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Once upon a Time in Widescreen: The Films of Sergio Leone

October 12, 2007 - October 28, 2007

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, October 13

When Italian director Sergio Leone rode into town, the West was already won—at least the Western was. But he blazed a new trail, adding sweeping grandeur and rustic existentialism to the ready stable of genre warhorses. Beginning in 1964 with A Fistful of Dollars, then in such sage sagas as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Once upon a Time in the West, Leone single-handedly invented the "spaghetti" Western, soon to be bushwhacked by lesser directors. The best oater auteurs, like John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Anthony Mann, always appreciated the landscape, but Leone saw his ruthless cowpokes as the landscape, rendering them monumental in a frame that seems impossibly panoramic. He knew as well that landscape was about silence, so his grizzled gunslingers are anything but garrulous. Clint Eastwood became his signature trail tramp—squinty-eyed and almost mute, until, after a few words said, you're dead. Added to this is the gallows humor found most prominently in Ennio Morricone's inventive scores that, like a jug of corn mash, send you reeling. Smartly violent, Leone's elegiac films are not bloody per se—it's just that death is dealt with cynical indifference. When Leone's weary-wise men face off in the blistering sun, time is suspended in stillness and nothing's OK in the corral. Like a cartridge for each chamber in a six-gun, here are the six best of Sergio Leone, fully restored and fully loaded.

Steve Seid
Video Curator

Friday, October 12, 2007
7:00 p.m. A Fistful of Dollars
Leone invented a new kind of Western with his sagebrush version of Kurosawa's Yojimbo, and a new kind of hero in Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name.

Saturday, October 13, 2007
8:15 p.m. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Leone perfects violence as kinetic composition in the conclusion to the "Dollars" trilogy, starring Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef, screened in a restored 3-hour version.

Saturday, October 20, 2007
8:45 p.m. For a Few Dollars More
Leone's follow-up to Fistful of Dollars pairs Eastwood with Van Cleef against Gian Maria Volontè, making for mounting mayhem.

Sunday, October 21, 2007
5:30 p.m. Once upon a Time in the West
Leone goes to the heartland of the Western—Monument Valley—for this monumental revision of American myth, starring Henry Fonda as a ruthless killer up against Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, and Claudia Cardinale.

Saturday, October 27, 2007
8:15 p.m. Duck, You Sucker
A restored print of Leone's loopy mix of high camp and radical zeal that casts Rod Steiger and James Coburn as unlikely revolutionaries in Mexico.

Sunday, October 28, 2007
3:30 p.m. Once upon a Time in America
Leone's elegiac epic follows Jewish pals Robert De Niro and James Woods as they rise through the ranks of the rackets in '20s New York. Shown in a restored print.