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Austin
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« on: October 06, 2003, 05:52:31 AM »

Can't believe I've only just found this board!! I'm researching a PhD on Leone, so this is pretty damn good  Cheesy

Can anyone help me with a quotation......
I remember reading a comment that OUATIW is "a dime novel penned by Karl Marx". I think that's a very fine piece of concise criticism, but I haven't a clue  who said/wrote it. I don't think it was Leone himself (but I could be wrong). Any ideas?? Huh Huh Huh

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Angel Eyes
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2003, 09:12:21 AM »

if you havent already, check out "Something to do with Death" by Christopher Frayling, that should answer a lot of questions.
Welcome Amigo

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Austin
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2003, 09:25:39 AM »

Cheers for the warm welcome. I read both of Frayling's books cover to cover a couple of years ago, and I think he's actually the one responsible for putting that quotation in my head! I just can't locate it again (or did I dream it?). So yeah you're probably right - it'll be in there somewhere, so i'll dust my copy down when i get home.  Tongue

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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2003, 12:48:14 PM »

dont worry Ancient Race, as soon as the Yanks get out of bed , someone will know.

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Ramon
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2003, 03:14:42 PM »


I could be wrong but I reckon that's more likely to be Karl May, the German author of western short stories. Karl Marx was more likely spending his time writing his theories on international communism at the time.

Can't believe I've only just found this board!! I'm researching a PhD on Leone, so this is pretty damn good  Cheesy

Can anyone help me with a quotation......
I remember reading a comment that OUATIW is "a dime novel penned by Karl Marx". I think that's a very fine piece of concise criticism, but I haven't a clue  who said/wrote it. I don't think it was Leone himself (but I could be wrong). Any ideas?? Huh Huh Huh

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Austin
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2003, 02:16:34 AM »

I've just read my original message again and realised it's a bit ambiguous - I wasn't implying that OUATIW is actually a dime novel penned by Karl Marx (or that Mr. Marx ever troubled himself to write dime novels!). The quotation was merely a critic commenting on the nature of the film (a Marxist revision of a tried and tested formula) in a soundbite.

Still can't find who said it, so it can't be plagiarism when I write it!!! Grin

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Austin
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2003, 08:33:12 AM »

OK I haven't gone schitzophrenic - just playing around with avatars and user names cos i'm new.
I think the critic i was searching for was Andrew Sarris - a critic for whom I have the utmost respect, not least for his far-sighted review of OUATITW way back in 1970:

From review in The Village Voice by Andrew Sarris, August 6, 1970:

Sergio Leone…seems to have improved as he has gone along, and Once Upon a Time in the West I consider his masterpiece even more than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which is actually more efficient if less ambitious. Indeed, after seeing Once Upon a Time in the West once more, I am convinced that Sergio Leone is the only living director who can do justice to the baroque elaboration of revenge and violence in The Godfather.

Once Upon a Time in the West begins with a gunfight at a train station shot as a low angle panorama of western wasteland psychology, and ends after another shoot-out near a railroad in construction with a last shot of a high-angle panorama of a western expansionist history. With authenticated American actors like Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam, and Woody Strode, Once Upon a Time in the West is Leone’s most American western, but it is still dominantly and paradoxically European in spirit, at one and the same time Christian and Marxist, despairing and exultant, nihilistic and regenerative. . . . Once Upon a Time in the West unfolds across the screen in time and in space with all the mellowness and majesty of such great westerns as The Searchers, Rio Bravo, and Seven Men from Now. Especially enjoyable is Ennio Morricone’s extraordinarily melodious score, but at its most melodious it never extends beyond the emotional range of Leone’s editing of eagle-eyes expressions interspersed with a circular orchestration of screen space. . . .

There are a great many reasons why Once Upon a Time in the West should not be a good movie. We have been told that Italians and other furriners [sic] should not meddle in a distinctively American artform. But actually Leone is no further away from the legends of the American West than the Florentine Renaissance painters were from the Crucifixion, and if film is even partly a visual medium, Leone’s vision is as valid as anyone else’s. Indeed, Leone has succeeded in making what is essentially a silent movie with aphoristic titles for dialogue. All the dialogue could be eliminated from the movie, and we would still have been shown all that it is essential to know about the obsessive concerns of the characters. . . . At the core of the confrontation is not the politics of a revisionist genre, but the mythology of a popular parable, and how fitting it is that the aging prairie liberalism of Fonda’s features should be foredoomed by a revenge plot of awesomely Freudian dimensions. Even so, Leone takes no chances with his archetypes.

The gunfights themselves partake of Leone’s penchant for the circular staging of the corrida. At one point Bronson actually extends one foot forward as if to execute an intricate maneuver with a cape, but this is the West, and history comes out of the barrel of a gun, a dynamic truth Leone emphasizes with his intercutting of locomotives thrusting out of cavernous gun barrels. Once Upon a Time in the West is perhaps the exception to the rule that the best films come out of nationally nuanced cinemas without cross-dubbing and international financing. But it is so glorious an exception that the rule can never seem quite so rigid again.

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2003, 05:14:28 PM »

A great review. There was a small booklet/pamphlet that was published sometime in the seventies called the "Film Society Review" that had great reviews of Leone's films also. I'll try and do a search of them.
Thanks Austin

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