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C'era Una Volta il West

Sergio Leone | 1968 | 165 MINS
Italy / USA
Sergio Leone’s masterly 1968 western is selected to show how perhaps this is Ennio Morricone’s greatest score – a truly “operatic” score.

In Detail

The story centres on a beautiful former prostitute called Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) who arrives to assume the role of wife to a stubborn, crazy, red-headed Irishman with a dream. Waiting, instead is tragedy and 'Mr.

Morton' who is a powerful, but ailing land grabbing baron (Gabriele Ferzetti, who also appears in Antonioni’s ‘L’Avventura’ showing on Sun 21 Aug 10:00) who desires to crush everything and everyone who stands in his way to reach the Pacific Ocean with his railroad. To help him is an equally ruthless gunfighter named Frank (Henry Fonda); the success of this movie owes much to Fonda who plays a very convincing heavy in Leone's masterpiece.

Leone pulls together all the themes, characterizations, visuals, humour, and musical experiments of the three 'Dollars' films and comes up with a true epic western. It is a stunning, operatic film of breadth, detail, and stature that deserves to be considered among the greatest westerns ever made. As in Leone's previous films, music isn't just used to add to the atmosphere, but is essential to the story, or perhaps even more: Morricone's main musical theme plays the actual role of a (or rather: the) protagonist in the film.

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