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Pardon the igonarance but..........


castillo
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*"Pardon the ignorance, but is "Once Upon a Time in the West" a real classic?? A TCM material?? Or is just because Henry Fonda is in it."* - castillo

 

I'd say "yes" to all of the above - though the film is being shown tomorrow not for Henry Fonda but for Claudia Cardinale.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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From an earlier post of mine in "Western Rambles"

 

I love *Once Upon a Time* and I think it definitely belongs on TCM. I'm old enough to have had to endure the original shorter cut as the only one available for screenings for most of the 1970s and the 1980s.

 

The shorter American cut reduced Cheyenne's part considerably and he just disappeared at the end. When the European cut became available, like the *Wild Bunch* before it (with the truncated scenes between Pike and Deke in their younger days), the film suddenly made sense on so many different levels.

 

One of the things I love about *Once Upon a Time* is the fact that it is made by Leone and he puts his love of Ford, Hawks, Mann and all the other western directors, up there on the screen.

 

He was an Italian film maker (who spoke virtually no English), shooting in Spain (and was pointed out, Monument Valley), making a western and the only real frame of reference he has is the American Western film.

 

By contrast, we have been exposed to the West because it is part of our history, part of who we are as a people and as a culture.

 

Leone didn't have that exposure or that history. But he had the films of the Western genre, which like Jazz and the Blues, is uniquely American.

 

Those films touched him on some very personal level and he wanted to pay homage to the directors and the genre that had captured and held his imagination for so long.

 

It may be over-long to some, it may be cluttered for others, it may be a masterpiece for the rest of us.

 

But there is no denying that like Ford, Hawks and Mann, Leone loved the American West and what it had to offer.

 

He mythologized it, as his heroes had, and he believed, like they did, that out West, a man (or woman) could reinvent themselves and find a new and better life, that they could survive tremendous adversity and overcome it. That it was an inherently violent place that came to be tamed by people who, wanting that better life, were willing to put down roots and work hard to succeed at the second chance that they had been given.

 

And that is at the heart of what the American Western is all about.

 

And that makes it worthy of being shown on TCM.

 

Edited by: lzcutter on Nov 17, 2009 12:02 AM for punctuation

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> From an earlier post of mine in "Western Rambles"

>

> Those films touched him on some very personal level and he wanted to pay homage to the directors and the genre that had captured and held his imagination for so long.

 

Oh, phooey. He wanted to make cheap imitation ?western? films that he could sell to an American and European audience.

 

When I was a young man in the early ?60s, I used to go see as many Italian films at the local ?art house? as possible. I soon noticed a general attitude of cynicism and an unhappiness with life in these films. I finally got tired of that type of film, so I stopped watching Italian films.

 

Then the Italian ?westerns? came along, and I saw a couple of the early ones, but I saw in them so much of the same Italian-cinema attitude of cynicism that I had originally seen in the earlier ?art house? films, I just never did like any of these kinds of ?westerns?. They aren?t really ?westerns? at all. They are cheap low-budget Italian films made in Spain.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> > From an earlier post of mine in "Western Rambles"

> >

> > Those films touched him on some very personal level and he wanted to pay homage to the directors and the genre that had captured and held his imagination for so long.

>

> Oh, phooey. He wanted to make cheap imitation western films that he could sell to an American and European audience.

>

> When I was a young man in the early 60s, I used to go see as many Italian films at the local art house as possible. I soon noticed a general attitude of cynicism and an unhappiness with life in these films. I finally got tired of that type of film, so I stopped watching Italian films.

>

> Then the Italian westerns came along, and I saw a couple of the early ones, but I saw in them so much of the same Italian-cinema attitude of cynicism that I had originally seen in the earlier art house films, I just never did like any of these kinds of westerns. They arent really westerns at all. They are cheap low-budget Italian films made in Spain.

I agree Fred.

Far as I'm concerned TCM may as well be off the air tonight.

 

But lovin' the pre-code stuff! Thanks TCM!

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> {quote:title=castillo wrote:}{quote}

> Pardon the ignorance, but is Once Upon a Time in the West a real classic?? A TCM material??, or is just because Henry Fonda is in it.

 

I?ve watched a little of this film. The Italian director sure saved some money on the script and dialogue.

 

Why are the scenes so long with nobody talking?

 

I get it! It?s a comedy!

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=castillo wrote:}{quote}

> > Pardon the ignorance, but is Once Upon a Time in the West a real classic?? A TCM material??, or is just because Henry Fonda is in it.

> I?ve watched a little of this film. The Italian director sure saved some money on the script and dialogue.

> Why are the scenes so long with nobody talking?

 

What I noticed was all the inappropriate use of close up/medium/long shots. If lzcutter is right and Leone was emulating Ford, that would explain it. I think Ford was a heavy handed director. Leone took that heavy hand and gloved it with all the close ups and EXTREME close ups.

 

I suppose the long spans of silence was to add "drama" to all those nostril shots. A film you only need to see once, imho.

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