In the early 1960s, an unknown Italian film director named Sergio Leone was given USD200,000 and leftover film stock, and told to make a Western. With a script based on a Samurai epic, an American TV actor called Clint Eastwood, music composer Ennio Morricone and cameraman Massimo Dallamano, Leone was expected to make what was essentially a throwaway film. What he ended up with was A Fistful of Dollars, the first in a trilogy that came to define the Spaghetti Western. The films that complete the trilogy, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, are, like the first film, violent, cynical and visually stunning. This examination of Leone and the Italian Western contains an authoritative text written by film expert and cultural historian Christopher Frayling. It also includes interviews with Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Sergio Leone, Rod Steiger, Ennio Morricone, James Coburn, Lee Van Cleef, Peter Bogdanovich, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale, as well as writings by Sergio Leone on film. The text is accompanied by a wealth of visual material, including production stills, lobby cards, pictorial source sketches, costume and set designs, Italian release posters and photographs of original props.
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Historian, critic and broadcaster Sir Christopher Frayling has been Rector at London's Royal College of Art since 1996, and a Professor of Cultural History for more than twenty years.From Library Journal:
Sergio Leone is identified with spaghetti WesternsDviolent, visually imaginative Sixties and Seventies films that exploded the clich s of the Hollywood Western. Leone brought stardom to TV actor Clint Eastwood, who was cast as an antihero alien to Westerns and who admitted that Leone "really doesn't know anything about the West." Instead, the director's West existed as a sort of fever dream, and his tales, the author notes, were "fairy-tales for grown-ups." In the first detailed study of this original director, Frayling (Spaghetti Westerns) explores Leone's years of apprenticeship on American films shot in Italy, such as Ben Hur and sword-and-sandal epics like Colossus of Rhodes, which refined Leone's distinctive visual storytelling style. His imagination, however, was fired by the classic Westerns of John Ford. Frayling discusses the director's offbeat humor and considers the charges of misogyny and excessive violence without defending him. These features were evident in Leone's last film, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), an all-star gangster saga that confounded critics and admirers. This informative look at an underappreciated director should spark reappraisals of his work. Recommended for all film collections.DStephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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