If this wasn’t a Leone movie people would probably rate it higher, but since it’s a Leone flick it has to be compared to his previous films, and that’s just unfair.
Now, my complaint will be that, for some reason, the movie jumps from the scenes in the bridge with the mexican army tank to the scenes of the betrayal of the doctor and the corpses in the cave way too soon, and we are left with no “middle” scene that shows us when all these people got captured. I felt i lost a bit of the pacing between those moments, and when we see the corpses in the cave it felt a bit too sudden. How they found the cave? When did they arrived?
A good film, but let down by some horrible performances. It’s also too long and meandering, no matter which way you look at it. What saves it is that Leone manages to make scenes where nothing interesting is happening exquisite to look at. The stirring Morricone soundtrack doesn’t hurt either.
Revisted this one recently with the mono english dub. Gets better and better after each viewing. Always finding out more what is going on in the background for example. Sometimes if I have viewed a film a few times already, it can be interesting to see what is going on in the background. Coburn did some good acting roles in the 70’s and this is up there with the best for me. The blowing up of the bridge scene is so impressive with it being shot from various angles. The crashing of the two trains near the end of the film is not as top notch for example.
Been watching this again and it does get better each time but one thing that still bugs me is that there is no explanation when the scene changes near the beginning from Juan talking to John after he shot up his motorcycle to when John is blowing up a tower. When John is setting up the explosives, all of a sudden Juan comes out of nowhere and John sighs like he wasn’t expecting him and then he has to ask “who are the people in there?” I just don’t get it. To me it’s an awkward scene change.
That’s how I feel about it.
Sadly, there is far too much going against it for it to be considered up to snuff with the previous films, even to a Leone fan.
That doesn’t stop it from being my favorite Leone movie though.
In many ways I think it’s his best work.
The movie does get better with repeated viewings. The script is almost too complex for its own good, which is one reason that Leone wound up directing the film himself–he was the only one who could make it work in the way that he envisioned it. GBU was an epic film with a simple plot, but there is so much complexity in this one that it seems disjointed at times…a 4-hour movie was not a good idea, so we have to make sense out of what we are given here.
I agree with the other posts about the actors. Steiger is always a distraction for me when I watch the movie. He’s here, not because he’s right for the part, but because he’s a big-name actor. And although he was a great actor, I just don’t buy into what he’s selling us. It’s sad that Wallach didn’t get the part, but hell, even Tomas Milian would have been a better fit. I also agree that Morricone’s score is great, except for the “Sean Sean Sean” riff (which, if I remember correctly, was something his wife came up with.)
Although I do like the film very much (I gave it 4 stars), it’s not one that I ever recommend to the casual Leone fan…appreciating this movie seems to take a good bit of work on the viewer’s part.
I have no problems with Steiger and enjoy him in the role.
The role is obviously very similar to Tuco, and Steiger is easily able to be another Tuco. With Wallach it wouldn’t be very different, only that he is always so much Tuco in his other SWs, that he would have caused too much direct Tuco memories. Which could have hurt the role.
Well, you can have the Eastwood type of roles in 1000 films without nay problems, but you can’t watch Tuco again and again …
(The De Niro syndrome)
A studio cut to Leone’s original cut of the movie http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s26duckyou.html
"(1) The most prominent scene mentioned would go immediately after John’s final dynamiting of Juan’s stolen caravan, and before the weird nighttime scene where John dynamites Aschenbach, itself a restored scene. According to reports, Juan’s men disarm John and lead him on a forced march in the desert, taunting him much in the same way Eli Wallach had taunted Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. If this were so it would make some sense of John’s seemingly unmotivated disorientation as he sets up to dynamite Aschenbach. There was one emotional letter from a French reader furious at the deletion of this scene. It and other scenes, it is claimed, would add at least ten more minutes to the film. "
The second disc of the MGM double DVD has a short film “Sorting out the Versions - an Analysis of DYS” which describes the scenes, “shot but never screened in any version”. Indeed they only survive as stills in the MGM archive.
After Villega’s torture scene, he is rescued, on hearing he has disclosed the location of the rebels, John ruses back to the mountains and tries to warn them, but is too late.
John doesn’t kiss Shaun in the long flashback to Ireland, so I don’t know where I got that idea from, would have made an interesting twist to the story though.
His belonging to the genre is uncertain, but the substantially underrated Giù la testa is a very good movie including at least three great sequences: bridge, cave and death of the Governor.
In the opening sequence we see a curious attempt - in my opinion only partially successful - to transfer to a sequence charged with meaning a Triello-style editing full of details and close-ups.
The shooting thwarted thanks to dynamite reminds me of similar scenes in Professionisti per un massacro (1967) and Indio Black, sai che ti dico: sei un gran figlio di… (1970), in which we see the explosion of a bridge shot from multiple angles too.
Leone personally cut the now restored conclusive flashback because of a spectator who stood up and left right at that point during a preview screening. Torture of Villega was also excluded from the theatrical cut submitted to the Committee for the Theatrical Review in October 1971. According to Alberto Pezzotta a version including the missing scenes (desert+ Villega torture) was aired by Telepiù in the Nineties.
In all probability final sacrifice of Villega inspired the Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini to write the political song La locomotiva (1972).
You mean the massacre at the bridge?
Of which I think it is an undecided directed scene which does not work. Just like the final train assault.
Leone personally cut the now restored conclusive flashback because of a spectator who stood up and left right at that point during a preview screening, while torture of Villega was cut at the request of censorship. According to Alberto Pezzotta a version including the missing scenes (desert+ Villega torture) was aired by Telepiù in the Nineties.