You both have good points to make, Stanton and Dean … Not that I’m overly concerned with the average ‘man in the street’ or his or her knowledge or level of interest.
I gave up years ago trying to explain to some casual viewers, who assumed ‘High Plains Drifter’ and ‘Hang ‘Em High’ were Spags, just because Clint was the star and they were much grittier movies than say a John Wayne film of the time. I was also amazed that many of these people weren’t even aware how the term Spaghetti Western came about !!!
A lot depends on the age of the viewer and which part of the world you come from - for instance, I’m 52 and live in N.Ireland, where we had 3 TV channels in the 1970s … and as a child SWs were rarely shown on TV, with the exception of the Leone movies.
From my childhood I can remember seeing a season of SWs on BBC2, which was then considered the cultural channel … apart from the first 2 Dollar movies and ‘Fistful of Dynamite’, the season included both ‘Trinity’ films and the original ‘Sabata’ … that was it! The only others that turned up randomly and very late at night, were ‘The Mercenary’, under the UK title, ‘A Professional Gun’, ‘Five Man Army’, and a once only showing of ‘Death Rides a Horse’, when the TV announcer actually apologised at the end of the film for the poor dubbing! So, the attitude towards these films was not one of respect. Others that turned up later in the 80s/early 90s were shown on Alex Cox’ programme,‘Moviedrome’, which screened ‘A Bullet for the General’, ‘Face to Face’, ‘Django’ and ‘Requiescant’ … by this stage, the UK now had 5 channels, and sporadically some of the ‘sandpit’ zero budget films would turn up, again, very late at night … I have vague memories of seeing one of the Sartana rip off films (could have been a Fidani ?) and ‘The Return of Shanghai Joe’ … So barely enough titles over 4 decades to actually make a Top 20.
Throughout these lean years of exposure to the films, I collected Morricone soundtracks, and to me it’s amazing that it took nearly 30 years between hearing the music of ‘Navajo Joe’ and ‘The Big Gundown’, before I actually got to see these films.
I wonder if there are any other UK or Irish members who can remember any other titles I may have missed ?
I know from comments that many mainland European countries showed a wide selection of these films regularly … and I’m reminded of my 2nd trip to Almeria, where I’d been exploring the desert area known as Las Salinillas (Death Rides a Horse - Mexican village) and on returning to my ‘Hostal’, found that ‘The Ruthless Four’ aka ‘Ognuno per se’ (1968) was playing on TV, and most of the action takes place in the exact area I’d been wandering only hours before. BTW, the ruthless 4 just wander around in circles in the same area, just shot from a variety of angles, when they’re supposed to be miles from home and short on water … Anyway, I’ve gone off topic rather, but that just shows how much love I still have for the genre after more than 40 years.