WAINAO N°34 - FEW NOTES FOR A VENGEANCE
WHY NOW? BECAUSE THIS MOVIE, IS THE GREATEST WESTERN EVER BUT....IT'S ALSO MAYBE THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER.
from The music..to the fact that a notorious awesome action play the bad guy, long sequences....just extraordinary.
Sergio leone and ennio morricone just offered a masterpiece to the world.
"The script is brilliant, the actors fantastic, the director is a legend but... .... the star is this little harmonica."
“ Sergio LEONE did not change the way we make westerns...he changed the way we make movies. ”
August, 27th 1969: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, one of the most influential western of all time, is released.
Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 epic Spaghetti Western film co-written and directed by Sergio Leone. Starring Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Claudia Cardinale. Considered as the greatest western o all time. The film is about a fierce struggle for the acquisition of a property on land near Flagstone. Owner Peter McBain, Widowed, bought this landfor his him and his three chlidren because it contains the only source in the area. He foresaw that when the railway line would reach it, it would have to go through this property to supply water to its steam locomotives. Indeed, the railway line of the tycoon Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) must go through Sweetwater. Morton sends his executioner Frank (Henry Fonda) to intimidate McBain. But Frank and his accomplices kill McBain and his three children. They charge the murder Cheyenne and his gang.Jill (Claudia Cardinale), a former prostitute whom McBain married in New Orleans, arrives in Flagstone and discovers the whole family massacred and finds himself heiress of the property. two men sent by Frank to kill Jill are shot by a man known only under the name of the man on the harmonica. Harmonica meets Cheyenne, who has just escaped from prison. The two men will maintain a form of sympathy at a distance. Arrived at Sweetwater, He tells Cheyenne that Jill will lose his rights to Sweetwater if, at a minimum, the station is not built when the train arrives. Things get interesting when Frank kidnaps Jill and forces her to sell him the property at low prices at auction by intimidating other buyers But …..Harmonica makes a much higher offer. These two men will compete in a duel in Sweetwater. It’s only at this moment, that Harmonica's motive for revenge will be revealed in a flashback.
The casting in Once Upon a Time in the West is remarkable. The good, bad, and the ugly relive. Bronson is the good, Fonda is the bad, and Robards is the ugly. Claudia Cardinale - although Sophia Loren was Leone's first choice - has a special and stunning beauty. The Italian-Tunisian bombshell was compared with Bardot, called “‘Italy’s happiest invention. Threatened on all sides and seemingly helpless to the vagaries of the violent men around her, Cardinale’s woman refuses to be cowed. She bravely defends her late husband’s property.
Leone originally offered the role of Harmonica to Clint Eastwood; when he turned it down, Leone hired Charles Bronson who could have played the Man with No Name in A Fistful of Dollars.
Leone offered the role of Franck to henry Fonda who did not accept Leone's first offer to play Frank, so Leone flew to New York to convince him. After calling his friend Eli Wallach, who had co-starred in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Fonda accepted the role, Fonda came to the set with brown contacts and facial hair. Fonda felt having dark eyes and facial hair would blend well with his character's evil and also help the audience to accept this "new" Fonda as the bad guy, but Leone immediately told him to remove the contacts and facial hair. Leone felt that Fonda's blue eyes best reflected the cold, icy nature of the killer. It was one of the first times in a Western film where the villain would be played by a handsome lead actor.
The music was written by composer Ennio Morricone, Leone's regular collaborator, who wrote the score under Leone's direction before filming began. As in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the haunting music contributes to the film's grandeur and, like the music for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, is considered one of Morricone's greatest compositions. Ennio Morricone’s mesmerizing music deserves to be praised. . Based on the script, the distinguished composer has written a distinct theme for each of the four main characters, such as tuneless harmonica for Bronson, electric guitar for Fonda, banjo for Robards, and lush, romantic music for Cardinale). Reportedly, Leone was so impressed that he asked his cast to adapt their specific acting, emotional conduct, and body rhythms to the score.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is released on August, 27th 1969. When it was first released many viewers thought it was self-indulgent, tedious, and overlong. The truncated release - more than 20 minutes were trimmed from the original European release - bombed at the box office in the USA. But the passage of time allows us to realize its depths - if we want to. Once Upon a Time in the West may be the most mythical of westerns. It's about a passing time, and an approaching one. But that passage is not just conventional; it has artistic vision. Leone's ultimate Western is this classic operatic elegy for the dying genre - a perfect masterclass of cinema with unforgettable scenes from beginning to end, memorable dialogue, an evocative use of silence, outstanding performances and a wonderful score
Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" is a painstaking distillation of the style he made famous in the original three Clint Eastwood Westerns. There's the same eerie music; the same sweaty, ugly faces; the same rhythm of waiting and violence; the same attention to small details of Western life. You can see that the budget is bigger.
The opening sequence is an example of Leone’s slow pacing and meticulous mise-en-scene. At over ten minutes in length, the nearly silent opening sequence centers on three gunslingers — and their arrival at Cattle Corner, an isolated train station somewhere in the Old West. Their purpose is a mystery, but their rough treatment of the locals and general demeanor speak volumes: they’re waiting for someone.
The movie is so great that we say today: Once upon a time...ONCE UPON A TIME !
To know more about the subject:
Top 10 movie westerns". The Guardian. 2013. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
Ebert, Roger (6 June 1969). "Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2 September 2018. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
Corliss, Richard (25 April 2007). "Top 25 Greatest Villains - Henry Fonda as Frank". Time. Time Inc. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
Charles Leinberger (1 September 2004). Ennio Morricone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: A Film Score Guide. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5132-0. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
Patterson, John. "Once Upon a Time in the West: No 3 best action and war film of all time". thequardian.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
The lasting legacy of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly". BBC. February 10, 2016. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
A classic immigrant success story - Charles Bronson". The Lithuania Tribune. January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
Kevin Sweeney (1992). Henry Fonda: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group