Sunday, October 28, 2007

Best of the Westerns

Directed by: Sergio Leone
Starring: Henry Fonda (Frank), Claudia Cardinale (Jill McBain) Jason Robards (Cheyenne) Charles Bronson (Harmonica) Gabriele Ferzetti (Morton (railroad baron))

The ultimate spaghetti western, the best movie made by Sergio Leone, the best example of the genre, barring probably, The Good, The Best and The Ugly that made Clint Eastwood a star - yet you'll need loads of patience to see the film in 2007. One it's too long, two it's too slow and three too unexplainable.
But take heart. Spend a patient half an hour and you are hooked - not because of the story, not because of the ruthless vista where the story is set, but because of the characters, distinctly larger-than-life, in clothes, appearance, movement, and deliciously ambivalent - you neither can take their side not can leave them alone.
A woman with a past, Jill comes to the arid landscape to meet her husband and his family. As she reaches there, the family is killed. Evidence points out that it's the work of Cheyenne's gang. People suspect that Jill's husband must have a lot of money, hence the enmity.
Soon the main characters are introduced: Cheyenne (Jason Robards), the charming bandit who has just run away from the jail, and who claims that he does not have anything to do with the killing of Jill's husband, a nameless harmonica player (Charles Bronson) with an unknown purpose, and Frank (Henry Fonda) who actually killed the man in question because he and his employee wanted the land. They did not actually envisioned the appearance of a woman claim the dead man's property.
Here begins the drama, criss-crossing the lives of three man and one woman.
The bandit becomes protective about the woman, so does harmonica, for a reason of his own - he wants revenge.
Watch out for the final face off between harmonica and Frank, the flirting between Jill and Cheyenne, and the haunting, moody music...
And the languid photography, as if each scene of was masterpiece painting...
The see the film all over again...

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