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~*~Classic Film 21 Questions~*~


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I can't figure out if this subject is too hard to bother with or if it is so easy as to be a bore. But I'm

going to be patient.


Clue # 9. In some of the versions of this story, the caught-in-between guy is a stranger who

wandered in, looked over the situation and dealt himself in. In other versions, he is a former member of one of the gangs, even a friend of the boss, who had a falling out. Titles?

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Oh, goodie! Someone finally came out to play. Let's sum up:


Miller's Crossing is indeed another version of this story, done by the Coen Brothers.


Last Man Standing (1996) is another. Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken.


I've seen Scarface only in remake. I can see many plot points that are similar, but I don't

think it goes all the way. The henchman's friendship with the boss he betrays is the strongest

matching point.


King Of Kings?? Again, seen only in remake, and would like to see further arguments on that point.


dangerous passage?? Not familiar with it. Need more info.


Now I'm going for an eye exam that will include having some wierd things done to the pupils of my eyes. Will be back at this screen when I can focus again.


Clue # 11. As mentioned earlier, some of these versions involve a captive woman. Others involve a gang boss and the caught-in-between guy being sweet on the same girl. Titles?

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Okay, let's do a little catching up:

The Glass Key indeed runs the supblot about the caught-between guy and the gang leader being after the same girl -- I assume both versions under that title. I've never seen the 1935 version. Miller's Crossing also carries that theme.


Yojimbo and Fistful Of Dollars feature the point about being carried out of danger in a coffin.


The captive woman: Yojimbo and Fistful Of Dollars again, and also Last Man Standing.


Maninthemiddle a stranger who drifted in from other parts: Yojimbo, Fistful Of Dollars, Last Man Standing.


Maninthemiddle formerly in one of the gangs: The Glass Key, Miller's Crossing.


Incidentally, The Glass Key also features a capture-and-beating (William Bendix beating up

Alan Ladd), but his escape was unaided. He didn't have that many friends.


Clue 12

a.(one title only) A happy-looking mongrel trots by with a chopped-off human hand and wrist in his teeth.Title?

b.(one title only) Gang boss thinks he can marry into Society and become respectable. (No one else thinkes he can.) Title?

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>King Of Kings?? Again, seen only in remake, and would like to see further arguments on that point.




The first story of this kind:


Clue # 1. Two violent gangs vie for control of a territory. *The Jewish kings and warriors of history, and then the Romans.*


Clue # 2. Police either weak, bought out or absent all together. *Local law enforcement had to give up their power to the Roman conquerors.*


Clue # 3. Hero caught between the two, must outsmart both sides to survive. *Jesus did this.*


Clue # 4. One side substantially defeated; a slaughter. *The Jewish converts, the Christians defeated by the Romans, later the Jews were driven out of the Holy Land by the Romans.*


Clue # 5. Hero caught by one side and brutally beaten; must escape and recover. *Scourged with whips, crucified, buried in a tomb to ?recover?.*


Clue # 6. In some, but not all of the examples, a captive woman is taken away from her family and held by a gang boss. *Mary Magdalene, held by the gang that wanted to stone her to death. Jesus saved her.*


Clue # 10. In some versions, the hero, badly wounded, gets carried away from danger by some friends, who have him concealed in a coffin. *Buried in a tomb. Arose and moved the stone away three days later.*

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Yo, FredC:

Good points all, matching the clues to story events. TCM were so impressed, they printed it twice in my EMails.


All the facts you cited can make possible matches with the plot points submitted. These

points are not similar.

(1) That story takes place on a larger stage -- pretty much taking up all the world that mattered,

as far as the participants knew.

(2) For many, that story is History and a part of their faith. It is not just a rippin' good action yarn;

not a selection for pleasure viewing.


Nevertheless, let's play this out and see what other comparisons can emerge.


Clue # 14. "Why? Because I once knew a woman like you, and there was nobody there to help."...Title? (one title only)

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Sorta sweeping up behind us here:


# 13.."...him and me are quits..." Miller's Crossing, Gabriel Byrne, referring to Albert Finney.

# 14, "...and there was nobody there too help." Fistful Of Dollars, Clint Eastwood to Marianne Koch.


Clue # 15. To gain his creds in the other gang, the hero is expected to kill a man. He goes into the woods with him, he fires a shot, he comes back without him. He has let the victim go.

Some days later, the bosses demand to see the body. He takes them to the site, bluffing, and is surprised and sickened to find a body there. The man he let go has provided one, and has mutilated it enough to fool the bosses. Title?

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More sweeping up behind us:


The Clue 12 questions:

a. The happy dog with the chopped-off hand: Yojimbo


b. The boss who wants into Society: The Glass Key (1942), with Brian Donlevy planning to marry Veronica Lake.


From Clue 15. Miller's Crossing; Gabriel Byren walks John Turturro into the woods at the title location and claims to have killed him. When the site is visited again, Turturro has provided the mutilated body of Steve Buscemi to help with the ruse.

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Leonard Maltin's thumnail review of The Glass Key includes the comment that "(Director)

Akira Kurosawa claims this was his inspiration for Yojimbo." So most of the films in this study are a deliberate retelling of the same basic story -- and the primary source is the works of Dashiell Hammett. And this brings up another variation of the hero's function.


Hammett's 1929 novel Red Harvest is about bringing down gang rule of a town. The hero of the piece is "The Continental Op" (i.e, Operative of the Continental Detective Agency). This unnamed narrator/hero does the same in the novel The Dane Curse and in numerous short stories. Another "man with no name", he serves as a sort of big brother to Sam Spade as a

pioneer hardboiled detective. And in Red Harvest, he is sent into the town of Personville with orders to bring an end to the gang warfare.


Note this: In the television premier of A Fistful Of Dollars, an extra scene was added before the credits. In a prison inside the US, a man in Eastwood's poncho and flat-brimmed hat, seen only from the rear, is taken into the Warden's office. He is briefed on the mission wanted from him in exchange for his freedom. He never speaks, just nods a couple of times. That scene ends; the opening credits roll, and the movie proper begins -- in Mexico. But it has been established now that the hero is an agent who has been sent to do a specific job.


Now note this: Regarding FredCDobbs' reference to King Of Kings, it is an article of faith for many that that protagonist was sent to do what He did and to accomplish what He accomplished. (I knew that reference would be usable again.)


Clue # 17: Denoument: Reconciled and friends again, the boss talks things over with his friend in a hospital room where the friend is still convalescing. The boss then exits, leaving the friend with the girl that he had formerly wanted to marry. Which Title?

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I can't believe this subject baffled everybody, so I assume it interested nobody. I will go ahead and wrap it up, so the thread can be used by someone else in it's intended manner. Thee more questions. First, a little more sweeping-up:


From Clue # 16; The two-unloaded-guns duel involved Clint Eastwood and Gian Maria Volante in the showdown that ended A Fistful Of Dollars.


From Clue # 17, My memory had mis-served me about the ending of The Glass Key. There was a hospital scene that bore on the subject of the Boss' romance, but the actual ending had Brian Donlevy walking away and leaving Alan Ladd (fully recovered) and Veronica Lake to have each other, with his blessings. He just took his engagement ring back. (The movie aired again on TCM last night.)


And some more sweeping up: Dashiell Hammett's imdb site names him as the source of Miller's Crossing, giving the titles of Red Harvest and The Glass Key


Clue # 18. "Do you really think you can trade body blows with me?" Which title?

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Clue # 19

Denoument: Reconciled after conflict Hero and Boss are walking away from a graveside funereal.

The girl they have both romanced (it was her brother's funereal) walks ahead of them, gets into their car and drives away, leaving them there. Which title?

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