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Duck, You Sucker (1971) Poster

Trivia

Sergio Leone offered the role of Juan Miranda to Eli Wallach, but Wallach had already committed to another project. After Leone begged Wallach to play the part, he dropped out of the other project and told Leone he'd do his movie. However, the studio already had Rod Steiger signed. Leone offered no compensation to Wallach, and Wallach subsequently sued.
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Jump to: Spoilers (4)
When James Coburn (who had been offered roles in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)) was offered the role of John Mallory by Leone, he was initially reluctant. He had dinner with Henry Fonda (star of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)) and asked him what he thought of Leone. Fonda told him that he considered Leone the greatest director he ever worked with. Coburn then took the part (similarly, Fonda himself had been reluctant to take the part Leone offered him, but was persuaded by his friend, Eli Wallach).
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The film was initially planned to have been directed by Leone's assistant Giancarlo Santi, but both Rod Steiger and James Coburn demanded that Sergio Leone direct the picture, so Santi was out.
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George Lazenby was originally chosen to play the lead role in this film and accepted, but he ultimately declined the role.
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According to Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah agreed to direct this film after Peter Bogdanovich had turned the project down, but for financial reasons he was turned down by United Artists. Leone's collaborators (especially writers Sergio Donati and Luciano Vincenzoni), noting the director's frequent embellishment of the facts concerning his films, claim that Peckinpah did not even consider it--Donati claimed Peckinpah was "too shrewd to be produced by a fellow director".
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In the flashback scenes, Irish republicans can be seen selling a paper called "Freedom", written in an Irish Celtic script. This is probably a reference to the Fenian newspaper "Saoirse", which is "Freedom" in Irish. The original "Saoirse" first appeared in November 1910 and continued as a monthly publication until December 1914, when it was suppressed by British authorities. A separate newspaper of the same name has been published by Republican Sinn Féin (a splinter group of the main party) since the 1980s.
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The chanting of "Shon shon shon" in Ennio Morricone's soundtrack was the suggestion of Carla Leone, who thought it would sound better than the original "Wah wah wah" chants. Contrary to popular belief, Morricone himself has said in interviews the chants do not represent the names of characters but are just part of the soundscape like the chants in all the other Sergio Leone westerns.
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Rod Steiger demanded that his scenes be filmed with natural sound if possible. This was virtually unheard of in Italian cinema and led to much tension between Steiger and the crew.
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Juan and Seán both mean "John" in Spanish and Irish respectively. When John Mallory is asked his name by Juan Miranda, he says "Seán", but retracts it, and says "John", possibly thinking the name would confuse people (it is not uncommon for Irish nationalists and republicans to use both the English and Gaelic forms of their names). It has also been speculated that "Seán" was the name of his friend from Ireland whom we see in the flashback sequences, who is otherwise not mentioned by name in the film and only referred to as "Nolan" in the screenplay.
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Malcolm McDowell was considered for both John Mallory and Nolan.
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The development began during the production of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), when Sergio Leone's collaborator Sergio Donati presented him with an early treatment of the film. Around the same time, political riots had broken out in Paris, and the concepts of revolution and left-wing nationalism had become popular among university students and filmmakers across Europe. Leone, who had used his previous films to deconstruct the romanticization of the American Old West, decided to use the film to deconstruct the romanticized nature of revolution, and to shed light on the political instability of contemporary Italy.
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Clint Eastwood was approached by Sergio Leone for the role of John Mallory, but he saw it as just a different take of the same character he had already played in the Dollars Trilogy, and he also wanted to end his association with the Italian film industry. As a result, he declined the offer and starred in Hang 'Em High (1968) instead.
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The book that John is reading in the scene with Juan, who has a disagreement with him about the meaning of revolution, is entitled "Patriot" and is written by Mikhail Bakunin, a real-life Russian revolutionary anarchist.
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Despite the politically charged setting, the film was not intended as a political film: Sergio Leone himself said that the Mexican Revolution in the film is meant only as a symbol, not as a representation of the real one, and that it was chosen because of its fame and its relationship with cinema, and he contends that the real theme of the film is friendship:

"I chose to oppose an intellectual, who has experienced a revolution in Ireland, with a naïve Mexican... you have two men: one naïve and one intellectual (self-centred as intellectuals too often are in the face of the naïve). From there, the film becomes the story of Pygmalion reversed. The simple one teaches the intellectual a lesson. Nature gains an upper hand and finally the intellectual throws away his book of Bakunin's writings. You suspect damn well that this gesture is a symbolic reference to everything my generation has been told in the way of promises. We have waited, but we still are waiting! I have the film say, in effect "Revolution means confusion"".
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Sergio Leone was initially dissatisfied with Rod Steiger's performance in that he played his character as a serious, Zapata-like figure. As a result, tensions rose between Steiger and Leone numerous times, including an incident that ended with Steiger walking off during the filming of the scene when John destroys Juan's stagecoach. However, after the film's completion, Leone and Steiger were content with the final result, and Steiger was known to praise Leone for his skills as a director.
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Still hot from his Oscar win for In the Heat of the Night (1967), Rod Steiger earned $700,000 for this film.
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The inspiration for the firing squad scene came from Francisco Goya, and in particular from his set of prints The Disasters of War. Sergio Leone showed the prints to director of photography Giuseppe Ruzzolini in order to get the lighting and color effects he wanted.
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Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati and Luciano Vincenzoni worked together on the film's screenplay for three to four weeks, discussing characters and scenes for the film. Donati, who had previously acted as an uncredited script doctor for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), conceived Juan Miranda's character as an extension of Tuco from that film. Meanwhile, Leone was largely responsible for the character of John Mallory, and the film's focus on the development of John and Juan's friendship. At times, however, Leone, Donati, and Vincenzoni found that they had highly differing opinions about how the film should be made, with Leone wanting to have the film produced on a large scale with an epic quality, while Donati and Vincenzoni perceived the film as a low-budget thriller.
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Juan's gang was composed by his 6 sons, his father and other 4 men.
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Impressionist Will Jordan's agent took out a quarter page ad in Variety just after the film was released stating that Jordan had dubbed the voice of Rod Steiger in the film.
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It was the fourth most popular movie of the year in France.
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The role of John Mallory was written for Jason Robards, who had played Cheyenne in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). However, the studio wanted a bigger name for his character.
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Sergio Leone's biographer, Sir Christopher Frayling, gave a lecture at a special screening in Dublin's IFI in 2011. He had director John Boorman along as a guest, who explained that he had helped Sergio Leone pick the various Irish locations used.
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Some of the locations used previously featured in Sergio Leone's Dollar Trilogy films; for example, the Almería Railway Station, used for the train sequence in For a Few Dollars More (1965), returns in this film as Mesa Verde's station.
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James Coburn had previously been considered for other Sergio Leone projects, including A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). He had also previously been considered for a role in another United Artists-financed Zapata Western, Sergio Corbucci's Burn! (1969), but Franco Nero was later cast in what was originally his role.
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The longest available version of Duck, You Sucker is 157 minutes long, but as Sergio Leone confirmed in an interview, his original cut was about 40 minutes longer, and it was even test screened to audience before he made cuts on it. He also said that most of the cuts were made in first half of the film. There were rumors and actually very detailed reports from many people who claimed that longer version of the film was shown in parts of Europe. Some of the more well known and confirmed deleted scenes from the film which Leone also mentioned in same interview include the following;

Early in the film when Juan and his children first meet John, Juan's children completely dismantle his motorcycle, and Juan gets mad at them and tells them to reassemble it.

The most famous deleted scene from the film and one which was shown on many lobby cards and stills for the film took place after the scene where John destroys Juan's coach, and before night scene where Juan tricks John into blowing up the church. In this deleted scene Juan and others take his guns and force him to walk through the desert without water. At one point John finds some puddle of water but as he goes down to drink one of Juan's children pisses in it. This scene was very similar to the scene in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) where Tuco forces Blondie to walk through the desert, and it would also explain John's look in the scene in film where he wakes up in old church and takes the bottle of water like he hasn't been drinking for long time, and why he is angry and tries to kill Juan and his kids by blowing them up in church.

After the bridge explosion scene, there was a big part of the film that was cut out and slightly re-edited. Originally after that scene, Juan and John reunite with his bandits in the cave where none of them talks but their faces show what they're thinking. In the same scene there was another flashback with John remembering his time in Ireland (actress who played John's girlfriend also mentioned in one interview how additional flashback scene didn't made it into the final film), and in anger, he throws bottle on gramophone which breaks the record it was playing, but he apologizes saying he didn't do it on purpose. The others say how their feet are hurting and John responds by saying that they'll keep hurting and that they have to get to Mexico City as soon as possible.

Another deleted scene from this part of the film had Villega visiting some sick man in rebel safe house when he gets arrested by Colonel Reza's soldiers, who take him to Reza who then tortures Villega in what was said to be very violent scene. While this is going on, John and Juan go to the same man Villega was visiting when he got arrested where they find out what happened and Juan goes back to caves to warn others, while John goes to try and find Villega. This is originally where the scene where John sees Villega in the truck with Reza when his soldiers kill other revolutionaries took place, and right after that one next scene was him going back to the caves where he and Juan find all the other revolutionaries and his children dead. This is another deleted scene that was also shown on lobby cards and stills.
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The film is believed to have been influenced by Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969), and it shares some plot elements with Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), a western film also starring James Coburn and released a year later.
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Sergio Leone's final Western.
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With the Black Panther movement in full swing and riots taking place in Paris, the late 1960s were a period of revolution. Sergio Leone's intention with Duck, You Sucker (1971) was to demystify the romanticism surrounding revolutions.
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Rod Steiger and Sergio Leone didn't get on with each other during filming. They patched things up when they both saw the final film.
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Juan, a role written for Eli Wallach, was modeled on Tuco from 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Rod Steiger's total kill count: 37.
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James Coburn's total kill count: 123.
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The bar scene contained in the flashback sequences set in Ireland was filmed in Toners Pub. This is on Dublin's Baggott Street, and looks much the same now as it did then.
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Despite not having any scenes in the Irish flashback footage, Rod Steiger was present for the filming in Dublin.
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