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Inglourious Basterds!

(Cont'd: Warning Graphic)

Now that we have scratched the surface of Tarantino's film making process we can dive deeper into the director's vast library of films referenced in his own film. Before Tarantino was a director or screenplay writer, he was a movie store clerk in California. Here is where the great director acquired his infinite knowledge of film and film technique. This store acted as a library of movies he would later reference throughout the films he either wrote, directed, or both. One of Tarantino's favorite genres the Spaghetti Western, an Italian version of the American Western, is referenced throughout the directors three latest films, especially in Inglourious Basterds. One of the main references from the Italian Spaghetti Western in Inglourious Basterds is the theme of scalping used throughout the entire film. Here Tarantino himself appears in a small cameo role as a Nazi soldier being scalped by one of the Basterds:

One of Tarantino's direct film quotations comes from the 1966 Spaghetti Western, Navajo Joe. We know Tarantino uses this film for Inglourious Basterds because he referenced the movie once before in Kill Bill Vol. 1. The director reused the film score for the 2003 movie and also used similar soundtracks throughout this film in 2009. Actually, Tarantino uses the great Spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone's film scores throught most of his movies. We can also note that Tarantino is historically innaccurate. There were no reported cases of scalping during World War II. Thus, the director is obviously taking an aspect from one of America's iconic film genres, but through the Italian film industry. Here we can see the main antagonist from Navajo Joe scalping the protagonist lover's head:

However, Tarantino was not only quoting or paying homage to the Spaghetti Western. The director chose the actor Brad Pitt because he played a similar role to the character Aldo Raine once before. In the 1994 epic drama, The Legends of Fall, Brad Pitt plays a World War I soldier who scalps the head of German soldiers while seeking the revenge of his brother. The same character eventually becomes a moonshine smugler, just like Aldo Raine mentions himself doing back home prior to the war. It is easy to say the least that Tarantino recreated Brad Pitt's former character and adapted him to his own screenplay by no coincidence. Here we can see Pitt's character, Tristan Ludlow, scalping the head of a German soldier:

Not only did Tarantino pick specific actors, music, and story lines for his film, he also chose specific camera shots and angles to match other films. Throughout the film Tarantino chose specific landscapes and camera shots to mirror the landscapes and shots typically seen in Westerns. For instance, the opening scene where Hans Landa tries to shoot the character Shosonna was an exact mirror shot from the opening scene in the 1956 American Western, The Searchers. Here we can see the opening scene of The Searchers in which we can see a typical American Western background with long open areas that mimic the Southwest American landscape:

Tarantino decided to mirror this particular shot in order to pay homage to the American Western in a different way other than referencing themes. Only those who watch the film closely can see how much the set of Inglourious Basterds actually looks like the set of a typical Western film. The director likes to add the typical Western setting in many of his films even though they be in Europe or the American South rather than the American Southwest. In real life this would not typically happen, however in the Tarantino universe any place can become a Western town or farm. Here we can see the shot Tarantino adapted from The Searchers into his own film:

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