4 Shots From 4 Films In Honor Of Sergio Leone’s Birthday


Sergio Leone (1929 — 1989)

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

91 years ago today, Sergio Leone was born in Rome.  He went to school with future composer and collaborator, Ennio Morricone.  He saw, first hand, the horrors of living under an authoritarian regime and, though it wasn’t always appreciated at the time, all of his film had an anti-fascist political subtext that was informed by growing up under Mussolini.  He went to college to be a lawyer but quickly dropped out and instead, at the age of 18, started a long apprenticeship in the Italian film industry.  He started his career by working as an assistant to Vittorio De Sica on Bicycle Thieves, which is a pretty good way to start things.  Eventually, he went on to become one of the most influential directors of all time.

Taking into mind just how influential his work would be, it’s can be easy to forget that Leone is only credited with having directed 7 films and the majority of those films were not immediately embraced.  (Though it’s generally agreed that Leone was, for all intents and purposes, the co-director of My Name Is Nobody, he was only officially credited with coming up with the film’s story.)  In the 60s, highbrow critics turned their noses up at his spaghetti westerns, even while audiences ate them up and made Clint Eastwood into a film star.  (Eastwood would later dedicate his Oscar-winning Unforgiven to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.)  The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West are now recognized as two of the greatest westerns ever made but, at the time they were released, they were criticized for being too long and (oddly enough) thematically shallow.  Leone even had to suffer that indignity of having his final (and, in my opinion, best) film, Once Upon A Time In America, edited down by a studio that cared little about the intricate structure that Leone had crafted for his tale of greed, crime, and redemption in America.

Leone died when he was only 60, felled by a heart attack.  However, his legacy remains alive, as his films continue to inspire directors and writers and other film lovers to this day.  His two greatest films — Once Upon A Time In The West and Once Upon A Time In America — have been rediscovered and rescued from the studio hacs who previously served him so badly.  Just last year, Quentin Tarantino paid tribute to Leone with the title of his best film-to-date, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

On this day, we honor the legacy of a cinematic great.

4 Shots From 4 Sergio Leone Films

A Fistful of Dollar (1964, dir by Sergio Leone, DP: Massimo Dallamano)

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966, dir by Sergio Leone, DP; Tonino Delli Colli)

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968, dir by Sergio Leone, DP: Tonino Delli Colli)

Once Upon A Time In America (1984, dir by Serigo Leone, DP: Tonino Delli Colli)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special James Coburn Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Whether he was appearing in a western, a spy film, a war film, a comedy, or a dark drama, James Coburn was one of the coolest and most underapperciated actors around.  He made bad films tolerable and good films even better.  Regardless of the role, Coburn brought his own unique style to each and every performance.  He was born 92 years ago today in Nebraska so here are just four of the films from his legendary career.

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Magnificent Seven (1960, directed by John Sturges)

In Like Flint (1967, directed by Gordon Douglas)

A Fistful of Dynamite (1971, directed by Sergio Leone)

Affliction (1998, directed by Paul Schrader)

Song of the Day: Gui La Testa by Ennio Morricone


Today’s song of the day comes from Ennio Morricone’s score for Sergio Leone’s 1971 film, Duck, You Sucker!  Also known as A Fistful of Dynamite, this is probably Leone’s most underrated film and Morricone’s excellent score seems to be a bit underrated as well.

Though it may have been dismissed when originally released, many critics have recently discovered that the film actually holds up surprisingly well.  So does Morricone’s score.

From Duck, You Sucker!:

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)
  19. My Name Is Nobody (My Name Is Nobody)
  20. Piume di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage)
  21. For Love One Can Die (D’amore si muore)
  22. Chi Mai (various)
  23. La Resa (The Big Gundown)
  24. Main Title Theme (Red Sonja)
  25. The Main Theme From The Cat O’Nine Tails (The Cat O’Nine Tails)
  26. Deep Down (Danger Diabolik!)
  27. Main Theme From Autopsy (Autopsy)
  28. Main Theme From Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) 
  29. Main Theme From A Fistful of Dollars (A Fistful of Dollars)
  30. Main Theme From For A Few Dollars More (For A Few Dollars More)

Song of the Day: The Main Theme From For A Few Dollars More by Ennio Morricone


Continuing our tribute to Ennio Morricone, today’s song of the day is the main theme from 1965’s For A Few Dollars More.  If Sergio Leone’s version of the old west was as a mythological landscape, Morricone’s music was always the perfect soundtrack.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)
  19. My Name Is Nobody (My Name Is Nobody)
  20. Piume di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage)
  21. For Love One Can Die (D’amore si muore)
  22. Chi Mai (various)
  23. La Resa (The Big Gundown)
  24. Main Title Theme (Red Sonja)
  25. The Main Theme From The Cat O’Nine Tails (The Cat O’Nine Tails)
  26. Deep Down (Danger Diabolik!)
  27. Main Theme From Autopsy (Autopsy)
  28. Main Theme From Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) 
  29. Main Theme From A Fistful of Dollars (A Fistful of Dollars)

Song of the Day: The Main Theme From A Fistful of Dollars by Ennio Morricone


Our tribute to Ennio Morricone will be coming to a close at the end of this week.  We’ve shared a lot of unforgettable music from Morricone and hopefully, we’ve encouraged you to track down a few of the films that he scored.  Obviously, there’s no way that we could do a tribute to Morricone without including the main theme from Sergio Leone’s first Spaghetti western, A Fistful of Dollars.

Though it may not be as well known as Morricone’s scores for The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West, it’s just as epic.  The real old west may not have featured Morricone’s music playing in the background but it definitely should have.

Here is the main theme from A Fistful of Dollars!

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)
  19. My Name Is Nobody (My Name Is Nobody)
  20. Piume di Cristallo (The Bird With The Crystal Plumage)
  21. For Love One Can Die (D’amore si muore)
  22. Chi Mai (various)
  23. La Resa (The Big Gundown)
  24. Main Title Theme (Red Sonja)
  25. The Main Theme From The Cat O’Nine Tails (The Cat O’Nine Tails)
  26. Deep Down (Danger Diabolik!)
  27. Main Theme From Autopsy (Autopsy)
  28. Main Theme From Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion) 

Song of the Day: My Name Is Nobody by Ennio Morricone


My Name Is Nobody (1973, dir by Tonino Valerii)

Today’s song of the day comes from Ennio Morricone’s score for the 1973 Italian comedic western, My Name Is Nobody.  Though Sergio Leone is only credited as having produced the film, most sources seem to agree that he pretty much directed it as well.  As such, it’s certainly appropriate that My Name Is Nobody would have a classic Morricone score.

As befits the film, Morricone’s music is notably light-hearted, especially when compared to some of his other work.  With this score, I think we get to hear Morricone having a bit of fun.

From Ennio Morricone, here’s My Name Is Nobody, from the soundtrack of the movie with the same name.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)
  14. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)
  15. Theme From Frantic (Frantic)
  16. La Lucertola (Lizard In A Woman’s Skin)
  17. Spasmodicamente (Spasmo)
  18. The Theme From The Stendhal Syndrome (The Stendhal Syndrome)

Song of the Day: The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly by Ennio Morricone


You knew this one was coming, right?  Seriously, no tribute to Ennio Morricone is complete without the main theme from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Morricone’s score is as much of a character in this film as the ones played by Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef.  It perfectly sets the moods, telling us that we’re about to see something that is truly epic.  The opening notes, which have so often been parodied but which have never lost their power, truly capture the feel of Sergio Leone’s mythical vision of the old west.

So, without further rambling from me, here it is:

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)

Song of the Day: The Ecstasy of Gold by Ennio Morricone


Today’s song of the day comes to us from the classic score that Ennio Morricone wrote for Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly!  When we started our tribute to Morricone, there was no doubt that we would eventually include at least a few songs from this film’s soundtrack.  Today, we share The Ecstasy of Gold, which plays in the background of one of the greatest scenes in the history of cinema.  It’s hard to listen to this without thinking about Eli Wallach (as Tuco) joyfully running through that cemetery.

Here is The Ecstasy of Gold:

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)

 

Song of the Day: Man With A Harmonica by Ennio Morricone


Once Upon A Time In the West (dir. by Sergio Leone)

For the first week of our tribute to Morricone, I kind of shied away from his best-known spaghetti western themes, just because I wanted to highlight some of his other films.  I wanted to remind people that Morricone’s genius wasn’t just limited to his work with Sergio Leone or the western genre.

That said, there’s a reason why Morricone’s western themes have become classics and that’s because they’re really, really good.  They capture the grandeur of both Leone’s visuals and his themes.  For all the credit that rightfully goes to Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Charles Bronson, the music of Ennio Morricone is one of the main reasons why we remember films like Once Upon A Time In The West and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly while forgetting about certain other westerns that were being made in Europe at the same time.  In Leone’s films, Morricone’s music is just as much of a character as The Man With No Name.

So, any tribute to Morricone has to include the music that he composed for Leone.  Therefore, today’s song of the day is a familiar one but a great one.  Here is Man With A Harmonica from 1969’s Once Upon A Time In The West:

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)

 

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Clint Eastwood Edition


Clint Eastwood in Revenge of the Creature (1955)

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is Clint Eastwood’s 90th birthday!

Though Clint famously had to go to Italy to really get his film career going, he’s gone on to become an icon of American film.  While his early films were often criticized as glorifying violence and of being reactionary, his later films have — more often than not — been meditations on aging, moral ambiguity, and what a lifetime of violence does to a person’s soul.  Though Eastwood has fallen out-of-favor with a few critics as a result of the speech he gave at the 2012 Republican Convention (Film Twitter, to the shock of no one, had a particularly over-the-top reaction to it as many of them discovered, I guess for the first time, that not every artist is a Leftist), he’s a filmmaker whose legacy will be rediscovered and probably appreciated in the future.

Here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

For A Few Dollars More (1965, dir by Sergio Leone)

Dirty Harry (1971, dir by Don Siegel)

Unforgiven (1992, dir by Clint Eastwood)

Gran Torino (2008, dir by Clint Eastwood)