Face to Face / Faccia a faccia (Sergio Sollima, 1967)


(I love you M.E. Kay) #121

Oh! Now I understand, I didn’t remember Brad being very weak at the beginning, I guess the American West air has a mystic quality that cures illnesses! ;D

Otherwise, I can’t really agree with the points you make, like I said it’s been a while since I saw the movie (so I can’t go into details), but personally, I had no problems with the characters of Beauregard and Brad.


(Stanton) #122

That’s ok. Besides, otherwise you wouldn’t have enjoyed it that much


(TheBigSmokedown) #123

There’s no point arguing, but I disagree with your assessment. I’ll just quickly pick up on your main points:

[ul][li]“There isn’t any brilliance in FtF (nor in any other Sollima film I have seen), but many well made scenes alternating with some weaker material. The beginning and the ending in the desert are the best parts, but in-between the film too often stumbles.”

That’s pretty harsh criticism of Sollima. I rate all three of Sollima’s spaghetti westerns as being some of the best in the genre, and they’re all in this site’s Top 20, so others must agree with me.[/li][/ul]

[ul][li]"The strongest character is of course Brad Fletcher, and here the film is at best in showing him changing. But what had happened to his disease (lung tuberculosis I assume)? From one moment to the next it simply disappears, and this is a big fault for a film with “ambitions”.

I watched a dubbed version, in which his disease was not specified as tuberculosis. It might be different in the Italian version, or possibly there was some intention for the disease to be tuberculosis without it being made overt. I don’t know, but otherwise it could have been something else, like perhaps bronchitis.

However, accepting that it’s intended to be tuberculosis, some sufferers of tuberculosis who do not receive treatment do recover. It’s not so far-fetched as you seem to think, not that I even think it is particularly important to the quality of the film anyway.[/li][/ul]

[ul][li]“Beuregard on the other hand is never shown as the ruthless outlaw he is supposed to be. There is one scene where he tries to shoot Brad after his escape, but why should he? One scene before he doesn’t shoot the other deputies, who represent in their brutish behaviour an unjust law, and are (unlike Brad) for his escape a threat.”

I find this comment quite frustrating. You’re right, Beauregard is not shown as the ruthless outlaw he is supposed to be; we’re shown only glimpses of his bloody past and the attitudes which fuelled it. At the start of the film, when he escapes with Fletcher, he has a nihilistic attitude and that’s about it. Over the rest of the film, his attitude changes as he starts to see the value in human life and develops a moral compass. When he falters and is unable to kill the Mexican child, that is a crucial moment in his development.

This brings me nicely to the next point…[/li][/ul]

[ul][li]“And really, why should Beau shoot Fletcher at the end and spare Siringo? Fletcher didn’t do any bad to him and just was ready to give his live together with Beau in order to save the refugees, while Siringo has betrayed him and is responsible for the death of most of his friends.”

He kills him because it is the right thing to do. Fletcher has committed himself to barbarity and lawlessness, believing Beauregard to be a part of the same creed. Like you, Fletcher cannot understand Beauregard’s actions when he is shot. That’s because he doesn’t understand the moral code which now governs both Beauregard and Siringo.

You say that Siringo betrayed Beauregard, but this isn’t quite right. He’s a Pinkerton doing a job, and his actions are an extension of that. His allegiance is with the Pinkertons and Beauregard understands and respects Siringo’s motives. He did not owe any allegiance to Beauregad, so it wasn’t possible for him to truly betray him.

Siringo’s morality is what makes him risk his life to stop the mob at the end, because he certainly doesn’t owe anything to Beauregard or Fletcher. As the film finishes, Siringo and Beauregard recognise in each other the same set of values, which is why they have to help each other. In my opinion, it’s a beautifullly crafted and poigniant ending to a magnificent film.[/li][/ul]

[ul][li]“And then Beau is never a ruthless killer. He seems just to be a nice and reasonable outcast living amongst a bunch of other outcasts in a bandit hideout. And the community of these outcasts is mostly shown in a more romantic way as a big family, and never as a real thread for anyone.”

I’ve commented on your point about Beauregard not being a ruthless already, but the community of outcasts is simply that. They are just a community and not supposed to be a threat, although they provide Beauregard’s outlaws with a place to lie low. It’s precisely the fact they are harmless which makes the ending all the more tragic.[/li][/ul]


(I love you M.E. Kay) #124

Very well said, TheBigSmokedown. Now I really want to watch it again!


(Stanton) #125

Why not arguing about it? Isn’t this forum made for arguing? And I’m not talking about quarrelling.

That's pretty harsh criticism of Sollima. I rate all three of Sollima's spaghetti westerns as being some of the best in the genre, and they're all in this site's Top 20, so others must agree with me.

Well that’s how I see him. This has nothing to do with how others see him. I think e.g. that he is a much better director than Valerii, and I’m sure that Day of Anger would be a much better film if directed by Sollima. But he is only half as good imo as Leone or Corbuci at his best.
I like Sollima’s westerns very much, at least the other 2, but I do not overrate him.

I watched a dubbed version, in which his disease was not specified as tuberculosis. It might be different in the Italian version, or possibly there was some intention for the disease to be tuberculosis without it being made overt. I don't know, but otherwise it could have been something else, like perhaps bronchitis.

However, accepting that it’s intended to be tuberculosis, some sufferers of tuberculosis who do not receive treatment do recover. It’s not so far-fetched as you seem to think, not that I even think it is particularly important to the quality of the film anyway.

In the beginning the health of Brad seems to be very important, but then all of a sudden it’s gone without any explanation. Well, I have said I don’t mind it that much, but I notice it.

I find this comment quite frustrating. You're right, Beauregard is not shown as the ruthless outlaw he is supposed to be; we're shown only glimpses of his bloody past and the attitudes which fuelled it. At the start of the film, when he escapes with Fletcher, he has a nihilistic attitude and that's about it. Over the rest of the film, his attitude changes as he starts to see the value in human life and develops a moral compass. When he falters and is unable to kill the Mexican child, that is a crucial moment in his development.

This is a point where many have complained about including Milian himself:

“No. I didn’t like Face to Face because it was very difficult to work with Volonte. Besides my character, who was supposed to be very violent before the movie starts, begins the movie when he’s wounded. So Volonte’s character had an arc and mine becomes flat. Mine starts already wounded so it became almost passive for the rest of the film. They just said I was a very famous bandit etc etc, but you never see the bandit. That’s why I don’t love the movie”

Still, if he is such a violent man, why not killing the deputies who have mortified him and are a threat for his escape, but then tries to kill the innocent Fletcher, who hasn’t done him any harm?
I don’t think that he was ever able to kill a child, and I’m not the only one who doesn’t see much change in his behaviour.

He kills him because it is the right thing to do. Fletcher has committed himself to barbarity and lawlessness, believing Beauregard to be a part of the same creed. Like you, Fletcher cannot understand Beauregard's actions when he is shot. That's because he doesn't understand the moral code which now governs both Beauregard and Siringo.

You say that Siringo betrayed Beauregard, but this isn’t quite right. He’s a Pinkerton doing a job, and his actions are an extension of that. His allegiance is with the Pinkertons and Beauregard understands and respects Siringo’s motives. He did not owe any allegiance to Beauregad, so it wasn’t possible for him to truly betray him.

Siringo’s morality is what makes him risk his life to stop the mob at the end, because he certainly doesn’t owe anything to Beauregard or Fletcher. As the film finishes, Siringo and Beauregard recognise in each other the same set of values, which is why they have to help each other. In my opinion, it’s a beautifullly crafted and poigniant ending to a magnificent film.

These things I’m mostly unable to see actually in the film as it is. For me this is more an assumption for which I don’t find much prove. But it is of course open for interpretation.

Siringo is imo also too less fleshed out. He shoots another Sheriff in typical SW manner to cover his defilade, so he hasn’t much of a moral code for me. His behaviour is also not clearly defined and changes from scene to scene.
And Fletcher has also changed again towards the end. He takes the responsibility for the bandit’s community and stays to give his life for their escape.
I think this is a pretty conventional ending for this film. I would have preferred an other one.

But yes, it is beautifully filmed. Best part of the film by far.

I've commented on your point about Beauregard not being a ruthless already, but the community of outcasts is simply that. They are just a community and not supposed to be a threat, although they provide Beauregard's outlaws with a place to lie low. It's precisely the fact they are harmless which makes the ending all the more tragic.

Yes, but it is always said that they are so dangerous from the beginning on. But that’s another minor point anyway.

Still the main point is that the character’s don’t work for me. Neither of them.


(John Welles) #126

SPOILER AHEAD:

I like the ending, but I think it would have been better, after Milian had “done the right thing”, if Berger had shot Milian all the same, even though he had saved his life. But then, that’s just me, and prehaps I prefere more pessimistic endings.


(TheBigSmokedown) #127

To an extent, but your opinion is what it is, and no amount of reasoning is going to change the way you feel.

I like Sollima's westerns very much, at least the other 2, but I do not overrate him.

I think you underrate him.

In the beginning the health of Brad seems to be very important, but then all of a sudden it's gone without any explanation. Well, I have said I don't mind it that much, but I notice it.

I noticed it as well, but I think we got enough explanation at the start of the film. I don’t think of it as a plot hole the way you do, particularly when held up againt other spaghetti westerns.

For example, I was far more outraged when I recently watched Cut-Throats Nine and it’s revealed their shackles are made of gold. Gold is a very maleable metal and they would easily be able to break free, but they were shown struggling to even make a dent.

This is a point where many have complained about including Milian himself:

“No. I didn’t like Face to Face because it was very difficult to work with Volonte. Besides my character, who was supposed to be very violent before the movie starts, begins the movie when he’s wounded. So Volonte’s character had an arc and mine becomes flat. Mine starts already wounded so it became almost passive for the rest of the film. They just said I was a very famous bandit etc etc, but you never see the bandit. That’s why I don’t love the movie”

Still, if he is such a violent man, why not killing the deputies who have mortified him and are a threat for his escape, but then tries to kill the innocent Fletcher, who hasn’t done him any harm?
I don’t think that he was ever able to kill a child, and I’m not the only one who doesn’t see much change in his behaviour.

I understand the point, and Milian was given plenty of reasons to dislike making the film. Volonte’s character is the focus of the film, and I can imagine Milian may have resented being forced to play a quieter character; arguably being upstaged in the process.

Once again, though, I feel you’re missing something in your interpretation. Maybe Sollima could have shown Beauregard murdering a few innocents early on, just to establish his credibility as a ruthless bandit. Personally, I didn’t really need it spelled out for me like that, because the way he’s treated at the start of the film, the way he escapes capture, his interaction with Brad Fletcher… those things satisfied me that okay, Beauregard is a feared bandit leader.

In terms of him acting the part, I think it’s important that he’s a man who has established his reputation and has nothing left to prove. On the other hand, Fletcher has everything to prove, he is full of ambition, and therefore he is willing to be uncompromising and aggressive in a way which Beauregard no longer is able to be.

Fairly early on, when Fletcher rides off to join Beauregard, a bystander warns to watch out for him, he’s a gunman and works for Beauregard Bennet. Of course, this is absurd, because Fletcher at that point is still harmless. However, by association with Beauregard he is already beginning to attain the power which will later cause his corruption.

I find the whole dynamic very interesting, and to me Beauregard seems a weary, jaded kind of gunfigher. Over the course of the movie he matures to the point that his old life, and the power and respect it provided, no longer holds any attraction. In a sense, Fletcher has come to represent that life, so when he is killed it’s symbolic of Beauregard’s rejection of his past and his old ways.


(Stanton) #128

Well, I think it is presumptuous to think that I can change another one’s opinion in a discussion, unless the other one was already in doubt about his opinion. But sometimes it happens of course that people indeed change their minds, at least in parts.
But if we state our reasons why we like/dislike a film others will maybe think more about it and maybe develop their own theories. Or will have at least fun by reading our mental “outpourings”. :wink:

And sometimes an argument simply forces me to think more deeply about a film than I did before.

So arguments are always welcome. That is as long as people don’t get pissed off.


(Stanton) #129

The point with plot holes is of course that in some films I care for them in other films not.

E.g. Cut Throat’s Nine is for me not worth to think much about as it has not much to offer which is of any interest to me.

But I appreciate your point of view regarding FtF.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #130

Thanks for that guys, I enjoyed reading your debate. Both of you really made some great arguments about the film. Made me wanna watch it again.


(Andy) #131

Indeed, and I agree with most of what you said, Smokedown. There is definitely brilliance in Face to Face and both of Sollima’s other films as well.


(TheBigSmokedown) #132

I’ll be honest, The Big Gundown was the first of his films I saw, and my exact thoughts were, “Who is this director and why the hell hadn’t I heard of him before?” I was truly blown away by the film.

I thought Run, Man, Run was a solid follow up, but had higher hopes for Face To Face. When I finally got to see it, I wasn’t disappointed; it was everything I hoped it would be. I think it’s fair to say it’s not just one of my favourite spaghetti westerns, it’s one of my favourite films.

I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way, as it’s mostly down to personal taste. However, it’s nice to know there are others who also see some brilliance there.


(Pistolero08) #133

Don’t forget that scene when Milian is talking with Gianni Rizzo’s character and the following shot of a man being shot down by Milian who tells a distraught woman it’s ‘nothing personal’.


(korano) #134

Reminded me of a mafia movie, that scene did.


(Pistolero08) #135

I personally think that not showing Beau kill a few innocents (except for the one) kind of left how horrible he was to your imagination and that way you can focus more on the message the film is putting across. We’ve seen countless people get gunned down by heartless bastards in other westerns, but Milian (even if he didn’t like the finished product) really showed us how dark Beau was through his acting. I feel the approach to his character was very clever and original.


(Stanton) #136

I never managed to see that. Beau is not an angel, but surely also never a real killer.


(Pistolero08) #137

I think that one particular scene where he guns that man down was enough to establish that Beau doesn’t have a problem with taking someone’s life away from them. He did it so calmly and nonchalant, I think the scene may have been more effective if fans of the genre weren’t so used to mindless killing sprees. Fistful of Dollars comes to mind, with the burning house.


(Stanton) #138

Yes, he tries to shoot Fletcher, without having a reason for it, he wants to shoot Siringo, without knowing who he is, he shoots that man (and later the unjust deputies) he doesn’t know only cause a doubtful citizen has told him a few things.
But he doesn’t shoot the deputies at the beginning, which all have treated him badly, and who could follow him after his escape.
But in the end he actually only shoots people who “have deserved” it (in the logic of the film), and for the others he does shoot or not his motivations are pretty muddled.

Face to Face is for me too often a film in which things are not thought through. Mostly enjoyable to watch, but too often out of proportion to be a real interesting Spagie.


(Silvanito) #139

Does anyone have the Cultcine version with the improved english dub?

I have over 200 SW titles to trade

Thanks


(ENNIOO) #140

Yes forgot would not mind this one myself :slight_smile: .