Thursday, 13 May 2010
Once Upon A Time in the West 
Once Upon A Time in the West has been called by many as Sergio Leone’s greatest masterpiece. Though I wouldn’t go that far (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly still remains my favourite), I must however concede that this would rank among his most ambitious ventures. Like Once Upon A Time in America, this too is appropriately named as it chronicles the demise of the West and forms a love letter to the iconic American frontier. When a family residing in the ironically named locale called Sweet Water is brutally slain by the vicious Frank (played brilliantly against his type by Henry Fonda) and his gang, an enigmatic loner forever playing an eerie tone on his harmonica and an unstoppable gunfighter (Charles Bronson) and an oddball but equally capable outlaw (Jason Robards) take it upon themselves to protect the newly arrived bride (Claudia Cardinale) of the dead head of the family and her piece of land. Virtually given a carte blanche by the producers, Leone turned the elegiac film into mythic proportions. As with all his films, the harsh and unforgiving landscapes have been majestically captured, the Ennio Moricone score, though not his best, nonetheless elevated the epic to the next level, and the languorous pacing helps the film to grow on the viewers. Arguably the most fascinating part of the film, though, is the elaborate and the absolutely riveting opening sequence.
Director: Sergio Leone
Genre: Western/Spaghetti Western/Revisionist Wester