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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood[a] is a 2019 comedy-drama film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Produced by Columbia Pictures, Bona Film Group, Heyday Films, and Visiona Romantica and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is a co-production between the United States, United Kingdom, and China. It features a large ensemble cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie. Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film follows a fading character actor and his stunt double as they navigate the rapidly changing film industry, with the looming threat of the Tate-LaBianca Murders hanging overhead. It features "multiple storylines in a modern fairy tale tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's golden age."
Announced in July 2017, it is the first Tarantino film not to involve Bob and Harvey Weinstein, as Tarantino ended his partnership with the brothers following the sexual abuse allegations against the latter. After a bidding war, the film was distributed by Sony Pictures, which met Tarantino's demands including final cut privilege. Pitt, DiCaprio, Robbie, Zoë Bell, Kurt Russell, and others joined the cast between January and June 2018. Principal photography lasted from June through November around Los Angeles. This was the final film to feature Luke Perry, who died on March 4, 2019.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 26, 2019 and in the United Kingdom on August 14. The film has grossed $374 million worldwide and received praise from critics for Tarantino's screenplay and direction, acting, cinematography, costume design, production values, and soundtrack. Among its various accolades, the film was chosen by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of the year. It received 10 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Supporting Actor (Pitt) and Best Production Design. It also won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
A television series titled Bounty Law, based on a TV program depicted in the film, is currently being developed by Tarantino.
In February 1969, Hollywood actor Rick Dalton, star of 1950s Western television series Bounty Law, fears his career is fading. Casting director Marvin Schwarz recommends he make Spaghetti Westerns in Italy, which Dalton feels are beneath him. Dalton's best friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth—a war veteran skilled in hand-to-hand combat who lives in a trailer with his pit bull, Brandy—drives Dalton around Los Angeles because Dalton's driver's license has been suspended due to his DUI arrests. Booth struggles to find stunt work because of rumors he murdered his wife. Actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski, have moved next door to Dalton, who dreams of befriending them to revive his acting career. That night, Tate and Polanski attend a celebrity-filled party at the Playboy Mansion.
The next day, while repairing Dalton's TV antenna, Booth reminisces about a sparring contest he had with Bruce Lee on the set of The Green Hornet which resulted in Booth being fired. Meanwhile, Charles Manson stops by the Polanski residence looking for producer Terry Melcher, who used to live there, but is turned away by Jay Sebring. Tate goes for errands and stops at a movie theater to watch herself in the film The Wrecking Crew.
Dalton is cast to play the villain in the pilot of Western television series Lancer and strikes up a conversation with his eight-year-old co-star, Trudi Fraser. During filming, Dalton struggles to remember his lines and suffers a violent breakdown later in his trailer as a result. He subsequently delivers a strong performance that impresses Fraser and the director, Sam Wanamaker, bolstering his confidence.
While driving Dalton's car, Booth picks up a female hitchhiker named Pussycat, whom he takes to Spahn Ranch, where Booth once worked on the set of Bounty Law. He takes notice of the many hippies living there (the Manson Family). Suspecting they may be taking advantage of the ranch's owner, George Spahn, Booth insists on checking on him despite Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme's objections. Booth finally speaks with Spahn, who dismisses his concerns. Upon leaving, Booth discovers that Steve "Clem" Grogan has punctured a tire on Dalton's car. Booth beats him and forces him to change the tire. Charles "Tex" Watson is summoned to deal with the situation, but he arrives as Booth is driving away.
After watching Dalton's guest performance on an episode of The F.B.I., Schwarz books him as the lead in Sergio Corbucci's next Spaghetti Western, Nebraska Jim. Dalton takes Booth with him for a six-month stint in Italy, during which time he films two additional Westerns and a Eurospy comedy, and marries Italian starlet Francesca Capucci. With a new wife, Dalton informs Booth he can no longer afford his services.
On the evening of August 8, 1969, their first day back in Los Angeles, Dalton and Booth go out for drinks to commemorate their time working together and then return to Dalton's house. Tate and Sebring go out for dinner with friends and then return to Tate's house. Booth smokes an LSD-laced cigarette purchased earlier from a hippy girl and takes Brandy for a walk while Dalton prepares drinks. Manson Family members Tex, "Sadie", "Katie", and "Flowerchild" arrive outside in preparation to murder everyone in Tate's house, but Dalton hears their noisy muffler and orders them off his street. Recognizing Dalton, the Family members change their plans and decide to kill him instead, after Sadie reasons that Hollywood has "taught them to murder". Flowerchild deserts the group, speeding off with their car. Breaking into Dalton's house, they confront Capucci and Booth inside. Booth recognizes them from his visit to Spahn Ranch and orders Brandy to attack. Together they kill Tex and injure Sadie, though Booth is stabbed in the right thigh and passes out after killing Katie. Sadie stumbles outside, alarming Dalton, who was in his pool listening to music on headphones, oblivious to the melee inside. Dalton retrieves a flamethrower previously used in a movie and incinerates Sadie. After Booth is taken away in an ambulance to receive treatment for his injuries, Sebring engages Dalton in conversation outside and Dalton receives an invitation for a drink with Tate and her friends at her house, which he accepts.
Rick Dalton is an actor who starred in the fictitious television western series Bounty Law, based on the real-life series Wanted Dead or Alive, starring Steve McQueen. Dalton's relationship with Cliff Booth is based on Burt Reynolds' with his longtime stunt double Hal Needham. Dalton was inspired by actors whose careers began in Classical Hollywood but faltered in the 1960s, such as Ty Hardin, who went from starring in a successful TV western to making spaghetti westerns, as well as by Ralph Meeker. Though not mentioned in the film, Dalton apparently suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, inspired by Pete Duel.
Cliff Booth, Dalton's stunt double and best friend, is a World War II veteran, Green Beret and "one of deadliest guys alive." Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt modeled Booth after Tom Laughlin's portrayal of Billy Jack. Booth is inspired by Gary Kent, a stuntman for a film made at the Spahn Ranch while the Manson Family lived there, and Gene LeBell, who worked on The Green Hornet after complaints by other stuntmen that Bruce Lee was "kicking the shit out of the stuntmen."
Trudi Fraser, the precocious child actor working on Lancer, is inspired by an actual character from that series. In the film Marvin Schwarz is Dalton's agent, a role that Tarantino wrote specifically for Al Pacino. Francesca Capucci, a starlet who marries Dalton, is influenced by 1960s Italian actresses Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. Billie Booth is Cliff's wife, whose death echoes Natalie Wood's. Some roles, such as Zoë Bell's stunt coordinator and Heba Thorisdottir's makeup artist, were portrayed by individuals who performed those jobs for the film.
Writing and development
The work that would become the screenplay for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was developed slowly over several years by Tarantino. While he knew he wanted the work to be titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, evoking the idea of a fairy tale set in 1960s Hollywood, he publicly referred to the project as Magnum Opus. The life of the work for the first five years was as a novel, which Tarantino considered to be an exploratory approach to the story he wanted to tell, not yet having decided if it would be a screenplay. Tarantino tried other writing approaches: the early scene between DiCaprio's Dalton and Pacino's Marvin Schwarz was originally written as a one-act play as part of this exploratory work.
Tarantino discovered the centerpiece for the work in 2009 while filming a movie with an actor that had the same stunt double for 20 years. Even though there was nothing but a small bit for the stuntman to do, Tarantino was asked to use him, and he agreed. The relationship fascinated Tarantino and inspired him to make a film about Hollywood. Tarantino said that while the stuntman may have been a perfect double for the actor years earlier, at the time he had come to meet them, "this was maybe the last or second-to-last thing they'd be doing together".
Tarantino first created Cliff Booth, giving him a massive backstory. Then, the actor Booth was the stunt double for Rick Dalton. Tarantino decided to have them be Sharon Tate's next-door neighbors in 1969. The first plot point he developed was the ending, then moved backwards from there, this being the first time Tarantino had worked this way. He thought of doing an Elmore Leonard-type story, but realized he was confident enough in his characters to let them drive the film and let it be a day in the life of Booth, Dalton, and Tate. He would use sequences from Dalton's films for the action, inspired by Richard Rush's The Stunt Man, which used the scenes from the WWI movie they were making within the film as the action. Further, to get his mind into the Dalton character, Tarantino wrote out five hypothetical episodes of the fictional television show Bounty Law, in which Dalton had starred, having become fascinated with the amount of story crammed into half-hour episodes of 1950s western shows. Tarantino has expressed interest in turning these five scripts, as well as ideas for three more, into an actual Bounty Law television series in the future. He is hoping to cast DiCaprio as Jake Cahill.
On July 11, 2017, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino's next film would be about the Manson murders. Harvey and Bob Weinstein would be involved, but it was not known whether The Weinstein Company would distribute the film, as Tarantino sought to cast before sending out a package to studios. Tarantino approached Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence to star in the film. It was reported that Margot Robbie was being considered for Sharon Tate. Samuel L. Jackson was in talks for a major role, and Pitt was in talks for the detective investigating the murders.
After the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino cut ties with Weinstein and sought a new distributor, after having worked with Weinstein for his entire career. At this point, Leonardo DiCaprio was revealed to be among a short list of actors Tarantino was considering for the film. A short time later, reports circulated that studios were bidding for the film set in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, that Tom Cruise was in talks for one of the leads, and that David Heyman had joined as a producer, along with Tarantino and Shannon McIntosh. Tarantino later revealed the role Cruise was considered for to be that of Cliff Booth.
On November 11, 2017, Sony Pictures announced they would distribute the film, beating Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Annapurna Pictures and Lionsgate. Tarantino's demands included a $95 million budget, final cut privilege, "extraordinary creative controls", 25% of first-dollar gross, and the stipulation that the rights revert to him after 10 to 20 years.
In January 2018, DiCaprio signed on, taking a pay cut to collaborate with Tarantino again. Al Pacino was being considered for a role. On February 28, 2018, the film was titled Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with Pitt cast in the role Cruise was also up for. DiCaprio and Pitt were each paid $10 million. In March 2018, Robbie, who had expressed interest in working with Tarantino, signed to co-star as Sharon Tate, while Zoë Bell confirmed she would appear. In April 2018, Jessica Lange was in talks to play Mary Alice Schwarzs, but dropped out and Brenda Vaccaro replaced her. In May 2018, Burt Reynolds, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, and Michael Madsen joined the cast. Timothy Olyphant was also cast. In June 2018, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning, Clifton Collins Jr., Keith Jefferson, Nicholas Hammond, Pacino, and Scoot McNairy joined the cast. Spencer Garrett, James Remar, Brenda Vaccaro, and Mike Moh were announced in July. In August 2018, Damon Herriman as Charles Manson, and Lena Dunham, Austin Butler, Danny Strong, Rafał Zawierucha, Rumer Willis, Dreama Walker, and Margaret Qualley were cast.
When casting the leads, Tarantino invited Pitt, DiCaprio, and Robbie to his house to read the only copy of the full script, to prevent leaks. When Butler auditioned, he did not know which character it was for. Tarantino told him it was for a villain or a hero on Lancer, when in fact it was for "Tex" Watson. To prepare for her audition, Maya Hawke practiced with her father, Ethan Hawke. She said the process was unlike any other except maybe auditioning for drama school, and during it they worked on the scene in many different ways, with different combinations of people. Willis auditioned for two roles, neither of which she got, then was offered the part of Joanna Pettet. Sydney Sweeney said everyone she auditioned with did so for the same character, then were told they could do extra credit. Some did artwork, and she wrote a letter in character. Julia Butters says her sitcom American Housewife was on while Tarantino was writing her character, Trudi Fraser. He looked up and said, "Maybe she can try this."
Charlie Day was the producers' first choice to play Manson. Day did not show up to interview for the part because he did not want to see himself as Manson.
Filming and design
Principal photography began on June 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, California, and wrapped on November 1, 2018. Reynolds died in September 2018 before filming any of his scenes; Bruce Dern was cast as George Spahn in his place.
Tarantino's directive was to turn Los Angeles of 2018 into Los Angeles of 1969 without CGI. For this, Tarantino tapped into previous collaborators for production: editor Fred Raskin, cinematographer Robert Richardson, sound editor Wylie Stateman and makeup artist Heba Thorisdottir. He also brought first-time collaborators, production designer Barbara Ling, based on her work in recreating historical settings in The Doors, and costume designer Arianne Phillips, who had a strong client list to her name including Tom Ford, James Mangold and Madonna.
To film at the Pussycat Theater, production designer Barbara Ling and her team covered the building's LED signage and reattached the theater's iconic logo, rebuilding the letters and neon. Ling said the lettering on every marquee in the film is historically accurate. To restore Larry Edmund's Bookshop, she reproduced the original storefront sign and tracked down period-appropriate merchandise, even recreating book covers. For the Bruin and Fox Village theaters Ling's team restored the theaters, their marquees, and the storefronts around them. Stan's Donuts, across the street from the Bruin, got a complete makeover.
The Playboy Mansion scene was shot at the actual mansion. Tarantino was adamant about filming at that location, but it took a long time to obtain permission since by the time of pre-production the mansion had been sold to a private owner following Hugh Hefner's death. Tarantino and Ling met with the new owner to discuss the parts of the property which they wanted to use, but he was reluctant since the property was in the middle of a renovation. After long negotiations he agreed, and Ling was able to dress the vacant mansion, front courtyard, and backyard for the party scene, evoking as much of the 1960s appearance of the mansion as possible.
The scenes involving the Tate–Polanski house were not filmed at Cielo Drive, the winding street where the 3,200 square-foot house once stood. The original house was razed in 1994 and replaced with a mansion nearly six-times the size. Scenes involving the Tate-Polanski house were filmed at three different locations around Los Angeles: one for the interior scenes, one for the scenes showing the exterior of the old house, and a Universal City location for the many scenes depicting the iconic cul-de-sac driveway.
For Bounty Law, Ling went for a dusty, dirty, early Deadwood look. Movie poster artist Steven Chorney created the poster for the film, as a reference to The Mod Squad. He also created the posters for Nebraska Jim, Operation Dyn-O-Mite, Uccidimi Subito Ringo Disse il Gringo, Hell-Fire Texas, and Comanche Uprising, which was reprinted for Dalton's home parking spot. Mad magazine caricaturist Tom Richmond created the covers of Mad and TV Guide featuring Dalton's Jake Cahill. Spahn Ranch was recreated in detail over about a three-month period.
Tarantino told cinematographer Robert Richardson, "I want it to feel retro but I want it to be contemporary." Richardson shot in Kodak 35mm with Panavision cameras and lenses, in order to weave time periods. For Bounty Law they shot in black and white, and brief sequences in Super 8 and 16mm Ektachrome. In the film, Lancer was shot on a retrofitted Western Street backlot at Universal Studios, designed by Ling. Richardson crossed Lancer with Alias Smith and Jones for the retro-future look Tarantino wanted. The way they filmed Lancer was not possible in 1969, but Tarantino wanted his personal touch on it. Richardson said that filming the movie touched him personally, "The film speaks to all of us... We are all fragile beings with a limited time to achieve whatever it is we desire... that at any moment that place will shift... So take stock in life and have the courage to believe in yourself."
The exterior of the Van Nuys drive-in scene was filmed at the Paramount Theater since the Van Nuys Theater no longer exists. As the camera rises up over the theater, the shot transitions to a miniature set with toy cars. For some of the driving scenes, Los Angeles freeways were shut down for hours in order to fill them with vintage cars.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is also the name of the soundtrack. Pitchfork said the music was "a highlight" and an "oft-disquieting mixtape of golden-age rock n' roll, radio DJ patter, and period-specific commercials."
Other songs in the film include "The Letter" by Joe Cocker, "Summertime" by Billy Stewart, "Victorville Blues" by The Harley Hatcher Combo, "Ready for Action" by Syd Dale, "Funky Fanfare" by Keith Mansfield, "The House That Jack Built" by Aretha Franklin, "Time for Livin'" by The Association, "I Can't Turn You Loose" by Otis Redding, "Soul Serenade" by Willie Mitchell, "Out of Time" by the Rolling Stones, "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)" by the Mamas and the Papas, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen, "Straight Shooter" by the Mamas and the Papas, also performed by Samantha Robinson as Abigail Folger, and "The Green Door" performed by Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton.
Music by Bernard Herrmann created for Torn Curtain is used in the Spahn Ranch scene. Herrman's music from that film included in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is "The Killing", and "The Radiogram". Other music of his used is "The Rocks", and "The Return" (from Have Gun Will Travel). Also used are the themes from Hell River by Vojislav Borisavljevic, Against a Crooked Sky by Alexis de Azevedo, Apocalypse Joe by Bruno Nicolai, and Mannix by Lalo Schifrin. Also, "Paxton Quigley's Had the Course" (from Three in the Attic), "The Bed" by Ennio Morricone (from Danger: Diabolik), "Ecce Homo" (from Sartana Does Not Forgive) and "Mexican Western" (from Any Gun Can Play) by Francesco De Masi, "Cooler" by Elmer Bernstein (from The Great Escape), "Freya Bangs", "Freya", "Karate Dance", and "TV Screen" (from The Wrecking Crew), "Theme from It's Happening" by Paul Revere & the Raiders, "Dalton Gang Ride Entrance" performed by Tom Slocum, John Bird, and the Cattle Annie Band (from Cattle Annie and Little Britches), the "Batman Theme" (from Batman), the "FBI Theme and Score Cues" (from The F.B.I.), and "Miss Lilly Langtry" and "Judge Roy Bean's Theme" by Maurice Jarre (from The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean).
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019. It was released theatrically in the United States on July 26, 2019 by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. The film was originally scheduled for release on August 9 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Tate–LaBianca murders.
A teaser trailer was released on March 20, 2019, featuring 1960s music by the Mamas and the Papas ("Straight Shooter") and by Los Bravos ("Bring a Little Lovin'"). The official trailer was released on May 21, 2019 featuring the songs "Good Thing" by Paul Revere & the Raiders, and "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamond. The studio spent around $110 million marketing the film.
An extended cut of the film featuring four additional scenes was released in theaters on October 25, 2019. The new cut included an appearance by James Marsden as Burt Reynolds and a voice over by Walton Goggins.
The film was released through digital retailers on November 22, 2019, and on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, and DVD on December 10. The 4K version is available as a regular version and collector's edition. In April 2020 Media Play News magazine announced Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earned the top prize in the 10th annual Home Media Awards, which honor the best home video releases of 2019, taking Title of the Year and Best Theatrical Home Release.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood grossed $142.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $231.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $374.3 million. By some estimates, the film needed to gross around $250 million worldwide in order to break-even, with others estimating it would need to make $400 million in order to turn a profit.
In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $30–40 million from 3,659 theaters in its opening weekend, with some projections having it as high as $50 million or as low as $25 million. The week of its release, Fandango reported the film was the highest pre-seller of any Tarantino film. The film made $16.9 million on its first day, including $5.8 million from Thursday night previews (the highest total of Tarantino's career). It went on to debut to $41.1 million, finishing second behind holdover The Lion King and marking Tarantino's largest opening. Comscore reported that 47% of audience members went to see the film because of who the director was (compared to the typical 7%) and 37% went because of the cast (compared to normally 18%). The film grossed $20 million in its second weekend, representing a "nice" drop of just 51% and finishing third, and then made $11.6 million and $7.6 million the subsequent weekends. In its fifth weekend the film made $5 million, bringing its running domestic total to $123.1 million, becoming the second-highest of Tarantino's career behind Django Unchained. In its ninth weekend, its global total earnings reached $329.4 million, surpassing Inglourious Basterds to become Tarantino's second-highest global grosser behind Django Unchained.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 553 reviews, with an average rating of 7.85/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Thrillingly unrestrained yet solidly crafted, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tempers Tarantino's provocative impulses with the clarity of a mature filmmaker's vision." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 62 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average of 4 out of 5 stars and a 58% "definite recommend."
The Hollywood Reporter said critics had "an overall positive view," with some calling it "Tarantino's love letter to '60s L.A.," praising its cast and setting, while others were "divided on its ending." ReelViews' James Berardinelli awarded the film 3.5 stars out of 4, saying it was "made by a movie-lover for movie-lovers. And even those who don't qualify may still enjoy the hell out of it." RogerEbert.com's Brian Tallerico gave it four out of four stars, calling it "layered and ambitious, the product of a confident filmmaker working with collaborators completely in tune with his vision". The Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper described it as "a brilliant and sometimes outrageously fantastic mash-up of real-life events and characters with pure fiction," giving it full marks. Writing for Variety, Owen Gleiberman called it a "heady engrossing collage of a film—but not, in the end, a masterpiece." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave it five out of five stars, praising Pitt and DiCaprio's performances and calling it "Tarantino's dazzling LA redemption song." Steve Pond of TheWrap said: "Big, brash, ridiculous, too long, and in the end invigorating, the film is a grand playground for its director to fetishize old pop culture and bring his gleeful perversity to the craft of moviemaking." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded the film 4.5 out of 5 stars, remarking that "All the actors, in roles large and small, bring their A games to the film. Two hours and 40 minutes can feel long for some. I wouldn't change a frame."
Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave it a B+, calling it Tarantino's "wistful midlife crisis movie." Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it an "obscenely regressive vision of the sixties" that "celebrates white-male stardom (and behind-the-scenes command) at the expense of everyone else." In Little White Lies, Christopher Hooton described it as "occasionally tedious" but "constantly awe-inspiring," noting it did not seem to be a "love letter to Hollywood" but an "obituary for a moment in culture that looks unlikely to ever be resurrected."
The film also garnered moral and theological praise. The Los Angeles Catholic Bishop Robert Barron praised the character of Cliff Booth as embodying the four cardinal virtues, while the theologian David Bentley Hart wrote that the film "exhibit[s] a genuine ethical pathos, one that actually brought tears to my eyes" for its portrayal of "cosmic justice." Specifically, Hart praised the revisionism when "Tarantino's version of the story unexpectedly veered away into some other, dreamlike, better world, where the monsters inadvertently passed through the wrong door and met the end they deserved" that "gave glorious expression to a perfectly righteous rage" in "some other order of reality, if only an imaginary one, where ethereal sweetness had survived and horror had perished."
The film premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palm Dog Award and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. The film received 10 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director. It received five nominations at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, winning for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino, and Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Brad Pitt. It received twelve nominations at the 25th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Tarantino, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, and Best Supporting Actor for Pitt. DiCaprio and Pitt also received nominations at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards where it was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. The National Board of Review included the film as one of the top 10 films of the year and awarded Tarantino Best Director and Pitt Best Supporting Actor. The American Film Institute included it as one of the top 10 films of 2019.
The film appeared on many critics' year-end top-ten lists, among them:
Pop culture references
The title is a reference to director Sergio Leone's second western/American trilogy, Once Upon a Time in the West, Once Upon a Time… the Revolution (which producers insisted on retitling Duck, You Sucker! ), and Once Upon a Time in America.
Archive footage from many films is included in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, including C.C. and Company, Lady in Cement, Three in the Attic, and The Wrecking Crew, in which Sharon Tate appears as Freya Carlson. Three scenes were digitally altered, replacing the original actors with Rick Dalton. One from an episode of The F.B.I., entitled "All the Streets Are Silent," in which Dalton appears as a character originally portrayed by Burt Reynolds. Another from Death on the Run, with Dalton's face imposed over Ty Hardin's. The third is from The Great Escape, with Dalton appearing as Virgil Hilts, the role made famous by Steve McQueen. For The 14 Fists of McCluskey, a WWII film within the film starring Dalton, footage and music from Hell River is used. Additionally, Martin Abrahams, Brioni Farrell, Victor Freitag, Nancy Kwan, Dean Martin, Hannes Messemer, Gordon Mitchell, Rod Taylor, Burt Ward, and Adam West appear via archive footage and sound.
The 1959 Ford Galaxie driven by the Manson Family is a detailed replica of the car used in the Tate–LaBianca murders. Car coordinator Steven Butcher found the actual car, but after a meeting with Tarantino, they decided using it would be "too creepy."
Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, whose music is featured in the film, once lived at 10050 Cielo Drive, the address of the Tate murders. On the poster of Dalton's film Red Blood Red Skin, inspired by Land Raiders, he appears with Telly Savalas. The posters for the two films are the same, except with Dalton replacing George Maharis. The movie Voytek Frykowski is watching is Teenage Monster, presented by horror host Seymour.
Connections to other Tarantino films
Cliff Booth is a reference to Brad Pitt's character in Inglourious Basterds, Aldo Raine, who takes the cover of a stuntman. When Dalton and Booth get back from Italy they walk by the blue mosaic wall in LAX, the same wall that the title character in Tarantino's Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) moves past in the opening credits of that film.
In the film, Lee engages in a fight with Cliff Booth on the set of The Green Hornet. The Green Hornet theme song is featured in Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1. The masks worn by the Crazy 88 gang in that film are the same as Lee's mask as Kato in The Green Hornet. The car Booth drives is a 1964 blue Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible. It is the same year, color, make and model of the car that Beatrix "the Bride" Kiddo (Uma Thurman) drives in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Similarly, Rick Dalton's 1966 Cadillac de Ville is the same as the car driven by Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) in Reservoir Dogs. It is owned by Madsen.
Tarantino-invented fast-food chain Big Kahuna Burger appears on a billboard.
The Italian Eurospy film starring Rick Dalton, "Operazione Dyn-O-Mite!", is said to be directed by Antonio Margheriti, which is also the cover name used by Sgt. Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Inglourious Basterds.
The final scene features Rick Dalton in a commercial for fictional Red Apple cigarettes, which appear in many Tarantino films.
This film also features Maya Hawke, whose mother is Kill Bill star Uma Thurman, and father is actor Ethan Hawke.
In a scene, Sharon Tate goes into Larry Edmunds Bookshop and purchases a copy of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. In real life, Tate gave a copy to Roman Polanski shortly before her death. Years later, Polanski directed the film adaptation, Tess, dedicating it to Tate. Dalton mentions he owns his house on advice from "Eddie O'Brien." Tate and Polanski's Yorkie Terrier in the film is named "Dr. Sapirstein," as was Tate's Yorkie in real life, named after the doctor portrayed by Ralph Bellamy in Rosemary's Baby. The carrier she puts the dog in is the same one the real Tate actually owned. The outfit Margot Robbie wears in the Bruin Theater scene is the same one Tate wore in Eye of the Devil.
In the film, Tate goes to see The Wrecking Crew at the Bruin Theater. She convinces the theater's employees that she stars in the movie after they fail to recognize her. Tarantino stated the idea came to him from an experience he had. When True Romance was released, he saw it at the same theater, where he eventually convinced its employees that he wrote the script.
On the set of Batman, for a crossover episode with The Green Hornet, a fight was scripted with Kato (Bruce Lee) losing to Robin (Burt Ward). When Lee received the script, he refused to do it, so it was changed to a draw. When the cameras rolled, Lee stalked Ward until Ward backed away. Lee laughed and told him he was "lucky it is a TV show." In the film, Cliff Booth reminisces about fighting Lee on the set of The Green Hornet; the fight is interrupted before its conclusion, after each fighter has won one round. Booth refers to Lee as "Kato."
According to Rudolph Altobelli, who rented the house to Polanski and Tate, in March 1969, Charles Manson showed up looking for Terry Melcher. Polanski's friend Shahrokh Hatami also said he saw Manson enter the grounds. Hatami approached Manson, asking him what he wanted. He told Hatami he was looking for Melcher. Hatami responded the house was the Polanski residence and perhaps Melcher lived in the guest house. Altobelli told Manson that Melcher no longer lived there. This happens in the film, with Sebring in place of Altobelli and Hatami.
On the night of August 8, 1969, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, and Susan Atkins broke into Polanski's and Tate's house, leading to the murders of Tate (eight-and-a-half months pregnant), Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger. In the film, they go to Tate's house to commit the murders but instead end up breaking into Dalton's house after he interrupts them. Linda Kasabian went along that night as she was the only Family member with a valid driver's license, though she did not murder anyone and stayed outside the whole time. In the film, she also goes along but does not participate. Watson told his victims, "I'm the Devil, and I came to do the Devil's business." In the film, he says it to Cliff Booth. In the film, Atkins convinces the others to seek revenge by killing Rick Dalton, star of a TV western. Since TV taught them to kill, it is fitting they kill the guy from TV, and "My idea is to kill the people who taught us to kill!" In real life, Manson Family member Nancy Pitman said: "We are what you have made us. We were brought up on your TV. We were brought up watching Gunsmoke and Have Gun – Will Travel." Sandra Good said: "You want to talk about devils and demonic and immorals and evil, go to Hollywood. We don't touch the evil of that world. We don't even skim it."
The next night, the same four, along with Leslie Van Houten, Manson, and Steve Grogan, drove to Leno and Rosemary LaBianca's house, murdering the couple. Afterwards, Manson directed Kasabian to drive to an apartment complex to commit more murders. Once there, Manson left in the car alone, leaving the others to hitchhike back to Spahn Ranch. In the film, it is Kasabian who drives off, deserting others. Watson says they can hitchhike back. Grogan was convicted of the murder of stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea on Spahn Ranch, whom he repeatedly beat with a lead pipe. In the film, Grogan is instead beaten by a stuntman, Booth.
Boeing 747s are used in several airliner scenes, but they were not in commercial use until 1970 even though the film is set a year earlier in 1969.
The Manson Family in Hollywood
Allegedly, Charles Manson once approached Steve McQueen outside of his Solar Productions office in San Francisco with a script he wrote, in hopes of getting him to produce it. When McQueen turned him down, an altercation happened, in which McQueen broke Manson's nose. On the night of the Tate murders, Jay Sebring invited McQueen over to Tate's house; however, his date wanted to stay in. After the murders, it was reported that police found a Manson Family hit list with McQueen's name listed amongst others such as Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra.
Bobby Beausoleil was a musician, actor, and porn star. He appeared in the documentary film Mondo Hollywood, also featuring Sebring. Catherine Share met Beausoleil on the set of the softcore porn film Ramrodder. Beausoleil introduced Share to Manson. Susan Atkins met Manson in San Francisco, where she had worked as an actress, portraying a vampire on Anton LaVey's Witches Sabbath Club Show. LaVey appeared with Beausoleil in Lucifer Rising, and claimed to have been a consultant on, as well as appearing as the Devil in Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.
Portrayals of real-life figures
The film's depiction of Bruce Lee drew criticism. Fans and contemporaries of Lee criticized the portrayal, with Lee's daughter Shannon describing the depiction as "an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air". Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with whom Lee trained and appeared in Game of Death, stated: "Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being."
Mike Moh, who played Lee, said he was conflicted at first: "Bruce in my mind was literally a god. ... Bruce didn't always have the most affection for stuntmen; he didn't respect all of them." He stated, "Tarantino loves Bruce Lee; he reveres him." Brad Pitt objected to an extended version of the fight, stating, "It's Bruce Lee, man!" according to stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo. According to Lee's friend and The Green Hornet stuntman Gene LeBell, Lee had a reputation for "kicking the shit out of the stuntmen. They couldn't convince him that he could go easy and it would still look great on film." Lee biographer Matthew Polly stated, "Bruce was very famous for being very considerate of the people below him on film sets, particularly the stuntmen. ... So in this scene, Bruce Lee is essentially calling out a stuntman and getting him fired because he's the big star."
Tarantino responded, saying Lee was "kind of an arrogant guy," and that Lee's widow Linda wrote in Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew that he could beat Muhammad Ali. However, the book in question has a quote from a film critic stating so, not Linda. In 1972, Lee himself stated: "Everybody says I must fight Ali some day. ... Look at my hand. That's a little Chinese hand. He'd kill me."
Tarantino gave an early script to a representative of Roman Polanski, Tate's husband, to assure him that "he didn't have anything to worry about". Tarantino stated: "When it comes to Polanski, we're talking about a tragedy that would be unfathomable for most human beings."
Debra Tate, Sharon's sister, initially opposed the film, saying it was exploitative and perpetuated mistruths: "To celebrate the killers and the darkest portion of society as being sexy or acceptable in any way, shape or form is just perpetuating the worst of our society." After Tarantino contacted her and showed her the script, she withdrew opposition, saying: "This movie is not what people would expect it to be when you combine the Tarantino and Manson names." She felt that Tarantino was a "very stand-up guy"; after visiting the set, she was especially impressed with Robbie, and lent her some of Sharon's jewelry and perfume to wear in the film.
After the premiere, a journalist mentioned to Tarantino that Robbie had few lines. Tarantino responded: "I reject your hypothesis." Robbie elaborated, "I think the moments on screen show those wonderful sides of [Tate] could be adequately done without speaking." Tarantino stated: "I thought it would both be touching and pleasurable and also sad and melancholy to just spend a little time with [Tate], just existing... I wanted you to see Sharon a lot."
The Manson Family
Charles Manson was convicted of the murders of Tate and four others, despite not being present, due mostly to a theory presented by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi that Manson was trying to instigate an apocalyptic race war, leaving only black Muslims and the Family. According to the theory, the black Muslims would eventually look to Manson and the Family to lead them. According to members of the Family, Manson referred to the race war as Helter Skelter, getting the name from the song of the same name. Musician and filmmaker Boots Riley criticized Tarantino's film for not portraying Bugliosi's Helter Skelter narrative, or depicting the Family as white supremacists.
According to numerous members of The Family, the Tate-Labianca murders were not perpetrated in order to start Helter Skelter, but as copycat murders mirroring that of Gary Hinman, in an attempt to convince police the killer was still at large. Bobby Beausoleil was in jail, charged with Hinman's murder. The Family attempted to get him released. According to Jay Sebring's protege and business partner Jim Markham, the murders were instigated by a drug deal gone bad, not a race war. He believed Manson was at Tate's house the day before the murders to sell drugs to Sebring and Voytek Frykowski, which resulted in the two beating Manson up. In his interview with Truman Capote, Beausoleil said, "They burned people on dope deals. Sharon Tate and that gang."
منبع مطلب : en.wikipedia.org
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Review: Quentin Tarantino’s Obscenely Regressive Vision of the Sixties in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood”
The movie is centered on a declining Western-style actor named Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, factotum, and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick has had big roles in a handful of action movies (including a Second World War film in which he uses a flamethrower to incinerate a bunch of Nazis), but he’s most famous as the star of a TV Western series, “Bounty Law.” At the start of the film, Rick is mainly doing roles as a guest star in other action series—but, as a veteran agent named Marvin Schwarzs (Al Pacino) warns him, he is always cast as the villain, and audiences are being conditioned to find him unsympathetic, and therefore un-star-like.
Rick owns a house, where he and Cliff hang out and watch TV (and watch Rick on TV); right next door to Rick live a newlywed couple, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha), whose presence sparks Rick’s dream of a role in one of the famous director’s movies. Cliff, who lives in a trailer behind a drive-in movie theatre, is described as a real-life war hero, though it’s never made clear which war he was a hero of; for that matter, almost nothing is known about his past, except that he’s trailed by nasty rumors that he killed his wife and got away with it. (Tellingly, a flashback to the deadly incident leaves it unclear whether her death was an accident or murder—lest showing the murder turn Tarantino’s hero into an anti-hero.) The movie’s action is constructed, with an audacious sense of composition, as three-days-in-the-lives-of; almost the entire two-hour-and-forty-minute span consists of a series of set pieces (adorned with brief flashbacks and visual asides) that are dated February 8 and 9, 1969, and then leap ahead six months to August 8th and 9th—the night of the Tate murders.
“Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is a star vehicle; Tarantino provides DiCaprio and Pitt with a showcase that allows them to deliver, separately and together, a series of iconic moments that leap out of the film, ready-made to be excerpted in trailers and impressed in viewers’ memory. They’re the kind of moments that DiCaprio delivers, for instance, when he lends Rick a cheesy megawatt grin during an interview, or that Pitt delivers when Cliff, preparing to smoke an LSD-laced cigarette that he has been saving for a special occasion, freezes in place and, lighting it, purrs, “And away we go.” The coolest such moment is one that Tarantino himself, with deft directorial technique, delivers thanks to a stunt or a special effect: when Cliff, preparing to repair Rick’s TV antenna, strips to the waist, straps on a tool belt, and, dispensing with a ladder, leaps from the driveway to the roof in a few easy bounds.
Tarantino does not only create such moments—his movie is a loving dramatization of the power of certain kinds of actors, in conjunction with writer-directors and, above all, an entire system of production, to deliver them. “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is a paean to the recently lost age of the loudly lamented midrange drama for adults which is just such a movie itself. (Here, Tarantino’s obsessions intersect with modern critical sensibility—and vulnerability.) Tarantino is delivering what he considers to be a cinematic gift horse, a popular film with real artistic ambitions—and his movie’s very theme is the fruitless, counterproductive, and even misguided energy that would be wasted looking in the horse’s mouth. If only the old-line Hollywood people of the fifties and sixties had maintained their pride of place—if only the times hadn’t changed, if only the keys to the kingdom hadn’t been handed over to the freethinkers and decadents of the sixties—then both Hollywood and the world would be a better, safer, happier place. There’s no slur delivered more bitterly by Cliff and Rick than “hippie,” and their narrow but intense experiences in the course of the film are set up to bear out the absolute aptness of their hostility.
Tarantino’s love letter to a lost cinematic age is one that, seemingly without awareness, celebrates white-male stardom (and behind-the-scenes command) at the expense of everyone else. Tarantino has a history of seeming to enjoy planting racial slurs in the mouths of his characters, and “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is no different. In one set piece, backstage at the studio, Rick finds himself seated alongside an ultra-ambitious, ultra-professional child actor (Julia Butters), a girl who makes Rick feel somewhat ashamed of his lackadaisical approach to his craft. Rick derives inspiration from his earnest young co-star, which results in his improvising a line that the show’s director (Nicholas Hammond) greatly admires—and features a slur against Mexicans. (At another moment, early in the film, in a parking lot, when Rick recognizes that his career is in decline, he begins to shed tears, and Cliff lends him a pair of sunglasses: “Don’t let the Mexicans see you crying.”) “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is the second movie within a year to feature that slur prominently; the other, Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule,” also displays the devastating real-world oppressions that Mexicans endure as a result of white Americans’ racist attitudes. By contrast, Tarantino delivers a ridiculously white movie, complete with a nasty dose of white resentment; the only substantial character of color, Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), is played, in another set piece, as a haughty parody, and gets dramatically humiliated in a fight with Cliff.
Cliff, a real-life battle-hardened hero, finds little application for his talents in civilian life. Though he is Rick’s stunt double—someone who appears onscreen in the guise of Rick—it’s actually Rick, a faux hero, who appears onscreen as Cliff’s double, someone who pretends to do the physically courageous things that Cliff really does. “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is a tribute to the people behind the scenes and below the line, the ones who secretly infuse movies with their practical knowledge, life experience, and athletic feats. In that regard, it’s a movie that John Ford already made: “The Wings of Eagles” (1957), the drama of Frank (Spig) Wead, a hero of naval aviation who, after being disabled in an accident, becomes a novelist and a screenwriter (including for Ford, who dramatizes himself in the movie as a director named John Dodge). Wead is played by Ford’s favorite tragic hero, John Wayne—and Ford doesn’t stint on the tragedy, the physical agony, and the wreckage of family life that are central to the hero’s experience.
There’s no physical agony for the heroes in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,” even if a scene of Cliff shirtless reveals an impressive array of scars.Tarantino’s depiction of marital domesticity is as bitter and burdensome as any macho adolescent might envision it. Cliff’s unhappy marriage isn’t depicted as a site of conflict but as his endurance of the shrill and belittling rage of a shrew. As for Rick, he eventually marries, and it’s emblematic of Tarantino’s vision of marriage that Rick’s foreign wife, Francesca (Lorenza Izzo), is another object of parody; with her fancy clothing and her truckload of luggage, her sole function in the film is to provide Rick with the burden of a dependent.
The movie’s most prominent female character, Sharon Tate (Robbie), is given even less substance; she is depicted as an ingenuous Barbie doll who ditzily admires herself onscreen. In “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,” Tarantino reserves the glory moments of actorly allure, swagger, and charisma for male actors: when Tate blithely admires herself, it’s for the role of the “klutz” who falls on her ass for Dean Martin’s amusement and titillation. There’s a peculiar sidebar, when Cliff picks up a teen-age hitchhiker who calls herself Pussycat (Margaret Qualley), who’s actually a member of the Manson Family, and drives her to the Spahn Movie Ranch (unbeknownst to him, of course, the Family’s hideout). But the emblematic moment of that sequence takes place en route, when she offers Cliff a blow job—and Cliff distinguishes himself from Hollywood predators by asking her age, demanding to see proof of it on her driver’s license, and gallantly declaring that he doesn’t intend to go to prison for “poontang.”
For all its imaginative verve—and grace notes of snappy performance, gestures, and inflections—“Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is a strangely inert movie. Tarantino has become a nudnik filmmaker, who grabs a viewer by the lapel and says—and says and says—what’s on his mind. If his central point is that he loves Hollywood, then there aren’t any facts or images that can pass through to suggest that there might be something not to love. Tarantino’s images are busy, at times even showy, yet relentlessly functional, merely decorating his doctrinal delivery, as in some bravura crane shots (such as one that carries over the screen of the drive-in to follow Cliff to his trailer) and some long-running tracking shots (such as the one in which Rick meets the child actor on a studio backlot) that display the power of the Hollywood system without its expressive energy or symbolic resonance. His movie is filled with the pop-culture iconography of the time—a soundtrack of Top Forty needle-drops, vintage radio commercials for such products as Tanya tanning oil and Heaven Sent perfume; movie marquees and posters for films of the day; and some fashions of the times. But Tarantino voids those artifacts of substance—of political protest, social conflict, any sense of changing mores.
Tarantino never suggests the existence of a world outside of Hollywood fantasy, one with ideas, desires, demands, and crises that roil the viewers of movies, if not their makers. He rigorously and systematically keeps the outside world outside of the movie’s purview until, in the final twist, his fiction intersects with history in a way that only hammers his doctrine home. “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood” is about a world in which the characters, with Tarantino’s help, fabricate the sublime illusions that embody their virtues and redeem their failings—and then perform acts of real-life heroism to justify them again. Its star moments have a nearly sacred aura, in their revelation of the heroes that, he suggests, really do walk among us; his closed system of cinematic faith bears the blinkered fanaticism of a cult.
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