Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Il Mio nome è Nessuno

Nate is came over for a few minutes to borrow the Star Wars trilogy from me because he'd been listening to my Star Wars original trilogy mix and was put "in the mood." Happily, he brought back my copy of Once Upon A Time in the West, albiet reluctantly (he loved it... see?). I'm very happy to be getting it back again after having spent the week listening to my Gun and Sun compilation and after having watch My Name Is Nobody on Sunday.

My Name Is Nobody, which is "presented by" Sergio Leone but directed by Tonino Valerii (rumor has it that Leone was much more "hands on," directing much of the film himself, though I see some stylistic differences between this film and his own) is a much lighter take on some of the ideas of myth-making that Leone explored in Once Upon A Time in the West. The humor is much broader than any of the Westerns he directed himself, but it works because the character of Nobody (Terrence Hill) is sort of a trickster figure. Henry Fonda returns, this time as the undefeated but aging Jack Beauregard, who wants to go to Europe to escape the endless challenges. Nobody won't let him go, however, not until he faces the Wild Bunch, a group of "150 pure-bred sons of bitches" and makes a legend out of himself.

Nobody is an interesting figure; he is the generator of most of the film's humor, but on top of that he also seems to be something more. At times he is shown to have super-speed, and he seems to be able to appear and disappear at will. There is the implication, briefly, that he may have been a member of the Wild Bunch at one point, but he is all too often shown in ways that emphasize a childlike, almost supernatural element (there is a long sequence in which he walks around with a saddle over his shoulder which makes him look for all the world like he has wings). His interest in forcing Beauregard into history is the film's most interesting element, as he seems attempting to write a history that in his mind is already written.

If the film is self-reflective of Leone, it also turns its eye in different directions as well. Sam Peckinpah gets the most pointed digs (the Wild Bunch, etc.). Ennio Morricone's score is very pop-oriented, and so has dated more than most of the film, but he spoofs much of the music he originally trailblazed for Leone in the Dollars trilogy and Once Upon A Time in the West. It is as reflective as the rest of the film is to Leone's oeuvre, and as a result it is especially fun for somebody familiar with Morricone's Western scores for Leone.

The film is set in 1899, and like Once Upon A Time in the West is an evocation of the passing of eras, and as such, despite the fact that the film is a comedy, it is also surprisingly resonant. Fonda is fantastic, and Hill is a hoot. It is a very strange film, but extremely rewarding. It also features a drinking game that I know it is a bad idea to show suitboyskin...

While I have a beautiful widescreen transfer of the film on laserdisc (paired, for some reason best known to the wacko at Universal who programmed this set, with Marlon Brando's The Appaloosa), the film has also just been released on DVD for sale and rental.
Tags: cinema
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