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Topics - Silenzio

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Duck, You Sucker / Whoa God!
« on: January 26, 2007, 04:50:09 PM »

I am oozing with jealousy right now, Peacemaker and CJ.  >:(

I'm going to be in DC on that long weekend. Think that's the day I fly back to home sweet home.

Ok, I have this song (which I really love), and I'd like to know which spaghetti western it was from, the song is called The Wind In My Face.

Here are the lyrics to the most memorable parts

The Slow Intro (the lyrics are a little cheesy for my taste):

Ridin' with the wind in my face
Searchin' for the human race
Out on the road again
Fighting for the rights of men

And the Chorus (which I think has much better lyrics):

Woman, you're not a friend
Every time I come to you,
I find that you're changin' your mind.
Only when the chips are down
I'll finally come to trustin' your kind.

Off-Topic Discussion / HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
« on: December 31, 2006, 10:56:45 PM »
Tomorrow, January the First, is the birthday of Banjo! Celebrate good times!

I'd also like to wish a birthday to Marmota-B and Marco Leone (though a few weeks late...  :-[ )

Other Films / John Ford's Westerns
« on: December 31, 2006, 09:13:58 AM »
Here's a place to discuss and to rank them. Of all the ones I've seen, they'd rank like this:

1. The Searchers
2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
3. Fort Apache
4. Stagecoach
5. My Darling Clementine
6. 3 Godfathers
7. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

I might watch Stagecoach again today. But I might not. Ya never know with Silenzio...

Off-Topic Discussion / Blu Ray vs. HD DVD
« on: December 28, 2006, 01:41:14 PM »
Which one is better? Does anybody know? Which one provides better definition and such?

Off-Topic Discussion / Guh? ....
« on: December 18, 2006, 09:30:55 PM »

What is this?

I was browsing through the "spaghetti westerns in america" board at and I came across a post mentioning this.

Whaaa? What's up with this? Any news? Anybody?

Off-Topic Discussion / Did I miss something...
« on: December 10, 2006, 08:19:39 AM »
Why is Kurugen gone? Was he banned or did he just delete his account?

Off-Topic Discussion / Cinema Noir
« on: November 19, 2006, 09:30:12 PM »
Alright. I don't officially know the difference between Film Noir and Cinema Noir, but I have my own little explanation. I just call all noirs that weren't made in America or Britain to be "cinema noir" as opposed to their "film noir" counterparts. So here's a place to discuss those foreign noirs. Coming soon are my reviews for "Le Samourai," "M" (which is too early to really be a noir, but there are definite precursors and influences of the noir genre) and "Stray Dog."

Off-Topic Discussion / More John Ford on TCM Tomorrow, the 14th
« on: November 13, 2006, 08:34:37 PM »
Howdy folks. Thought I'd give you a little heads up on the fact that tomorrow they'll be showing Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Rio Grande, and The Horse Soldiers on TCM. Here's a schedule, note that it is in Eastern Time right now. You can select your time zone at the top of the window if you don't know how many hours to subtract.

Off-Topic Discussion / Rumsfeld Resigned
« on: November 08, 2006, 12:47:13 PM »
Inside information tells me that Rumsfeld resigned within the last few hours,  you guys can read all about it in the paper tomorrow.

Off-Topic Discussion / The Good German
« on: November 02, 2006, 08:50:53 PM »
The other day I went to see the departed and caught a glimpse of a poster for this upcoming film. Probably the most effective use of advertising I've ever seen, just looking at the poster made me willing to spend money to watch it.

There's a list of places where you can watch the trailer.

There's the IMDb page.

Other Films / Alex Cox / Lee Van Cleef interview
« on: October 31, 2006, 05:42:12 PM »
Here's a Lee Van Cleef interview from Alex Cox's book 10,000 Ways to Die which is available as a free download from his website. This interview took place in 1978.

Lee Van Cleef: I came into this town in a stage play called Mr. Roberts. Stanley Kramer saw it an put me in this picture called High Noon The first time I went into his office he told me to fix my nose and I told him to go fuck himself. So he told me that instead of playing the second leads I would have to play one of the silent heavies. I said, "Fine - Silent is the best way I play." In fact, in the middle of the picture, Fred Zimmeman, the director said "I want you to say howdy or something to Ian Macdonald as he's getting down of the train." And I said I didn't think I should - I've been playing the silent type and if I open my mouth one iota the power of my character will be destroyed. He agreed with me.
Most actors like to talk, I don't. I read scripts and cut the dialog down to the bare essentials. I've always done that.

Alex Cox: Is that what you'd call your approach to acting?

LVC: There is no approach to acting other than sharpening your tools. You learn how to use a sword, stunt fighting, how to use your voice, how to dance - all this is sharpening your tools. It's a basic necessity for all actors. But I don't think many actors are doing that today.

AC: Of the American parts you played, which were you the happiest with?

LVC: I got happiness out of every damn one I did. I'm not just saying that to sound off - I really did. Even the old Range Rider series, and Space Patrol on tv. I got knocked out in one - some old actor hit me in the head with a plastic gun and down I went. And we were doing that live.

AC: How did you meet Sergio Leone?

LVC: Leone came over in 1965, looking for two actors he had in mind for his second western. The moment we met up he said, "That's it - That's the guy who's going to play Colonel Mortimer in For A Few Dollars More" Well I wasn't going to argue with him - Hell, I couldn't pay my phone bill at the time. I went over and did it, payed my phone bill, and exactly a year later to the day - August 12th - I was called back to do The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. And back-to-back with that I made The Big Gundown. But now instead of making Seventeen thousand dollars I was making a hundred-and-something. And that was Leone's doing, not mine. And I was doing leads and heavies in Italy from then on.

AC: What was the set of an Italian western like?

LVC: It was a lot of fun. I tried to learn the languages - Italian, Spanish, and German - not to successfully. Working on a European set isn't a hell of a lot different from working on an American set. I think the Europeans are a lot more spontaneous, more artistic to some degree. But I don't think they have the technical talent we do here in the states. Here people have been trained much more specifically - they know exactly what they're doing. The Europeans are perhaps slower, but in the end damn near as good.

AC: How did the characters you played differ from the ones in the original scripts?

LVC: The one area I disagreed with in the italian scripts was dialog. There was too much of it. I'd be given a half god-damn page of dialog to read; and, look, I can get this across in two words. Maybe it's a difference in the languages, but I had to rewrite every damn scene I was in.  I reduced the whole thing - changed to a "Hello" or a "Pardon me, ma'am." A lot of actors think that the more lines they have the more attention they get. That's bullshit. I make people look at me. I don't have to say a lot of words.

AC: Did Leone speak much English in the early days?

LVC: On For A Few Dollars More, no. He did the next year. Now he speaks it almost fluently. But it caused no problems - I understood exactly what he wanted. It was an instictive thing. He demonstrated a little bit, and there was always an interpreter on the set. But I knew from the script what was expected of me. The next year, he'd learned more english and we got along even better. He would walk through what he wanted done, then I'd do it my way... and he always accepted the difference.

AC: Did the italian directors play music on the set?

LVC: I never experienced that. But Leone did play Morricone scores for me, beforehand. It didn't help me anyway. I'm not going to act to music unless I'm doing a musical.

AC: Did making two films back-to-back create any problems?

LVC: No. Different parts doesn't mean a thing - not for somebody who thinks he's an actor. [u]The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly[/u] was strictly a heavy, just a mean son of a bitch - nasty because he could smile doing it. The Big Gundown was a surly character, but not a heavy. The guys behind me in the picture wanted me to be a politician, but I had no aspirations and I erased that from my mind as an actor.

AC: Do you have any regrets about the italian films you made?

LVC: No. I don't care where I work. Films are an international business - not an American institution. You go where the work is. It can be in my own back yard, Israel, Spain, or Yugoslavia. We may have the greatest technical efficiency in the world, but our artistic values are not necessarily the best.

AC: You rate the art direction in a European picture?

LVC: Yes. And the timing. Editing is really where Leone's at the top. His timing is great. Our directors are involved in editing, but they don't do it. Leone does it himself, he's inspired by it, and he had me come into the editing room while he was putting together The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, to show me something he had done. It was a beautiful experience.

AC: Did he ask you to be in Once Upon A Time in the West?

LVC: I turned it down. I don't remember exactly why. I didn't like the way it was written.

AC: What about the circus westerns, like the Sabata films?

LVC: They're sort-of-serious westerns, but they hinge on being spoofs. I enjoyed them, but they weren't like the Leone films. I don't think it was Parolini's fault - it was as much a fault of the script. I did as good as I could. But if things aren't in the script you can't direct them and you sure can't act them. You can try to add on to it as best you can, but if it's not there in the first place you have a wee bit of a problem. They looked like they were going to be alright. I turned down Indio Black and they got Yul Brynner instead. I didn't like it when I saw it on tv.

AC: Around that time you made Barquero.

LVC: Barquero was done in Colorado. Jack Sparr was going to direct it, but he was killed during location hunting, in a plane crash. Gordon Douglas took over, he's a good speed director, makes good television shows; and Warren Oates wasn't anything to sneeze at.  But... I think Forrest Tucker and I goofed on that one.

AC: You wouldn't play another role like that?

LVC: I'd like to do more comedy, but i think my forte is still in the heavy. I'd love to do a comic lead, a musical.

AC: You paint in your spare time, so you obviously have an eye for composition. Have you ever considered directing?

LVC: Definitely. My brother-in-law's got a script i would love to direct. It's a half-ass comedy called Wet Paint. I'd play one of the two parts - Wet Paint himself or a guitar player who comments on the action. And if I could direct it I would be very happy. But the economics of business don't always allow you to do what you want.
Clint Eastwood's directing films though....
We'll see what happens.

Other Films / Sergio Sollima's Most Remarkable Spaghetti Achievment
« on: October 22, 2006, 09:23:19 AM »
Seriously though, are there any other Sergio Sollima spaghetti westerns other than those three? None come to mind right now.

Anyways, back to Sollima. Over the past few weeks I've ordered four or five spaghetti westerns, which includes The Big Gundown and Face to Face. I saw Run, Man, Run quite a few months ago, but I'll be viewing it again soon. Right now, my vote on this poll goes to Face to Face, and I'll leave my review of TBG and FTF right now, and RMR once I watch it again (hopefully within the next few weeks).

The Big Gundown

Reviewed version: Franco Cleef Reconstruction DVD-R (mostly English, partly Italian audio with English

Synopsis: Jonathan Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) is a determined lawman and a possible up-and-coming senator. Cuchillo Sanchez (Tomas Milian) was accused of the rape and murder of the twelve-year-old girl, and is on the run from Corbett. Cuchillo was featured in Sergio Sollima's later western, Run, Man, Run!

Sergio Sollima's first Spaghetti Western, the Big Gundown, is basically, to quote Cigar Joe, "A Leone clone." And the mesmerizing opening credit sequence removes all doubt that this movie has heavy, heavy Leone influences (as all spaghetti westerns do) but I think there is definitely some "Sollima flair" in this movie, not just an uncreative mimic of Leone.  The part where Cuchillo is running through the sugarcane fields, coupled with Maestro Morricone's magnificent score, is one of the best scenes I've ever seen in a spag. Lee Van Cleef is, of course, badass (a word that is synonymous with the name Lee Van Cleef) and gives a typical Lee Van Cleef performance. However, Milian's performance was not all I was hoping for. I saw Run, Man, Run! before I saw this movie, and I remember Cuchillo being a lovable character who you can sympathize with. When I saw TBG it was not at all the Cuchillo Sanchez that I remembered from RMR. He was loud, not charming, with little or no charisma whatsoever. But, I'm able to look at both films independently, and Cuchillo in TBG isn't that bad, just a lot more annoying. Right now, The Big Gundown is in my top 5 spaghetti westerns, it is magnificent despite the fact that Milian's performance isn't as good, and there are some scenes I could really live without (i.e., the bull sequence). Don't let the way I talk down about Milian's performance deter you from seeing this movie. Once you get used to Milian's character, it's not bad at all. On the second viewing, I enjoyed this film more. Highly recommended.

Shobary's Rating: 100%
My rating: 93-95%

Face to Face

Reviewed version: Region 0 Japanese Print DVD (Italian with English Subtitles [there is an English track, but the quality is really bad, very quiet, and all-around not good])

Synopsis: History professor Brad Fletcher (Gian Maria Volonte) has to move to a warmer climate due to an illness he has. He is taken hostage by notorious bandit "Beauregard" Bennet (Tomas Milian), but ends up saving Bennet's life and falls in with his outlaw gang.

Face to Face, I thought, was all around a more mature film than The Big Gundown. Milian's performance was much better, but the look of his character is more ridiculous. This film has a kind of relationship between two characters where one affects the other, Bennet is attracted towards Fletcher's intellectual capacity and understanding of things like philosophy, but Fletcher is drawn in to Bennet's criminal way of life. It's a similar switcheroo to what happens in Leone's own "Duck, You Sucker!" Both The Big Gundown and Face to Face are arranged in these kind of distinct episodes (in TBG there are "episodes" with the mormans, the sex-addicted ranch lady, etc) but in this film these episodes run together more smoothly. Whereas in TBG they can sometimes feel somewhat clumsy (like the episode where they go into the monastery).

Shobary's Rating: 97%
My rating: 95-97%

Here's a list of what each film has that's superior to the other film:

The Big Gundown:
Better Score
Better Opening Credit Sequence
Better "Gunplay"
Better direction

Face to Face:
Better Performances
Better Plot
More mature look
Tackles bigger themes
The episodes are strung together more coherently
a HEIST (which I like to see in spaghetti westerns for reasons I'm not going to go into)

Basically, if you like the Spaghetti Western anti-heroes, Lee Van Cleef, and stuff like that, go for the Big Gundown. If you like a more artsy film that tackles larger themes, has better performances, and is a pretty unique spag, I would recommend Face to Face.


Run, Man, Run review will be coming up soon enough...

Trivia Games / Are you a "certified genius?"
« on: October 14, 2006, 10:26:24 AM »
I stumbled across this game the other day. If you're a "certified genius" you should be able to find the difference between these two photos within fifteen seconds. I doubt that this little quiz can genuinely prove that, but it took me about four minutes.  :-[

Off-Topic Discussion / Red Beard
« on: October 08, 2006, 03:24:47 PM »
I just got done with it. Kurosawa, as usual, delivers a powerful, compelling, and excellent film.

SYNOPSIS (don't worry, no spoilers):

Basically, the plot revolves around a young, up-and-coming doctor named Yasumoto who was trained at some prestigous medical schools and wants to become the personal doctor of the Shogun. He is assigned to a hospital under the direction of Kyojio "Red Beard" Niide (Toshiro Mifune), a compassionate clinic director with some unorthodox methods, and appears to be fairly tyrannical at first. At first, yasumoto is insubordinate, not approving of Dr. Niide, and tries to be as much of a nuisance as possible so that he'll be fired. But, spending time around the hospital turns him on to what being a doctor is really all about, and that helping people is more important than being a rich, prestigous medical practitioner. And you gradually see his changes in personality throughout the film.


Basically, this film has earned it's place as my fifth or sixth favorite Kurosawa. It's a very compelling film, as was Ikiru. It seems to me that both of them have a similar basic theme, in that they both are kind of about how a man has his life changed and discovers the true meaning of something. In Ikiru, the true meaning of life, and in Red Beard, what it really means to be a doctor: to be a savior of the people, and a role model. Of the two, I think I would say I prefer Ikiru.

Toshiro Mifune plays "Red Beard" and he delivers a magnificent performance. One of his best, in my opinion. Yuzo Kayama is also very convincing as Yasumoto. I liked all of the acting in this film, right down to minor characters such as the little thief. The direction is great, of course, since it's Kurosawa. One thing I always liked about the Cinematography of these kinds of movies is the way shots tend to be very, very long. Does anybody know the ASL (average shot length) of this movie? I'd like to know it.

Highly recommended.

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