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Is anyone of you familiar with Friedrich Dürrenmatt? The book I'm referring to is Der Verdacht. It's about an old and ill police officer discovering that an ancient doctor of a KZ (concentration camp) is working in a hospital nearby. I think that Hans Bärlach might be a literary role for Eastwood. It's a very very old and feeble Dirty Harry, but still pursuing justice with everything he has left. And the main subjects of the book are survival, justice, death, and what people do to try to escape death (both in the KZ and in rich Zürich).
  At the moment, Eastwood is still too fit to play that ill Bärlach, but with time?

General Discussion / Re:Clint's trans-cultural appeal
« on: October 26, 2003, 11:59:42 AM »
what are the top three adjectives you would use to describe Clint?

- determined (zielstrebig in german). I think both the characters he plays as well as the man himself know what they want and how they can get it.
- self-confident: (selbstbewusst und selbstsicher). That's why most of his characters seem so cool in whatever circumstances. And I think that was the only way Eastwood could do his own "private" films. He had to be confident, otherwise they would never have let him do the way he wanted...
- centered: (mittig in Swiss-german): he isn't afraid to go back and show us, years later, the other side of the coin (ex: Unforgiven vs standard western). He isn't afraid to play characters with flaws, be weak, and all these things that are the opposite of "cool". This makes the picture complete, the man believable.

I am determined, often self-confident, and more centered than some years back. I don't think my country (Switzerland) is determined (too many different opinions in a VERY democratic country). We are self-confident, but we will never show it (swiss are humble...). And oh yes, how centered we are. Just look at a map  ;D ;D

General Discussion / Re:Clint's trans-cultural appeal
« on: October 15, 2003, 11:34:34 PM »
what a great great post, eustressor!!!! Thank you for analyzing your point of view!

General Discussion / Re:Clint's trans-cultural appeal
« on: October 08, 2003, 12:20:30 PM »
I don't know if this observation really belongs here, since I cannot talk for my whole country. But I can certainly speak about myself and include the opinions of my friends  :D The films we like do have to have to tell a story we can relate to. As Xichado said above, stories should be about:
ordinary people facing unusual situations and the perseverance of the human spirit

This way there is something that rings a bell inside of us, that involves us in the film, that makes us part of it. And, sometimes, it's not so much the story itself that does this to me, but the second layer of the film. I've noticed this before, but in HPD it became obvious that to me that film is just a way to make us think. The story itself doesn't mean much to me, but the themes are very interesting. Maybe that is also the reason why several films did better in Europe that in the US? I know that, at least in Switzerland and in Portugal (hi Xichado  ;)), we learn more about symbols and metaphers and such than in an average US High school. So, maybe we are better prepared to recognize the second layer, the thought-provoking level of a film? And, maybe we just prefer that other view of a film? This, at least is true for my friends and me. The films we talk most about, films that impressed us most, are all films with a second, different level. We end up talking about philosophy, themes, different possible interpretations of scenes. And, this way, the film only serves the purpose of opening up our minds to a discussion about the basic questions of life.

I always prefer it when the mystery lasts as long as possible. I like to wonder, since I'm a curious woman  ;D So, it is perfect for me that they don't tell us more about the reason. Actually, I didn't even think the reason why the marshal was killed was important. It's not the "why" that's so cruel, it's the "how". By whipping him, they make him loose his dignity, and this is about the worst you can do to someone else. Even if the Marshal had killed someone (like Little Bill had, for instance), it still would never justify such a murder (IF murder can be justified AT ALL, but that's another subject ;)). So, in my perception of the story, the reason is secondary, and just adds to the lack of morality of these townspeople.

Previous Film Discussions / Re:HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER: The Story 7: Themes
« on: October 08, 2003, 11:47:15 AM »
revenge: obvious
the price of a human life: Just how many persons have to die before the killing of one man is revenged? How much suffering are you allowed to distribute before your soul can rest in peace? Interesting questions, and I've asked myself that same questions after september 11th! I know there's a separate thread about that point, and I might post there again. But, in my understanding of the film, it is a theme too.
What does it take to wake people up? I have written some of my thoughts here in the "rape thread". What I mean is, from what point on do we HAVE to interfere, when aggressions are happening? Are we allowed to stay aside and watch, pretend we are not concerned?
There's always a price to pay for one's actions...

Great sentence, man with no name! That pretty much sums it up for me  :)

General Discussion / Re:website
« on: October 08, 2003, 11:32:00 AM »
Bonjour HarryCed

  Félicitations pour ton site internet, il est trés bien fait! Question de langue, il y a plusieurs membres sur ce "board" qui parlent français. Alors, si tu ne sais pas comment on dis en anglais, dis en français et surement quelqu'un se fera un plaisir de traduire pour les autres :) Et, tu peux toujours me demander de l'aide avec un message privé (PM), je ferai de mon mieux.

Translation: I'm congratulating HarryCed for his homepage, and I'm telling him that he/she can always write french, and someone will translate, since several members speak french  :) (Hope you don't mind me saying this, KC  ;))

I agree with Christopher and Xichado here. Although I don't like violence, I think the rape scene is needed in the film. As was discussed in the western-section, we learn more about the stranger (well, we at least learn we know nothing abut him ;)).  But I think it serves another purpose, at least it does for me.  This man rides into town, and kills three men in no time. We are used to killings in western, this doens't really bother nor us, nor the inhabitants from Lago. Maybe, we don't know at that part of the film, maybe they deserved it? But then the stranger rapes that hysterical blondine. And the town watches him do so. Raping is not an "everyday crime", as shooting is. The victim is hysterical, she might be a b**ch, but she's still a woman without a weapon in her hand to defend herself. And noone goes to help her. A man, lying on a woman, occupied in raping her, would be an easy prey, but noone even tries, noone cares. I think that rape tells us books about the town, about how unwilling they are to act, to have an opinion, to react, to help, to feel responsible one for another.  And, in a larger sense, it tells us a lot about ourselves too. I don't like Callie's character, she seems to be a person I would avoid in real life. Does that give me the right to look away, pretending I don't care when she's clearly in trouble? Aren't most of us exactely like the inhabitants of Lago? We either don't care about the victim (he/she's got it coming), or we don't have the courage to react, or we have some other excuse for not stepping in? Isn't that exactely why nowadays women can be raped in broad daylight on crowded streets? Youngsters can make armed hold-ups in schools, and noone interferes?
  I believe the rape tells us much more about everyone else than about the stranger himself.

Lago: The town has so little character, so little backbone, it's not even worth a name of it's own. That's why it's called after something out of the surrounding. Why lake? Well, water will never oppose. If you put a hard, heavy, cold object into water, the water will make the room for it, and won't oppose, won't fight, won't argue. This is how I feel about the name of the town.
whip:. A whip is not only a weapon, it's a symbol of power. Humans use whips on animals, and back some years farmers used it on slaves. It's cruel, it hurts, and it basically demonstrates the power of the one with the whip, as opposed to the vulnerability of the one without the whip.  They could have killed Duncan with a gun, but Stacy chose the whip. This way Duncan not only lost his life, but he almost lost his dignity as well (I think that was what Stacy was aiming for). I don't know if we would understand such a revenge, if the murder itself had not been especially brutal, cruel and wicked...

All the places Horrigan goes to in his spare time are brown, dark, but warm. This is true for the bars, where I think the "Hopper-feeling" comes accross perfectly well. It's also true for his home, with the brown leather-sofa. The walls are yellow, which gives his appartement some warmth. He has paintings and personal things, so we can tell he actually lives there. Of Leary we see different appartments, but all share a feeling of emptiness. Some actually are empty, without furniture. Others do have the TV and a chair. In his first appartment, there is only one chair at the table, the kitchen is messy, his "workroom" does look messy too. The only pictures there are, are the ones of the presidents assassination. Not really cheerful, if you ask me. And, what strikes me most is, that you have to look closely to notice that, the second time we see that appartment, Leary's furniture is missing. It's not a home, it's an empty, cold appartment with the basic things in it one needs. No warmth, no love, no room for guests, no life, not even his chairs look comfortable. We are clearly shown this also in his house. When the camera focuses in, we see a neighbour mowing his lawn, keeping his home clean and good-looking. And look how Leary's home looks:
Another picture I find, that shows some Hopper-like appearances, is this one:

Thank you mgk for your help with the screen-captures!  :D
The colours are very grey-brown, it looks messy again, little light, iron bars on the windows (prison?). It's not a place you'd like to spend hours, but this is exactely what Leary does there. He spends hours, and I guess this is as cosy as he can get a place to be, showing us how isolated, how lost, how cold and how disturbed he has become. I almost feel sorry for him when I see this picture!

Previous Film Discussions / Re:IN THE LINE OF FIRE: The Story: 9. Themes
« on: September 26, 2003, 11:50:39 PM »
I've also noticed that all the scenes in Frank's apartment are filmed when it's night, which to me reflects an emotion of loneliness, seclusion
Leary's appartements are also always presented as pretty unfriendly places. It's either night, or it's messy, or completely empty. No personal things, no warmth at all. The same emotion of loneliness, seclusion, but much more pronounced.

Previous Film Discussions / Re:IN THE LINE OF FIRE: The Story: 9. Themes
« on: September 26, 2003, 01:55:37 PM »
...and the consequences of that betrayal, "death".

another theme is the opposite, is life, or rather, what makes a life worth living
L: You're the same as me, Frank.  Name one thing in your life that has any meaning.
H: I play the piano.
L: That's not enough.
H: How do you know, do you play?
L: I've seen you in your bar alone. There's no cause left worth fighting for, Frank. All we have is the game.
What is it, that's worth fighting for? Is it the job? The answer seems to be no, since Horrigan vows never to let  his job get between a woman and him again. On the other hand, Lilly does stay in her job (emancipation and equal rights seem to be a theme too  ;)) Is it to have a fulfilling hobby? No, since Leary doesn't take Horrigan's piano-playing into account. Is it to escape the loneliness, have friends and family? I guess so, at least this is how I interpret this theme. I hesitated to write about this theme, although it seemed pretty obvious to me. It gets very philosophical and personal, if we start debating what is worth living (and fighting) for. But I'd wonder anyway how you others understood that theme. After all, it's a matter that concerns every single one of us  :D

Previous Film Discussions / Re:IN THE LINE OF FIRE: The Story: 9. Themes
« on: September 25, 2003, 12:03:18 PM »
interesting question, eustressor  :)
As I wrote in the "game-thread", I clearly feel that Leary is commiting suicide here. He knows he will die. Actually, as he says himself:
we can't have monsters running in the quiet countryside, now can we?
He could have committed "conventional" suicide, but this way his death would have gone unnoticed. He talks to Frank in the movie how they both have nothing worth living for, and I guess he feels as if the country had stolen his soul. There's nothing left, but death, but he is  (quoting myself ;D):
wanting to die in the realm of life
Or, as Matt said:
I see a man who wants to be heard and understood
If he had died alone, the most he would have got was a remark such as: great, he took care of it himself! But I think what he wanted was to show the country how things go wrong, hidden and secretely, but they do go extremely wrong. He wanted people to think about it, to question his "job". He wanted his death to change something. So, I think he's already redeemed before the movie starts. His redemtpion is his choice to die under the flashlights of journalists, his choice to cry out injustice, hoping to be heard. The film begins when his plan is already on the road, and I don't think he gains much more during the film, exept the game on a much higher level, with Horrigan.
  ok, this is my understanding of Leary. But, as we have noticed  ;), there are different ways to see him, so I'd like to hear/read other opinions as well  :D

L: So, Horrigan, how come you never wear shades on post?
F: I like the whackos to see the whites of my eyes. A good glare can be just as effective as a gun, see what I mean? See what I mean?
L: You got me
F: You better stick to the shades, sweetheart

Horrigan clearly feels glasses, particularly sunglasses as a kind of wall. When the others can't see your eyes, they can't know what you're thinking, they can't see inside your soul. When he comments the different pictures of Leary, he says:
As good as they are, they aren't much good. The eyes are dead. You can always tell a man by his eyes
Later, on the rooftop-chase, Leary wears dark sunglasses (he wants to walk away without anyone recognizing him). They fall off when he gives Frank his hand. Both men look at each other during that very intense scene, where Horrigan has to decide if he prefers to die right here and now, but killing Leary. Or if he wants to take a chance, live, and hope he'll get him under other, less dangerous circumstances. Leary knows what choice Horrigan has to make, comments it. If Leary still had his sunglasses on, this scene would be dead. We need to see his eyes to "understand" him. Same is true for Horrigan. Without the eyes, without their soul being involved, they are dead.
  Later, Horrigan tells Leary:
H: I know what you look like, I've seen your eyes
L: My eyes might look different next time
H: Not what's behind them, won't
So, Leary wears glasses for the "final" dinner. He hides his eyes as good as he can. And, I'm sure that Horrigan would never have been fast enough to detect him, had he never seen Leary's eyes before (but then I see things other's don't, so don't worry  ;)) Later, in the elevator, Leary has nothing to hide anymore, and he takes the whole disguise off, which includes the glasses. He then tells Frank
Without me, you're a sad-eyed piano-playing drunk
, which leads us to believe that Leary knows Horrigan better than Horrigan knows. Actually, in the beginning of the "game", Leary often watches Horrigan through binoculars, which, in my understanding, are just a larger version of glasses/shades.
Puh, I guess it's time I pour myself a glass of wine  :D

Previous Film Discussions / Re:IN THE LINE OF FIRE: The Story: 9. Themes
« on: September 24, 2003, 12:56:20 PM »
I just watched the movie again tonight, to see if my opinion had changed with time. I can clearly see now that indeed, it was a hasard that Horrigan was Leary's "partner" in the game. He even says so himself:
Fate has brougth us together
(yes, I admit, I only noticed that line AFTER mgk's, Matt's and Xichado's post, sorry :(). So, my view changed a little. But I have to admit that it has stayed the same regarding Leary's feelings towards Horrigan. As eustressor wrote, I still feel that Leary wants
respect, gratitude, trust, understanding, acceptance
I have since seen John Malkovich play Talleyrand (in a TV-production about Napoleon), where he has to play a very ambiguous man. I guess he's more capable than anyone else to leave the audience in doubt wether he meant what he said, or if he meant the contrary. These are the troubles Leary is causing us all too. Somehow, it's very difficult to KNOW for sure if he means what he says on the phone, or if he just taunts Horrigan. I still think he means it, when he calls Horrigan a friend. As Lilly and Matt pointed out in the "two sides of the same man"-thread, Leary
...does have an obsession with not lying...
(quote from Lilly). Or, as Bob Dylan once said:
To live outside the law you must be honest
He also, in one phone call, tries to tell Horrigan that it was not really only his fault that Kennedy died. And in my eyes, in telling him:
I think he didn't care that his death would ruin your life
he shows deep understanding for Horrigan. So, even after reading all that has been written on the subject of friendship in this thread, I think the movie and John Malkovich's performance leave it to every single one of us to see and feel what we wish to see and feel. Maybe we ought to ask Malkovich about it  :D

Trivia Games / Re:Eastwood Quotes
« on: September 05, 2003, 02:47:23 PM »
Hemlock to Dragon in Eiger sanction

you were the one that wanted to talk

Thanks Xichado for explaining the huge painting! I knew it had to mean something, but I didn't know what to do with it. The only thing I could come up was: Victor=victory. Leary doesn't look at victory, neither does Victor look at Leary. Maybe the outcome of the game did not really matter to Leary?
Broadway is a synonymous for theatre (the performing arts)
I only want to add a third possible explanation: I feel that Leary isn't that comfortable with his killings. I think maybe he never really wanted to be a coldblooded killer, he just wanted to help his country as well as he could and became a killer "by accident". More  because he's very good in that, not because he likes it that much. So, theatre could stand for the "role" Leary plays, pretending to be a killer. When we go to the theatre to watch a play, we want to see well performed characters, we don't want to see that, as example,  the main actor just had a quarrel with his wife. So this reminds me of the life Leary is leading, having lost his "true" personality, nothing remains but his best role, the one of the killer.

I think Peterson was an excellent choice as director. In Das Boot  he works a lot with the characterisation of the members of the crew. In this film this is crucial, to understand the personal level between Horrigan and Leary. He also, since a submarine is so narrow, filmed a lot of close-ups, which may have suggested him the great visualization of the phone-calls. And I do think the fact that he is European does make a difference. Of course I don't know how the film would have been, had it been directed by a citizen of the US. But just  watching the documentary about secret service, you can tell that they are portrayed as special people doing a special job. This is right of course, but it's just a job, a demanding one, but a job.  My fear is that a director from the US might have been  too much in awe of the secret service, and then overpraise them. This would have hurt the realism of the movie.
He seems to be big on authenticity.
I can only agree with you, eustressor. And I think the fact that the movie seems so realistic is one great quality of it.

The phone calls are the best part of the film. It begins with a stranger calling Horrigan, explaining him the rules of a "game". And only with time, we learn more about Leary, how he looks, how he thinks, what he does. To me the fact that we don't see him in the beginning was a great directorial idea. Malkovich has this special movement of his mouth, with the lips pulling towards the midline, something not everybody does. The soft voice telling these horrible things - it all adds to the tension, the suspense. On the other side is Eastwood, hearing all these things he has hidden away, trying to stay as calm and cool as possible, but still we can see in his eyes and his face what these words do to him. VERY visual. Well, as I said, for me the best parts of the movie  :)

The more I think about it, the more I realize that Leary can be perceived in different ways.
What I see is Leary taunting Horrigan over and over again, making him relive the most painful moment of his life, taunting him about his wife leaving him, his drinking, and that he has nothing worth living for. Leary went after what was left of Horrigan's soul, trying to hurt him over and over again.  He had expected that he'd make him fail to save another president.
there is enough evidence to be found to sustain that point of view. The only reason I post again is to try to explain why I see Leary differently. This will ba a long post, because there are some very valuable and good points I have to reply to, so all those not so interested... :D
I've always assumed that Leary did choose Horrigan. But how can we be sure it was not a hazard? On the "murder-collage" there are clips of several incidents involving Secret-service agents. John, F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan. So, how can we be sure Leary wanted Horrigan, and noone else? I don't know, it just always seemed obvious to me that he wanted Horrigan as an adversary. Why? There were certainly, among the other attacks, some secret service agents who would have been intelligent, capable adversaries in the game. So why Horrigan? Because by accident he was the one to inspect the apartement? I just can't believe this to be an hazard. And, if Leary wanted Horrigan, why? To taunt him, hurt him? To have better chances for succeeding, since Horrigan had failed once? Again, I've just assumed that there were other reasons. I felt that Leary did want to give someone a chance he himself did not have. Leary was hurt too much, he knows he has to die. But Horrigan, as I pointed out before, could maybe succeed in redemption. And Leary gets him back in the game several times. I know that this scene can be interpreted in many different ways. But this is how I saw it. When Horrigan finally gets into that ballroom, Leary is smiling. The smile then fades, as he concentrates and aims at the president. I've understood this as if Leary was glad to see Horrigan join in at the last moment. This way, the game is more exiting, but Horrigan also still has the chance to proove that he will take the bullet. Then, later, in the final dialogue in the elevator, this is what Leary tells Horrigan:
I am waiting for you to show me some go... gratitude. Without me, you'd still be another sad-eyed, piano-playing drunk. I brought you into this game, I let you keep up with me, I  made you a god.... hero today (...) I redeemed your pathetic $#!tty life
Horrigan then betrays Leary by talking to Raines and Leary at the same time.
These are the words left on the answering machine:
Hello Frank. By the time you hear this, it'll be over. The president is most likely dead, and so am I. I wonder Frank, did you kill me? Who won our game? Not that it matters, for among friends like you and me, it's not wether you win or loose, but how you play the game. And now the game's done, and it's time to get on with your life. But I worry that you have no life to get on with, Frank. You're a good man, and good men like you and me are destined to travel a lonely road. Goodbye and good luck
I am perfectly aware of the fact that you can understand this as rubbing salt into wounds. But I never did. I understood this speach, spoken in a soft, tender voice, as a real good bye and good luck. He realizes that Frank's life will not be easy, but he only speaks of lonelyness, not of demons! I added emphasis on the words that made me think that this was a sincere good bye.  
He had fun with him and he enjoyed having a worthy adversary but he thought all along that he was going to be successful in the end.
I also interpreted that Leary is not that sure of succeeding. To me, Leary behaves like a wounded animal. He's dangerous because hurt, but in reality he needs help. Since it's too late to help him, Leary tries to help someone else...

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