When I think of Irishness in Italian Westerns, I think of Frank Wolff playing an Irishman in Once Upon a Time in the West.
Published in International Westerns: Re-Locating the Frontier (2014), right? Two years later, in Spaghetti Westerns at the Crossroads, Wong merely rephrases:
“If Leone started his career as an assistant director to Soldati on two Salgari films, book-ending the relationship between Salgari’s adventure novels and the western all’italiana are the six episodes of the TV mini-series Sandokan, directed by Sergio Sollima in 1976.” (p. 81)
And of James Coburn in Giù la testa, playing Sean, an anachronistic IRA man; although, as Frayling somewhat sardonically concedes, “Coburn – fair, laid-back, lanky, detached – was not everyone’s idea of an Irishman” (p. 37).
Speaking as an Irishman … how can anyone non Irish dare to write such nonsense. These essays seem to be looking for controversy where none exists.
I’d say that all nationalities featured in these films are stereotyped and larger than life.
I have no problem with the depiction of Brett McBain or John Mallory … the characters are broad and entertaining … it’s the accents that ‘WE’ natives find hilarious.
The phrase “Duck, you sucker” only sounds cool in an exaggerated baritone Irish accent.
Yep … old Coburn is super cool in this one.
If more Irishmen were this laid back, we’d have a much happier society.
Mind you, JC was stoned all the time because of crippling arthritis in his hands ( Got that from a first hand source )
Yup that’s the one - I don’t have a copy of the book, just the article
At least his last name “Coburn” was Celtic/Gaelic in origin (albeit Scottish not Irish)
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.
Further examples: Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper’s edited collection titled International Westerns: Re-Locating the Frontier, published by Scarecrow Press four years ago, $107 / £70; Broughton’s Euro-Western, published by I.B. Tauris two years ago, £70 / $115, thanks to Sebastian I got it at a reduced price (I don’t know how they calculate their UK and US prices, but by today’s exchange rate seventy quid are worth approximately ninety-three bucks); Julia Dobson and Jonathan Rayner’s edited volume Mapping Cinematic Norths: International Interpretations in Film and Television, published by Peter Lang two years ago, €61.20 / £45; Emma Hamilton and Alistair Rolls’s edited collection Unbridling the Western Film Auteur: Contemporary, Transnational and Intertextual Explorations, published by Peter Lang this year, €57.10 / £42.
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
Almost cool enough to help me forget Rod Steiger is in the movie.
Steiger’s “Mexican” accent?
Rod “I’m from the Actors Studio so I’m too good to post-synchronise” Steiger.
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!
He was probably the only actor who ever told Leone how to direct. That Oscar win in 1968 really went to his head.
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.
If it looks like acting, then it’s not working … my humble opinion, of course
Eli Wallach was also ‘Actor’s Studio’, but he’s totally believable in his roles, and also very likeable … maybe Steiger just isn’t, or wasn’t a nice guy, and that’s what comes through ?
Al Mulloch, is another one who completely mesmerised me when first seeing OUTW … I thought that guy’s either the best actor I’ve ever seen or he’s completely crazy … either way, wow, what an impact.
Eli Wallach understood his role extremely well and had fun with it. I agree, totally likeable.
Al Mulloch is one of these actors that are so real that you forget they’re acting.
On a side note, Al Mulloch(while filming OUTW), Frank Wolff, and Luigi Pistilli(even Pistillli’s son) all committed suicide. Behind the scenes problems in the industry?
To quote Charlie Bronson as ‘Harmonica’, “Your friends have a high mortality rate”
I get the impression there was a lot of drugs and craziness going on back in the day.
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.