To be fair, in his essay “The Quiet Man Gets Noisy” Frayling convincingly argues that Sergio Leone’s perception of “Irishness” was almost entirely informed by the films of John Ford, in particular by The Quiet Man, The Informer and his cavalry Westerns (cf. Victor McLaglen), and that Leone accordingly appropriated Ford’s stereotypes and clichés concerning Ireland and Americans with Irish roots for his own films (“a reflection of a reflection, the other’s other” [p. 44]). Hence his decision to dye Frank Wolff’s hair red in C’era una volta il West. James Coburn then, on the other hand, could hardly have complied with Leone’s stereotyped image of an Irishman. And I think that’s what Frayling is jokingly referring to in the above quote (rephrasing, by the way, an almost identical sentence from his Leone biography: “Clearly, Coburn was Leone’s sort of actor. Okay, he wasn’t everyone’s idea of an Irishman – fair, laid back, detached – but that could be all to the good as well.” [p. 343]).
Unfortunately, the prices of many academic publications have become ridiculous. Who’s willing to fork over one hundred euros for two hundred pages? And the delay between a book’s hardcover publication and its (affordable) paperback edition is getting longer and longer. For example, I still haven’t read Lee Broughton’s edited volume titled Critical Perspectives on the Western, published by Rowman & Littlefield two years ago, because there’s no paperback and the hardback costs more than eighty dollars. And now the announced price of Wong’s book is $125 / £85, while its title, Spaghetti Westerns: A Viewer’s Guide, doesn’t at all suggest an academic publication.
Laudable exceptions: Spaghetti Westerns at the Crossroads, which was published as a paperback (£24.99) in August 2017, a little over a year after its hardback publication (£75); Thomas Klein, Ivo Ritzer and Peter W. Schulze’s edited volume titled Crossing Frontiers: Intercultural Perspectives on the Western, published by Schüren in 2012, €24,90.
Interesting Guardian-article on (academic) publishing practices:
I think some of the economics of academic publishing works like this: a select number of ultra expensive copies get sold to a certain number of university libraries, then they’re slowly out of print and will forever live on in some poor students’ footnotes
Steiger definitely got worse with age … I remember seeing him in a 1984 movie, ’The Naked Face’ with easy going Roger Moore - Steiger seems to shout and rant in every scene, as though in his mind, shouting meant power … Note to Mr.Steiger: It also means overacting!
I see most Italian 60/70s movies more as sensory/dream-like journeys rather than psuedo-intellectual, pretentious actor vehicles. The actors are more hired for their look and presence rather than a self-conscious Merle Streep-type nervously aware of their every gesture and eye dart.
William Berger, an actor who I immediately liked the first time I saw him(which was only a couple of years ago), was “wrongly accused of possession of hashish and cocaine” and did time in an Italian prison. These guys lives are adventure stories.
And didn’t Berger’s wife die in prison, also arrested on the same charge? Someone must have had it in for them … jealousy or vengeance - because these days no celebs do time for drugs.
I reckon it was Anthony Steffen who dropped the dime, as apparently they hated each other … just my conjecture, for a little fun.
I should start a separate thread on USA vs other countries introduction to SWs because I would bet that 99% of Americans have never heard of Franco Nero, Anthony Steffen, or even American Actors like Berger or Law that acted in European movies. It wasn’t until mail-order video like Netflix that most Americans had a platform to try out “foreign” movies that didn’t just happen to be in the video store, and even now they haven’t gravitated to 50 year old European movies(even though that is 90% of what I now watch).
I’d go as far as to say that if I drove to the beach right now with a camera and microphone and asked the first 100 random people who Alain Delon was, NO ONE would know. Even I had never heard of Delon until about 7 years ago but subsequently caught up on most of his work and Delon, like Nero, is now one of my favorite actors.