Sunday, May 30, 2010

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

Bill and Wayne's Excellent Adventures in the World of Film

Bill and Wayne’s latest adventure in the quirky world of movies involved sausage, egg and Tabasco bagels and a classic spaghetti western called Once Upon a Time in the West. Not only was the old flick a little bit quirky, it was a little bit kooky, strange and a lot dark and spooky.

Sergio Leone, a man whose name is synonymous with spaghetti westerns, is responsible for this masterpiece. Filmed in Spain and Utah, there is a hellish feel to the experience. Everything is filthy, dusty, dry and dilapidated. The flaming sun constantly beats down on the ghostly characters.

Leone toys with time, slowing everything down to a fiendish snail’s pace. The opening scene is a movie in itself as Leone spends what seems like hours focusing on a fly on Jack Elam’s head and water dripping insipidly on Woody Strode’s head. And it’s captivating. Alfred Hitchcock said there is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation. Leone is down with Hitchcock’s concept. The film is 999 percent anticipation and .001 percent bang. Hope my math is right there. But the bangs are pretty damned explosive.

Henry Fonda, the blue eyed iconic all American actor, is evil personified. Seeing Fonda cross over to the dark side is shocking and down right scary. Charles Bronson is magnificent (sorry, couldn’t help the cheap allusion) as the revenge bent gunfighter who speaks through a harmonica. Jason Robards plays it cool as a sometimes good, sometimes bad gunfighter. He delivers this line of the movie to the smoking hot damsel in distress, played by Claudia Cardinale: “You remind me of my mother; she was a whore…”

I’ve heard great things about this old standard over the years and I can’t believe it eluded me for so many years. Now that I’ve seen it I can comfortably say baby, the emperor is fully clothed.

Once Upon a Time in the West gets two thumbs up, five stars, and a full tub of quirky flavored popcorn.
















Artist's rendering of Bill and Wayne

13 comments:

Clif said...

Good stuff as always, #167 Dad!

Cate P said...

Henry Fonda a real baddie? This I gotta see. Love discovering oldies that have escaped my notice.

JJ said...

I always thought Bronson was great. Claudia Cardinale - I don't recall if she acted in the film, or just took a bubble bath. C'era una volta .....

dave said...

Hah! I'll BET you're finally glad you got around to this! This is absolutely my all-time favorite Western, and just an AMAZING film, in general, a true classic, much deserving of that status! If you're into Spaghetti Westerns, you should check out my Spaghetti Western Concept Rap album, called "Showdown at the BK Corral." It's basically an epic Spaghetti Western over 9 tracks - very influenced by Morricone. I'd love to hear what you think of it! You can download it for free at sunsetparkriders.com

Guely of Sweden said...

Did you know that Leone wanted reunite Eastwood, Wallace and Van Cleef for the first scene in the movie as the three gunmen that wait for Bronson (Harmonica) in the begining of the movie? Too bad Eastwood was not available.

#167 Dad said...

Clif,
Thanks for reading. Isn't it time for a Justice shoot?

#167 Dad said...

Cate,
You won't be sorry.

#167 Dad said...
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#167 Dad said...
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#167 Dad said...

G-man, that opening scene was magnificent with Elam and Strode.

JJ,
Claudia did a good job in that tub.

Dave,
will check out the album. Sunds quirky cool.

RDD said...

Glad you finally watched it. The first time I saw it I thought it was awful due to the slow pacing. As I watched it a few more times I love the slow pacing. I have probably watched it about 20 times. I also particularly like the theme by Morricone for Jill called Jill's America. Beautiful music.

#167 Dad said...

RDD,
good to hear from you. shoot me an email when you get a chance.

kavita said...

Would love to watch it but the problem is that i doubt its availability here in my city.

@RDD...20 times !whoa !