Who really directed MY NAME IS NOBODY?

According to my theater & movie-going journal (which I kept for thirty years), half the audience walked out midway through MY NAME IS NOBODY in the summer of 1974. Groans of disappointment rippled through the audience when the slapping started. Henry Fonda’s villain in Once Upon a Time In the West had been unforgettable. Moviegoers wanted to see him play more characters like that. They went to MY NAME IS NOBODY expecting to see a cool spaghetti western with a dangerous Fonda. Instead, they get a comedy. I dislike slapstick and acrobatics in spaghetti westerns. Soon as the comedy starts I lose interest. The film looked great, it had an epic feel, but the disappointment in the audience was tangible, and I shared in it.

I’ve heard there were a few hands involved in the direction, but what are the facts?
Who directed this movie?

And whose vision is on the screen?
Whose idea was this?

I hope it isn’t Sergio Leone’s.

Well, I think it is Leone’s film. Read the film’s thread, there is a lot about it.


It starts at page 3

As is common knowledge Leone at some point declared that he directed at least four sequences: opening, graveyard, 150 outlaws gang and final duel. Sorely disappointed, Valerii swore on the memory of his dead father that the only scenes directed by Leone with the second unit have been the saloon sequence and a small part of the outside party, explaining that the technique used for the explosions in the Wild Bunch sequence is the same he used years before in A Taste for Killing (1966).

I believe Valerii: the fact that Leone (which by the way as producer said he was disappointed with the final outcome) was a far more important and talented film-maker does not automatically make him more credible as a man.

See also Reply #196 in film’s thread.

Yes, it doesn’t. Actually I don’t trust Leone very much, and btw Leone’s statements about MNIN are sometimes contradictory anyway. But mostly I believe in what I see on the screen.

But all the statements of other people indicate that Leone did a lot more than only producing. Leaves Valerii to be the only one who thinks that he is responsible for the film’s merits.

It’s not really about who directed what. Maybe Valerii directed most of it but everything in the film was heavily supervised by Leone. When Leone started to produce films he saw himself like a old Hollywood mogul who has the total control over production. He wanted to produce film which would have been “Leone films directed by someone else”.

Thats actually a trend that you see nowadays as well. Directors are becoming producers and hiring young unproven directors to direct instead while the producer uses a heavy hand. Spielberg, Besson, Del Toro, Rodriguez, Tarantino, Howard, Coppola and many others. I guess its easier to be a producer (less headaches) and you probably get paid better as well.

As for Nobody, they must have really promoted the film wrong because the audience should have known going in that it was going to be a comedy.

I don’t agree on that. The producer has way more responsibilities, thus more headaches.

I don't agree on that. The producer has way more responsibilities, thus more headaches.

If he’s a beer drinker, sure

It all depends on the director he is working with. I guess producers who cooperated with Cimino must have had many headaches. :wink:

I will be producing my own western shortly (as well as starring in it) and it’s going to be a shitload of work, I can tell you that much. Way more work than the director will be having. That’s not to say that the director is only there to yell ‘action’ and ‘cut’, but you get the picture.

In Europe, or at least in Germany, it was promoted only as a comedy, a Terence Hill Comedy. And here it was a big success. #3 at the box office in 73 and 74, sold more tickets than The Sting, The Exorcist or Live and Let Die, only topped by Papillon and another Spencer/Hill comedy.
But of course Hill was a superstar in Europe, and all the marketing focused solely on him.

So for me it was the other way round when I watched it with 15 years. I liked it, but was at the same point slightly disappointed for not getting the amount of laughs I had paid for. It should have had at least one big brawl at the end.
Well, now I would like to cut some of the slapstick out to get a better balance between the melancholy and the parody and turn it thereby into a little masterpiece.

I agree. But for some slapsticks, it would have been a perfect movie.

So many producers and different ones on many films today of course, over ten for example in a recent Stallone film.

Okay, I read the thread. Heavy sledding. But I get it. I must say I’m disappointed in Sergio Leone for undertaking this slur. Because that’s what MY NAME IS NOBODY is: a slur. The film is total garbage. It’s so unworthy of him.

I was about to say you don’t have much production experience, do you when I read your next post:

Let someone else direct it if you’re starring in it, and let someone else star in it if you’re directing it. It will come out better that way. Are you the micro-budget indy fellow in Santa Fe? Who’s your DP? PM me if you need a hand.

Right, that’s why I will not be directing. That would be pushing it. Also wrote it, by the way.

I chose myself as main actor, as that will be one less worry. Also: Free actor!

As for your question: No, I’m not that guy. This will be a Dutch western.

Nah, actually it is (despite being uneven for its slapstick parts) one of the best directed westerns ever. Better than nearly every other SW and better than nearly every US Western. Alone for the best parts of MNIN, which are brilliant, I can watch this film again and again.
Too bad Leone did not direct it completely.

[quote=“Stanton, post:16, topic:3210”]Nah, actually it is (despite being uneven for its slapstick parts) one of the best directed westerns ever. Better than nearly every other SW and better than nearly every US Western. Alone for the best parts of MNIN, which are brilliant, I can watch this film again and again.
Too bad Leone did not direct it completely.[/quote]
Seconded. Sure, there are some “funny” moments (which are intended to be funny but they aren’t sometimes), but it’s a well directed flick anyway. I love the ending scene.

There is craftsmanship, yes, but there is always craftsmanship in Italian films. Technically it is extremely well-crafted. But to what end? The problem with this film is the story, the concept, the very premise, the idea of it. It’s garbage. It was not worth doing. Ridiculing the spaghetti western only facilitated pounding the nail in its coffin. This film helped kill the genre because audiences couldn’t take them seriously after seeing this. Think about that.

There are many revisionistic elements that do not refer to spaghetti western, but to the whole genre in general. The film is more about the death of western, that is why the name of Peckinpah is mentioned in the cemetery (it might have been a reference to Peckinpah’s revisionistic Garrett and Kid made in the same year). If it was only about spaghetti western, why not mention Sollima or Petroni? And arguing that My Name Is Nobody helped to kill the genre is a little far-fetched, as if there were no comedy westerns made before it. The genre died since its concept of demythologisation of old-fashioned US westerns became outdated. Serious spaghetti westerns ceased to be successful, thus Italians resolved to capitalize on the comedy westerns which were dumb, but profitable. Nonetheless, they simultaneously killed this genre. And methinks My Name is Nobody isn’t stultifying the genre. Leone just utilized comedic decor (which was popular at the time) to recount his story. Besides, one director cannot prevent a genre from destruction.

Once Upon a Time in The West was intended to be the last spaghetti western by Leone and a conclusion to this seasonal genre. Do you think it’s likewise garbage since Leone was trying to conclude the genre?

The genre was already dead in 73. Just look at the SWs released in 72 and 73. Even if not one SW comedy had been made, even if the extremely successful Trinity had flopped instead, the serious SW would have vanished, or turned into bizarre obscurity. The audience had lost interest, and the ambitious directors also, the SW had stopped to renew itself after 1969. And in the end the whole western began to die at that time, at least after 1976 the US western gave also up.

MNIN was a fitting end, even if it was not the last good SW.