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Old 09-07-09, 06:26 PM   #1
FRwL
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Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

What i mean by that is does anyone think Sergio Leone was better with the Dollars movies than OUATITW? Once is very technically well made with great visuals by the camera work, editing, and the lavish sets made, but its tone and subject matter isn't that appealing. The "coming of the railroad" subject doesn't really fascinate me as much as the manhunting and treasure hunting aspect of the Dollars movies. As for the tone Once was a bit too serious and ponderous for me, and the dialogue was trying to sound overly important, still though i really liked the whole train shootout sequence. I liked the lighter more pulpy feel of the Dollars movies, not that i dislike seriousness but i do admit i like the more simpler nature of the Dollars movies.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:50 PM   #2
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

I think OUATITW is Leone's masterpiece. I love the casting, locations, camera work... everything is flawless. Bronson is such a master of strong silence, and the reveal of Frank at the end is one of the true great moments in cinema history. I can watch it anytime and it never feels "laggy" or overdone.
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Old 09-07-09, 07:05 PM   #3
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (pre-"restoration") will always be my favorite.

But I understand what FRwl is saying about OUATITW. It's definitely meant to be a more self-conscious "epic" than the "Dollars" films, more of a heartfelt homage to the American western, with Henry freakin' Fonda of all people, John Ford's Wyatt Earp/Colonel Thursday himself. And playing a bad guy! Not to mention Jack Elam, Woody Strode and Keenan Wynn, let alone Bronson and Robards. Still, Leone doesn't miss a thing and hits all the notes right. Sure, it's not as funny or filled with gallows humor as GBU is. Or even FOR A FEW, for that matter. Those are more "fun" films. OUATITW is meant to be a bit more demanding than a spaghetti western, but it's just as rewarding.

I remember seeing it at a neighborhood theater in the Bronx when it came out. It didn't get good reviews and wasn't a big hit at the time. I believe it was considered a flop in the U.S. But it developed a cult following over time.
I was in college when it first played on TV (ABC's Sunday Night at the Movies--pan-and-scan, of course, and interrupted by commercials) and everybody talked about it the next day. At school, at work, at home. My boss at a community program kept recounting Fonda's line, "Well, now that you've called me by name," just before he shoots the McBain boy, disbelieving that Fonda could have played such a character.
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Old 09-07-09, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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I think OUATITW is Leone's masterpiece.
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Old 09-07-09, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

I think Once Upon A Time in The West is the better of Leone's westerns but it's a beast of a film. It's an Opera essentially. Epic, huge, intense etc etc. BUT I think The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the most easily enjoyable one. It has more humor, more relaxed, and fun with it's characters. It doesn't help that when OUATITW came out here in the states it was the cut version, therefore the horrid reviews. NOW we get the original release version and it's a masterpiece. Huge ass difference. Studio wanted a huge western well they got it Leone style. They probably thought it'd be a bigger western in the same vein as his last one. I bet they were surprised when they got the beast that OUATITW was.

Also...my first time with OUATITW was in fall 07. I saw it and I teared up a bit as to how much of a masterpiece it was. I know that's weird but...maybe it's cuz I want to be a director and being a film major just makes me more emotional towards films. My mom saw the intro to Fonda and she was blown away. She had never seen a bad Fonda, just the good. She easily said quickly after his intro..that if there is one man in any film who needed to die..it was Frank. This was only added upon when you see the flashback between Frank and Harmonica.
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Old 09-07-09, 08:34 PM   #6
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

Once is a great movie, and I love the music. I will say I prefer the Dollars movies, but this is a good one.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:46 PM   #7
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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I think OUATITW is Leone's masterpiece.
Not only that...it's the greatest Western ever.
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Old 09-07-09, 10:42 PM   #8
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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Not only that...it's the greatest Western ever.
Very true. I'm glad it got a fucking nice DVD. I mean I like the Eastwood and Wayne westerns but...they are no OUATITW. Not only is it filmed well it has the best music to a western. When Frank hits the screen for the 1st time you just go...oh..oh this motherfucker has to do die. Once that last gunfight comes about..it's just all this hatred and mystery for the 2 characters and BAM you get that flashback of Harmonica's and you're like...that's all I needed to know about Harmonica. This is his reason, it's good enough for me.
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Old 09-07-09, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

I am in the opposite camp, I caught once upon a time in a theater screening and it found it nearly unwatchable. I don't mind slow and meditative but Once Upon a time was such a scattered mess, the pace was unbearable... the characters had no personality... there was nothing there to get me through... once upon a time in america fails similarly for me, but is a little better, but I dont think Leone is that profound. the only thing that worked to me in these movies was Morricone's music which admittedly is so good that I nearly didn't care about their faults.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:06 PM   #10
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

Well it's known that the supposed "real" cut to Leone's OUATIA was like 4 hours. I still feel like in the 2nd act something was missing. Especially that part where he was the cemetary and later bam he's talking to old woman, that his character previously knew, but..it's just an odd transition..I dunno. Leone's daughter said they would release the "original" cut but that hasn't happened yet.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:49 AM   #11
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

The Man with No Name films were great fun whereas I felt like I had to work to enjoy OUATIA. And the harmonica drove me nuts.

One of my favorite things about Leone films is how his films always have some crotchy goofy old man.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:52 AM   #12
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

It's a truly great film that stands the test of time and is better with repeat viewings.

I think it's his best film.
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Old 09-08-09, 08:43 AM   #13
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
It's a truly great film that stands the test of time and is better with repeat viewings.

I think it's his best film.
Agree
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Old 09-08-09, 08:48 AM   #14
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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Agree
ditto...

anyone know what Leone had planned after OUATIA? I've always wondered what he wanted to do after OUATIA. It was his ultimate passion project for sure...but he may had something else planned afterwards.
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Old 09-08-09, 09:07 AM   #15
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
ditto...

anyone know what Leone had planned after OUATIA? I've always wondered what he wanted to do after OUATIA. It was his ultimate passion project for sure...but he may had something else planned afterwards.
I recall that he was planning a WWII epic about Leningrad and the Russians' stand against the Nazis. I don't know how far he got with it.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 09-08-09 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 09-08-09, 09:44 AM   #16
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

oooooh...that would've really fit his style. I wonder if the Russians would speak Russian? Cuz...we know how some WWII russian films are done here in the states.
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Old 09-08-09, 09:53 AM   #17
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

I like Once Upon A Time in the West more than the his other Westerns as well. I love that opening, and just how big overall the film is. Of course The Good the Bad and the Ugly is a classic as well, but their approaches are different and I like them for different reasons.
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Old 09-08-09, 11:53 AM   #18
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

As far as audio & visuals go, Once/West is definetly one of the most greatest achievements in that sense, but like Dr. DVD, the Dollars trilogy (As well as "Duck You Sucker") just seems to get the most replay value out of me.
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Old 09-08-09, 01:27 PM   #19
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

ONCE is epic, but it's boring. Maybe if Clint was in it instead of Bronson.
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Old 09-08-09, 01:39 PM   #20
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

I'm a huge fan of Once Upon A Time In The West and think it's definitely one of the greatest movies (and greatest Westerns) ever made. And I think OUATITW has a virtually flawless beginning and ending, but I do think it meanders a lot in the middle, particularly with the "auctioning off the property" scenes. Those scenes are a bit of a mess and it's not even very clear who actually owns the property at the end of that (the best I can figure is The Man, aka Harmonica, owns the property after the auction, but then apparently lets Jill McBain live there and pretend that she still owns it). And Jill's reasons for first wanting to sell the property but then doing a 180 and wanting to stay on and live there are never remotely explained.

If not for the meandering middle, I might rank OUATITW higher than The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, but due to that fairly major flaw (IMO), I rank TGTB&TU higher (and pick that as my choice for the greatest Western ever made).
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Old 09-08-09, 02:25 PM   #21
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Re: Once Upon A Time in the West compared to Leone's other westerns

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ONCE is epic, but it's boring. Maybe if Clint was in it instead of Bronson.
Funny, but that's the way I felt about ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. "If only Clint and Van Cleef and Bronson and Eli Wallach and Claudia Cardinale were in this!" Frankly, I thought the child actors in OUATIA were much better in their roles than the adults were. Actually, the best casting would have been if OUATIA had been made in 1947, and it starred Kirk Douglas and John Garfield--at that time--in the lead roles played by James Woods and Robert De Niro. We can dream, can't we?
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