Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Paul Pope's Once Upon A Time in the West Memory

Once Upon A Time In The West

A memory-sketch of the scene where Chyenne bursts into the stable/bar to find Mr. Harmonica licking his wounds in the corner. Harmonica plays his morbid tune while the lantern waves on its wire.

Once Upon A Time in the West is a film I quite like, though I'm not convinced of it being Sergio Leone's best film. It lacks the flow of the Eastwood films he did: there is, at times, a very staged essence to the film, a sense that it can't lift itself out of the fact that it is a script and that paid actors are saying the words while cameras roll. You--or perhaps I--never suspend my disbelief. In addition to that, it suffers from not achieving the sense of scale it wishes to do so, especially when compared to Once Upon A Time in America. With West, like America, you have the feeling that somewhere, Leone had wanted it to indeed be a grand statement--the first in a series of films about the States, in fact, and you can still see it lurking there, under used. I remember reading somewhere that the original script was some four hundred plus pages, which would account for that, since the rule of thumb for scripts, so I've been told, is one minute of screen time per page.

Still, it is a beautiful film, and perhaps Leone's most beautiful, and the director makes full use out of Bronson's craggy face and faded eyes of his, which were always much more interesting to me than Peter Fonda's.

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