Friday, June 29, 2007

Sergio Leone

Lately I have been enamored by Spaghetti Westerns, finding it odd that it took me so long to discover them. Maybe it's not so odd, considering that, according to a recent Slate article, Sergio Leone isn't (or wasn't) given his due by many film critics.

Recently, the movies in his "Dollars" trilogy have been remastered and released as a boxed set. I must confess I found "A Fistful of Dollars" a little lackluster compared to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," which might have instantly entered my all-time top ten when I watched it for the first time a few months ago. Also, I haven't seen "For a Few Dollars More," which I'm watching tonight. But any film fan should do themselves a favor and acquaint (or reacquaint) themselves with Leone's films. As Slate magazine said:
Though the "Dollars" movies are now justly regarded as classics—they were critically dismissed at the time as sadistic trash—Leone has never quite received his due as the progenitor of a new kind of movie. In speaking of 1960s European cinema, critics sing the praises of Fellini, Godard, Truffaut, Antonioni, and Bergman—and yet Leone, whose influence matches any of those filmmakers', barely gets a mention. Introducing a cinephilic sensibility to mass audiences, his movies prefigured our borderless pop culture and served as a key text for future filmmakers, from Martin Scorsese to John Woo to Quentin Tarantino. To watch the "Dollars" movies now isn't just to behold the reinvention of a genre—it's to be transported to the birth of a pop aesthetic.
Read the entire article here.

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