Tarantino Talks Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Influences
In a recent interview with Pure Cinema Podcast, Quentin Tarantino discussed how his July programing at the New Beverly Cinema related to Once Upon a Time’s protagonist, Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who after a successful TV series is trying to make the transition to film.
“But it’s not just, what he’s dealing with is even more than the TV to movies transition, as big a deal as that is… is the culture has changed underneath him. Like the entire earth has gone topsy turvy as far as he’s concerned, and for a whole era of leading men, and so there’s an aspect of Rick Dalton is made up of a bunch of these guys. So he’s a bit like George Maharis, he’s a bit like Edd Byrnes, he’s a bit like Tab Hunter, he’s a bit like Fabian, he’s a bit like Vince Edwards. These are all guys that were handsome kind of he man, leading, Ty Hardin, a certain kind of leading man that were handsome and most of them were kinda rugged. They spent their careers running pocket combs through their pompadours. And then all of a sudden, … and now the leading men are these long shaggy haired androgynous types, so it’s like Michael Sarrazin, Peter Fonda the young Michael Douglas, skinny androgynous, Arlo Guthrie is starring in movies, the hippie sons of famous people, and if Rick’s gonna get a part in a movie with them he’s probably gonna be the cop that’s busting them.”
Dalton’s more successful counterpart would be Steve McQueen, who wound up being a huge star thanks to The Magnificent Seven. It was the kinda film breakthrough that Tarantino’s Rick Dalton never received.
"He really wants to get rid of this TV series, so he can go on to his greater fortunes in movies," Tarantino said of Dalton. "So, he does and gets a four-picture deal at Universal. And he makes four movies there. They're not bad, but nothing really knocks anybody out. And so, he doesn't pull off the TV-to-movies transition."
Tarantino also shared the movies that inspired Rick Dalton's fictional filmography, including 1958's The Gunman's Walk (which inspired Tanner), 1964's The Secret Invasion (which inspired The 14 Fists of McCluskey) and 1967's Moving Target (which inspired the brilliantly titled Operazione Dyn-o-mite!). The posters for Dalton’s fictional films and some additional background on them are below:
Nebraska Jim is a fictional 1970 spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci, who directed two very real films that made an impact on Tarantino: 1966’s Django and 1968’s The Great Silence. Django informed the spaghetti western revenge of Django Unchained — Franco Nero who played Django in Corbucci’s film even makes a cameo appearance in Tarantino’s film — and The Great Silence inspired Hateful Eight’s snowy landscape and and pitch black nature. Nebraska Jim may also be inspired by Ringo del Nebraska, a 1966 spaghetti western directed by Antonio Román with minor participation of Mario Bava.
Uccidimi Subito Ringo, disse il Gringo aka Kill Me Now Ringo, Said The Gringo is a fictional spaghetti western starring Rick Dalton, which seems closely linked to the same inspirations as Nebraska Jim.
Tanner is a fictional 1960s Western Made For TV movie within Once Upon a Time in Hollywood where Rick Dalton stars as gunslinger Joe Tanner. The film was inspired by the 1958 film Gunman’s Walk directed by Phil Karlson, which was about a powerful rancher who always protects his wild adult son by paying for damages and bribing witnesses, until his crimes become too serious to rectify.
The 14 Fists of McCluskey is a fictional World War II/action-adventure film starring Van Johnson, Rod Taylor, Sal Mineo and Rick Dalton as Sgt. Mike Lewis. The film was inspired by Roger Corman’s film The Secret Invasion, with the poster drawing influence from Octavio Terol’s fan art for Combaterre All'Inferno aka Combat In Hell. It’s yet to be confirmed, but it may also be inspired by the story of Inglorious Basterds.
OPERAZIONE DYN-O-MITE! is a fictive 1970 Eurospy/crime action-comedy movie directed by Antonio Margheriti. The footage used for the film is actually from Moving Target (1967), another film directed by Sergio Corbucci, who clearly played a big part in the lives of both Tarantino and Rick Dalton.
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