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ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST - Ennio Morricone/Sergio Leone

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Uploaded on Nov 10, 2009

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), is a Euro/Spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone. The story focuses on brutish gunfighter Frank (Henry Fonda), who dreams of becoming a tycoon, but is still prepared to resort to trusted methods to drive widow Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) off the land coveted by a ruthless railroad company. However, Frank must also deal with a mysterious harmonica player (Charles Bronson), as well as sympathetic outlaw Cheyenne (Jason Robards), if he is to achieve his goal. Bernardo Bertolucci wrote a script for Leones magnificent attempt to make the definitive western (I had no lire and I thought Leone was brilliant and vulgar), borrowing from every western the future director knew.
References include; High Noon, Johnny Guitar, Shane, The Searchers and The Iron Horse.
The stereotypes include Henry Fonda cast radically against type as a blue-eyed sadistic killer, Charles Bronson as the avenger with no name who wears a musical instrumental around his neck, Jason Robards as a romantic bandit, and Claudia Cardinale as a dance-hall girl.

The film features leitmotifs that relate to each of the main characters (each with their own unique theme music) as well as to the spirit of the American West. It was Leone's desire to have the music available and played during filming. Leone had Morricone compose the score before shooting started and would play the music in the background for the actors on set. No wonder many critics described the film as an operatic masterpiece.

In the Magnificent Seven, Charles Bronson's character whittles a piece of wood. In OUATIW, he does the same, although in a different context. The Magnificent Seven was based on the Seven Samuri by Akira Kurasawa whose Yohimbo(The Bodyguard) was the inspiration (and later, litigation) behind a Leone's A Fistful of Dollars.

The film has the longest credits of all: they sprawl through the first twelve minutes.

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