clients value for money), also the fact that Quinn has consistently deceived his friend over the years. In fact, Quinn has been playing Fonda, apparently because he's an emotional as well as a physical cripple who sees friendship as just another con. It's when Fonda discovers the true state of affairs that he breaks with him, precipitating the catastrophe. 
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 22, 2007, 03:05:12 AM
As much as Fonda is different from Quinn, he connives with him about sucking money from the towns who hire them by gambling and whoring. Also, Fonda commits the most appalling action when he kicks the crutch from under the blathering cripple. I think these actions disqualify him as typical american hero.  And the same can be said about Widmark, about whom we know what he did in the past, taking part in the massacre of the mexicans. Nobody's perfect in that movie. The difference lies in who decides to (partially or completely) redeem himself and who doesn't.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: dave jenkins on August 22, 2007, 09:26:47 AM
I don't know where you get that "whoring," it's not in the movie I've seen. Certainly they bring gambling to the town, because, as Fonda says, the money the town pays for his legitimate services hardly pays for his ammunition. As far as kicking the cripple goes, Fonda only does that after he's been forced to shoot Quinn, and after the cripple (who's a town father) rides him one time too many. He's had to kill his friend and then been provoked. It's not like he knocked the guy down in cold blood. This makes him a new kind of American hero? Perhaps. But I'd want to take another look at Jimmy Stewart in those Anthony Mann Westerns.

And the idea of a hero redeeming himself (partially or completely) is a staple of American Westerns. Angel and the Badman immediately comes to mind. Even Shane, we infer, has done some bad things prior to his arrival. Maybe part of his motivation for helping Jean Arthur and her family is that she reminds him of someone ("and there was nobody there to help"), and that he is expiating past transgressions by throwing in with the sheep men.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: titoli on August 22, 2007, 12:13:34 PM
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I don't know where you get that "whoring," it's not in the movie I've seen.

Quinn, on the staircase, says to a saloon girl to go to work instead of stick to him. And he's been a pimp in the past.

Quote
As far as kicking the cripple goes, Fonda only does that after he's been forced to shoot Quinn, and after the cripple (who's a town father) rides him one time too many. He's had to kill his friend and then been provoked. It's not like he knocked the guy down in cold blood. This makes him a new kind of American hero? Perhaps. But I'd want to take another look at Jimmy Stewart in those Anthony Mann Westerns.

I never said he was a hero. He can't be it in the common Hollywood '50's sense. The "hero" is Widmark, Fonda can't be and  isn't portrayed as such: if we want to perceive him as such because of some grand gesture (and because of the star status of Fonda) then is a very peculiar kind of hero who, as said, thrives on disreputable activities. He has just some kind of code, that's all.   And in the end he chooses not to remain and marry. That marks a difference with Widmark.  I can't remember any of this in Stewart's Mann movies.
The cripple doesn't say anything untrue: he just chooses the wrong moment and Fonda, in line with his not black and white character, has a human, though reprehensible, reaction.
So, if he is the hero, is a new kind: not very far from (actually, quite near to) Joe.

Quote
And the idea of a hero redeeming himself (partially or completely) is a staple of American Westerns. Angel and the Badman immediately comes to mind. Even Shane, we infer, has done some bad things prior to his arrival. Maybe part of his motivation for helping Jean Arthur and her family is that she reminds him of someone ("and there was nobody there to help"), and that he is expiating past transgressions by throwing in with the sheep men.

Sure. But as I said, Fonda (and also Quinn) redeem themselves only partially as due to their non-hero status. The only one who redeems himself is Widmark.   




Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Senza on March 02, 2013, 02:19:14 AM
This is interesting. I haven't seen that many american westerns so I'll probably go with Rio Bravo (1959).
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 02, 2013, 06:54:21 PM
correct me if I'm wrong titioli, but isn't the question posed in the opening thread meant to say, show the typical AW that Leone would have hated as an idea of the ideas he was trying to  go against when he made FOD? If that's so, then you have to mention movies Leone hated, not ones he loved.  Rio Bravo, Warlock, and Shane were all movies he admired.

According to Frayling, Leone hated "Freudian Westerns"; a frequent example Frayling cites is "films like The Left Handed-Gun, where you get the idea that, if only there had been a social worker around, Billy the Kid would never have happened."
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Groggy on March 02, 2013, 09:39:02 PM
How does Warlock not qualify as a Freudian Western?
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 02, 2013, 10:45:39 PM
no doubt it is. Maybe it was an exception to his rule. (Personally, I couldn't stand warlock. Nor could I stand Johnny Guitar, another Western that Leone loved)
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: stanton on March 03, 2013, 02:21:33 AM
"films like The Left Handed-Gun, where you get the idea that, if only there had been a social worker around, Billy the Kid would never have happened."

Still Penn's film has some scenes which are closer to Leone than most other 50s western.

(unfortunately Paul Newman's method acting is here way over the top)

Probably the first western with a slo mo shot.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Groggy on March 03, 2013, 09:15:53 AM
I don't see any Leone in Left-Handed Gun. Peckinpah obviously loved it as he "borrowed" entire scenes for One-Eyed Jacks and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: stanton on March 03, 2013, 01:50:21 PM
There wasn't most likely much left of Peckinpah's script in One Eyed Jacks. In Pat Garrett the death of Ollinger bears some resemblance. Don't remember much else.


For Leone:
Ollinger's death scene has the boot of him (he was blown out of it by the shotgun) unusually big in the foreground of the shot. And there is at least one scene where Billy kills as quickly 2 people as Eastwood did (only that Eastwood mostly kills more at once). Penn's directing of violence was often innovative.

But generally there is no 50s western which bears more than a few resemblances with Leone.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Groggy on March 29, 2013, 06:30:42 AM
Pat Garrett definitely "borrowed" LHG's Billy surrendering with his arms stretched out crucifixion-style. The image is equally pretentious in each movie.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: stanton on March 29, 2013, 08:42:18 AM
No, in PG&BtK it feels very different.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: Groggy on March 29, 2013, 05:06:39 PM
It's even worse underscored with that Dylan tune.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: stanton on March 30, 2013, 05:40:00 AM
That's great too, like most of the film.
Title: Re: Which american western...
Post by: El_Chuncho on April 04, 2013, 02:40:25 AM
I absolutely LOVE Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett"...and the soundtrack only adds to it.
For me, the death scene with Slim Pickens and Katy Jurado is a powerhouse moment in cinema and again the Dylan song is a perfect accompaniment.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRQAWfsHkCY

What the hell, I'm off work with a bad back I'm off to fire it up now!