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Talking Images
Talking Images

Episode 16 · 2 years ago

Classic Westerns vs Spaghetti Westerns

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Warning: In this episode Chris will compare Shane to Funny Games ...

Hi all, 

In this episode Chris, Adam and Tom pull out their guns and join one of the Internets (and pre-Internets) longest standing shoot-outs - the battle between classic westerns and spaghetti westerns.

You may also end up reaching for your guns and aiming them at us actually ...

Why?

Because we have picked two films to compare and contrast and neither are by John Ford or Sergio Leone.

We will center today's episode on the most common western tropes of all: the stranger!

Our focus will be on Shane and The Great Silence, two films that would seem made for a perfect double feature. 

We will compare these two films, not just to each other, but to the rest of classic of spaghetti westerns - and explore their relationships, their differences and similarities.

Worried about spoilers? Don't worry, each film has their own spoiler section you can easily skip. (There will also be a spoiler for Django in the Spoiler section for The Great Silence).

Intro: 00:00
Spaghetti Westerns vs. Classic Westerns: 01:53
Shane: 10:45
The Great Silence: 37:00
Outro: 1:07:36

You are listening to talking images, the official podcast of ICM Forumcom. All right, welcome back everyone. This is a show down. The Internet has been waiting for classic Westerns versus Spaghetti Investers. Let's settle this once and for all. We may just end up reaching for a gun stairs. To look out. If you hear a shot, remember you're listening to a podcast. Bullets cannot hurt you, though perhaps words can. We will center this episode among the most common Western dropes of all, the stranger. We have selected two of the biggest and most respected Westerns. Ry Stranger rides into town and takes up a cost. The classic Western is chain, the legendary and many would claim, subversive door Stevens Western from one thousand nine hundred and fifty three, and it spaghettivest and is, of course, the great silence Searchio cord purchase, equally legendary and unusually snow invested, set in new thought. So he screaming. Yet have shot been fired? We are talking about classic Word Spaghetti, ever, not even doing John Ford versus. Certainly only, though, if you do want that lie only hit, we will actually do a dollar trialship podcast. So don't you worry, we will get to it eventually, and even in this episode, the on them for will most likely be mentioned as well. That's right. Will Not just compare these two films to each other, but to the rest of classic and Spget thevesters as well and explore their relationships, their differences and they're similarities. But let's get this battle going. We're heaven forbid a common new as discussion. Yeah, let's help. It's not that so let's get started with one of the quick and easy questions that we'll just get everyone's blood boiling right away. I'll turn to my cohosts Adam and Tom, and ask them the question. That's box shootouts all across the web. I get the rest ns or classic resterns. What say you? And you can start without them. And this is Adam from New York City. On the ICM form, I'm known as Bloco. Well, Christmas is a really tough one. Want to take an easy way out and say I kind of fall in the middle. If you made a list of all the Westerns I love, I think there would be four more classic Westerns Than Spaghetti Westerns. But if you look at just the top Westerns I love and I went back and I looked at my list from two thousand and sixteen for the ICM forms. Favorite Westerns vote right at the top. There would be plenty of Spaghetti Westerns in the top ten. My problem with Spaghetti Westerns I think once you get past maybe the best twenty movies, the quality falls off very sharply. I'm going to hedge my bats and stay in the mad all say. I probably the being towards classic Westerns, but I've great love for the Spaghetti Westerns as well. Hi, it's Tom from England. This is a much easier question for me. I certainly appreciate the traditional Westerns and that many of them the time joy, but I absolutely love Spaghetti Westerns. There's something about the violent music tragedies around in most of the films as well really connect with me. So I've got to say Spaghetti Western's. But you, Chris, what do you think? Well, alfully, if you'd asked me this question, maybe there's like five and years ago with a young tough Spaghetti westerns right away, because the dollars trilogy. Once upon a time in the West know the great silence, large amount of circle COO budges all the films as well, not to mention Turgos Lima's films, do something that is so interesting and so diverse, with the music, the atmosphere, like Tom mentioned, the violence, the cooler, let's just say that, or at least at the time I thought they were cooler. They were more awe inspiring experiences in a way. But as time or something, I've started to come to the same realization that you did, in that they really aren't that many. Great forget their Westerns. There's a three storgiles, like it does, mentioned the only probably and Solima, and beyond that, you know, gets Lim pickings very, very fast, in fact, that I started to look up all all of the lists over the greatest forget the vest ends of all time. Usually the top ten would be feeling from just those directors like sometimes with one additional film, throw them, but that's it. So just think that overall there's just so few speget the restlers that really stand out. is to really say that can win somehow, especially when you know, prepared to all of the Gold Nags. And then if you look at the classic questerns in the from real brawl to the treasure of the Sierra mother, there's so much power there as well, as many of them are quite cool, like even the more than mid or lower middle budget films, like those from other...

...they told, for instance, you have so much coolness in the colors and the shots, and then you have the rested bars as well, do something completely different British others. I just I have to say, Hands Doyle Classic Westerns. I love what you say about these being cool at Chris, you completely write. There's something about the experience. It just takes over. Although they have potentially less mean and less message behind and then a lot of the classic questions, it's an experience that is kind of unrivaled when you consider the western genre. I think that's necessary to think a little bit about how the Spaghetti Western came to be, and I'm not an expert in Spaghetti's at all, but from what I know I believe that basically merge is sort of a cheap copy catch genre that the Italian studios so to do. They knew the popularity of American Westerns, they decide to do their own and because so many of them were made so very cheaply, that very much wants the esthetic of Spaghetti Westerns. I think in many cases it led to some really slipshot movies, but there were certain directors, specifically some of the ones you mentioned, Chris, there really were able to take the freedom of the Italian studio system, or at least each sense of the time studio system was different from Hollywood, and they're able to do something really new with Western's and then led to some of that power and beauty and coolness that you guys mentioned. I think you're completely right rather them, especially if you look at some of the mall earth forgetting as as a kind of go a, notice like there's a lot of room to get created. There are some almost the real films in there that can completely fuck you. Even the films from third of Lima has these almost existential element to them as well, especially if the facetoface. So it's just really interesting what's a of these directors could get the way with inside what was technically meant to be these polled be quick buck movies. One of the thing that we've mentions of Spaghetti Western's is that they came around because Western started to lose popularity towards a late s in the US. There was shows like Laramie or raw hide and different from their visits to the cinema, epics, like been here and I'll sit with becoming popular and lack of new Western films encouraged over country these to produce their own Westerns, which is why a lot of it shifted towards Italy and Spain and the door and if the Spaghetti Westerns. One thing that almost blew me away was when doing research for this podcast, I looked up just how many Italian speghettive vessels that actually been produced and over the period from you know, around one thousand nine hundred sixty three, nine hundred and sixty four, when they shoulder really started to take off, and the late s there were over five hundred films. So late it's just boggles in mind a little bit like with the few films we're talking about today, at a few films that really stod out. There literally were half a thousand films out there, most of which went completely, completely unnoticed. But that also rivals the classic Westerns, where you know we'd almost have thousand films a year from Hollywood is pumping them out. I mean they were not just the superhero movies of the day. They were like beyond extreme with just how many westerns were out every single week. Incredible how vestern oriented old Hollywood used to be. It's a good point, Chris, and I think it's important to mention that. When I said earlier that I tended more towards classic Western and Spaghetti Westerns, a lot of that is just because I was making so many more classic Westerns and putting so much more money into it then the Italian studios, and I think it's really worth examining why that was, why the Western was so popular at a certain point the S, not only was hood releasing a couple of hundred westerns every year, but Western's completely dominated the TV schedule. A majority of the top twenty TV shows were Westerns, and ones like rawhide became these legendary series that lasted multiple decades. So I want to mention a little bit about the classic Western, and what I think is really important to think about is that to me, western is not just an element in pop culture, it presents a kind of national mythology of the United States, and I'm want to use those terms carefully. When I say mythology, I'm telling about the sort of stories and folklore that help express a group of people's identity. Their moral consciousness, their perspective on themselves and on history. Thing I always found really curious about American culture is that, unlike other nations were the sort of the national mythology Harkens back to a point of founding, like a war of independence, in American culture there's relatively little cultural content about...

...war of independence. Instead of bulk of cultural content with regard the past is directed towards Westerns and there really speaks to perhaps the fundamental process of not the United States but really the America's which is, when people think of it historically, what people think of its founding. It's not about a worm in dependence. It's rather a process of settling, of colonialism and also of expulsion of indigenous people's and this, to me, is why the Western is so popular, why there were so many hundreds of them really, from the founding of cinema up to the S, when they fell out of favor for reasons we can talk about. And of course, one of these thousands and thousands of films that hit the big screen was shame released in one thousand nine hundred and fifty three, directed by one of the most prominent western directors, George Stevens and starting the less popular but still quite notable our lad as the stranger riding into town, shame himself, and the story here is remarkably simple. But what critics and academics, fans it really everyone has read into this film over the years. This gets infinitely more and more and more complex, as everything from broid to revisionism to, you know, sexual tension, anything you can imagine is read into this film. Shame comes across a homestead where than have them and his wife, played by John Actor, or even her last major role. As always, there is a conflict there. The homesteads are interrupting the flow of a rich rancher. He feels like these homesteaders are just come in taking his land, ruined his livelihood, and it's of course caused conflict. Where as always, where the rich rancher and the homesteader clash, their values clash, their power clash and shame of course gets involved on the side of the underdog. But unlike many films that are completely black and white, there is actually the grease of nuance there. There is, of course violence, there is, of course clarity of whose good or evil, if you will, but it's remarkable how the rancher consistently wants to buy out or talk with the homesteaders, the degree of nuance, the degree of civility and even the way all lad portray shame, the many way it's subverge people's expectations of what the rest, especially at this time, is supposed to be. So let me ask you, what's your impression of shame and what's your history with it? What do you think about it? I dearly, dearly love Shane and rewatching it again this week only underscored my love for it. It's a movie I guess I've seen three times now. I saw it when I was kid, probably when I was eleven or twelve, when I liked it. Then I saw it in college as part of a class called westward expansion in American history, and I loved it then and I loved it even more this past week. I think it's a great example of a sick Western but it still has some revisionist elements, of subversive elements, as Chris mentioned. But I love perhaps most about it is that while it is a typical western narrative, perhaps the most typical western narrative in which a stranger comes into town and offers his martial skills at the behest of the righteous townspeople. But I really love about it is there's this incredibly dense interweaving of themes and narrative elements. So much is communicated in chain with just very quick words or very quick shot. You see it from the very beginning when Shane arrives and Little Joey Star at, played by Brendan Wild, pumps his shotgun. Jane reacts very violently and just in that one shot we suddenly understand the most important thing we need to know about chain, that he is a man who is familiar with guns and who's also very jumpy. That just one example of how the movie layers in these important character elements very quickly, and as we go through the movie the movie becomes more and more layered until we're dealing with many different themes at once. I Will Shane this week fool the first time and I really enjoyed it. I didn't think I was as an avid with it as Adams, but there was a lot that I enjoyed in it. I love how it stopped, like many, right west of this to do with the mysterious stranger ran into town and there was quite a lot of violence for a Hollywood western of this area. For of it seemed to be fistfights. Have a gun fights, and I think it's a great metaphor for the evolution of the United States as well. Shame comes along to defend the truth and justice and it's...

...a great underdog story. One thing that I thought was quite amusing was that there was no whole house in the town, something that you see a lot in spaghetti Western's. So there's no wonder that the ranchers are intent on round of the settlers. They're only outlet they have is gambling and drinking in the bar. I think you also pointed out, or at least came across, something that's quite interesting here, in just how different the worlds of the forget them rest and in the classic question is it just in terms of what exists in that world, what characters exist? But we will get in a little bit later. We'll go through this why we pick these two films, and I also had a very similar reaction to Tom to be honest, thought for the second time today, and both times I found saying to be a really good movie. It's just beautifully shot and I believe it was even a bit of a Revolutionary Movement this way. It was one of the first films to use this type of wisely that they just wanted to be so much more striking than the type of Western people would see on their television. And the callers are beautiful, the lands gives beautiful, the prayer is beautiful. It's does very, very well composed, and I also want to give credit for credit this due for the silent and I won't say you, the youth, perfectly well used will and or henchman of Jack Palance, the black hat that dunnes linger riding into town, eventually becoming shames nemesis, just he says so little. Even when it comes into town, he walks, his horse is not riding, but there's some holywood legends there that says that that pounce was just so scared of horses that like they can barely put them on the horse. That and they shot to him on the horse just look too awkward. So they have to compromise wherever possible. But the way that Dak pellens portrays his character, Wilson, as does this incredible threat, but incredibly reasonable threat, with logic and type of cold of his own was incredibly effective. Love Jack Palance in this movie. He provides a maximum of menace with a minimum of words. He is a great villain and I think the way he was shot by George Stevens was also very effective. You mentioned his very slow entrance into town on the horse and there's this great scene where he enters the bar and he has almost a spectral, boostily presence. There's this weird dissolved as he crosses the saloon when he first enters the story. He's singly a very sinister villain and I like your comparison, or you're putting throw of it, about him being a spectral villain and I love how this notion is kind of taken fever in some Spaghetti Weston's where the origins of the EVA, the protagonist or the villain, are shrouded in mystery. I like how we Christ mentioned the colors and the beautiful visuals in the film. It is very striking, very colorful, the ranch that you see at the Star it looks like a peaceful place to live until the villains arrive on seeing I'd also like to point out a brilliant double exposure shot that really impressed me, where it was showing the anger staris as the flames arising from a settler's household, and that was incredibly strike and, I'm one of my favorite movements of the film. I thought one of the most important elements was this conflict between the homesteaders and the ranchers, and in a certain way this is a bit unusual, a bit subversive. The traditional Western conflict is between settlers and usually antagonist that is seen as exterior to the community. Very often those were Indians, who were absent from this movie, or it was the environment itself which was very threatening. In this case, oddly enough, the antagonist is other settlers. It is ranchers who came beforehand, which is a bit unusual and a weird way. I think it's actually very strongly imbued with a sense of American history. It really goes back to this sort of Hamiltonian versus Jeffersony and argument about what the United States should be. Should it be a nation of commerce and big business, as we see with the large rancher represented by riker, or should it be a nation of small landholders? and to me is became sort of the central conflict of the movie. I definitely picked up on that aspect to the film as well. Adam these smaller businesses flying for an opportunity just to survive and got by up against it a large, greedy corporation was something that is quite relevant for today society. Totally enough, one of one of the best things about Shane is that even in this case, the the Greedy Corporation, is one we eventually learn more about, becomes a bit three dimensional, and there's this great scene in the Middle Movie, I think it's the best scene in the movie, where richer, the big rancher, comes to the star at household at night and he makes start an offer to end the conflict between them.

That start at will work for him, and it's a great scene for a couple of reasons. First of all is we finally learn more about richer and we come to understand the conflict from his point of view. Unlike most western antagonists, he becomes a more three dimensional character that point. They're great part of the scene is the tension between Wilson and Shane. It's the first time they've met, although they're aware of each other's presence and they say not a single word to each other. In that scene. They spend the entire scene kind of sizing each other up, examining each other for danger and as a threat, and in when the best moments, they both end up using the same Tin Cup to drink water, which to me was an expression of sort of mutualism, of recognition. Were both gunfighters. We have something in common. I think. The big negative for me in this film, and it's interesting because this was also one of the more, at least to me, treating on the film, but it is the child of the Mary couple. It's just one of the most infuriating, OB noxious characters I've ever seen on screen. I'm sorry to say so. I've known if some of you might disagree, but this, the way he speaks, the way he idolizes, the way he he the way he talks like this. You can't the kill of shame like this. It's just in furious me to the core. But at the same time, and I'm going to mention this a little bit later, but that character also seemed to have a bit of a myth element him with which excited me quite a bit. But this before I get that. But what did you guys think of the child actor? I think that, Chris, you're not alone in hating the kid. I think that's probably the most common objection to Shane. People can't stand the kid. I don't feel it quite as much itself, just because, even though he's central to screen time, you so much screen times is kind of very relevant to the plot. I also just want to say in defensive brand in the wild that became a great actor as an older child and adults and died very tragically young now, not before starring in another superb Western, Hud. I'm very, though, interested to hear, Chris, your theory of the kids presence in the movie, because you expressed it earlier to us and it's really an interpretation I haven't heard before but I'm very intrigued by. I was also quite close to being infuriated with a child at tons certain points in the film. There are moments of his performance that are kind of endearing, but then there are also aspects of it which kind of take away from the film. I understand that he plays an important and integral role to the film, though, so you know he is a key character thows we're concerned. Chris, please, please stell sir, that your theory. I can't wait to hear it and it's going to let you wait a little bit longer because there was one really from Addoc, though, about how of Melchist the five awesome set as well, even in real life, that you look in that final thing I'm going to you're going to add a spoiler very, very, very soon, but there is just this one scene which is very emotional and I'm not going to spoil what did this, but essentially making grimmoth is every single time we came to the must emotional climax, to the point that Alan Lad literally had to call in the child's father, or the threat of violence with with the had to get to my theory, and I realize this is reaching a little bit and I made this excessive claim, but they, in the way shame, could be described as the first friendly games. You know, the hummty film with the two killers who keep winking at the camera, inviting us, the audience member, to kind of be part of their journey as they have rass and put the FAMIS were extreme horror. You know, it's did this dealing of infanty games that you're in on it. You're in on the violence. You want that violence. That's why you came to see the movie. And in shame, which is the move with so many male elements, and commentary on the West, on America, on you know, getting the guns out of the valley, if you will, saying goodbye to the West. In many ways, the child seems to be an audience standing. It's not as extreme as funny games, just reclaar that comment this way out there, but this shall seems to be saying and intending the same things that the audience are saying intending, you know, all of these children who grew up with Western for just wanted shame to go in there and shoot the everybody, who just want a shame to be a Badass and just wanted shame to go that extra mile and for the rest to be this hard, cool place of gun slingers. And you see this kind of contrast between the kids and I've station of...

...the West, Niggli station of all the thropes. So sharing on blood, sharing on gunfight, with the reality of you know, his mother was terrified of it, and this much bleaker representation of violence is something you should not do. It look to the point that it almost seems like the true interpretation from here one is simply that Stevenson trying to say this idilization is the idea of children is not real. And the second one, which is a bit more stark and very interesting to me, is that the child is meant to be the audience and that the audience is actually, just like in front of games, meant to feel awkward and uncomfortable about what the child is saying and doing, which could also tie into how obnoxious many people find the shall to be, so that they realize that no, this is not actually good. Really like this theory, Chris. It's something that totally escaped me when I saw the movie. I didn't pick up on it at all. Kind of saw the kid element, of the kid being there, as being the sort of very, very minor theme of the innocence of Youth. I really like your interpretation more. I'm not sure it's what George Stevens, in the script writer, intended. But without making this into a discussion of you know, how interpret movies, I don't necessarily think that authorial intention is the only important basis of interpreting movie. I think very much any media product belongs to the audience as well, and I think it just very interesting theory about how the kid represents the audience and perhaps the audiences unrealistic expectations. That's a bold, UN brilliant comparison, Chris. I absolutely love it. You would never in a million years dream of comparing those two films, but you've done it. I'm but to do it. Prove lots of evidence to support why they're so similar, and I think it's a great comparison to make. The other thing about the presence of the kid in the movie and about this idea that he represents the audiences unrealistic expectations, especially with regard to violence, is it's related to what I think is probably the other most important narrative theme in the story. I already mentioned the landholders versus homesteaders conflict. To me, the other conflicts is an internal conflict. It's the conflict within shine himself and it's one of the things that makes them such a fascinating character, even though he doesn't really see that much in the movie. The conflict is between his past as a gunfighter in his imagined future as a farmer or it's just someone who's more oriented towards domestic and community purposes. It's one of the central conflicts in Westerns itself. Western's celebrate the establishment of community, the establishment of society, as society, in this case to find as settler American society, as society moves west, and this is a theme that comes up again and again in many westerns. Theme of the gunman, the man who offers his righteous fighting powers to the community and whether he can truly become part of a community. Most famously, that's a theme that was explored a few years later in the searchers, but it's not the only one. I love just the beginning of the movie, when chain is seduced by the prospect of community and domesticity. He comes across this ranch, he sees the stump of the tree outside during dinner and he goes out and begins working on the stump and Van Hefflin is Joe Start joins him and together they're finally able to get this tree stump out of the ground and through that task, ultimately discover their own friendship. And that to me represents chains impulse towards community, towards domesticity. It's an impulse he can never really follow upon. Throughout the entire movie he's sort of an outsider. He's always sort of shown behind corners or through windows. He always kind of stands apart and that sort of says more towards the the end of the movie where we discover really can chain be a part of this community and another paying that stop them from really doing in the community. If this apparent interest and no ALMO fectal tension between Ye and donalderth character, where you kind of see this bonding to the point that even one have this character points this out of one part of movie that you know these two characters seem like they could almost belong together. But but of course he's married and of course you wouldn't leave her husband. So you also have this thing where you know, how would that relationship to develop if he chooses to stay, if he chooses to be the how can this spirit soult that? There's a lot of these elements of well, where he does is stopping him from truly being able to be part of the community and the family. Sexual and romantic tension there's treated so subtly it's barely barely mentioned, but it is very important to the story and, as you said, Chris, it's important to understanding how Shane can't be...

...part of the community. There's a park near the end, before the final fight, where joe start sort of says if something happens to me, you'll be taken care of, and the hints is that Shane will take care of you. That sort of seems one way to resolve this sort of really mentioned love triangle. Ultimately the story goes in another way and with that let's carry it over to the ending itself and the spoiler section. Don't worry. If you want to skip ahead, look in description of the podcast and if he just jump to that time, stamp spoiler warning. Now, of course, Gill start at what happens. Character doesn't go into town. Shane knocks him out and rides in alone, taking his place going into the ambush against writer, where he's also being given the opportunity to back out, to leave, but it doesn't take it. The tension increases and there is a shootout. Also important to this scene is that US shame rides away. Joey, the child runs after him, chains on horseback, joeys some foot but through them entire way down to town. Joey runs after them and he sees the entire to doubt. Turn this back to my tear a little bit. They can almost feels like the audience as well. It's running after and following shame and witnessing this interaction that they can see both through our eyes and through Joey's eyes. And the interesting thing here is that the shootout follows the standard tropes to a teat. Shame, of course, being the best, takes care of both righter and Wilson. He draws second but shoots first. He is the hero. But there is a third gun man and if it was not for Joey, the third gun man would have shot shame down, but JOE yells out chain, turns around and there's two shots chain. It is hit. He's clearly hit. He sits down with Joey, he talks to him, he explains to him that the guns have highly left the valley. What does model has been talking about all along and he rides out here. There also so many questions. Does Shain die or doesn't he? Is he all of the dead? In the final shot we've see his hand dangling over his horse. What do you guys think and what the are you takeaways from this ending? I think it's a fitting ending and one that has layers of tragedy in there. Shane has found a place where he's become accepted and welcomed and he stood up for the rights of these people, but in doing so he's kind of criven himself away because he now knows that there's no place for him here, because he's been as much a part of a violence as the villains of the piece. I love the fact that Shane starts and ends in the same way, the similar shot of the young child Jerry, watching Shane either arrive or leave in the distance, and it puts him place this idea that Shane is potentially being in a similar situation this before. He may have done this at over locations throughout the country and he may be going on in search of a better future for himself, but he could just end up facing similar situations elsewhere. I agree with Tom it is sort of a tragic ending and it is an ending that suggests a theme of recurrence for the Shane Character, that this has happened before and it's a theme that you know, I've seen another Westerns I think of the the Gregory Peck Western the gunfighter, which I think came out the year before or a couple of years before, in one thousand nine hundred and fifty. That's also about a gunfighter who can't escape his past. He knows that the thing that makes him distinctive, the biggest skills he offers, his skills with his fists and with his guns, is something that separates him from the homesteaders in the valley and that, as a result, it's both morally compelled to fight on their behalf and equally morally compelled to not be part of their community. And thus it's a very sort of sad movie. Whether or not you think Shane survives, which is of course a controversial point, I think that's also one of those really interesting theories, because so many people focus on death. Did Shane die or didn't he but there's also this this, like you said, the circular day of just even if it didn't die, this is a pattern that fame will repeat over and over and over again. That's quite a bit of poetry to that reading of the ending as well. Just have to add with regard to the whole is Shane dead?...

Argument, this is this is an argument, and I do made an argument I've had with a friend in the past. I had a friend who insisted chain is definitely dead. I thought earlier viewings that the movie was going for a strategy of purposeful ambiguity. Now, seeing for the third time, I guess maybe it was only the third time, I picked up on the fact that Chan's exit shot is him going over the hill through the cemetery, which I guess to me is a pretty clear signal that movie wants us to think that he is writing to his death. I like how the choice is left up to the audience with that it's a nice ambiguous ending. There's a clear indicator that can support that Shane has died, but then there's the hope that he has survived to live on another day, and I like that the audience get to choose what fits their enjoyment of the film the best. Think what's also the bit interesting here is that even here in this Ambu do you have the same question you've been having within the entire field, this idolization of the West where the hero or always saves the day and rise into the sunset, and the more called or bleak and hard reality at the film essentially says the world is. And the question and this, do you take that idealized version of the West or the reality of the West? I think it's fascinating to add that these themes and notions are still being explored by filmmakers today. I didn't realize how much so at the time when I watched Logan, Superhero Film. There's some clear references to Shane throughout. You see clips from the film and it pays homage to it directly. At the time I hadn't seen shame, but now seen Shane. I'd love to reave at Logan and just compare and see whatever themes it barrage from shame. That's completely true. Director came out and said that, you know, saying it's for the main, if not the main, inspiration behind the movie and the plot as well. So it's a very, very good comparison. And this takes us o work to the great silence, which is immediately striking thanks to the snow way backdrop of the mountains of UTA. I just can't understate the beauty of snowy landscapes in Westerns. It as this darkness that really should have been used more. But this wasn't bringing up snowy Westerns in the self to be such a great podcast for a future episode. But let's get beyond that for a second. The plot is just as the same, incredibly simple. A set of criminals or awaiting amnesty, or not even criminals, many of them claimed to be completely innocent but just unjustly placed on a list and a set of bounty hunters or try to just kill as many of these men and in women as possible before this happens. This adds a strong moral dimension of law versus justice. The bounty hunters are just cruel and kill when they can't take prisoners, often pretending that their targets will live if this give themselves up, before shoeing them immediately at the first opportunity. The entire film just lives within this dream ruled it dwells on it repeatedly, and their colorlessness, especially just a budded in the Persona Kinsky, brings to life are as. The leader of these bounty hunters is just incredibly stark. Just as in Shane, a stranger here, played by Don Reis, drinking non rides into all of this. Just like Shane and the bad guy and shame Wilson. He has the cold that he draw second but shoots first. The interesting thing here is that he is hired by the widow of one of the executed men who with desperate for revenge and will go to any lengths to get it. And of course, the great silence, as a hero is called, takes upper CASS and starts to in a way, just like Wilson in shame, put himself in situation where you can legally kill, and this is also such an interesting comparison between them. But beyond the trope of the stranger, you have this focus of killing, but within the law. In this focus of killing is taken to the very extremes an incredibly violent western, even for the time it was made, and he could arguably be considered Kabuchi's finest western. His muterior in Jean Louis trounting is a stroke of genius incorporates a tragic backstory into a bleak tale of revenge. One of the main things for me that makes it such a striking film is anyom Coney's haunting score, that it kind of does me to the talk and it stairs up an emotional response in the viewer and fills in the gaps...

...where there's not much conversation going on and there's lots of brooding shots of the villains and the protagonists deciding what to do next, reaching for their guns, and it really builds up a lot of tension here. Kinski is also excellent as the villain loco. It's a role that he was born to play. He cast such a great sense of menace with his character kind of shrouded in this headpiece that he wears from most of the film, and it really is a very dark and pessimistic Weston. I think you've both done a lovely job of elucidating perhaps the two central themes of this movie. On one hand, the law, as Chris said, on the other hand death, as Tom said. This is a movie that is completely immersed in death and violence. We see it from the very opening scene where Jean Lu treating your as silence, bides into a snowy valley. He's ambushed by bounty hunders. He shoots four of them. One of the bounty hunters attempts to surrender, but silence then it shoots off his is thumbs. Now that isn't enough, one of the bandits nearby then finishes off this newly thumbless bounty hunter. It's less than four minutes into the movie and already five people are dead, and one of them certainly killed upon surrendering. That definitely goes against the classic troops of the Western other theme is the law, and this is something that comes up again and again throughout the movie, to the point where there's one specific line that is said twice. It's all according to the law. When we first hear this line halfway through the movie, we already have a sense that it's not really a very honest line, and by the end of the movie we know it's actually a bitterly ironic line, because we've come to understand that the law is not protecting justice, as the hapless sheriff played by frank will suggests, but the law is protecting money. I think it's fascinating for that towards the start of the film, when the Sheriff realizes where he's been posted and what it may entail visit in this town, it's incredible to think the transformation that he makes. He's very reluctant to the start, but when he accepts his job and he gets to the location, he actually does a pretty fine job of trying to maintain law in order. Yeah, yeah, just won't comment on that. Does briefly, and booth, like you, ever from great time for a second, because one of the reasons why we've settled for Shane and the white silence was because he really rug gold to do a one on one comparison between a classic Western and speget the rest, and because the tropes are so incredibly different. The Stranger trope was really one of the few tropes that really survived. If you look at Classic Westerns, you have the army Westerns, often against Indians, and you have the town vests, often bodied by a sheriff, and in Speghet thevests, and also the later revisionist Westerns in America, be almost never followed the sheriff. The sheriff, if anything, is usually if shown an antagonist, a force of evil, force of corruption, and here in the great silence we actually get a sheriff that is neither incompetent, a complete moron or bad. It was a place a little bit with it. He is naive in some ways, but he is actually shown as just lawful, caring. It's probably the most likable and good person in the entire film and that's so incredibly unusual for us. Forget the VESTN have to say I'm a slightly different reading of the sheriff, I see him as being kind of a foolish there's no doubt, though, that he means well, and he has his line halfway through the movie where he says to Claus Kinsky the West will be governed by justice, not by islands. But I think that highlights him. It's not as incompetent, but at least, as you said, Chris, as naive, and I think it's his naivete that becomes his defining character trait. Throughout the movie he seems completely blind to just how much danger he's placed himself in, to the fact that he is not giving the bounty hunter, specifically Kinsky, respect or guarding them as a true threat, as they should be. But to get to this point you make about protagonist, I agree that the sort of the Spaghetti Westerns have left good sheriffs far behind. I found really peculiar about this movie was a treatment of bounty hunters. In previous Spaghetti Westerns we've seen bounty hunters as heroes, which is self, of course, is is kind of outrageous and ridiculous. We would never see a bounty hunter as a hero in a classic Western. What makes the great sounds even more bleak is here. Even the bounty hunters...

...themselves are evil. I wouldn't like to draw a bit of an interesting comparison again between Kane and the guy silence, because in a way the perfon of of Shane and Wilson and here the great silence and local having flipped in shame. You have well, shame being this this character you've kind of underestimate. A lot of people pointed out how way he's even made to look a bit the feminine. The people would believe he's a coward or call him as Holpop bread, throw all her at the Robert Herd toursdy because they don't take him seriously. They underestimated they keep underestimating him, and that's how a lot of the characters view look, or rather he plays himself a little bit more of up a food like this, friendly this are of a food which has that kind of bardnesses to them which is so false and striking. But still there's a similarity. And then if you foot it over to Wilson and the way silence, you have these brooding obviously the great times can't speak, he's mute, but you have these character to stay very, very little, have a very similar cold and also the same mission, which is to place themselves into situations where they can legally murder someone. The notion of being able to legally made this someone just tilight. A lot of the twisted morality that is present in the great silence seems to be an unwritten code of law between a lot of the bounty on twos and the sheriffs. There is this beautiful sort of parison to be made between chain and the great silence. On the point that I'm in Chris of highlighted, but it's one of just many. It's one of the reasons that I think these movies pair so well together. In theme after theme, we see the great silence provide a sort of reversal or counter argument to the theme as it was expressed in shame. We see it with the treatment of the law, the treatment of violence. The violence in chain is a sort of delayed it's always coming later than you think it will. We see Shane is insulted in the bar and town, but he doesn't react. He actually waits, no ten fifteen minutes in screen time until a second visits the bar to retaliate the violence in in the great silence is sudden it's random, it's unexpected, it's unreasonable. There seems to be no way to prevent it, whereas the violence in Shane was slow, was reasonable. There's so much discussion that happens before things get to a point of violence. Also such an interesting contrast between the women lead in both of these fields where in shame, no, they'll operate this moral authority that really wants teeth and is true and essentially represents the new West for wish of getting the guns out of the valley. If kind of the morality that the field takes up. In the great silence, the wid though her orge, it's only for an evenge, for more and more and more violence, and that is also kind of the morality the film ends up taking. Let's said, it's the tone the film takes. It's another great point of comparison. The female character and Shane is important to the plot but never really is her own actor in the plot. She's important to the starrets but she has no real agency. Decisions are constantly driven by her husband and by Shane himself, of whereas we see in the great silence that the decisions made by the female lead, played by Vananda McGee, they provides the driving force for the plot, and it's her desires and what she wants that's continually moving the plot forward. It's interesting to note that in the great silence even the women are safe from the danger to the bounty hunters. There's a few pretty nasty deaths in that respect. And he also wanted to mention the great director, sees ear Leone. When he started making his Spaghetti Weston's he wanted to rid the west of talkie characters who slow down the plot so that he could concentrate on the action, and Kobuchi takes this and runs of its meat hero in silence. One of the most memorable moments of the film for me is when silence is hand gets burnt in the hot coals and there's this you imagine it to be like a guttural kind of scream, but because he can't speak, the camera just focuses in and there's this horrible silence screen, and that, for me, is one of the standout parts in the film. Can we also take a moment, it's a boat, of the fact that this is the onely was drinking on only western in his entire career. I mean this is one the front of most prolific actor and this was the only time he showed up in the rest and and of course it's also completely mute grand but being it wouldn't have mattered anyways.

It's just like take the kind of Aura and kind of intensity and he brings to the role is absolutely incredible. His performance is great, not only expressions but the way he moves and the emotion that he conveys with his eyes, and I feel that a lot of that is enhanced by Mori cone soundtrack that brings to life a lot of the feelings that you imagine his character is going through. With any point, I think you can know the girl not a moment to talk about difference in cinematic styles there and just with also differs these two categories of western so darkly. In Shane, of course, you have all of these beautiful punderama shots and in the great silence, like so many rest of you have most of the standard ropes from you know, instant camera zooms, just too much movement and it does in some way eat into this this cinematographic beauty of it a little bit, though it doesn't hurt that much. Just tanks to the landscape, but it still has this slightly cheaper, syctly more efficient way of making a film, which of course also works because it's a much harsher kind of story. Yeah, I think the the cinematic style in the great sounds is is a perfect example of the larger Spaghetti Western style. Editing is abrupt, there are extreme close ups, dubbing is just awful. The production design is sort of rough and UN polished. There's a general slaps feeling to the entire enterprise. It feels and looks a little bit cheap, and this contrasts, of course, with the very classic Hollywood style of Shane. But that's not to say that the Spaghetti Western style is bad. It can be bad. There are definitely some points where the film is very over exposed. You kind of think what am I looking at here, but that same style also gives the story a lot of energy. Some of the negative attributes that you mentioned the I'm out of the film's production. I think they enhunt the facial feeling, the rawness of it, and you were well with the the violence and the cinematography. Those have moments of brilliant this is one of the Best Spaghetti Westerns, so it's nice to see that Koboucchi elevates the kind of pop lean into the spaghetti western to something that does have quite a lot of cinematic beauty throughout and that all things that, unlike for many older forget the West then they were, and there's a lot more mellow in the even into more conneth beautiful soundtrack. It's not as loud or clear or, you know, catchy as I would find them in the onlyest movie or Coopot with other groups that could compare that. The soundtrack are come. Just compare that today. The field would be made the next year now companeros, which is probably one of the both catchy but get the rest some tracts of all time, because with all of the thing, all of that melody just driving through the entire film, it's just such a different atmosphere from so many other spaghettive. With them I agree in and it shows the tremendous range of the lamented Ennio Morricone. I love the comparison to company Arrows, which has a very sort of energy, fast driving score. It's similar to the score from death rides of horse. Here we see Marconi take a much different approach for a story that is not nearly as rousing as company row's. Here the score is little slower, a little more contemplative, a little more said, still very beautiful. Can I else ask one question, because you mentioned that throws of dubbing, like when you watch a spaghetti with them. Do you prefer to watch it in the English dub or in the Italian dub or any other dub? I think every Spaghetti Western I've seen has I've only had the English DUB available. I remember when I saw Spaghetti Westerns as a kid, I found it odd that the the sounds of the characters dialog did not match the movement of their their faces on screen. And the funny thing is, I mean to this day I will refuse to see any dubbed movie with the exception of Spaghetti Westerns, and I've just learned to accept it as something that is intrinsic to the genre itself. There will be bad dubbing and in some ways, I guess maybe it's adds the charm a little bit. I totally agree with Adam. No, I'm not really a fun of Dobin account. Think of many people who would be put in Spaghetti Weston's it's something is hand in hand with the genre and you just get used to it and you know, you kind of forget that it's there after a while. So it doesn't really detract from the experience for me. But that's act an interesting point is self, because whenever I can, I actually watch it in Italian and the way silence now when I watch it, I don't remember fas what in English the first time, but this time I got the BLU ray off it...

...which had the Italian track as well. That was I think the talent prep, for me at least, is better because first of all I'll be reading the subtypes as els. I won't be focused on their mouths and it does runs a little bit mood for me. I do exactly the same thing with when I watch yellow films as well, in that I just I really don't like the sounds dubbing. I can get used to it and if there's only the English dub that work fine and some can be great all the same, and of the dollar religy and the only movies are dubbed quite well, but if I can, I always go for the Italian version. Just one more parison I want to point out before we get to the ending of the one more comparison. I want to mention that I thought was really interesting between the great sounds and Shane, and that is the scenic aspect of both movies. They're both among the most beautiful Westerns I've seen just in terms of the scenery, which, of course, scenery is is one of the main appeals traditionally of the Western Shane. We have this great setting in Wyoming. For people familiar with American West you can very clearly see it's in what is now Grand Teton National Park, that is the Grand Teton Massif kind the sad, but it's also a very welcoming environment and it's very subtle, but I thought one of the the sort of background themes of shame was how welcoming environmentally this valley is. We see this beautiful ready source of water flowing through the star at ranch, even though Wyoming is traditionally a very dry state. The comparison with the great silence, of course, is the great sounds is also stunningly beautiful, but it's a much more threatening environment. It's a dangerous environment. Extreme snowiness is a constant hazard to the characters. We see one character die because of the threat of the environment and the other thing, of course, is that the snow is a disguise. Multiple Times throughout the movie we see guns and corpses emerged from the snow banks. There's a suggestion that the snow is hiding the essential violence of the land. That's a great point tot and I like how the snowy about drop isn't just about placing tegopault story in many aspects, particularly where the bill in the peace logo will kill because he's unable to transport to the sheriff. You just leave them in the snow because he knows and the bodies will stay fresh so we can return to them at a later time to collect them. And at this point, I think, to dive as deep as we can into the great silence, we have to talk about the ending spoil of warning. I think there's a really interesting thing here at setting expectations in Shane. You know, we thought Shane riding into town his own accord. He was in his best element in the great silence, before the showdown is even set he is heard deeply hurt. He was already beaten. Then his hand is shooting. Hand was burnt. You just consistently taking away more and more of the likelihood of the great silence being successful or being a trapped at all. He just shown this, becoming weaker and weaker and weaker to the point that, as the climax is coming, he is in hiding, barely able to move. The women are protecting him. And then, based on the sheriff's good nature, the band is, if you want to call them that, how calm to town to eat. But unbeknown to the sheriff a different pack of bounty hunters have come riding down. They have captured all of them, they have taken them into the bar at a threat of death, and Kinsky presents a stark and clear challenge. Come Out, fight me one to one and if you win, nothing will happen. My men will let everybody go. And especially based on the very clear cold of morality that you know, even though it's cheeky, you have seen some bounty under beforehand. You're not sure if you can trust it not, but you're pretty sure you can't. And even if you can, shame it's so weak that you don't think he'll be able to do it. He rises to the challenge. He goes out into the snow, he shows up in front of the Bar, which is unburnt hand, not the shooting him, this unburnt hand ready to pull the trigger, and for a second you feel the hope. For a second you feel that the great sounds could actually be able to...

...pull first. I. Even against all of this diversity, the hero could still come out on top. But them, just as in Shane, there is a check and gun man pointing a rifle and unlike shame, this gun man shoots first. He shoots his only good hand, to the point that you now know that the great sound said no way of making this. He falls to his knees, both his hands are and able to grab the gun. Loco comes out and you're not sure what to expect. Cut Back, of course, the sheriff, we now believe, is dead. He was shot through the eyes by local as local escape. And if this was, you know, maybe a classic Western, at this point it might have been for instant a real that the sheriff actually surviveding climbed up of the eyes, maybe he got help, rolled back and would save the day. You know, you're trying to think. Is there any hope? Is there any hope whatsoever? What can happen? But recent the just isn't he shot that dead? The widow runs over to him, grabs the gun ready to shoot. She's stilled as well. Both of them are laying dead. The bounty on twers turn to the captives and shoot each and every single one. There's so much violence in this these two three minutes. Everyone is dead, the bad guys are victorious and they ride away ready to collect their reward. And interestingly, and unlike almost every other spaghet the western we now realize that this is actually, in part, based on a true story. As you get, the text coming up, that this massacre changed how the West viewed bounty hunters forever, giving us at the very least a kind of relief, a kind of understanding that this changed something for the better. But all the same, the bleakness, the coldest brutality is still with us. And just to add this last segment, saying is based on a real story, we're not even sure if we can verify that. That could even be just a motif added to give the story a little bit more of a happy ending. Can even say that? So how did that ending leave you guys? The first time I watched the great silence and it's completely stund and shocked by the end and it's so bleak and nasty and, like you said, Chris, it completely submerged the audiences expectations because, even though silence the odds of stat against him, you just think that there could be a glimmer of hope he could somehow survive this, and the film does lead you to believe that he may make it out alive, but ultimately goes down the darker route, which perhaps of the reason why the great silence is so well acclaimed or renowned. Now for the route that it takes with the ending, it's interesting to note that the great silence wasn't even released in the UK or the US because it's ending was deemed too pessimistic for the audience's sensibilities, and Kobucci was actually forced to shoot a happy ending where the sheriff does survive his fall into the lake and save silence. But I think that the ending as it stands is perfect. I wouldn't change anything, and I like that the fate of the sheriff fallen to the lake is never explicitly shown. So when silence is up against Loco in the final moments, you do kind of think in the back of your heads. While has the sheriff survived? Is there a chance that he could make it out? And that just adds an extra layer to the finale. But Tom I had the exact same reaction when I first saw the great silence about fifteen years ago. I was completely stunned. I just couldn't believe that this would happen in a western. It's one of the reasons I like the movie as much as I did, as indicative of direction of Westerns. In the late s and the S, westerns became increasingly bleak, increasingly cynical, increasingly violent and increasingly depressing. Really strikes me is how that ending, seen, subverts all of our expectations of what should happen in the final showdown. It's...

...not just that our hero doesn't win, it's that he doesn't really have a chance. First, his gun hand is injured, but that's okay, we think he can get through that. After all, in CORBUCCI's previous movie, Django, Django has his hands broken before the final showdown, and yet he is still able to emerge victorious. Well, that won't happen for us here. The great silence never gets his one on one showdown. With Klaus Kinsky. Instead he's ambushed from a window by one of Kinski's henchmen. Shot through the other hand. He's completely helpless. He shot again through the window by the henchman and then Kinsky finishes him off. If the movie had just ended there, it would have already been very subversive and quite shocking. But that's not enough. Widow is then murdered and then this really can only be called this massacre of the bandits. It is probably the most surprising and shocking ending I've ever seen in a western more the most shocking I've seen in any moving and, like the bull points off differ's world of reasons why this thing was also held up as there's one of the great best there off all time, because anyone watching this film for the first time will be shocked like it's just this progression of the end gives it so much power that even if something didn't work, really, even if you thought with the English dub and it taught some of it is bad like that and it gets you. It's impossible not to get you. And I think the only issue for me, we watching it is that Tom of that's slight drama is decreased like so much of the way sounds it's if you don't know what will happen, it's a birch. Every trope to prize is such a magnificant part of your first viewing, which it's not as strong U later viewings, but still that ending it gets you. It gets you every single time. Glad you mentioned that, Chris. I re watched the great sounds this week. It was the second time I saw and didn't quite enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first time. I think that's no fault in the movie itself. It's just that so much of the enjoyment of the movie comes from not knowing the plot ahead of you. I remember the first time I saw for example, one of the great mysteries the movie is by the silence not speak. It's something that's not revealed until halfway through the movie. Knowing the reason for that. When seeing it again the tracks a lot from the enjoyment, but it's still it's a magnificent movie. It just that a lot of the enjoyment of the movie comes from the surprises and the mysteries along the way. I think the one thing I'm happy about, or and with you do all this might be a little bit disappointed about this that there weren't any great showdown, even though we all have different preferences. I think both the classic Westerns and the Speghetive Westerns have so much to offer, so much diversity and so much subversion that can make them infinitely interesting. Just these two films, taken side by side, gave us a pool episode to explore their deeper intensions and their place invest in history, and both had so much to offer, including someone Tif did not get the time to mention here, and I think there are so many other great spaghet the message. We could also have done a comparison with other fantastic and great classic Westerns. So, just to leave you with this, this will not be our last restern episode. We will return at one point in the not so distant future with our dollar relorship the episode, and I'm sure there will be much, much more to come down the road for. Thank you for listening and join us again soon. You have been listening to talking images, the official postcast of ICM FORUMCOM.

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