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Old 04-26-2014, 06:03 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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Unforgiven question - "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it"

In the movie, the following dialogue takes place between Little Bill and William Munny:

Quote:
Little Bill Daggett: I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house.

Will Munny: Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

[aims gun]

Little Bill Daggett: I'll see you in hell, William Munny.

Will Munny: Yeah.

[fires]
I have never understood this line of Clint Eastwood's. I mean, just earlier in the same scene, Munny tells Little Bill that he is going to kill him for what he did to Ned.

It has always seemed to me that the line is nearly the exact opposite of what is true.
Am I missing something? Does anyone else have a take on this that could explain it?
  #2  
Old 04-26-2014, 06:14 PM
RikWriter RikWriter is online now
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I always took it as a comment that death was coming to everyone. "We all got it comin', kid."
Good or bad, gunfighter or farmer's wife, saint or sinner, we are all going to die.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:33 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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I think Munny felt that if he killed Little Bill because he deserved it, he (Munny) would be assuming a role of judge and righteous executioner that he didn't deserve. So it's something like "I'm gonna kill you for what you did, but that's just me, I'm not gonna say that I'm right to do it or that you deserve to die at my hand."
  #4  
Old 04-26-2014, 06:38 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is offline
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Originally Posted by jimbuff314 View Post
In the movie, the following dialogue takes place between Little Bill and William Munny:



I have never understood this line of Clint Eastwood's. I mean, just earlier in the same scene, Munny tells Little Bill that he is going to kill him for what he did to Ned.

It has always seemed to me that the line is nearly the exact opposite of what is true.
Am I missing something? Does anyone else have a take on this that could explain it?
It might be might be he's saying that there isn't some overarching "justice" - you killed my friend and now I'm gonna kill you. Simple as that. Karma isn't about what you deserve, it's just what you get.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:49 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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Yeah, I can see Roderick's and CarnalK's point. I do wonder though, given that Eastwood told Hackman
that this film would not be glorifying gun violence (to get him onboard), if the line was 'adjusted' in an attempt to better support this.

The "We all got it comin', kid" line is so perfect, so complete in and of itself, that I often
quote it (and the Kid's line that prompted it) to myself when I feel I need to be reminded of my mortality.
Thanks.
  #6  
Old 04-26-2014, 07:10 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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I own the film and I have seen in 25-26 times.

I have always taken Will Munny’s line as being a confirmation of what a cold-blooded killer that he really is. After it’s clear that he didn’t need to kill the people who he did; but he did so anyway.

The film gives him an “excuse” to kill Little Bill (the fact that he killed Ned). But really, it’s clear that a man like Munny doesn’t need a reason to do what he does. He simply is good at killing and it doesn’t bother him to do so.

Little Bill Daggett: You'd be William Munny out of Missouri. Killer of women and children.
Will Munny: That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.
  #7  
Old 04-26-2014, 07:51 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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Good point. He does say something like "killin's always come easy to me", in fact, now that I think about it. Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:57 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is offline
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I've posted this before in another Unforgiven thread here. I like this explanation of this, that it is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. While both men have done evil acts, only Munny accepts what he has done and struggles with it throughout the movie. Bill has lived, in his view, a righteous life.
  #9  
Old 04-27-2014, 08:02 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
I have always taken Will Munny’s line as being a confirmation of what a cold-blooded killer that he really is. After it’s clear that he didn’t need to kill the people who he did; but he did so anyway.
This I think.

Remember that Will struggles with what he is for most of the film but when he hears of Ned's death he picks up that bottle and from there on in it is a reversion to type. He can't change what he is and his comments to Little Bill are a reflection of that.

I can't let an "Unforgiven" thread without commenting that it is one of my very favourite films and that scene mentioned above with the Schofield kid, bottle of whiskey and "we all got it comin' kid" is a masterpiece in a masterpiece of a film.
  #10  
Old 04-27-2014, 09:11 AM
Claverhouse Claverhouse is offline
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Only God May Condemn

This is the most beautiful and eternaltruthexpressing line in cinematic history and expounds the greatest mystery.


There are no such things as deserts, for anyone, good or bad.
  #11  
Old 04-27-2014, 10:35 AM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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I alwas thought it meant that he was going to kill Little Bill whether he deserved it or not

Last edited by rsat3acr; 04-27-2014 at 10:35 AM.
  #12  
Old 04-27-2014, 11:37 AM
Oly Oly is offline
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I've always took it to reflect Munny's melancholy outlook - forged and solidified by just about everything he's done in his life, and now reconfirmed by the irony of his recent actions, namely, having to go back into the life that he gave up so that he could get what he needed to stay out of that life, and all of that because the only person who, inexplicably, ever saw any good in him, and, out of everyone he's ever known, the least to "deserve" to die, died - that there is no overall sense to anything.

Quote:
Will Munny: I ain't like that no more. I ain't the same, Ned. Claudia, she straightened me up, cleared me of drinkin' whiskey and all. Just 'cause we're goin' on this killing, that don't mean I'm gonna go back to bein' the way I was. I just need the money, get a new start for them youngsters. Ned, you remember that drover I shot through the mouth and his teeth came out the back of his head? I think about him now and again. He didn't do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin' I could remember when I sobered up.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:07 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I'd interpret it that Munny meant that he was going to kill Little Bill simply out of personal revenge for killing his friend - even if Little Bill hadn't actually intended for Ned to die, and no matter if Little Bill otherwise was on the side of righteousness. Munny wasn't interested in justice, just revenge (actually, just like the whores he was working for).

I noticed the line was also used by Snoop, the drug hitwoman on The Wire, when she's questioned by her accomplice about what their target has done to deserve being killed. "Deserves got nothing to do with it. It's just his time, y'know?"

Last edited by Colibri; 04-27-2014 at 01:08 PM.
  #14  
Old 04-27-2014, 04:44 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
[...] I can't let an "Unforgiven" thread without commenting that it is one of my very favourite films and that scene mentioned above with the Schofield kid, bottle of whiskey and "we all got it comin' kid" is a masterpiece in a masterpiece of a film.
Absolutely flippin' agree.
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:46 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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[...] There are no such things as deserts, for anyone, good or bad.
Tell that to the people in the Sahara, the Gobi, the Atacama and California's Central Valley.
  #16  
Old 04-27-2014, 06:59 PM
Marlonius Marlonius is offline
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I love the film too, and take different meanings from it and have different questions about it each time I watch it.

Hopefully this isn't a complete derailment, but I'm curious as to the thoughts of others regarding the meaning of the title of the film.

I've always wondered who was "The Unforgiven", and who was the unforgiving. I have come to believe that Bill Munny was both. I never took him to be as evil as he himself thought he was. In my take, he was a reformed man who still carried the guilt of his youth with him. Throughout the film, he is in fact quite compassionate and ethical.

When Morgan Freeman is killed, he resorts to his old ways and exacts revenge. He was always an able killer, and it was a skill he felt evil for possessing. Sadly, it's the one thing he's good at. He's not a very successful farmer. Paralleling his character, Hackman is also good at killing but bad at carpentry.

I know I'm not being very elegant here...but my take: he really wasn't evil or bad to the core. He was just a man who had done bad things and never gotten over the stain it left on his soul.

Thoughts?
  #17  
Old 04-27-2014, 07:11 PM
ThisUsernameIsForbidden ThisUsernameIsForbidden is offline
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There are two W. Munnys. One is a reformed killer and drunkard. His wife cured him of that. But then she died and W. Munny is hard on his luck. He couldn't retain the bad W after they killed his friend and he got wasted. The good W would have reasoned whether Little Bill actually deserved what he had coming to him (and he didn't by contemporary standards). Forgiveness was in order. But bad W was in control and was only out for blood, which is partly why he was so good at killing.
  #18  
Old 04-27-2014, 07:16 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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There are two W. Munnys. One is a reformed killer and drunkard. His wife cured him of that. But then she died and W. Munny is hard on his luck. He couldn't retain the bad W after they killed his friend and he got wasted. The good W would have reasoned whether Little Bill actually deserved what he had coming to him (and he didn't by contemporary standards). Forgiveness was in order. But bad W was in control and was only out for blood, which is partly why he was so good at killing.
Ummm….Little Bill killed an innocent man by whipping him to death. Ned, while he rode in with Munny and The Kid, did not kill anything other than a horse. Of any of the three who went to kill the cowboys, Ned deserved to be murdered the LEAST.

Not certain how you can come to the conclusion that Munny would have decided that Daggett didn’t deserve to be murdered unless he rationalized as being necessary to allow his escape. Or that Little Bill was simply “doing his job.”
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:37 PM
NoCoolUserName NoCoolUserName is offline
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There are two W. Munnys. One is a reformed killer and drunkard. His wife cured him of that. But then she died and W. Munny is hard on his luck. He couldn't retain the bad W after they killed his friend and he got wasted. The good W would have reasoned whether Little Bill actually deserved what he had coming to him (and he didn't by contemporary standards). Forgiveness was in order. But bad W was in control and was only out for blood, which is partly why he was so good at killing.
Must disagree with only one small point. IMHO, he COULD contain the "bad M"...that's the point of the totally-sick-but-still-won't-take-a-drink scene. When Ned is killed, he CHOOSES to start drinking, to let the bad M out. That way he can kill Little Bill out of vengence, even tho' he "doesn't deserve" it.

...And then go back to his kids, use the money to get them a better life, and never let bad M out again.
  #20  
Old 04-27-2014, 07:41 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is offline
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Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
Ummm….Little Bill killed an innocent man by whipping him to death. Ned, while he rode in with Munny and The Kid, did not kill anything other than a horse. Of any of the three who went to kill the cowboys, Ned deserved to be murdered the LEAST.
Well, he was an "innocent man" in town to do a killing for cash.
  #21  
Old 04-28-2014, 08:08 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
Ummm….Little Bill killed an innocent man by whipping him to death. Ned, while he rode in with Munny and The Kid, did not kill anything other than a horse. Of any of the three who went to kill the cowboys, Ned deserved to be murdered the LEAST.

Not certain how you can come to the conclusion that Munny would have decided that Daggett didn’t deserve to be murdered unless he rationalized as being necessary to allow his escape. Or that Little Bill was simply “doing his job.”
Ned shot at Davey and hit his horse, which fell on Davey and broke his leg, then couldn't take the next shot. Hardly an "innocent man". Yes, Munny took the killing shot, but I think even a modern court would convict Ned of first degree murder under those circumstances. "I shot at him and missed, and I felt really bad about it so my friend finished him for me" isn't much of a defense.
  #22  
Old 04-28-2014, 08:44 AM
ThisUsernameIsForbidden ThisUsernameIsForbidden is offline
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When Ned is killed, he CHOOSES to start drinking, to let the bad M out.
Never got that from the movie. Good excuse to watch again!
  #23  
Old 04-28-2014, 09:50 AM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Ned shot at Davey and hit his horse, which fell on Davey and broke his leg, then couldn't take the next shot. Hardly an "innocent man". Yes, Munny took the killing shot, but I think even a modern court would convict Ned of first degree murder under those circumstances. "I shot at him and missed, and I felt really bad about it so my friend finished him for me" isn't much of a defense.
Yeah, Ned is definitely accessory. His entire reason for being at that location was to help kill two guys.

I like to think that Will Munny helped the world just a little bit by scaring the Schofield Kid into going legit. Lets just hope that he was also able to get away with his share and prosper in dry goods.
  #24  
Old 04-28-2014, 10:24 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
Yeah, Ned is definitely accessory. His entire reason for being at that location was to help kill two guys.

I like to think that Will Munny helped the world just a little bit by scaring the Schofield Kid into going legit. Lets just hope that he was also able to get away with his share and prosper in dry goods.
Legally, I think he's more than an accessory. An accessory would be someone who drove the getaway stagecoach. Shooting at the victim makes just as guilty of murder as Munny is.
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:33 AM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
Yeah, Ned is definitely accessory. His entire reason for being at that location was to help kill two guys.

I like to think that Will Munny helped the world just a little bit by scaring the Schofield Kid into going legit. Lets just hope that he was also able to get away with his share and prosper in dry goods.
The closing text of the movies indicate that he did start again, in San Francisco: "Some years later, Mrs Ansonia Feathers made the arduous journey to Hodgeman County to visit the last resting place of her only daughter. William Munny had long since disappeared with the children...some said to San Francisco where it was rumored he prospered in dry goods. And there was nothing on the marker to explain to Mrs Feathers why her only daughter had married a known thief and murderer, a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition."

Even if that text wasn't in the final scene; there's no way the Kid wold try to make off with the money. He saw the change come upon Will Munny, and he was scared shitless.
  #26  
Old 04-28-2014, 11:37 AM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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In the paraphrased words of Jules Winfield "I just thought that was a badass thing to say."
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:25 PM
Purd Werfect Purd Werfect is offline
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I always just thought it was a reinforcement of the reality of nature. You personally may feel as if you do or don't deserve it but it's irrelevant to an indifferent universe. Everything that lives dies and what it does while alive doesn't change that.
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Old 04-28-2014, 12:35 PM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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The closing text of the movies indicate that he did start again, in San Francisco: "Some years later, Mrs Ansonia Feathers made the arduous journey to Hodgeman County to visit the last resting place of her only daughter. William Munny had long since disappeared with the children...some said to San Francisco where it was rumored he prospered in dry goods. And there was nothing on the marker to explain to Mrs Feathers why her only daughter had married a known thief and murderer, a man of notoriously vicious and intemperate disposition."
Whoosh.
  #29  
Old 04-28-2014, 02:00 PM
mlees mlees is offline
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I always just thought it was a reinforcement of the reality of nature. You personally may feel as if you do or don't deserve it but it's irrelevant to an indifferent universe. Everything that lives dies and what it does while alive doesn't change that.
I thought this, too.

Munny's wife, whom Munny still loved and revered as a good person, died young, leaving behind young children. It doesn't matter whether you deserve to die or not, we all got it coming, and probably not at a time of our own choosing.
  #30  
Old 04-28-2014, 02:04 PM
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One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies of all time. The way I interpret that line is that whatever happens to any of us - good or bad - has nothing at all to do with what kind of person we are or how we treat others. If that were true then at some point the world would be rid of all the selfish a-holes and have only decent people in it, wouldn't it?
  #31  
Old 04-28-2014, 02:12 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is offline
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Personally, my favourite line was when he shoots the bar owner.

__

Little Bill Daggett: Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a bitch! You just shot an unarmed man!

Will Munny: Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend.
__

It goes to a similar sentiment though: Why the hell do you idiots think there's rules about any of this?

Last edited by CarnalK; 04-28-2014 at 02:12 PM.
  #32  
Old 04-28-2014, 02:29 PM
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I took it as confirmation that Munny was a psychopath. He didn't need a reason to kill Little Bill, and he wanted Bill to know that before he died.
  #33  
Old 04-28-2014, 02:38 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Ned shot at Davey and hit his horse, which fell on Davey and broke his leg, then couldn't take the next shot. Hardly an "innocent man". Yes, Munny took the killing shot, but I think even a modern court would convict Ned of first degree murder under those circumstances. "I shot at him and missed, and I felt really bad about it so my friend finished him for me" isn't much of a defense.
Shooting a horse isn't capital offense and certainly wasn't even in the Old West. Little Bill beat Ned to beat because he scared when he discovered that Will Munny was the killer. Daggett knew that Munny was a stone cold killer and that he had to show that he wasn't afraid of him or Ned's threat that Munny would come back to kill him if he continued to hurt him.

That wasn't right or moral; that sadism and cowardice.
Perhaps the subtlety of that particular portion of the narrative was lost upon you.
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:42 PM
SirGalahad SirGalahad is offline
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I took it as confirmation that Munny was a psychopath. He didn't need a reason to kill Little Bill, and he wanted Bill to know that before he died.
Munny may have been a psychopath (I don't see that in the film), but he certainly had a reason, and he gave it: "... for what you did to Ned." If you can draw a distinction between Justice and Vengeance, then the line makes sense. Munny isn't dispensing Justice, he's extracting Vengeance. Similarly, Justice has nothing to do with the killing of the cowboy who cut the whore. He deserved jail, not the death penalty. That, too, was about vengeance. The title of the movie boldly declares it's a film about Vengeance.
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:45 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Yeah, Ned is definitely accessory. His entire reason for being at that location was to help kill two guys.

I like to think that Will Munny helped the world just a little bit by scaring the Schofield Kid into going legit. Lets just hope that he was also able to get away with his share and prosper in dry goods.
No, Ned was there to protect his friend. During the scene by the campfire before they get to Big Whiskey, Ned subtlety tries to talk Will out of continuing down the road, only to have Will ignore him and claim that he wasn't that kind of man anymore.

The "Schofield Kid" was probably going to go straight as he was shown not having the mettle for a life as a killer or outlaw. The film doesn't show that as it really doesn't matter; the narrative was about Will Munny and the choices that he made and what they cost him.

As far as Munny, it's doubtful that he ever went "straight." As portrayed in the film, he was an anti-social killer who sought external solutions for his internal demons and constantly failed at that task. If he made a poor farmer, it's doubtful that he would have made a better shopkeeper. He was a killer and he would returned to his "roots" regardless of where he resettled to.
  #36  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:03 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
Shooting a horse isn't capital offense and certainly wasn't even in the Old West. Little Bill beat Ned to beat because he scared when he discovered that Will Munny was the killer. Daggett knew that Munny was a stone cold killer and that he had to show that he wasn't afraid of him or Ned's threat that Munny would come back to kill him if he continued to hurt him.
Shooting at someone riding a horse with the intent to murder them is attempted murder. If your partner, who also intends to murder the victim then kills the victim, you're both guilty of murder. The fact that Ned missed with his first shot in no way, shape or form renders him magically innocent of the crime. Even a modern jury packed with liberals would convict Ned.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:08 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Shooting at someone riding a horse with the intent to murder them is attempted murder. If your partner, who also intends to murder the victim then kills the victim, you're both guilty of murder. The fact that Ned missed with his first shot in no way, shape or form renders him magically innocent of the crime. Even a modern jury packed with liberals would convict Ned.
There were never any legal proceedings in the film.
You did watch it,right?

Ned was whipped to death by a sadist seeking information about his alleged co-conspirators. Now perhaps Ned MIGHT have been hanged if they (the posse that was being assembled) had been unable to catch up to Munny and The Kid. But the narrative of the film never goes in that direction.

Or perhaps he simply would have been lynched as while the film chooses to ignore the fact that he was Black, it would have been a serious issue in the Old West. But again introducing legal opinions of what a jury might or might not have decided is irrelevant as Ned was never charged with committing a crime.
  #38  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:22 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
There were never any legal proceedings in the film.
You did watch it,right?

Ned was whipped to death by a sadist seeking information about his alleged co-conspirators. Now perhaps Ned MIGHT have been hanged if they (the posse that was being assembled) had been unable to catch up to Munny and The Kid. But the narrative of the film never goes in that direction.

Or perhaps he simply would have been lynched as while the film chooses to ignore the fact that he was Black, it would have been a serious issue in the Old West. But again introducing legal opinions of what a jury might or might not have decided is irrelevant as Ned was never charged with committing a crime.
Of course I watched it. Yes, there were no legal proceedings against Ned. But had their been, he was undoubtedly guilty of murder. I was responding to your statement:

Quote:
Ned, while he rode in with Munny and The Kid, did not kill anything other than a horse.
Which led me to believe you meant that Ned's only crime was killing Davey's horse, which is incorrect.

Your later post seemed to support that interpretation as well:

Quote:
Shooting a horse isn't capital offense and certainly wasn't even in the Old West.
While I completely agree that Little Bill had no place whatsoever to torture or kill Ned, it's the thought that Ned didn't really do anything THAT bad that I disagree with.
  #39  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:24 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
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Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
Shooting a horse isn't capital offense and certainly wasn't even in the Old West. Little Bill beat Ned to beat because he scared when he discovered that Will Munny was the killer. Daggett knew that Munny was a stone cold killer and that he had to show that he wasn't afraid of him or Ned's threat that Munny would come back to kill him if he continued to hurt him.

That wasn't right or moral; that sadism and cowardice.
Perhaps the subtlety of that particular portion of the narrative was lost upon you.
Little Bill was torturing Ned to get information to find out where Will and the Kid went.
Little Bill always acts in the perceived best interests of the town. He beats up English Bob and Will so murderers don't come to his town and kill people. He tortures Ned to get information to catch murderers and maybe present another murder. He never acts out of selfishness or personal spite. Will and Ned travel to kill two strangers for money. In the traditional morality Little Bill is protecting his town and Ned and Will are cold blooded killers. Little Bill is saying that in the greater scheme of thing he is a better person than Will and does not deserve to die at Will's hand. Will's retort is that is about vengeance and luck not justice.
  #40  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:26 PM
mckall mckall is offline
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I agree with everyone who's said the line to Little Bill confirms that he's let the 'old' Munny out of the cage. The line that's always made me think that, is when he brings up the drover to Ned:

'Just 'cause we're goin' on this killing, that don't mean I'm gonna go back to bein' the way I was. I just need the money, get a new start for them youngsters. Ned, you remember that drover I shot through the mouth and his teeth came out the back of his head? I think about him now and again. He didn't do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin' I could remember when I sobered up.
  #41  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:28 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by SirGalahad View Post
Munny may have been a psychopath (I don't see that in the film), but he certainly had a reason, and he gave it: "... for what you did to Ned." If you can draw a distinction between Justice and Vengeance, then the line makes sense. Munny isn't dispensing Justice, he's extracting Vengeance. Similarly, Justice has nothing to do with the killing of the cowboy who cut the whore. He deserved jail, not the death penalty. That, too, was about vengeance. The title of the movie boldly declares it's a film about Vengeance.
I can't argue that, I was just putting out the impression I took away from the movie. I saw Munny as a normally non-evil psychopath who had no qualms about killing someone for money, and that he killed Bill just because he didn't like him. I may have mis-read that, I don't analyze movies the way many others are doing. Your distinction between vengeance and justice is a good explanation.
  #42  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:34 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Little Bill was torturing Ned to get information to find out where Will and the Kid went.
Little Bill always acts in the perceived best interests of the town. He beats up English Bob and Will so murderers don't come to his town and kill people. He tortures Ned to get information to catch murderers and maybe present another murder. He never acts out of selfishness or personal spite. Will and Ned travel to kill two strangers for money. In the traditional morality Little Bill is protecting his town and Ned and Will are cold blooded killers. Little Bill is saying that in the greater scheme of thing he is a better person than Will and does not deserve to die at Will's hand. Will's retort is that is about vengeance and luck not justice.
Daggett excuses his behavior by claiming that it is in the interests of the town. He demonstrates that he's a sadist when tries to get Beauchamp to give English Bob the pistol so that he can have a justification to kill him and when (yet again) he whips Ned to death because of Ned's threat about Will Munny.

Little Bill demonstrates little concern for others as his anger at the "whores" for attempting to hire killers is misdirected as not being towards the cowboys for starting the problem in the first place. His concern was that killers (and in using his parlance "assassins") would come to his town and threaten his authority.After all, people willing to kill for money would have no problems murdering a sheriff in the Old West if he interfered with their plans.

The limited number of killers who came to the town for the bounty has always been one of the film's weakest points, IMHO. If we presume that three men rode up Montana for it and English Bob caught the train there, then the number of killers seeking the bounty should have been far higher than Little Bill Daggett and his deputies would have been able to handle.
  #43  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:40 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
Of course I watched it. Yes, there were no legal proceedings against Ned. But had their been, he was undoubtedly guilty of murder. I was responding to your statement:



Which led me to believe you meant that Ned's only crime was killing Davey's horse, which is incorrect.

Your later post seemed to support that interpretation as well:



While I completely agree that Little Bill had no place whatsoever to torture or kill Ned, it's the thought that Ned didn't really do anything THAT bad that I disagree with.
Even in the Old West, there was a presumption of innocence. Now that didn't always translate into people getting jury trials as lynchings were easier even if you weren't certain that the person was indeed guilty.

Ned was a solitary rider traveling AWAY from the area of the killings. While he was seen in Big Whiskey with the two men presumed to have killed both of the cowboys, there was no proof that he had killed anyone. In fact, had he not told Bill about Will Munny, it might have been presumed that he was indeed an innocent man killed by a sadistic sheriff.
  #44  
Old 04-28-2014, 03:48 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is offline
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Are you trying to argue who was the better man? Because by old west standards, Little Bill was on the righteous side. Not messing with the big ranchers workers is par for the course. Whipping a black guy to get info is par for the course. Sure, he was a sadistic shit but Will and Ned travelled a long distance to kill someone who didn't have a government sanctioned bounty on his head. Munny, on the other hand:

Will Munny: That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.

Not sure the lack of assassins coming to town is a weak point. Not sure of the travel time for the bounty to travel out of and bounty hunters to come in to town. Maybe.
  #45  
Old 04-28-2014, 06:23 PM
Grestarian Grestarian is offline
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Originally Posted by Marlonius View Post
Hopefully this isn't a complete derailment...
It is, but since the discussion seems to be going well, it's not an unforgivable hi-jack.

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Originally Posted by Marlonius View Post
...but I'm curious as to the thoughts of others regarding the meaning of the title of the film.
I've always wondered who was "The Unforgiven", and who was the unforgiving.
Easier to answer in reverse order:
Unforgiving: Everyone + Karma + The Great Spirit in the Sky (or whatever term you use to identify your concept of a divine entity.]

Unforgiven: Everyone (just about).
  • Delilah, who got cut up for laughing a the cowboy's tiny tool, was simply not forgiven (by the cowboy/cutter).
  • I think one of the prostitutes discusses a lost husband or some such during the film. And it's a common Western theme and historical fact that Ladies of the Brothels were invariably driven to the work out of desperation, having lost husbands or just never having marital offers at all. [There's a thread about Little House on the Prairie in which people are discussing the harsh conditions of the period and geography and how a woman's failure to marry often equaled an inability to survive the environ very long.] It made the prostitution industry more forgivable in those days. But despite the fact that one of the customers has committed assault with a deadly weapon (and several related crimes) and ruined a woman's only available career, Little Bill imposes what seems to be an astonishingly light punishment. We, the audience, understand the conditions and forgive the ladies; Little Bill has no respect for them -- perhaps because he doesn't respect women and definitely because he doesn't respect whores -- and he has unforgiven them.
  • The guys who went a-whoring that night were collectively guilty of crimes (assault by one, perhaps conspiracy or just being stupid for the others). Little Bill decided their punishment would be the loss of some horses, after which they were forgiven so far as The Law was concerned. But the ladies didn't think that was sufficient punishment and their establishment of a bounty rendered the cowboys unforgiven.
  • When English Bob arrives in town, it's clear to the audience that Little Bill already knows him. There are later scenes in which Little Bill recalls incidents that he witnessed which also involved English Bob. The fact of the matter is that, before becoming a lawman, Bill and Bob rode together on the other side of the law -- again a relatively common theme in Westerns and a quirky fact of Old West history. (Yeah, I read too many of those Time-Life books about The Old West). Both English Bob and Little Bill have given up their lawless ways and gone straight, taking up new professions to utilize their old skills and experience on the right side of the law: Bounty Hunting and Law Enforcement. By switching sides, some would say they are forgiven. But sadistic Little Bill remembers English Bob and their earlier antics and he turns his sadism on his former partner, rendering the Duck of Death unforgiven.
  • Ned and Will used to ride together, too. They and their gang did a lot of bad stuff and saw some wild times. Then after a while Ned settled down with Sally Two-Trees and Will settled down with Claudia Feathers and had two kids. Life (and probably The Lord) had forgiven them but still let them suffer hard times. Little Bill's sadistic treatment definitely left Ned unforgiven. When Will (and Schofield) is reminded of the many people Little Bill knows Will killed--and then learns his friend Ned was killed by Little Bill--he grabs the bottle from the Kid and starts guzzling in order to intentionally roll back his persona to become the drunken pre-Claudia unforgiven killer that he [Strikethrough=]needs[\strikethrough] wants to be in order to handle the situation.
  • Little Bill settled down and became a lawman, but we see him still being the sadistic psychopath who treats women like shit, treats prostitutes like dirty whores, treats former colleagues like unrepentant criminals, and treats Ned like a lowly delinquent slave. He thinks society has forgiven him because he took up the badge but Little Bill comes around and renders him unforgiven.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlonius View Post
He was just a man who had done bad things and never gotten over the stain it left on his soul.
Thoughts?
And that's the whole point of the contrasting character comparison: Little Bill figured society forgave him when he became the town Sheriff, but he continued to act like a sadistic, self-righteous, disrespectful jerk. Will Muny figured God forgave him when Claudia straightened him out, but he never forgot his crimes or got over the guilt.

It's better, I think, to have the conscience.

---G!

Last edited by Grestarian; 04-28-2014 at 06:24 PM.
  #46  
Old 04-28-2014, 06:47 PM
racepug racepug is offline
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
This I think.

Remember that Will struggles with what he is for most of the film but when he hears of Ned's death he picks up that bottle and from there on in it is a reversion to type. He can't change what he is and his comments to Little Bill are a reflection of that.

I can't let an "Unforgiven" thread without commenting that it is one of my very favourite films and that scene mentioned above with the Schofield kid, bottle of whiskey and "we all got it comin' kid" is a masterpiece in a masterpiece of a film.
Yup. Munny: "It's a hell of thing, killin' a man. You take all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." Schofield Kid: "Yeah. Well I guess they had it comin'." Every time I think of those lines it chokes me up a little, for some reason. Maybe 'cause I know it's true.
  #47  
Old 04-28-2014, 06:57 PM
racepug racepug is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Personally, my favourite line was when he shoots the bar owner.

__

Little Bill Daggett: Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a bitch! You just shot an unarmed man!

Will Munny: Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend.
__

It goes to a similar sentiment though: Why the hell do you idiots think there's rules about any of this?
That WAS a great line! I watched that movie in the theater when it came out and I still remember thinking at the time "Well, 'Little Bill' has you there!" after William Munny shot and killed the saloon owner. Will Munny's next line was, possibly, the only reasonable retort to what Little Bill had said.
  #48  
Old 04-28-2014, 08:34 PM
jimbuff314 jimbuff314 is offline
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Originally Posted by racepug View Post
Yup. Munny: "It's a hell of thing, killin' a man. You take all he's got and all he's ever gonna have." Schofield Kid: "Yeah. Well I guess they had it comin'." Every time I think of those lines it chokes me up a little, for some reason. Maybe 'cause I know it's true.
I (the OP) agree. Post #5. I think, 20+ years on, I agree more and more.

Perhaps I'm sensing, in some small way, "Time's wingéd chariot hurrying near".
(Andrew Marvell - To His Coy Mistress)
  #49  
Old 04-28-2014, 10:33 PM
Marlonius Marlonius is offline
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"And that's the whole point of the contrasting character comparison: Little Bill figured society forgave him when he became the town Sheriff, but he continued to act like a sadistic, self-righteous, disrespectful jerk. Will Muny figured God forgave him when Claudia straightened him out, but he never forgot his crimes or got over the guilt.

It's better, I think, to have the conscience."


Grestarian, thanks for the thoughtful reply. There has been a lot of great conversation here and has given me a lot to think about. Clearly I'm due to watch the movie again.

Me, I've always had sympathy for Muny, even when he's shooting the town up. I know he'll be feeling it in the morning.
  #50  
Old 04-28-2014, 11:11 PM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
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Little Bill was also motivated by the desire to be the big badass. He hates "assassins" and men of low character. But he also brags about how there are so few really dangerous men like English Bob and himself when he's explaining about the importance of keeping cool under fire. So there's a large dose of hypocrisy in Little Bill Dagget. Which I think really helped make him more realistic. Yeah, he says and maybe even believes that he's keeping things safe. But it's no coincidence that he's the one in charge and enjoys his reputation of "working them tough towns."
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