Scene That I Love: Lee Van Cleef Meets Klaus Kinski in For A Few Dollars More


In 1925, on this very date, Lee Van Cleef was born in Somervillve, New Jersey.  In honor of what would have been Lee Van Cleef’s 97th birthday, here he is with Klaus Kinski and Clint Eastwood in For A Few Dollars More.

There’s not a lot of dialogue in this scene but when you had actors like Eastwood, Kinski, and Lee Van Cleef, you didn’t need a lot of dialogue to make an impression.

Scenes That I Love: The Ending of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In America


(SPOILERS BELOW)

The final moments of Sergio Leone’s epic 1984 gangster film, Once Upon A Time in America, are filed with questions and mysteries.

In 1968, who did Noodles (played by Robert De Niro) see standing outside of Max’s mansion?  When the garbage truck pulled up, did the mysterious man get in the truck or was he thrown in by some unseen force?

Why, in 1968, did Noodles see a car from the 1920s, one that was full of people who appeared to be celebrating the end of prohibition?  Was the car really there, in 1968, or was it an element of Noodles’s past as a gangster suddenly popping into his mind?

When we then see a young Noodles in an opium den, are we flashing back to the 1920s?  Is Noodles remembering the past or is it possible that we’ve been in the 20s the whole time and all of the scenes set in 1968 were actually only a drug-induced dream?

Why, with men looking to kill him and all of his friends apparently dead, does Noodles suddenly smile at the end of the film?  Is that sudden smile a result of the drugs or is there something else going on?

Once Upon A Time In America was Sergio Leone’s final film.  It’s one that he spent decades trying to get made and, once it was finally produced, it was butchered and re-edited by a studio hacks who demanded that the film tell its story in a linear style.  Leone was reportedly heart-broken by how his film was treated.  Some have speculated that his disappointment may have even contributed to the heart attack that eventually killed him.  It was only after Leone passed that his version of Once Upon A Time In America became widely available in the U.S.  This enigmatic epic continues to spark debate.  One thing that can’t be denied is that it’s a brilliant film.

As today is Leone’s birthday, it only seems appropriate to share a scene that I love, the ending of Once Upon A Time In America.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Sergio Leone Edition


Sergio Leone (1929 — 1989)

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More 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!

93 years ago today, Sergio Leone was born in Rome, Italy.  The son of actor/screenwriter Vincenzo Leone and silent actress Edvige Valcarenghi, Sergio was born into the Italian film industry.  He began his career in the post-war rebuilding period, working as an assistant to Vittorio De Sica and, as an assistant director, for American films that were shot in Italy.  (Albeit uncredited, he worked on two Oscar-nominated Biblical epics, Quo Vadis and Ben-Hur.)

After making his directorial debut with The Colossus of Rhodes, Leone went on to direct the films that would change the face of international cinema.  Though he was hardly the first director of Spaghetti westerns, he was was the first to achieve far-reaching acclaim.  With the Dollars Trilogy, he made Clint Eastwood a star and Eastwood has often said that the majority of what he knows about directing, he learned from working with Leone and later Don Siegel.  Leone went on to direct the brilliant Once Upon A Time In The West and Once Upon A Time in America, two epic visions of American history that, sadly, were not initially treated well by their distributors.

Though Leone is only credited with directing eight films, his influence cannot be underestimated.  As both a visual artist and a cultural and political commentator, his films continue to influence directors to this day.

For that reason, it’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 Sergio Leone Films

For A Few Dollars More (1965, 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 Sergio Leone, DP: Tonino Delli Colli)

 

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)