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Old 11-10-2003, 12:57   #1
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Once Upon a Time in the West

Have finally watched this and the extras on the new release - have to say this is one of the nicest looking DVD slipcases in a while with superbly fitting cover artwork Picture and Sound are as expected, top-notch too.

The film itself was very good (but not briliant IMHO!) and has all of the Sergio Leone trademarks - the opening credit sequence is absolutely superb (one of the best I've seen) although the rest of the film is nowehere near as attaining 'film-making perfection'.

An all round decent movie (feels slightly drawn out at times though) and nowhere near as good as 'The good, The Bad and The Ugly' or even 'A Fistful of Dollars' (I'm sure people will disagree with me here!)

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Old 11-10-2003, 21:07   #2
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This film definitely relies more on atmosphere than action (unlike the 2 previous ones mentioned) but I think that is one of its strengths.

This film has so many great scenes its hard to know where to begin.


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Old 12-10-2003, 12:27   #3
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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West

Quote:
Originally posted by angel_eyes

Asked in a spoiler, so answered in a spoiler:

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Old 12-10-2003, 13:14   #4
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Re: Once Upon a Time in the West

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Originally posted by angel_eyes
An all round decent movie (feels slightly drawn out at times though) and nowhere near as good as 'The good, The Bad and The Ugly' or even 'A Fistful of Dollars' (I'm sure people will disagree with me here!)
I think it's a mistake drawing comparisons - despite the director and genre, Once Upon a Time in the West is a very different film from its predecessors: it has more in common with Greek ritual theatre or Italian opera than it does with traditional American westerns (Morricone's score is just as eloquent as any of the film's protagonists).

It's not as accessible as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly at first viewing, but it's a far, far richer film - tellingly, I've watched OUATITW rather more times despite having had pretty much equal access to both.

That said, I've been lucky enough to have seen it on the big screen on several occasions - and, like 2001 or Lawrence of Arabia, I'd argue that you really need to have seen it in a cinema in order to fully grasp what Leone was getting at. For example, the scene where you expect Charles Bronson to appear on the left-hand side of the screen in the middle distance but instead he suddenly appears on the right in extreme close-up is truly electrifying in the cinema, but has far less impact even on DVD.
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Old 12-10-2003, 13:49   #5
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Again, Michael articulates what I was thinking... Once Upon a Time in the West is an operatic film - a movie of total ambition. And unlike Once Upon a Time in America, it is pretty much flawless. The comparison with the Kubrick and Lean movies is 100% appropriate (I'd add Apocalypse Now to the list). In the 1980s, the NFT did a season of films on the theme of "best in 70mm Dolby Stereo", and Leone's movie, Heaven's Gate, 2001 and Apocalypse Now were central parts of the programme. I saw the bulk of this season, and the effect was staggering: the small screen does not do justice to films on this scale.

I love the Leone because of its approach to sound. There are long stretches of silence on the soundtrack, as the director tells the story in images. Then, as a moment of drama (violence) approaches, the soundtrack explodes with sound effects - thrilling and shocking simultaneously. The opening scene, introducing Henry Fonda, exemplifies this approach. It is astonishing and visceral cinema... Amazing.
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Old 12-10-2003, 16:06   #6
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Re: Re: Once Upon a Time in the West

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Originally posted by Michael Brooke
That said, I've been lucky enough to have seen it on the big screen on several occasions - and, like 2001 or Lawrence of Arabia, I'd argue that you really need to have seen it in a cinema in order to fully grasp what Leone was getting at.
It's on at the Riverside Studios (Hammersmith) this month!
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Old 13-10-2003, 14:07   #7
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what a lovely disk - faryling on the commentary track was wonderful, alex cox and john carpenter were useless imho

bertolucci and cardinale were ok as far as they went

id recommend the frayling book, in fact im gonna re-read it...after ive watched disk 2
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Old 13-10-2003, 14:49   #8
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Quote:
it has more in common with Greek ritual theatre or Italian opera than it does with traditional American westerns
While agreeing that it's a work of immense stature, I think that's going a little far. The references to American westerns past, even in the score, are there for all to see in OUATITW; it's a western and a bloody good one (and having been influenced by Ford, Walsh, et al, in turn, Leone's influence can be felt today) but I see no reason to take the horse away from the opera, even if this is Grand Horse Opera

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Old 09-01-2004, 12:28   #9
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Watched this for the first time last night and I don't think I will be the first to call this film a masterpiece. Utterly stunning, i think it's straight into my top ten.
Having the audacity to pull off that opening sequence with virtually nothing happening for ten minutes while remaining completely engrossing... bravado filmmaking. And so many great lines of dialogue.
I started watching it with the commentary track straight after watching it. Can't remember having done that in a long while.

one question though... i know spaghetti westerns are infamous for poorly looped dialogue but on a project of this size and budget surely it was technically possibly to improve on this... so was it intentional? I mean how do you make Robards or Fonda speaking their own lines in english go out of synch? I can understand the dubbed foreign actors being out of time.

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Old 09-01-2004, 17:51   #10
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They should have left the documentary as one long documentary rather than split it up.
Very nice release all the same.
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Bino Cicogna, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone

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