Spaghetti Westerns – Be Kind, Rewind: Lessons From The Cross Pollination Of The 1960s And 1970s

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

“… And until new films are back in cinemas, we’ve no choice but to watch old ones. In my meandering through decades gone by, I find myself longing for a time when it was ideas, not viruses, that crossed cultural boundaries and spread around the world. A time when the world was stimulated, not stalled, by travel, connectivity, and the mingling of people from faraway places. A time like the 1960s – the rush of the jet age, when the increasing prevalence of flying made the world suddenly smaller. This coalesced with the ground-up reconception of the film industry at the time, and caused an exchange of styles more rapid and revolutionary than any other period in history. Hollywood’s Golden Age was coming to an end. For the new youth, Old Hollywood was stuffy, tame, and lacking thrills. The conservative moral rules of the Hays Code were being increasingly bent, broken, or simply ignored by increasingly liberal filmmakers and audiences. Independent films were on the rise, and it was becoming financially viable to produce what had been hitherto unheard of: a low-budget, spectacle-driven film. Leading the way were the Spaghetti Westerns, beginning in earnest with Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars in 1964. While the setting may have been the Wild West, the plot was lifted from the Far East: upon its release, Akira Kurosawa would successfully sue Leone for the wholesale theft of his Yojimbo script (the lawsuit ended up delaying the film’s US release to 1967). In style, too, the film combined John Ford’s expansive American vistas (at their most dynamic in Stagecoach and their most poignant in The Searchers) with Kurosawa’s operatic Japanese storytelling. In just one film, Leone illustrated the possibilities of merging vastly different cinematic traditions. The Japanese samurai film, the American western, and the European exploitation film came together; the result offered was a pivotal moment in the history of action films. A Fistful of Dollars isn’t the greatest Spaghetti Western, but its influence is. Later films eclipsed its achievements: For a Few Dollars More is more emotionally satisfying; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is grander in scope; Django is leaner and meaner and The Great Silence is bolder and smarter. But none of those would exist without the smash hit success of A Fistful of Dollars. It cemented into mythology the lone, laconic, morally dubious gunslinger, played here by Clint Eastwood in a role he would come back to again and again. …”
The Quietus
Here’s Why You Must Visit This Piece of Classic Hollywood in Spain at Least Once
10 great spaghetti westerns
W – Sergio Leone, W – Ennio Morricone
YouTube: The Spaghetti Westerns Music – Greatest Western Themes of all Time 1:28:57, Ennio Morricone – The Spaghetti Western Trio – Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood 45:07

Ennio Morricone

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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