A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE
What are Spaghetti Westerns?
Between 1960 and 1975, European film production companies made nearly 600 Westerns. Critics either blasted or ignored these films, and because most of them were financed by Italian companies, they called them Spaghetti Westerns.
Originally these films had in common the Italian language, low budgets, and a recognizable highly fluid, violent, and minimalist cinematography that broke many of the conventions of earlier Westerns — partly intentionally, partly as a result of the work being done in a different cultural background and with limited funds. The term was originally used disparagingly, but by the 1980s many of these films came to be held in high regard, particularly because it was hard to ignore the influence they had in redefining the entire idea of a western. Most traditional Westerns have clearly defined lines separating heroes from villains; only in Spaghetti Westerns do both sides begin to stray into the gray areas in between.
Leone came from a family with roots deep in the Italian film industry. His mother, Edvige Valcarenghi (stage name Bice Walerian), was a silent movie actress who gave up her profession when she married Vincenzo Leone in 1916. Vincenzo (stage name Roberto Roberti) directed and acted in films during the silent era, but for reasons that are not entirely clear he was prevented from working during the 1930s by Italy's Fascist regime. Vincenzo tried to discourage his son from entering the world of cinema, and Sergio briefly studied law before working as an unpaid fifth assistant on Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief in 1948.
Leone's first directorial effort came in 1959, when he stepped in to finish The Last Days of Pompeii for his aging mentor Mario Bonnard. He directed only seven films, his most famous being the three of the "Dollars trilogy".
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Duck, You Sucker (A Fistful of Dynamite) (1971)
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