Sunday, May 30, 2010


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