Re: [Harp-L] harp movies (once upon a time in the west)
In all the "harp movies" I've seen, the harp just happens to be in the movie, with one exception, "Once Upon A Time in the West." I saw that movie when I was a kid and it inspired me to play the harp. I had been fooling around with the harp before, but the movie got me seriously interested in the instrument. It's got an excellent harp soundtrack, chill you to the bone. Though, harp players will notice the part of the harmonica is played by at least three harps, four if you count the obviously chromatic harp on the soundtrack.
Henry Fonda is an SOB, it's one of the best villian performances ever, but add that to Fonda always playing good guys and that's what you expect when you see him on screen, the result is something good and familiar turned evil, kind of chills like Old Yeller did when he got rabies and tried to kill everybody.
Anyway, Charles Bronson shows up playing these really eerie riffs on the harp, and he "plays" them all through the movie. henry Fonda and his boys will be walking around and they hear these eerie harp riffs coming from seemingly nowhere.
Turns out, when Charles Bronson was a kid, Henry Fonda and his roughnecks hanged his brother, had him hanging from an arch an standing on young Charles Bronson's shoulders. So, as Bronson is standing there, gradually tiring, Henry Fonda puts a harmonica is his mouth to "keep your loving brother happy" and while the boy gasps for breath, he's playing draw and blow chords. Finally, he tires, falls, the brother is hanged. Bronson keeps the harp and the whole movie is about Bronson giving the harp back to Fonda, bascially. Which he does in the final showdown of course.
In the movie, the harp is a symbol of a lot of things, a central symbol of the movie, in fact. Bronson is a mysterious stranger, nobody can figure out who he is. He lets his harmonica do all the talking. Seriously.
I found the final showdown on Youtube, it has a flashback to when Charles Bronson gets the harmonica and ends with Bronson giving it back.
Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcjUpL7ThAU
Dave Payne Sr.
Elk River Harmonicas
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