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Once Upon a Time in the West [RSC Film Club 27]


LimeGreenLegend

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LimeGreenLegend

The category for this month's selection was the Sight and Sound director's poll of the 100 greatest film of all time.  The winning film, chosen by @djw180 and @omarcomin71 placed at number 44 in the last poll from 2012 (the poll is conducted every ten years), Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West.

Image result for once upon a time in the west poster

This was the first film he made after the incredible The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the last part of the Dollars trilogy, with this film being the first part of it's own trilogy of loosely connected films, the Once Upon a Time trilogy.  I haven't seen any films from that trilogy so I'll leave it up to Sight and Sound to give a brief introduction and overview of this film.

“Stunningly summarizing the formal and thematic preoccupations of his early work, Leone created a very personal fresco of surpassing scope and grandeur.”
Richard Corliss, Cinema: A Critical Dictionary, 1980

Sergio Leone brought international renown to Italian spaghetti westerns with his violent ‘Dollars’ trilogy. Written in collaboration with Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, his next film was an epic compendium of borrowed situations from the cowboy films he loved.

Beginning with a bravura, drawn-out prologue in which gunmen await the arrival of the noon train, Once upon a Time is a story of the ruthless advance of the railroad and of the dangerous men, including the mysterious Harmonica (Charles Bronson), caught up in the struggle for power.

Slow, tense showdown sequences are made electrifying by Leone’s distended widescreen compositions and Ennio Morricone’s score, which favours each of the protagonists with their own motif. Henry Fonda plays against type as the rail company’s sadistic gun-for-hire.

I'm incredibly excited to check this out as I'm a huge fan of Leone's other films, and a lot of people call this the best film he ever made.

I like my water fresh

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djw180

This arrived today. Thought it was just a standard 2nd hand DVD I'd ordered. Actually a bit more and in very good condition.

Not bad for £3.11 including delivery!

si879pG.jpg

 

 

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LimeGreenLegend

Nice one @djw180!  I keep considering getting into blu ray collecting but I have nothing to play them on, plus there’ll just be a new, better format in a few years.

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Con
On 2/12/2021 at 1:32 PM, djw180 said:

This arrived today. Thought it was just a standard 2nd hand DVD I'd ordered. Actually a bit more and in very good condition.

Not bad for £3.11 including delivery!

si879pG.jpg

 

 

That’s pretty f*cking sweet, mate! Nice find! 

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Con
On 2/12/2021 at 1:52 PM, LimeGreenLegend said:

Nice one @djw180!  I keep considering getting into blu ray collecting but I have nothing to play them on, plus there’ll just be a new, better format in a few years.

Yes. So not bragging cause that’s not what I’m about, but I do own about 1K DVDs and only 10-15 Blu Rays. I was collecting DVDs when the Blue Ray vs HD DVD war was just getting started, so with some trepidation I chose Blu Rays but held off on buying all my faves and only bought stuff I really had to have and by the time Blue Ray was the clear winner, my father in law got sick with the dementia and that was it for my DVD collecting. I think Slumdog Millionaire might have been the last Blu ray I bought. I look at all the DVDs today and laugh that in another 5-10 years and two more pandemics, everything will be digital, even our f*cking food. 

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Sinister
On 2/12/2021 at 1:52 PM, LimeGreenLegend said:

Nice one @djw180!  I keep considering getting into blu ray collecting but I have nothing to play them on, plus there’ll just be a new, better format in a few years.

We already have a new format. Nothing.  Just like video games and music. It will never be replaced by anything. 

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Sinister
3 hours ago, Con said:

Yes. So not bragging cause that’s not what I’m about, but I do own about 1K DVDs and only 10-15 Blu Rays. I was collecting DVDs when the Blue Ray vs HD DVD war was just getting started, so with some trepidation I chose Blu Rays but held off on buying all my faves and only bought stuff I really had to have and by the time Blue Ray was the clear winner, my father in law got sick with the dementia and that was it for my DVD collecting. I think Slumdog Millionaire might have been the last Blu ray I bought. I look at all the DVDs today and laugh that in another 5-10 years and two more pandemics, everything will be digital, even our f*cking food. 

Got rid of all of our DVDs and ways to play them. Still have the blu ray discs for some reason even though we can’t play them. 
 

Since I use Spotify now I’ve been wondering why that giant collection of CDs is still in the living room collecting dust. 

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doubleg213

Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone, as a combo. You really can't go wrong. Haven't watched it for quite a while, but for the opening scene alone it's a 10/10. 

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djw180

A true masterpiece, well deserved of it's place in that top 100 list. Fantastic cast; the main actors, Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Jason Robards all great. Brilliantly directed by Sergio Leone and of course, with an absolutely stunning score from Enio Moricone.

 

I thought I must have seen this before, but I didn't remember any of it. Maybe I have seen it before but so long ago I've forgot. It's very different to other westerns I've seen, not really that many gun fights and a female lead is fairly unusual for the genre. I love slow the pace of the story, how at times there is no dialogue, we just watch what happens. There's some great pieces of cinematography where the camera is just focussed close up on a face. The best scene for me, and I'm sure if you've read my other reviews here and know how much I love Enio Morricone's music this will be no surprise, is towards the start when Jill McBain has just arrived in Flagstone and is being driven to her new family's ranch. Hardly a word is spoken, it's just accompanied by that haunting piece of music, that is sung but has no actual words and that gets reprised frequently throughout the film.

 

 

10/10 of course.

 

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Smurf

This was a wonderful film to watch as it was pieced together carefully, but there was one thing that irked me & that thing was the loud whistles from the train I wished they edited that to a lower volume. With that out the way the actors & actress delivered on their respective rolls, what issues are even there to critique?  Some of the camera angles are unique & whether there is dialogue or not not it keeps you locked in as your expecting some type of end reward, continued build up to a climax, conclusion or setback as it actually takes you on a journey with the characters arch.

When Harmonica told the three guys they brought two horses too many after exiting the train on the other side was a good pay off for enduring such a long scene I knew it was the start of a beautiful film. The Bar scene where Cheyenne was introduced was epic, the shootout was heard not seen then he walked in ordered a jug & as he lifted the jug to take a drink you saw the baclets implying his very recent escape from the law & his interaction with Harmonica there was a genius level dialogue. The only filler moment I saw was during the auction it cut to the train where Morton asked to join a card game. The theme instrumental was hands down legendary to put it simply, there are a lot of jems that comes out naturally I would recommend this to anyone thats looking for a western as its a top tier Western.

(The guy that got his @$$ kicked off the train must be the actor Black Jack dad they look alike to me) 

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