ByClaire Decker, writer at

*This article contains spoilers*

Inglourious Basterds VS. Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato

“I wanted to stay away from all the silly war movie clichés that I never bought into” claimed Quentin Tarantino in an interview. He surprised us all after he wrote Inglourious Basterds, a war movie. Over the last twenty something years, Tarantino has been writing films, pleasing and shocking his audiences from all over the world. I hope to show that Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) is more exciting than the older original Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato AKAthe translated Inglorious Bastards (1978) directed by Enzo G. Castellari. Tarantino’s version of the film was more enthralling when comparing it to Castellari’s take on it because Tarantino applied formulaic moves to create an aesthetic appeal. The music, dialogue, set/visuals and build up of anticipation create a more captivating movie. All the implemented effects help spice up each scene of the newer film. In order to support the claims made, I have watched each version of the film, read articles and reviews in regards to both movies, and compared each movie’s content on IMDb’s Parental Guidance page. I’ll compare each movie’s music, dialogue, and set by using different scenes from each film.

Tarantino’s film is more captivating because of the special effects, and why this is better than Castellari’s version is because technology has advanced over the years. With how far photoshop, special effects, editing clips and all the other advances in technology nowadays, it makes sense that a movie filmed this year would be far more visually stunning and exciting versus a movie made thirty years ago. -Now, the last thirty years of technological improvement are an unfair advantage on Tarantino's part-, but Castellari’s version still didn’t have a well thought out music selection, impressive dialogue or a sense of an importance that was being built up. While yes the older version is definitely a charming, western, feel good, and the visuals were impressive for it’s time, it doesn’t make up for that fact that it doesn’t make much sense as a whole. The thirty year stretch of time leaves us with a much fresher and exciting 2009 version of the movie. You can tell others agree when seeing IMDb’s rating of Tarantino’s version received an 8.3/10, whereas Castellari’s got a 6.6/10.

Diving into the effects in Tarantino’s film that earned those high rankings, music can do so much to amp up a performance. Music subtly builds suspense, dives into desolation bringing the viewers down with it or swells romantic rosy feelings; music gives a movie it's feel good essence, the soundtrack of a movie can make or break a movie. Tarantino agrees that music is key when producing films, especially when he says, “To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When I'm writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I'm going to play for the opening sequence.” Tarantino has always had well paired music selection to the theme of his movies. It is very apparent in his take on the movie that the music is constantly pulling you in and like a snowball rolling down a hill become increasingly more enthralling as the performance continues. In regards to the 1978 enactment, throughout my experience watching the older version, the soundtrack didn’t strike me as exciting, thumb twirling or notable at all. But hey, at least it had music at all.

Many watchers were uncomfortable when it came to actually facing the crudeness in Tarantino’s spin on the movie. However, Tarantino's take on the specific time period sheds a small light on what World War Two may have been like: worse than we thought. While yes, each film had somewhat disturbing parts, a Mr. “Produpp” (a ten-year member of IMDb) says, “Tarantino doesn't care if he offends, if he steps all over stereotypes and clichés, this is filmmaking at it's purest.” The candor of Tarantino’s version is far more shocking. In the 2009 edition, each death was meticulously planned and built up with anticipation, each one was shocking, and as realistic as someone could imagine. The sound of someone’s head being beaten in, the way the soldier’s body became limp, the look on his face before it all happened, it all adds up to make someone feel like they’re there.

The Bear Jew killing a german soldier who only "respectfully refused" Watch it here:
The Bear Jew killing a german soldier who only "respectfully refused" Watch it here:

Unfortunately, many people get caught up in the crudeness and don’t recognize or appreciate the realness, the mindful placement of set and characters, or the visuals as a whole. However, aesthetic appeal goes such a long way, and yet is often dismissed in regards to “morals.” Hopefully as an evaluator of this movie one would keep an open mind to Tarantino's classic crudeness. Regardless of crudeness or violence, after seeing this movie one couldn’t deny the aesthetics and visuals were impressive. The older versions fighting scenes don’t compare to the shock value you receive watching Tarantino's version. The older versions fighting scenes contained the characters to “always die by jumping in the air and twisting vigorously in a counterclockwise motion,” states Amos Barshad in a comparison article of the movies. Many of the deaths were gunshot wounds where you could hear the bullets fire, but you could not see any blood or bullet holes on the skin or clothing of the characters. This made the action in the film unrealistic and easy to make fun of. All of Castellari’s casualties were fast-paced, and almost silly when rivaled to murders in movies nowadays.

Dialogue helped this movie and all of Tarantino's movies exponentially. He picks it up and is always listening for discussion, this shows particularly when he says, “I was kind of excited about going to jail the first time and I learnt some great dialogue.” Throughout the movie, each chapter’s dialogue is building up. In the first chapter Christoph Waltz, or Hans Landa, is in France. Hans is in the home of a French farmer which of whom he believes is hiding Jews in his basement. The scene ends with Hans and his soldiers shooting the floor, killing all of Mélanie Laurent or Shosanna Dreyfus’ family. Lucky or unlucky, Shosanna escapes running from the house covered in her family’s blood, utterly horrified.

It is ironic that throughout the movie, Shosanna and Landa meet again and again. Inevitably Shosanna blows up her aunt’s theater and ends up killing Landa once and for all. That is a short example of how the script connected the entire production. Thru every chapter references are made and pieces put together. Chris Hewitt, a writer of Empire magazine said this on the matter, “Tarantino masterfully transfers control from character to character, using only his dialogue, filled with unspoken implications and threatening subtext. The results are almost unbearably tense and as suspenseful as anything he’s done in his career. Never mind big bangs and blazing machine guns — in a Tarantino film, this is where the action is.”

Now for the older version, “The acting is fine it’s just the script that lets it down” says “Edwardrevans” -an IMDb member since November 2004. IMDb must agree along with this Mr. “Edwardrevans” because once again when they gave his version a 6.6/10 rating. Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato was good for it’s time, however, some of the dialogue didn’t make sense, and who knows, that may have been because of translating issues. Nevertheless, the dialogue wasn’t captivating or notably clever throughout the movie, and unlike Tarantino's version, it doesn’t continually build up to something great.

In conclusion, Tarantino thought out each scene. He molded and worked with all the materials that were presented in each act. The music, dialogue, and visuals especially were focused on to create an aesthetic appeal. As he built and constructed all these themes throughout the film, it built the anticipation, the real “wow” factor. For these reasons, the newer version is a more enthralling film, regardless of the 1978 version still being a charming, oldies, Italian western. Nonetheless, I guess the real judge of which movie is better is up to each individual himself. And hopefully as an evaluator of this and any movie from now on, one would keep an open eye to all of the little things like music, dialogue, visuals, and so forth that go into filmmaking.

Claire Decker

April 21, 2016


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