Friday, June 4

Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West) (1968) - Italian CVC/UniVideo DVD

I know, not the usual fare for BoGD, but it's a western I adore. You could argue that it's not "pure" being an epic amalgamation of nods to classic American westerns Leone loved, but this is one hell of a film regardless of its influences or genre. In terms of performances and scale, this is Leone's greatest western. I prefer the grittiness of his Dollars trilogy, but Once Upon a Time... feels vastly more "realistic" and sweeping. I love the notion of Bronson's Harmonica being an archangel sent to protect Jill. The character can't die, wears the colors of a savior, always appears to be in the right place at the right time, and simply disappears off into the West. They certainly don't make 'em like this anymore. Even when James Cameron pours a decade of work and hundreds of millions into a green screen...

It's a film that played for months on end in France, sparked a duster fashion trend in that country, and made Charles Bronson an icon in Japan. Of course, the original American theatrical release was truncated and failed to find success at the box office. Also check out 1973's My Name is Nobody (Il mio nome è Nessuno); a great sister film to Leone's masterpiece also about the death of the West only set in a later period. This Italian DVD runs about seven minutes longer than Paramount's DVDs (see this write-up on the differences I wrote for DVDBeaver). Although anamorphic, the only audio option is an Italian dub. Certain sequences, like the McBain family massacre, are interlaced. Detail is weaker than the Paramount disc, but the color is more appropriately "dusty" by comparison.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite movies of all time. I didn't know anything was cut from the Paramount release so I'll have to seek out this one. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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