Once Upon a Time in the West / C’era una volta il West (Sergio Leone, 1968)


(Stanton) #461

For me there isn’t another gap either. there are some films which fill the gap between a “2nd” and a “3rd” category. Sollima is for me in the 3rd category.

The 2nd contains mainly Corbucci and Leone (including Nobody) and Cemetery without Crosses. El puro somehow.

But there is already a big gap between Corbucci’s Mercenario /TGS and Django/ Companeros. The last 2 have a lot of excellent “category 2” material, but also too much flawed material in them. But there are others to fill the gap. And the gap to the Sollimas is filled by films like Boot Hill or Matalo or Quien sabe? .


(TucoBene) #462

OK folks, Sergio Sollima and Sergio Corbucci are playing in the same league IMO. There’s no gap between them, although Sollima is a more political director. His The big Gundown is the best non-Leone IW IMO (closely followed by Corbucci’s The Mercenary). But since Sergio Leone is his own league, we may should introduce a “Sergio scale”? :wink:


(Yodlaf Peterson) #463

All this talk made me want to watch it again.

Still the best film ever 8)


(John Welles) #464

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:457, topic:322”]For a Few dollars More could have been a masterpiece, but it drags a little in the third quarter. […] The central character is clearly our Colonel, and the film would have been better (especially better paced) without some of those scenes like the two being captured by Indio’s gang, then released by Indio to provoke a shootout, etc. […] The first half of the movie and the finale are marvellous. And Mortimer is still my favorite SW character, he’s the most human of all SW heroes.

Greatest discovery this year, was (thanks to Autephex) the long version of A Minute to pray, a Second to Die.[/quote]
I very much agree with you in regards to Col. Mortimer. Here is a real character - back-story, more than just perfunctionary motivation here, while he’s defined by it, you can imagine him being able to move on after the death of El Indio. Most Spaghetti Western characters are ciphers (the Man with No Name is for sure), but we have, as you say, a human being, capable of appreciating irony and having perspective of the ridiculousness of it all. I also consider For a Few Dollars More to be the best and most archetypical Spaghetti Western. Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Great Silence all subvert an already subversive genre by undercutting genre expectations, whereas this second Dollar film comprises everything you imagine the Spaghetti Western to be.

As for great discoveries, this year mine were Corrado Farina’s Baba Yaga: The Final Cut (1973), Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York (1977), Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) and Lucio Fulci’s Four of the Apocalypse (1975). Do you have any others that the greatly titled A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die?


(scherpschutter) #465

[quote=“John Welles, post:464, topic:322”]I very much agree with you in regards to Col. Mortimer. Here is a real character - back-story, more than just perfunctionary motivation here, while he’s defined by it, you can imagine him being able to move on after the death of El Indio. Most Spaghetti Western characters are ciphers (the Man with No Name is for sure), but we have, as you say, a human being, capable of appreciating irony and having perspective of the ridiculousness of it all. I also consider For a Few Dollars More to be the best and most archetypical Spaghetti Western. Once Upon a Time in the West, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and The Great Silence all subvert an already subversive genre by undercutting genre expectations, whereas this second Dollar film comprises everything you imagine the Spaghetti Western to be.

As for great discoveries, this year mine were Corrado Farina’s Baba Yaga: The Final Cut (1973), Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York (1977), Sergio Martino’s The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971) and Lucio Fulci’s Four of the Apocalypse (1975). Do you have any others that the greatly titled A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die?[/quote]

I was thinking of spaghetti westerns only.

I watched a lot of action movies from the Far east this year. They’re doing quite a good job overthere, and the best things are not coming from Japan or China, but Corea and a couple of smaller film industries.

I was pleased by War of the Arrows (Corea), The Rebel (Vietnam) and The Raid: Redemption (Indonesia)

On non-action level my greatest discovery was the Japanese film Wandafuru raifu (After Life) from director Hirokazu Kore-eda
It’s a movie from 1998 but I saw it for the first time this year. It’s a true experience, one of those few films that really makes you think … about your own life.


(billo) #466

Hello gentlemen, gringos, bastardos, sons-of-bitches, and men with no names.

This is my first post here, and I’d like to thank you for being such an awesome site.

I’ve been infatuated with the dollars trilogy since I was a teenager. Seen them a million times. Styled myself in my imagination as Clint. Viewed them over and over, but for some reason I cannot explain now in hindsight, never got round to watching Once Upon a Time in The West

How? Why? I really don’t know. Maybe something subconscious inhibited me from watching it, fearing that the perfection of my recollection of the dollars x 3 would in some way be compromised by watching it. I had seen Once Upon A Time in America and felt very strangely about it. I didn’t connect with it on any level. Perhaps it was the age I was when I watched it. Maybe I was just in a strange mood the day I saw it. But maybe it implanted some strange inhibition in me to not view Once Upon a Time in The West, to keep away from it for some reason, always finding an excuse not to watch, always in love with Sergio Leone’s three dollar masterpieces.

OK, so fast forward the years to a few months ago, when I finally bought a big high definition Samsung Smart TV and started re-loading my DVD collection into blu-ray. Of course, my helpless obsession with the dollars trilogy grew to new heights watching it in the clarity, the magical clarity of blu-ray.

Another thing - perhaps I became so attached to the universe of Leone’s dollars that I resented the appearance inside it of any actors other than Clint, Lee Van Cleef, Volante, Wallach. A perfect, hermetically sealed imaginative universe, I didn’t want any outsiders imposing on my private Sergio Leone world, I didn’t want to see that world of his western extended without these actors in it.

But something snapped and made me buy Once Upon A Time In The West and resolve to sit down and watch it after all these years.

Gringos, Sabatas, Mexicanos, revolutionaries, bastardos, friends, I watched it, I watched it, I watched it again, I watched it again, and again. I watched it, and I worshipped it, and I will watch it with pleasure as long as I watch movies.

How sublime, how realised, how wonderful, how intense, how epic, yet personal, how playful yet serious, how influenced, yet how transcendent of those influences, how pure a piece of cinema this movie is.

Where to start? Morricone’s score, the beauty of Claudia Cardinale, an actress who seems to singlehandedly prove the idea that cinema partly exists to immortalise feminine beauty?

I fell helplessly in love with her in a way I rarely ever have with a female character on screen.

The impassive, enigmatic presence of Bronson, a man with no name archetype taken forward, whose back story for vengeance is resolved to the greatest possible satisfaction in a flashback that brings every strand together in a scene of poetic, sadistic revenge that will be seared into your memory like the resolution of a Greek myth?

Chayenne, played with such raffish charm by Jason Robards.

And the dark, dark menace of Henry Fonda, every second of his presence on screen a display of sinister charisma, control, the aspiration of power and money and land, whose past is righteously coming to claim him. A claiming that he moves towards, as if he understands he cannot cheat his past, that he cannot escape a reckoning with it, a surrendering to fate.

I really could talk about this film for 10,000 words. It is ceaselessly fascinating and engaging. I love it supremely.

I’ll end with the beginning.

I’m trying to work out if any piece of cinema exceeds in excellence the opening credit sequence. A refined, rhythmical, rhyming, slow, resonating work of art. A sequence that almost exists in its own echo chamber of reference and sublime, patient, constructed genius. I could almost just watch that on its own and feel satisfaction.

Sergio Leone, I have nothing but my wonder and helpless love of your cinematic art as tribute to you. You are quite simply, the greatest, and Once Upon A Time In The West is a timeless work of cinema, the spaghetti western as sublime mythology.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #467

Welcome to the forum Billo. I’m glad you succumbed and decided to watch it. It’s a masterpiece in my eyes and yes (everyone else) it’s my favourite film of all time.

It’s the only film I can watch that I get caught up in like I’m hypnotised. Morricone’s score together with the visuals when Cardinale arrives at the station and the camera pans up revealing the bustling town is perfect, I get a chill up my back when I watch it.

Cinematic perfection.


(Richard--W) #468

[quote=“billo, post:466, topic:322”]Hello gentlemen, gringos, bastardos, sons-of-bitches, and men with no names.

This is my first post here, and I’d like to thank you for being such an awesome site.

I’ve been infatuated with the dollars trilogy since I was a teenager. Seen them a million times. Styled myself in my imagination as Clint. Viewed them over and over, but for some reason I cannot explain now in hindsight, never got round to watching Once Upon a Time in The West

How? Why? I really don’t know. Maybe something subconscious inhibited me from watching it, fearing that the perfection of my recollection of the dollars x 3 would in some way be compromised by watching it. I had seen Once Upon A Time in America and felt very strangely about it. I didn’t connect with it on any level. Perhaps it was the age I was when I watched it. Maybe I was just in a strange mood the day I saw it. But maybe it implanted some strange inhibition in me to not view Once Upon a Time in The West, to keep away from it for some reason, always finding an excuse not to watch, always in love with Sergio Leone’s three dollar masterpieces.

OK, so fast forward the years to a few months ago, when I finally bought a big high definition Samsung Smart TV and started re-loading my DVD collection into blu-ray. Of course, my helpless obsession with the dollars trilogy grew to new heights watching it in the clarity, the magical clarity of blu-ray.

Another thing - perhaps I became so attached to the universe of Leone’s dollars that I resented the appearance inside it of any actors other than Clint, Lee Van Cleef, Volante, Wallach. A perfect, hermetically sealed imaginative universe, I didn’t want any outsiders imposing on my private Sergio Leone world, I didn’t want to see that world of his western extended without these actors in it.

But something snapped and made me buy Once Upon A Time In The West and resolve to sit down and watch it after all these years.

Gringos, Sabatas, Mexicanos, revolutionaries, bastardos, friends, I watched it, I watched it, I watched it again, I watched it again, and again. I watched it, and I worshipped it, and I will watch it with pleasure as long as I watch movies.

How sublime, how realised, how wonderful, how intense, how epic, yet personal, how playful yet serious, how influenced, yet how transcendent of those influences, how pure a piece of cinema this movie is.

Where to start? Morricone’s score, the beauty of Claudia Cardinale, an actress who seems to singlehandedly prove the idea that cinema partly exists to immortalise feminine beauty?

I fell helplessly in love with her in a way I rarely ever have with a female character on screen.

The impassive, enigmatic presence of Bronson, a man with no name archetype taken forward, whose back story for vengeance is resolved to the greatest possible satisfaction in a flashback that brings every strand together in a scene of poetic, sadistic revenge that will be seared into your memory like the resolution of a Greek myth?

Chayenne, played with such raffish charm by Jason Robards.

And the dark, dark menace of Henry Fonda, every second of his presence on screen a display of sinister charisma, control, the aspiration of power and money and land, whose past is righteously coming to claim him. A claiming that he moves towards, as if he understands he cannot cheat his past, that he cannot escape a reckoning with it, a surrendering to fate.

I really could talk about this film for 10,000 words. It is ceaselessly fascinating and engaging. I love it supremely.

I’ll end with the beginning.

I’m trying to work out if any piece of cinema exceeds in excellence the opening credit sequence. A refined, rhythmical, rhyming, slow, resonating work of art. A sequence that almost exists in its own echo chamber of reference and sublime, patient, constructed genius. I could almost just watch that on its own and feel satisfaction.

Sergio Leone, I have nothing but my wonder and helpless love of your cinematic art as tribute to you. You are quite simply, the greatest, and Once Upon A Time In The West is a timeless work of cinema, the spaghetti western as sublime mythology.[/quote]

I LIKE THIS POST.

WELCOME TO THIS CHAOTIC CABALE.

Richard
(who currently lives in Arizona within focal length of Monument Valley).


(JohnReid) #469

The best ! :slight_smile:


(JohnReid) #470

[quote=“Yodlaf Peterson, post:467, topic:322”]Welcome to the forum Billo. I’m glad you succumbed and decided to watch it. It’s a masterpiece in my eyes and yes (everyone else) it’s my favourite film of all time.

It’s the only film I can watch that I get caught up in like I’m hypnotised. Morricone’s score together with the visuals when Cardinale arrives at the station and the camera pans up revealing the bustling town is perfect, I get a chill up my back when I watch it.

Cinematic perfection.[/quote]
I agree ! so much so that I am dedicating a few years of diorama making in 1/24 scale to the opening scene and Claudia’s arrival.I contacted her and she likes the idea.She is now 73 .


(billo) #471

Am currently reading this book:

The Art of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West: A Critical Appreciation by John Fawell

It is enjoyable and insightful. I am on the chapter about Cheyenne and Harmonica, what they represent, placing them in the context of Leone’s sympathies and visions. If you love the film you will love this book.


(Stanton) #472

Seems to be a pretty interesting book. I will buy it.


(sartana1968) #473

can i put a 0 stars??


(Stanton) #474

Of course, but not on the above poll.


(Sanchez) #475

I just rewatched my collector’s edition DVD last night for the first time in a while and…wow. I had seen it a few times before and always loved it but for some reason last night it had me totally in it’s grasp. As I was watching it, completely hyponotized by it, I found myself thinking it’s almost unfair to other westerns, let alone Spaghetti’s, to even try to compare it with Once Upon A Time. NOTHING can touch this film. It is the most technically sound, aesthetically sound, and dramatically sound Western film ever made in my opinion. And it had been a while since I had watched a Leone as I’ve found myself more interested in Sollima, Fulci and Corbucci’s work lately. But it amazes me how this just makes most SW’s look absolutely pitiful in comparison. Perfect in every way.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #476

Well said, Sanchez.


(Mickey13) #477

Almost everything looks pitiful in comparison. :wink:


(River Bandit) #478

I’m embarrassed to say that I only just watched this movie for the first time this past weekend! Been a fan of westerns for many, many years and I don’t know how I managed to not see it for so long.

Amazing movie. So many great performances! Jason Robards doesn’t get enough credit, in my opinion, for his performance as Cheyenne - he could have easily been over shadowed by Bronson or Fonda or Cardinale but more than holds his own. I think I enjoyed his work as much as anyone else in the whole film.

Lots of other people have already covered the filming and the score, so I’m not going to add my 2 bits to an already large pile! One of the interesting things that struck me about this film is the difference in the sound of the gunshots. In most SWs, there is a kind of “whistling” effect to the gunshot, it’s very different to the gunfire sounds used in american made westerns. In OUATITW, the gunshot sounds do not have the whistling.

That said, I don’t think this is a spaghetti western (and not just because of the sound f/x). Nor is it a traditional american western, either. It transcends the genre completely while still being recognizable as a western. It is part of a small group of films that are more than the sum of their parts. High Noon and The Searchers are the other two films that have also done that.

I’ve given this 5 stars because it’s a fantastic movie that goes beyond the normal limitations of the western genre. If I was to judge this purely as a spaghetti western, I’d rank it lower. If I was to judge it strictly as an american style western, I’d rank it lower. As it is neither of these and more, I rank it higher.


(Reza) #479

Today i watched this again

really an excellent movie


(Menschenjaeger) #480

Got a chance to see the new print of this last summer. Amazing. Absolutely none of the weird colors or “caked-on makeup” effects of DNR that the DVD shows.

I haven’t seen the BLU - did they fix any of that for the blu-ray?