Once Upon a Time in the West / C’era una volta il West (Sergio Leone, 1968)


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #481

The blu looks really good. Most people would consider the blu reference quality although I’ve been not quite as quick to do so in the past.


(Menschenjaeger) #482

[quote=“Mejimbo, post:147, topic:322”]http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Once_Upon_a_Time_in_the_West

Just a quick question, which struck me when I watched this again recently, that you guys/gals out there might help me with.
When Jill is loading the buggy to leave the McBain farm, and she finds Harmonica emerging from the shadows, why does he rip the lace collar and cuffs from her dress?[/quote]

Didn’t see anyone offer an actual physical quantitative explanation for this one.

This scene was completely unambuiguous to me - the reason was obvious, but there are scenes in other movies that other people have understood right off the bat while I scratched my head, so…Harmonica, whatever/whoever he’s been in his life, is obviously a man who’s been around the block. While for the first few moments it does appear that something sexual is going on, look where he’s ripping the clothes:

Her bodice and her wrists. The places she’s most likely going to be hiding a pin or a small blade. Harmonica doesn’t take unnecessary chances, and he doesn’t want a woman who will clearly defend herself whipping out a penknife or razor blade or whatever while his back is turned. He’s going to have enough to watch out for for the next few minutes without having to worry about that. It’s an important scene because it sets the tone - Harmonia has no sexual interest in Jill (now THERE’S a man dedicated to revenge!). It’s like the scene where he hands her the bath brush before going to the window to watch Frank.


(kross) #483

See, my read on that act was that it was to show more of Jill’s skin to distract the two clod gunmen in the hills.


(SNW500) #484

My theory has always been that he wanted her to look like she was working on the farm…sleeves rolled up so to speak…to avoid spooking the two hit men hiding up on the sandy knoll. Had she gone to the well limmaculately dressed…Franks men might’ve figured she was being used as bait.


(Bill san Antonio) #485

That’s how I see it too but not just to look like she’s working in the farm. I see it as indirect way from Harmonica to say it’s time to take care of the farm and leave the old New Orleans way of life behind. I have to admit I was puzzled by this scene first time I saw it but then again it’s made that way in purpose.


(SNW500) #486

Could be that too Bill. I hadn’t thought of that.

I just though of another question…which AFAIK was never really answered in the film. During the flashback to the hanging scene, when Harmonica was a boy…is that supposed to be his brother (or is it his father) standing on his shoulders?


(Mickey13) #487

I think it is his brother, for as far as I remember, Frank utters in that scene ‘Keep your brother happy’.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #488

[quote=“Bill san Antonio, post:485, topic:322”]That’s how I see it too but not just to look like she’s working in the farm. I see it as indirect way from Harmonica to say it’s time to take care of the farm and leave the old New Orleans way of life behind. I have to admit I was puzzled by this scene first time I saw it but then again it’s made that way in purpose.[/quote]I was speaking to Christopher Frayling about this as I was unsure myself and he came up with the same theory.


(SNW500) #489

Could be that we’re overanalyzing these trivial details. IMHO Leone’s films are painfully simple…I’ve never observed much as far as symbolism and underlying messages goes. You can connect the dots…but there is no “reading between the lines”. What you see is what you get. Again JMHO.


(ENNIOO) #490

I often think thats the case. But each to their own on there views of course.


(Toscano) #491

My own take on this particular scene has always been this.
I totally agree that Harmonica was - in essence - telling Jill to put her old ways (New Orleans etc.) behind her, by abandoning the frills and thrills of another time.
However, while Harmonica is ripping the white lace of Jill’s dress, it is evident that he is aware (though the window/door of the barn) that Frank’s two henchmen are standing watch on the hill. He is also aware that they most probably mean to harm the ‘the widow McBain’.
In addition, it is my belief that Harmonica also rips the white lace off Jill’s dress, so that she will not (when the inevitable shooting starts) present herself as such an easy target to Frank’s men.
That’s my take on the scene.


(SNW500) #492

What is the deeper meaning behind the fly in Jack Elam’s gun barrel and the drops of water on Woody Strode’s stetson? Just kidding ;D


(ENNIOO) #493

The fly has left its mother to early and has a disorder of getting trapped in guns :smiley:


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #494

Yeah I agree with this explanation. Ripping off her clothes would be like using a lantern to draw out the flies.


(Stanton) #495

Very, very funny:

… and so true …


(Jonny Powers) #496

I remember reading about the end credits thing, is all that fixed anywhere?


(autephex) #497

Maybe the funniest usage of that clip I’ve seen so far :smiley:


(Stanton) #498

Yes, I liked especially that GBU pan&scan part and the OUTA pissed by on by a cow VHS. Probably the same cow which pissed on the recent GBU Blu …


(Stanton) #499

But this scene wasn’t in any of the theatrical releases, not even in the US release print. It was put in later in one of the shorter US versions, because there the scene in the desert saloon was cut. And without that scene, which explains that he was wounded (and remember, ghosts don’t bleed :wink: ), one can indeed think he was a ghost, cause the first scene was so directed that one must think that all were dead.

This scene wasn’t in the script, but I assume that Leone shot it because he was uncertain if he really could make such a daring exposition without irritating the audience too much.
But it wasn’t originally intended to be there, and only thanks to the sloppy recreation of the theatrical version by Paramount we now have to deal with it.


(Novecento) #500

It also adds a little big of ambiguity to Bronson’s role in that while he most likely was simply wounded and survived (as the saloon sequence shows), it does hint at the idea that he was perhaps mortally wounded but did not die because he needed to seek avengeance. It is similar to the character of Noodles in Once Upon a Time in America who most likely did not dream all the events in the film, but the end scene still introduces that possibility in our minds.