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Author Topic: Once Upon A Time In the West review  (Read 12722 times)
Mystic_And_Severe
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« on: July 25, 2007, 12:18:00 AM »

Long on looks and short on sense, Sergio Leone's celebrated spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West is a remarkable achievement of cinematography but comes across today as a more muddled story than ever.

Conceived and roughed together by Italian directors Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Leone, the guts of West are some of the least likely of his films. The story concerns a woman (Claudia Cardinale, who spends the entire movie clenching her teeth) whose husband and family are murdered, leaving her with a valuable plot of land. This land has the eye of one Frank (Henry Fonda in his biggest villain role ever), and he's determined to be rid of the woman in order to get it. A half-Mexican named Cheyenne (Jason Robards) ends up accused of the murders, and a nameless bounty hunter (sound familiar?) who's known due to his harmonica playing by the name Harmonica (Charles Bronson) inserts himself into the mix. The film culminates with Harmonica turning in Cheyenne for the reward money, then using that money to outbid Frank at the public auction of the land... and then of course there's a showdown to be had.

Set aside the idea of Fonda playing a villain and Robards playing a Mexican -- the biggest huh? in the film is that a brutal killer will do anything in his power to get his hands on some real estate. It ain't quite a fistful of dollars that we're dealing with.

Bronson is good but hardly Eastwood-caliber as the quiet man with an agenda all his own (and in fact Eastwood was originally desired for the part), but it's still one of the greatest film roles of his career. Watching Fonda play the bad guy -- and he's more than just the man in black, he's literally covered in what looks like tar for the entire picture -- is a little too weird to work for the nearly three hours of the film. We never quite get into his character, and Robards is written too thinly to ever make much of an impact.

Rather, what really makes West a minor classic next to some of Leone's bigger and better flicks is its masterful use of ultra-widescreen cinematography and the absolutely glorious setups Leone manages to come up with. He cuts from a majestic scene of the desert to a closeup of Bronson to a tensely-paced gun battle to the invariable shot of Cardinale's teeth. When West is jumping, it's impossible to turn away. But when it's trying to coax another hour out of its threadbare and implausible plot, the eyes begin to wander. Or roll.

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Whalestoe
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 02:22:50 AM »

Although I completely disagree with everything in this review...  Afro for trying?

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poderator
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 03:11:18 AM »

Nice trolling! But first, before writing a review you should set your facts straight.
First of all Harmonica is not  bounty hunter, in fact you made this thing up, it is NEVER mentined in this movie whatsoever. He is after Frank, because of revenge, not money.
Clint Eastwood has never suppose to play main character in this movie. Sergio wanted him, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Walach to play the three gunmens at the begining of the movie. Clint refused this offer.
West as a minor classic?! Huh
Implausible plot?! I wouldnt boast with my ignorance  Afro

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Groggy
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 05:56:10 AM »

Thank you Poderator! Harmonica is not a bounty hunter. That discredits the review right there.

Also this section:

Quote
(Claudia Cardinale, who spends the entire movie clenching her teeth)

And especially this:

Quote
Watching Fonda play the bad guy -- and he's more than just the man in black, he's literally covered in what looks like tar for the entire picture -- is a little too weird to work for the nearly three hours of the film. We never quite get into his character, and Robards is written too thinly to ever make much of an impact.

Ridiculous.

I'm sure I've read this review before, I remember this last section from somewhere:

Quote
When West is jumping, it's impossible to turn away. But when it's trying to coax another hour out of its threadbare and implausible plot, the eyes begin to wander. Or roll

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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 06:06:05 AM »

Although I completely disagree with everything in this review...  Afro for trying?

Same reaction...

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Groggy
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 06:21:47 AM »

Dude. . . are you Christopher Null? Because according to my Google search that's who wrote this review. Otherwise, you're a plagarist - but I'll give you benefit of the doubt for now.

http://www.contactmusic.com/new/film.nsf/reviews/onceuponatimeinthewest

I knew I'd read it somewhere before!

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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2007, 08:11:44 AM »

Well spotted, Grogs. Troll, be gone.

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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 08:39:25 AM »

Good catch Groggy!! Afro

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noodles_leone
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2007, 08:40:13 AM »

Wait... may be the guy IS Christopher Null...

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Tuco the ugly
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2007, 08:55:35 AM »

Wait... may be the guy IS Christopher Null...
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Guys, wtf is this Christopher Null anyway?
The guy's a legend; he writes movie reviews not knowing anything about them... Harmonica a bounty killer?  Grin

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noodles_leone
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2007, 09:08:54 AM »

Guys, wtf is this Christopher Null anyway?
The guy's a legend; he writes movie reviews not knowing anything about them... Harmonica a bounty killer?  Grin

"He became a myth, a spook story..."

« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 09:09:59 AM by noodles_leone » Logged


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Whalestoe
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2007, 11:34:40 AM »

Holy crap...

This review sucks even harder considering it was written by a real life person too. This guy needs to get back to his bridge.

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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2007, 12:38:24 PM »

Let's shoot the bastard, guys.  Grin He wrote bad things about Cheyenne - my friend - or he stole the text.

Are you sure he isn't Rita Skeeter?

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Whalestoe
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2007, 12:46:40 PM »

Yellow journalism at its worst.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2007, 01:33:13 PM »

Let's dis-invite him to the board.

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