Tag: sergio leoni

MOVIE REVIEW | Once upon a Time in the West (1968)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Leoni does such an expert job of exploding the rules of the genre, while also faithfully adhering to them, that it feels like a classic western, and a whole new take on classic westerns at the same time.”

West 1
“Tell me, was it necessary that you kill all of them? I only told you to scare them.”

Possibly the single most important and influential name when it comes it westerns, is director John Ford.  From the silent era, through to well into the 50s, his movies defined what westerns still look and feel like to this day.  But post Ford, there were a couple of other blokes who played a big role in taking what Ford started, and pushed it to new limits of violence, grit and an almost nihilism.  Sam Pekinpah deserves some of the credit for his work on The Wild Bunch, but there’s another man who almost rivals John Ford for the stamp he left on the genre, Sergio Leoni.  And after he made westerns huge again with the Clint Eastwood starring Dollars trilogy, he took it to even more extreme lengths with Once Upon a Time in the West.

Three dirt covered scum bags wait at a train station with guns drawn.  When the locomotive finally arrives, only one man disembarks, Charles Bronson as Harmonica.  After a few jaw clenched words, he quickly dispatches the three gunmen.  Meanwhile, homesteader Brett McBain (Frank Wolff) prepares for the arrival of his new wife.  But before she gets there, McBain and his entire family are gunned down by the black hatted Frank (Henry Fonda). It turns out, the McBain property has access to the only water in the region.  Water needed by the company building a railroad through the area.  So instead of paying for the water, the railroad sent Frank to scare the McBains away.  Only Frank got a little carried away. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

The title, the theme song, the lead actor.  Few things represent a movie genre more than The Good the, the Bad and the Ugly represents the Western.  John Wayne would come pretty close, but it’s his entire western filmography that gives him that reputation, not one particular movie that springs to mind.  But even people who have never seen this movie, the title, the music and the lead actor would be likely to spring to their minds when westerns comes up.  So what makes The Good, the Bad and the Ugly such a quintessential, mind springer of a western?

Tuco (Eli Wallach) is the Ugly, a Mexican outlaw plying his trade in Civil War America.  With a $2,000 bounty on his head, he’s captured by Blondie (Clint Eastwood), the Good.  But he’s not so good, because soon Blondie and Tuco have a lucrative partnership where Blondie delivers Tuco to small town authorities, collects the reward, then helps Tuco escape, so they can split the money and run the scam on the next town. (more…)