Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Comment #4 -- Once Upon a Time in the West

For this comment, I'd like you to pick one moment in Once Upon a Time in the West to comment on -- it could be a particular scene, a shot, whatever, and talk about what made it work or didn't work for you. I'll go first.

Leone once said Clint Eastwood, who starred in three of his Westerns, had two acting styles: "Clint wearing a hat, and Clint without a hat." Point being, Leone films aren't the places to look for big "ACTING!" moments -- they tend to be subtle. One such subtle moment comes when Harmonica enters Jill's house after killing Frank. We pretty much know what's coming -- Cheyenne had told Jill that if Harmonica lived, he'd "come in, pack up his gear and say 'adios.'" Of course, that's exactly what happens, but there's one little detail as Harmonica fulfills Cheyenne's prophecy that makes him seem just a tad more vulnerable than he usually lets on. He lifts his gear off the wall with his left hand, but when he lowers it to carry it away, the pack suddenly drops downward, his shoulder jerks, and his head tilts downward. Then he turns and says, "Now I gotta go." Of course, the pack could just be really heavy, but in this instant I think we're seeing about as much emotion as we're going to get from Harmonica. At the risk of sounding too melodramatic, the pack isn't the only thing that's heavy -- it's his heart, too (sniff, sniff). He's acknowledging that although he can't stay (can you see him tending bar in Sweetwater?) there is a part of him that wants to stay with Jill. To me, that moment is worth fifty lines of dialogue.

92 comments:

Kyle Y said...

One moment that really worked for me was the part of the first scene where Harmonica appears behind the train. After about ten or fifteen minutes of annoying clicks and buzzing the train finally comes and the assassins and viewers alike get excited in the expectation of action. But as the train starts to roll away a sense of dissapointment fills up inside the viewer until the sound of a distant harmonica hums in. Though I first thought this was non-diagetic we soon learn that there is a man playing this music. As he slowly looks up, we see a distant gaze from harmonica and know right then that he will be the one who wins the impending duel. While everything about this scene seemed cliche, i couldn't help but admire it. Leone is a master of suspense and uses this cliche dialogue to help build it. We know there is going to be a gunfight, we know Harmonica is going to when, but its the suspense that gets us. The music crescendos and when we think we can't wait any longer the men fire. I don't know if its the acting, the cliche lines or the music but when i saw that scene i just rememberbeing being in suspense and loving every second of it.

Kelsey said...

Throughout the movie Harmonica’s restricted narration has kept the audience confused about his actions and wondering what he could possibly mean when he talks. This restricted narration also keeps Harmonica in a monotonous mood that prevents the audience from understanding his true feelings. However, at the end of the movie as the men ride off into the distance, the camera focuses on their actions. This scene stood out to me because as the audience realizes that Cheyenne has been shot, Harmonica stops and turns around to help Cheyenne. I thought this was important because that action showed a side to Harmonica that wasn’t apparent before this scene. It showed a caring side to Harmonica that contrasted his previous attitude and opinion towards being alone in the west. I was touched by this scene because throughout all the fighting and bad choices made during the movie this one caring action seemed to make it all better.

Kelsey R.
Hour 2

Patrick said...

I think something that threw me off was in the end of the movie, why did Cheyenne have to die? He was just a good guy (yeah, an outlaw, but he's not like Frank) who ends up getting shot in the abdomen and gets to endure a painful death for all the help that he gave to Harmonica. Bit of a buzz-kill if you ask me.

Patrick D.
6th hour

Tom.o said...

one moment that stood out to me was the death of the business man, I believe his name was Morton but I'm not sure. For some reason when they lingered on him struggling to get to the water and then played the sounds of the ocean right before his death, struck me. I thought it was an interesting type of narrative because if you think about it there is a lot of story behind that. We can never be sure what it was he wanted but just the ultimate desire he showed in achieving that goal meant something to me. We aren't sure if maybe he had some family drama that lead to this or he is just a man of greed. It's most likely the latter but i lie the possibility that there's something greater. Leone also managed to put this very powerful man into an incredibly sad and pathetic position. This could be Leone commenting on the nature of man. I believe that he is trying to say that the powerful will almost never end in glory and that men can never last for too long.


Thomas O.
Hour 2

Kevinb said...

Kevin B-
I am going to have to talk about my favorite scene in the entire movie, which was Frank's dramatic reveal. I think this scene is very similar to my other favorite Leone scene which is when Tuco runs through the graveyard trying to find the correct headstone in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I think both scenes are the two best examples of perhaps one of the best combination in cinema history, which was the Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone duo. Both scenes have incredible music that not only accentuate the drama on screen but bring a whole new dimension to the scene. In The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly the music builds as the camera reveals an ever expanding graveyard. The music intensifies as Tuco desperately tries to find the headstone, and then realizes that it is an impossible search. The scene all together creates a dramatic build for the final gunfight as the characters realize they will need the exact headstone and that only one will be able to get the money. Similarly in Once Upon a Time in the West music is combined with visual elements to create a wonderfully dramatic scene. After the death of several people (which certainly adds drama) the McBain child runs out of his house and Leone shoots a very classic Leone close up on the childs eyes just as a harsh chord is struck to begin an epic Morricone master piece. As Frank makes his first onscreen appearance the music hits a climax. Together the visual and audio elements again create a wonderful scene packed with drama and intensity.

Christopher said...

One scene during the film that worked for me was the action scene in which Cheyenne rescues Harmonica on the train from Frank's men. I particularly enjoyed this scene and though that it was entertaining due to the nature of Cheyenne's approche to the surprise attack on Frank's men. It was extremely funny when one of Frankd' men approched the boot that was hanging down from the side of the train and Cheyenne shot him through the disguised boot.

Joe said...

I thought that the tracking shot of Jill after she gets off the train for the first time was important in establishing how developed the city of Flagstone was. The shot started out as a tracing shot, it followed Jill through the train station looking for her family, when she exited the train station throught the door, the shot be came a crane shot comiing over the building revealing the town of Flagstone. This shot helped reveal to what extent the town had been developed and sets the basis for what the town is like.

Joe S. 6

megumi said...

something that did not work for me is the last scene. i could not understand why Cheyenne had to die. I liked him and I liked his personality. Also, i do not know how he died and it was confusing. I wish they could have shown how he was dieing because he was such an important character. Also I do not understand why that little boy had to be killed. I understood that most of the western most of the western movies need some killing included but watching little kid getting killed did not work for me.

Meg K

Whelch said...

i would have to undoubtedly say that i enjoyed the first scene of OUTW the most, as it was a very well developped establishing shot in my opinion. to be able to take 3 unknown characters, have them say very few words, and create a 10minute long scene out of it takes some serious skill. what made this scene work for me was the creation of a personality for these 3 characters that was told not through words, but through actions. and in a comic way as well - the capturing of the fly in the barrl of the gun, the yanking of the telegraph machine's cords, or the water dripping on top of the man's hat - all help to keep us entertained as we anticipate to see what is going to happen next, and why these 3 men are waiting at the train station.

Blair P. 1st hour

Whelch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Jesperson said...

I think the tracking shot of Frank just before he kills the youngest of the McBanes shows his nature and sets a tone for the rest of the film involving frank. The use of strong and sinister non-diagetic music also helps cast Frank as the clear antagonist of the film. At first we do not know he is, until one of his men calls him by his name. The viewer then realizes he is who harmonica is after, for what we are yet to know.

tayis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tayis said...

the last scene did not work for me because i did not understand why cheyenne has do die. he help harmonica when he was caught by frank and was attached in the train. the part were he die was really confusing, he just fall off his horse and harmonica went back and he told him that he can't see him die. i really think that Leone could have done something better at the end then how it ended.

tayis lawson
6 hr

AnnaF said...

One moment that stood out for me in this film was when Frank was first introduced. This scene was very intense. I liked how the music got louder and more intense during this film as we got closer to seeing Frank's face. The best of course was the tracking scene of his face, the music was loud and intense at this point and made the audience almost anxious and curious and then once it tracked to his face excited and surprised. Also the fact that the guy who plays Frank also plays Wyatt in My Darling Clementine. So this was the scene that worked out for me best.
-Anna F
hour 2

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

what i would like to comment on is Harmonicas appearances. Every single time that Harmonica appears into the frame it is like he just plops down into the frame. one moment we are focused on the characters in the frame and the next we hear Harmonica's tune out of the blue. I think this really works well because Harmonica is supposed to be a mysterious type of character and this helps show that mysteriousness. Harmonica just seems to be everywhere and when you least expect it his tune comes in and then he is revealed, in some dark space or he just glide s into the frame almost as if he was already there waiting for the people to come. Harmonica has a path of restricted narration, actually its almost no narration we know less than harmonica.

Josh W
hour 2

Hamish said...

A moment that worked for me was the scene that showed Morton die. Although he hired Frank, he was just a businessman and didn't mean for anyone to get killed. In fact, his instructions to Frank were just to scare McBain. I believe the scene of his death was fitting, because it did a great job of showing his innocence. He was trying to get close to the puddle, because his dream was to make it to the sea. I also like the use of sound in this scene, when he's laying next to the puddle you can hear the sound of the ocean, which explains a lot without dialogue. It also shows his innocence, because Frank and him aren't on the same page anymore and that is made clear, and it disconnects him from Frank's murders. All in all, this scene was effective in showing Morton's true intentions in the last seconds of his life.

Hamish Weerasinghe
Hour 1

Greg said...

One scene that worked for me was the scene in the barn when harmonica seems to be raping Jill, In this scene a lot is revealed about both Jill and Harmonica. It starts with Harmonica appearing to be raped but then we notice Harm. looking off into the distance at some men. a few minutes later we learn that him acting like he is raping Jill is actually his way of drawing in Frank and his men. We can go along with his ploy because as of now we have no background on Harm. and so we believe that he actually the bad guy until he ends up saving her life. This shows his sadistic way of accomplishing noble goals and we also learn more about Jill being a nasty dirty whore because she just takes it.

Greg Massey
hour 2

Chris Sjolander said...

A scene that works for me is the final duel between Frank and Harmonica. Typically, traditional westerns feature a shootout that takes roughly 2 minutes or less, however Leone (a Revisionist director) decides to draw it out a little longer than usual. Amidst the tension between the two men, the camera zooms in on Frank's face to a close-up to then reaveal a flashback involving the death of Harmonica's brother. This sadistic act of framing Harmonica for the murder shall forever be ingrained in Harmonica's psyche--hence Cheyanne's quote "Harmonica has something in him"...that "thing" is death and the desire for vengeance. The choice to introduce this backstory 160 minutes into the film is a bold choice, but the audience is content. Besides, if you're gonna wait this long, it might as well be pretty dramatic! Another choice that offers symbolism is Frank act of shoving a Harmonica into Harmonica's mouth. This instrument is subsequentally a cornerstone to his persona as he constantly carries it around with him and serenades the audience when he is around (musical motif). The act of shoving it into Frank's mouth marks

Chris S.
6th hour

Eva said...

There is particular scene in this movie that I like for its significance: when Norton looks at the painting of the sea and hears the sound of the ocean in his mind for the second time, we understand that something is going to happen. He makes a decision. He choses to change his life. After that, he turns around and faces Frank's men who are playing poker. Then, he pretends to prepare the cards for a game but he actually gives money to each men. The meaning is clear: he wants them to go away, pay Frank, and let him alone. He wants to free himself from his deal with Frank. He is maybe thinking about leaving and being free and going to see the Pacific. The thing I like is that we can guess all that without any word from Norton.

Eva C.
6th hour

French Toast said...

One moment that worked especially well for me was the flashback to Harmonica's brother's death. Harmonica was put in an impossible position to save his brothers life. In all of Once Upon a Time in The West Frank is curious who Harmonica is, as well as the audience. The motif for Harmonica is interesting as well. Cheyenne got on matching his personality, Jill has a tender motif, but Harmonica's is seemingly random notes on a harmonica. The flashback is an ah ha moment in the film and brings some much wanted information to the view, and Frank. The timing of the flashback also made the duel even more dramatic, because the terrible deed that Frank made Harmonica do is still fresh in the audiences mind. Now we want Harmonica to kill Frank.
Tommy Dolan, 1st hour

Ben said...

One scene that I enjoyed was when Cheyenne and Harmonica first meet (kinda). Because for a long time we don't even realize that Harmonica is there, and we don't know Cheyenne's motives. One of the men in the building started to make a movement closer to his pistol but Cheyenne quickly assured him with little to no words that what he was about to do was a very bad idea. I originally thought Cheyenne was a bad guy because of this scene because most people in shackles aren't considered good. Eventually Harmonica makes himself known by playing his awesome song. He doesn't say anything but you know there is quite a bit of tension between him and Cheyenne. This scene really showed how Harmonica would always play when he should be talking and talking when he should be playing. Leone doesn't need words to make his movies fun to watch and I think that is quite impressive.

-Ben N.
1st Hour

JymiRine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JymiRine said...

A moment that threw me off was at the train when frank come through and everyones dead even the train tycoon is nearly dead. I have no idea who did that or why. was it cheyyane or frank himself or harmonica?
Eric A
6th hour

jessy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jessy said...

A scene that I really liked was when Cheyenne is introduced and we realize that Harmonica is also present. It starts out with Jill standing in this Western version of a rest stop then all of a sudden we all hear guns shooting everywhere outside. The viewers and characters alike have no idea what's going on, so a sense of suspense builds in anticipation to see who caused all that commotion. Cheyenne suddenly walks through the door and we all soon notice that he is still in hand cuffs. As the scene progresses with a tracking shot, following Cheyenne through the establishment, we see Cheyenne stop at the counter and off in the distance is a dark space, and what we all believe to be empty. Then that same familiar sound of a harmonica being played is heard by all, which is assumed to be nondiegetic sound. The camera follows Cheyenne as he walks towards that same dark area in the room, then we see him take hold of a lantern that is suspended on a string, and he slides it over to reveal the source of the harmonica playing. I really liked this scene because it's one of the first examples of how Harmonica always seems to appear in scenes. He just floats in or appears. It helps establish that no one really knows what Harmonica is about and that he's very mysterious.

Jessy R
2nd hour

Isaac said...

A scene that I really liked in Once Upon a Time in the West was the reveal of Harmonica's past with Frank in the flashback. Leone understood the importance of this moment- the audience has been waiting the entire movie to find out why Harmonica wants to kill Frank- and he makes sure it was worth the wait. The crane shot showing the scene brings to mind two other big reveal shots in the movie, the reveal of Frank and just after Jill gets to town. This one, however, instead of revealing a face or a town, reveals an act of cruelty that even without any dialog would have answered all the vital questions surrounding Harmonica and Frank. It even shows the origins of Harmonica's Harmonica, something that I was not expecting the movie to explain, but that proved to be gratifying nonetheless.
Isaac S. 6th hour

Taylor said...

One part of the film that worked for me was when Harmonica is face to face with Frank in the train and he starts listing off names of people that Frank killed. You immediately see a change in Frank's expression, which clues you in that something's up. It was intriguing because there's this major power shift (Frank was known to be this cunning, sly, bad guy who knows everything, and suddenly Harmonica has something on Frank that catches him off guard) that made me intensely curious. You experience this situation from both sides: Frank, because you have no idea what Harmonica is talking about, and Harmonica, because you experience the same feelings he's having (the whole ha ha I know something you don't know!). This point was such a hook for me, and I was so upset that the bell rang and it was the end of that viewing section. It had the effect of reading a good book where you get to the end of the chapter, but you're addicted and you want to keep reading.

Funkwell Douglasson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Funkwell Douglasson said...

The scene from Once Upon A Time In The West that in my opinion was most profound, is the scene in which we learn Harmoica's motive. When we find out that Frank is responsible for the death of Harmoninca's brother, we can immediatley predict the outcome of the duel between Frank, and Harmonica. As Frank is nearing his death, Harmonica shoves the instrument into his mouth as Frank had done to him so many years earlier. This moment overwhelms the audeince with a righteous infliction of retribution, the perfect vengful death of the villain, personified in this case by the harmonica.

Boone said...

One shot, or rather a series of shots, that really worked for me were the ones where harmonica entered a scene. Coming off the train, in the corner of the saloon, and at sweet water in the darkness; all of these were excellent Harmonica entrances. I liked how characters would be doing something, then we would hear the music, and a close-up on the face of the character would tell us he or she had clearly heard it too. I liked how Harmonica entered the scene this way, and always seemed to just appear out of nowhere afterwords. These scenes where probably the ones that most contributed to me enjoying Harmonica as a character, and the movie overall.

Boone L. hour 1

- Carter said...

The scene that stood out for me in "Once upon the time in the west" was the untimely death of Cheyenne. It seemed so strange for him to die like that, to have him show no sign of an injury until the very last moment. Leone may have included a scene where he stumbled stumbled for a moment or foreshadow his death a bit and I just didn't notice. But to me it seemed really random, although I agree with the thought that he should die at the end. Cheyenne dieing seems like a suiting end to the movie, leaving only Harmonica and Jill.

-Carter. G

richard bacon said...

The moments of Harmonica are weird and yet questionable on the way he acts. Scenes like Cheyenne entering a bar still cuffed and asking to be uncuffed. When Harmonica plays his motif music without saying anything and entering from the side with a close-up. He never speaks during much scenes but, he does these awkwards action to make him known, we do not know if his morals are good or bad. Yet, we knows he's watching us and we mustn't cause trouble. I guess that just how Leone wanted to see him... Other scenes like the train station in the beggining or him over Jill's horse shack. His attitude seems shy and a bit stoic. Till he really wants something he takes all means through force than words like what he did to Stubbs. He only know him bit by action till the end of the movie.

Richard N. Art of Film 1 2nd hour

Claire V. said...

One of the most memorable scenes in "Once Upon a Time in the West" in the opening credits. The fact that we hardly hear any dialoge in the opening credits allows us to using our imagination on what will happen next. It also gives the rest of the movie suspense. This movie gave the audience a lot of twists and turns which made the film more exciting to watch. The opening credits helped establish the rest of the movie and gave us an inlook into what the rest of the film would be like. Most films use more dialoge to establish a story line, but Leone used sounds such as a fly, water dripping, and train whistle to establish a exciting begining and excitement for the rest of the film.

Claire V.
6th hour

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly said...

I think a scene that worked for me was when we first see Frank walking towards the camera, and the dust is coming up all around him. The sound of the harmonica also is getting louder at this point in the scene, and the dust coming up around him creates a dramatic effect. I think this scene is important because it shows us that even from the first time of seeing Frank, we know that he is powerful and intimidating at the same time. It almost foreshadows for us as viewers the kind of person he is and the things he will do later during the film.

Molly E. 1st Hour

Lauren said...

One scene that I really did not understand was the first fifteen minutes or so of the movie. I felt like maybe it was a way to build up for the death of three men but at the same time, if I had seen this movie on TV, I would have already lost interest and changed the chanel. The rest of the movie was fast paised and intertaining. The beginning just needs to pull people in more.

Lauren D
6th hour

Jill said...

Jill is a big whore.

Zander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zander said...

One of the most important scenes that sticks out for me is when Morton was wounded and crawling towards the puddle of water with Frank looking down at him. Leone used the repetition of the sound of waves when he was in his last moments. We also heard this earlier when he was looking at the picture of the ocean on the train car. With Morton in his last moments, the sound of the waves just remind us how he never really accomplished his goal of reaching the Pacific. His death ends with him being face down in the puddle, and for some reason it just really strikes me as a scene that sticks out.
Zander A
Hour 2

Lucy said...

One moment in Once Upon a Time in the West that really stood out to me was at the end of the movie, when Frank was dying, he asked Harmonica, "who are you?" Instead of Leone having Harmonica say "you killed my brother," he used action to display this. He stuck his harmonica in Frank's mouth, which mimicked what Frank had done to him years before upon his brother's death. AT this moment, there is a close up on Frank's face, where the viewer can see in his expression that he put together who Harmonica was. After the Harmonica was put in his mouth, Frank fell face first into the dirt floor, which also mimicked Harmonica falling to the floor when his brother died. This scene worked so well because it showed the ultimate revenge scene. Leone understood that revenge had to be shown with action, and not with words. This is why the similarites between the scene of Frank's death and Harmonica's brother's death showed that Frank had some seriously bad karma coming to him, and he got what he deserved.

Lucy said...

Oh shoot I forgot to say my name and hour in the comment above!
Lucy R.
Hour 2

Jordan said...

I think the one part of this movie that really sealed it as "epic" for me occurs in the last scene, as Frank and Harmonica get ready for an epic showdown. The two are shown watching each other very intently, as they slowly waddle their ways out to their positions, and after a painfully dragged out series of extreme close-ups on the twos eyes, Harmonica quickly defeats Frank. The part that made this work was the music in the background by Ennio Morricone, who is a master of the Western soundtrack, as seen in this movie and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The music is the classic Harmonica music, but much louder and filled with sound than previously, but is picked at a slow tempo with some quick moving parts, emphasizing the anxiety the two must be feeling as they draw. When Frank is dying, and Harmonica shoves the harmonica in his mouth after being asked who he was, the look of Frank is too perfect to be described, as he mixes such a great realization with the agony he is feeling, and than rolls over and dies, a near carbon copy of the shot where Harmonica falls over after his brother kicks him, thus committing suicide. Basically, the only word to describe this scene is epic. Props go to you Mr. Leone.

2nd hour
Jordan Bade

James Dean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Dean said...

The final showdown scene between frank and harmonica stuck out for me. Upon seeing eachother the music is perfect, for a moment every time the camera shot changes it's in sync with the twangy guitar sound. The way in which Leone uses close ups and long shots builds tension, creating an even more dramatic scene. Another part in the showdown that stuck out to me was harmonica smiling. It's the only time harmoica smiles throughout the movie which shows he has finally content in the moment.

Jack Sundberg said...

The one scene that I disliked the most was the flashback of how Harmonica knows Frank. I feel like the hanging of Harmonica's brother from a bell seemed unnecessary. Seriously, why from a bell? I liked how as long as Harmonica was still standing, his brother lived, but I still feel like that bell was just so random.

Jack S. Hour 2

Matt H. said...

The showdown duel between Harmonica and Frank is shot so well. The music intensifies it so well while they are walking closer to each other. Leone uses a lot of close ups to show emotion and they when on Frank, when he is moving, while squinting towards Harmonica. Another great part of it is the long flashback Harmonica has of his brother in the middle of the duel. It something that is quite different and helps us sort out Harmonica's motive. "Keep your lovin brother happy," says his brother.

Kelsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelsey said...

One scene that I enjoyed was the scene where Frank and Harmonica’s relationship is explained. I liked how it finally answered why he was playing the harmonica because it was constant question that was never answered until then. Also when Harmonica killed Frank it showed the impact on Harmonica when his brother died, and showed the closure that he got.

Kelsey hour 1

Jcmoney said...

One scene in the film that I thought was cool was the scene where Cheyenne was on top of the train and ended up killing all of the guards inside of it. A cool aspect was when he shot the last guard through the boot because it was restricted narration. The audience was looking at the scene through the guards perspective, not literally but the way that we did not know what Cheyenne was doing just like the guard. Cheyenne reached down the side of the train with the pistol inside of the boot, and it made the appearance that he was beginning to climb down off the side of the train, which gained the guards attention. Right when the guard was closest to the boot right outside the window, boom, he gets shot in the face. This stood out to me as a good and surprising scene because of the use of restricted narration and the surpise that it had.

Jcmoney said...

John C. Hour 6

Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

Harmonica's appearences to my where my favorite for many reasons. One Being that it established him as a mysterious person which he is. It also makes the movie more interesting because the tone that is play when he is around is quiet interesting along with mysterious. I also liked it because you could tell when he was going to pop into the scene because his music would always play before he came on scene. That is my favorite part of the whole movie.

Jack S.
Hour 1

Maria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria said...

The scene from Once upon a time in the west that worked for me was when Jill was auctioning off her land. She was doing this because the men wanted her land and they wanted it for very cheap so therefore they were preventing anyone else from bidding. The audience is confused as to why it was so quiet and no one was offering high at all and who the men that were preventing others were. The audience also gets close ups on Jill and can see that she is in some pain for having to sell her land especially for such a low price, and the audience wonders why she doesn't just take it off the auction. Then there is almost a moment of relief when Harmonica comes into the scene and offers a very high bid at the last second. Why he offers so much is then realized when his supposed prisoner, Frank, is who is wanted by the town and a 5000 dollar reward to anyone who turns him in. However, the viewers can tell that there is something between Jill, Harmonica, and Frank that is a secret and foreshadows something else coming up. So eventually, Frank gets busted out of jail by his men, Jill gets the money for her land and her land back because Harmonica leaves the town. This scene was portrayed well for me because it keeps me in suspense for a little while but not long enough for me to forget the details presented.

Maria B
Hour 1

Andrew said...

One scene that worked for me is when Frank and Harmonica had there final duel. It was interesting how Leone finally shows us Harmonicas motive by using a flashback of Harmonica standing there as a kid trying to hold his older brother up to keep him alive who is hanging from a nuse, sence harmonica is just a boy when this occured he could not realy do anything to stop Frank and he ended up falling over with a harmonica in his mouth that frank put in,eding with his brothers death. This seemed to give me a good reason why Harmonica was out for revenge on Frank. And everything started to fall into place.

Andrew M
Hr. 1

Nicole G said...

A moment that worked for me and struck me as being rather meaningful in Once Upon a Time in the West was when the McBain family was shown in a blunt manner, each laid out on the table, dead. For me, this scene screams injustice. Although all of the McBain murders were unjust, the killings of the children stand out most. For me, this scene was very sobering due to the fact that Frank had no second thoughts about murdering innocent, defenseless children. For Jill, this scene is not only about discovering that her whole family has deceased, but also that there is little hope in starting her life over. As a former prostitute, Jill wishes to begin a new, more honest lifestyle. However, she realizes this is nearly impossible with the crimes that have just been committed against her family. This scene is also important for setting the mood in the movie. I, as well as other viewers, realize from this scene that the film has no shortage of violence and that the violence shown will be ruthless and defy some of the most important morals and ethics.

Nicole G
Hour 1

skiier said...

the last scene to me was the one i really like because it built up so much during the whole movie that when it finally got to the end we get to find out why harmonica is so mad at cheyanne. im glad harmonica won, especially now knowing what cheyanne had done to him and his brother in the past that harmonica deserves to win.
Nick G
hour 1

Tom said...

A scene that was really seller on this movie was when Harmonica shot both guys off of their horses as they ride down with their guns. The reason for this is that.... its totally and utterly badass. Plain and simple Harmonica is the best character I have ever seen in a western..... and I watch to many of them to begin with. The level of badassery that Harmonica reveals in that scene just about made me swoon and blush at his pure dominance over..... everything.




Tom P. Hour 2

bobert599 said...

The scene that sticks out to me the most was the shot were frank and harmonica were standing across from each other and frank is trying to figure out what harmonica is hear for. Then as they stare at each other it flashes back to the time frank kills harmonica's father. and then they break out in a gunfight which harmonica wins at. but its not until frank is dying on the ground and harmonica puts the harmonica in franks mouth that he realizes what he did. this scene works for me because it ties the whole movie togther and it all makes sense
Bobby V
Hour 6th

PAIGE! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PAIGE! said...

One moment that didnt really work for me was when Frank was "raping" Jill. I didnt like this scen because it seemed like she was almost going along with it. I like to think the director was going for some sort of potential romance but in the end of the movie Frank dies and Jill ends up liking Harmonica. The scene was a little awkward and painful to watch just because when he first appeared in the shot it seemed like he was going to kill her. In general, this scene was not my favorite to watch throughout the entier movie.
Paige B
Hr 2

Sam said...

One scene that really interested me was the scene where the McBain house is being put up for auction. I find this peculiar because it's where the plot twists. Frank and his henchmen have been the dominant force throughout the movie so far, as displayed by his band of men silently threatening people not to bid. Then, in a sudden twist, Harmonica enters the bidding with Cheyenne in tow. Five thousand dollars he says. Everyone is alarmed and Frank's men are severely confused on what they should do next. Cheyenne is taken away, at this point I was about 80 percent sure that it was a ploy but there was definitely 20 percent that questioned Harmonica and his motives. At this point, we as the viewer still didn't know why Harmonica was helping Jill, why he was in this town, or why he hated Frank. We now know that he is the protagonist, the good guy and he's here to save the day. This scene turns into the gun shooting in the town which really shows that Frank is in trouble now, his own men who were supposed to be threatening Morton had turned on him. This scene worked for me in that it had classic values, good guy helping the girl and threatening the bad guy. Of course I'm a sucker for the bravery but I felt especially let down in the ten minutes after this scene. The music would play, Jill working in her house, watching the rail road go up for a looonggg time. Such a twist/explanation just occurred and I sit and wait for the duel and for why Harmonica hates Frank. I understand that suspense is a factor, it's an element of film but my patience was running low.


Sammy S.
Hour 2

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett B said...

I thought the way they threw in the romance between Jill and Harmonica at the end and tried to pass it off as something the audience must have noticed along the way was a stretch. Then after that confusion, they hit you with a second blow and kill off Cheyenne, the one guy you thought Jill could end up with. Maybe if we saw him get shot and knew about it when he was trying to hide it from Jill so we had unrestricted narration. But instead it comes as a surprise to us just before he dies and we're left wondering what just happened.

Colby C said...

The scene of Once Upon a Time in the West that I liked the most was the opening seen with Frank's men. What I liked so much about it was its ability to capture the viewer even though there was absolutely nothing going on. Loene was able to do this through his use of diagetic and non-diagetic sound. He had many sounds that were constant and rythmic like the windmill. He had othere sounds that were more odd and weren't sounds one would hear day to day such as the fly buzzing. What captivated me the most about this scene was the sound of the windmill though. It was the repetitiveness of it that was driving me insane. I just wanted the climax what ever it might be, a gun fight or a stand off, to happen so the sound would stop. Loene has proven himself to be a master of he art of suspence. Whats even more amazing about that is the fact that he does it with little more than sound. This is one of my top favorite scenes I've ever watched because of this.

Colby C
Hour 1

Olivia said...

Although most of the movie's appeal comes from it's lack of daiglogue and excess of innovative cinamatrography, sounds, and music, my personal favorite part in the movie consisted of one line. When Cheyenne explains to Jill that neither he nor Harmonica is the right man for her and that they will both be leaving, she is saddened. Even more so when Cheyenne's prediction is proved correct when Harmonica returns, grabs his things and heads out the door. Then, the line that just made the movie for me, amidst a scene of emotions and drama, Cheyenne announces, "yep. I gotta go too"; and then proceeds to grope Jill on his way out. That little taste of comedy, even at the very end, stuck out in my mind as one of the best moments of the movie.

Danny said...

The moment that really did not work for me was when three of Frank's guys were sent to meet Harmonica at the train station to kill him. The part that I did not like was when the three men were sitting around in different spots and were all hearing different noises. Also there were other noises that not only one person could hear like the windmill. It was a very uncomfortable scene for me. I thought that it was dragged on to long and I wanted to turn off the movie.

Danny T. Per. 1

David Sorensen said...

The opening sequence was a very tense and atmospheric. The sound drew the viewer in, as it was a variety of small environmental noises. The constant squeaking of the windmill on the water tower seems to be minor at first, but it in fact adds to the feeling subtly. The other sound effects, such as dripping water or a buzzing fly, are specific to each character, and show the passage of time. When Harmonica's namesake begins to play, the tense feeling comes to a head. Suddenly it is revealed that the sound isn't part of the soundtrack, but a person. Then, almost without warning, a gunfight occurs and the three men are killed. This sets the tone and intensity for the rest of the film.
-David S.
2nd Hour.

griffin said...

There were many scenes that stuck out to me in this film. But the sequence of scenes that told us a lot about Harmonica's past got my attention the most. It puts the missing pieces together and everything falls in place. The way that the scenes are filmed caught my attention. The final scene goes from blurred to focused as he gets closer then he is finally revealed, it was frank. Leone reveals the identity of this figure as the two square up for a duel. That is another reason that the last scent is so significant.

matt p said...
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matt p said...

One scene that really worked for me was the leading up moments to when the McBains were shot and killed. Leone uses a couple of different ways to foreshadow the massacre of the McBain family, which I found interesting. The sound is the key element here that made the scene work for me. The sounds of flapping wings as birds fly away is the only thing we hear before it gets dead quiet. The viewer knows something bad is going to happen. Silence is used a lot in this movie to foreshadow death. Another thing that made this scene make sense is the scene preceding it. McBain and his son are duck hunting with rifles stirring up the birds before they shoot them. We can apply this to the shooting scene because we see ducks fly away and the viewer assumes there are men with guns behind the brush. Except this time they aren't after the birds.

Matt P
1st hour

Arman S. said...

One moment that really worked for me was the flashback at the very end of harmonica as a child and Frank killing his beloved father. I really loved the build up in this film, and it was worth the 2 hours for sure, because we never truly understand the motive behind Harmonica's anger and urge to kill Frank until this final scene and I thought that said it all.

Arman S.
Hour 6

suzie said...

One of the things that i didnt not understand was why Cheyenne died, yeah he wasnt exactly a good guy they didnt really explain why he was shot or who shot him in the end of the movie another part of the movie that i bothered me was when you kept seeing the blury man in the distance and never knew who he was buit he kept coming back so you knew it was important but they never tell who you why harmonica keeps seeing it or why he it is important to the movie.

suzie h
hour 1

Trace said...

I thought that the scene that reveals why Harmonica is out to kill Frank was very powerful. Throughout the whole film you are unaware of why Harmonica is out to get Frank, and he doesn't even know. Once the film makes it to this scene, I was very curious as to what it was that Frank did. I never really realized how important and symbolic the harmonica actually was until viewing this scene. The way the scene is filmed, zooming out, in combination with the music allows you to feel the horror that Harmonica did. This scene has a sort of disturbing feel to it which makes it very powerful and important. This was my favorite scene in the movie because of this.

Trace Brandt Hour 6

Hunter Carrico said...

A scene that threw me off was the scene where harmonica gets captured by frank on Mr. Morton’s train. It threw me off because in westerns you never see the good guy get captured by the bad guy (or at least I have not till now). But the scene brought me back when Cheyenne came to harmonicas rescue. It helped because from there it foreshowed that harmonica and Cheyenne were going to team up to take down frank. And another one that threw me off was the first time Mr. Morton and Frank talk and it seems that Mr. Morton Knows that frank wants to kill him and take over his belongs, but you also see that frank helps Mr. Morton at times when he needs it. You also see that Mr. Morton does not like how frank handles problems for him.

~Hunter Carrico
6th hour

Miguel R. said...

A scene that i thought was intreaging was whaen frank gets to the train after having his life saved by Harmonica. it gives you the feeling that frank is all alone just like harmonica when frank killed his father. The traccking shot fallowing frank as he walks through the train and the camera just fallows behind the horse just adds suspense to the scene. this also shows how frank although he is the bad guy he has weaknesses. Miguel Rodriguez 6th hour

Chase57 said...

I think a moment that stood out to me in the movie was the scene where the frank dies I don't understand the point of him dying in the story what did it provide? I guess it could just be to explain mortons death and the raiding of the trains bit it just seemed a bit random.

Victoria said...

When I think of Once Upon a Time in the West, the first scene that comes to mind is the family and their deaths at the hands of Frank and his band of men. Each family member showed destinct characteristics and were introduced as if they were going to play a bigger part in the plot, making it rather hard to believe that they were taken out so quickly/easily. What also contributed to the surprise of the scene was how mysterious Frank appeared and his mercilous tactics that lead to the unevitable death of each character. Having been shown the antagonist for the first time, it still doesn't let the viewer understand who's fighting for who and why they do what they do. In my opinion, opening the film with a gripping scene such as this one really keeps you interested in the storyline and has you guessing until very end.

Victoria S. 2nd hour.

Erin said...

One moment in the film that i thought really worked was when Harmonica got of the train in the very first few scenes. The three men were walking away and he started to play his harmonica and you didn't get to see his face till there was an extreme close up on his eyes. This worked for me because it gave the character a very misterious presence and it set up the idea that you never really find out who this guy is till the very end. Also it works because no one really knows who this guy is and it worked because no one really knew much about him.

Erin said...

One moment in the film that i thought really worked was when Harmonica got of the train in the very first few scenes. The three men were walking away and he started to play his harmonica and you didn't get to see his face till there was an extreme close up on his eyes. This worked for me because it gave the character a very misterious presence and it set up the idea that you never really find out who this guy is till the very end. Also it works because no one really knows who this guy is and it worked because no one really knew much about him.

Erin S
Hour 1

Brianna Y. said...

The first scene of "Once Upon a Time in the West" was the first. As many people have already said, though it may be a bit confusing, it shows a unique side to the movie. You only hear the sounds that you would hear if you were actually there. It makes you feel like you are there with them. Also, it builds up to the part where Harmonica gets off of the train and kills Frank's men.

Brianna Y. said...

Brianna Y.

Hour 6

Tom said...

One scene i enjoyed in this movie was when Harmonica and Jill went out to the well and Harmonica said get down when you hear a strange sound or something along those lines and then she said like what? and then you heard the one of franks men draw his gun and cock it back and harmonica says like that!I just felt that part of the movie flowed really well and was borderline perfect!
Tom B
6hr

Andrew D said...

One scene i enjoyed in this movie was when Harmonica stepped off the train and was faced with 3 other men and shot all three men. that scene shows that when faced with a life or death he seems to find a way and keep living his life.

Andrew D
p.6

Teddy Puckett said...

One shot that left me in awe was the shot where Frank goes into Morton's train to meet him, and the camera utilizes a tracking shot to its full effect a Frank scrambles from car to car in the background, all the while with corpses and riderless horses strewn across the foreground. It exemplifies Frank's controlled urgency through the situation and adds a sense of suspenseful tension for the viewer.

Teddy P., hour 6

Bonnie said...

one scene that worked for me was the beginning scene. I really like how the suspense builds up. with all the sounds that were going on you kind of exspected something big to happen any moment but once yu exspect something to happen nothing does and suddenly a train comes out. once you see the train you think something is going to happen again but then there's just silence. when the train noises are gone you finally realize that harmonica is standing there and then the shooting happens. this scene is probably one of the more suspenseful secene in the movie because you don't even know what the movie is about yet.

Bonnie W.
6th hour

Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ross W. said...

The scene that really stood out, and worked for me was the shootout on the train when Cheyenne was rescuing Harmica from Mortons personal train car. The scene has alot of little things in it such as Cheyenne cling from under the train and attemting to tell suspenders man to be quiet. Another great moment in the scene is when Cheyenne hangs his boot over the edge of the train and a gard goes over to check it out and he shoots him through the boot.

-Ross W.
-6th Hour

burton146clash said...
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burton146clash said...

I think that the scenes that work are basically all of the scenes that have harmonica just kind of appear. This makes him seen more mysterious and thats what i think leone was going for. This also makes extendeds the motif of the harmonica because it always plays when he is about to come in. These scenes work really well for this movie in how harmonica is a person as well because of the harmonica

Alex Abernethy

king said...

My favorite shot in the movie was in the final face off between harmonica and Henry Fonda. It is the shot of them both standing facing each other about to draw. The stark contrast of Henry Fonda's black outift to harmonica's white outfit create the sense of difference between them and the physical distance between them shows how they are nothing alike.

Q.D
Hour 3