Archive for May 17th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(US/Italy 1968 165m) DVD1/2

Make believe it’s nothing

p  Fulvio Morsella  d  Sergio Leone  w  Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati  story  Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone  ph  Tonino delli Colli  ed  Nino Baragli  m  Ennio Morricone (vocals by Edda Dell’Orso)  art/cos  Carlo Simi 

Claudia Cardinale (Jill McBain), Henry Fonda (Frank), Jason Robards Jnr (Cheyenne), Charles Bronson (Harmonica), Gabriele Ferzetti (Morton), Paolo Stoppa (Sam), Keenan Wynn (Sheriff), Lionel Stander (barman), Frank Wolff (Brett McBain), Marco Zuanelli (Wobbles), Jack Elam (gunman with fly), Woody Strode (gunman with hat),

After premiering in Rome in December 1968, Once Upon a Time in the West went on general release in 1969, the same year that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit and The Wild Bunch were first shown.  Though the first two on that list date badly over 30 years on, the Peckinpah film and Leone’s masterpiece grow in reputation by the day.  Yes, Leone’s films are an acquired taste, and certainly West is not as flat out action packed and entertaining as his Dollars trilogy with Clint Eastwood, but for all their merits it’s infinitely superior to all three.  It’s a sublime and almost operatic work that totally reinvents the genre; not only a western masterpiece, but an elegy to the past. (more…)

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