Author Topic: Sergio Leone Marathon  (Read 14541 times)

'Noke

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #90 on: September 01, 2009, 11:55:24 AM »
I'm glad you guys liked it so much, it is one of the greatest films of all time.
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

Kevin Shields

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #91 on: September 01, 2009, 03:49:41 PM »
It's my 2nd favorite film by Leone and definitely one of my top 25 favorites of all-time. 

I think this is the film that puts Leone into the list of the greatest directors of all-time and he deserves to be there.  I loved the operatic quality of the shots and the way it opened including the way the camera moved to introduce Frank.  That was shocking and with that music. 

It's what I feel is the definition of a perfect film.
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1SO

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #92 on: September 05, 2009, 01:46:22 AM »
I want to bring up some brilliant framing I just caught on my most recent viewing.  You always hear about directors waiting until the clouds in the sky are just right, but I don't think I've seen a finer example than at the end of this movie.  Look at the way the clouds create a tighter frame around Frank, yet leave his face completely surrounded by clear blue sky.



Leone then pulls back for an equally impressive framing of the same idea.



But it gets even better as Leone reframes the shot to include Harmonica.



I don't think there are 5 directors who ever lived that could use the clouds to give us a composition like that.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 01:51:43 AM by 1SO »
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Kevin Shields

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #93 on: September 18, 2009, 10:33:29 PM »
Is this still going on?
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Melvil

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #94 on: September 18, 2009, 10:50:17 PM »
I'm getting around to finishing up. I need to write about Once Upon a Time in America and then watch Duck, You Sucker.

Kevin Shields

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #95 on: September 18, 2009, 10:58:04 PM »
I got a DVD review of Duck, You Sucker coming tomorrow and I'll post my thoughts.
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Kevin Shields

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #96 on: September 19, 2009, 07:17:42 PM »
Duck, You Sucker!



Of the six films Leone had made from 1964-1984, this I feel is his most underrated when it is shown in its complete, 158-minute running time.  It's a film set during the Mexican Revolution as it begins with a Chairman Mao quote about revolutions that was not shown in some versions of the film along with the opening shot of Juan Miranda (Rod Steiger) pissing on some ants.  Juan is first seen as this meek man desperate to ride in this rich, huge stagecoach with all of these people eating and talking about the poor and how awful they are.  The close-ups of those people eating is actually quite disgusting to watch.  Then, surprise!  Miranda and his family robs the stagecoach. 

Then we meet James Coburn as John H. Mallory, a former IRA terrorist (though the IRA wouldn't exsist after the Mexican Revolution) who is a work for hire in blowing up places for a German miner owner and this is where the film is different form Leone's other films.  Prior to this film, there's never an interaction with 2 leading character that has lots of character development.  In For a Few Dollars More, Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef play off of each other.  In this film, Steiger and Coburn are really the heart and soul of the film as they go through some their own changes with each other.  Steiger is a man who just wants money and wants no part of the revolution as he's manipulated by Coburn into becoming a hero of the Mexican Revolution.  Coburn is a man that's disillusioned with revolutions as he's trying to find some importance in the Mexican revolution. 

Yet, through both character, Leone reveals what Mao has been saying about revolutions.  There's a great scene where Miranda tells Mallory that revolutions don't do anything for the poor.  It does things for those who read books.  Steiger's huge performance coupled with the quiet tone of Coburn works really well.  There's also a standout role from Romolo Valli as Dr. Villega, a revolutionary organizer. 

There's a lot of great scenes in the film but the shot I love in that film is this one...



It's done in a crane shot that is just remarkable as it's clear that Leone is in the top of his game.  Yet, the film serves as a metaphor for his own response towards Italian politics, May '68, and the revolutions that were going on at the time.  He was often accused of not speaking about contemporary Italy but he does so in his own style.  A post-western/political film that turns its nose against the Italian political films of the time and everything else.  It's a brilliant film that really serves more of a stepping stone for what is to come next.  I widely suggest to get the 2-disc DVD with the completed version that includes the always informative, insightful commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling.
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1SO

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #97 on: September 19, 2009, 10:35:42 PM »
Often times, a flawed movie by a great director is more interesting and stimulating than a great film by a mediocre director.  Duck, You Sucker! movie is masterful in it's first 90+ minutes.  It's Leone's rip-roaring ride... fast, loose and very funny.  (Many great bits of slapstick are in the vein of the moment in Good, Bad and Ugly when the soldiers are revealed to be Union covered in grey dust, making them appear to be confederate.)  I usually watch the first 2/3rds wondering why I don't own this film.

However, there's a moment where Leone has a chance to wrap things up all nice and neat and he lets the film drag on.  And he piles on politics and muddled, ponderous plotting.  The film becomes a bit of a chore with inspired moments.  thevoid99's favorite shot is in this section and it is a stunner.  In fact, it's the only moment from the last section that stays in my memory.

For those of you who've been discovering Leone through this marathon, Duck, You Sucker! is very much worth watching... once.  
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Holly Harry

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #98 on: September 19, 2009, 10:52:48 PM »
It's a fantastic film that beautifully combines  some of the funniest scenes of Leone's career, with some of the saddest(the Coburn flashbacks remind me of OUATIA, tonally). It's his most overtly political film, but all of Leone's films were political, but  done through character and genre action, and it may be a bit of a shock to hear Leone characters actually talking about the political issues at hand. The Steiger(great in a role that seems previously made for Eli Wallach, and indeed, it was) speech about who revolutions are for is hilarious and genuinely insightful into his disposition.

Also, the bank robbery sequence, which I think is my favorite scene of it's type ever, is one of the best scenes of Leone's career. Like, top 5. Certainly his funniest.
"Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again."-Woody Allen.

Antares

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Re: Sergio Leone Marathon
« Reply #99 on: March 10, 2019, 09:06:44 PM »
It's the one that puts him on a whole different level from other Great Filmmakers.

...except Kurosawa. EFT  ;)
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