Wednesday: Sergio Leone
A Fistful of Spaghetti Westerns
Wednesday, January 4 • 7, 9:30 • 110m
Akira Kurosawa, 1961 • Yojimbo, a classic samurai tale, is often noted as the source for Leone's first Western A Fistful of Dollars. Yet Kurosawa drew heavily from the Crime Noir of Dashiell Hammett and upon American Westerns, especially those of John Ford, both thematically and visually. Toshiro Mifune stars a ronin who wanders into a town and hires himself out as a yojimbo (bodyguard). He exploits two dueling crime lords by convincing each of them to hire him for protection against the other. Yojimbo is presented here on its own merits as well as for its influence on Sergio Leone.
Wednesday, January 11 • 7, 9 • 100m
A Fistful of Dollars
Sergio Leone, 1964 • A mysterious gunslinger wanders into town and plays two rival families against each other. The first of the Leone's famous Dollars trilogy, this movie transformed Clint Eastwood from a good ole boy on Rawhide into an iconic anti-hero as The Man With No Name. Leone essentially remade Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo into a Western, which itself was influenced by previous Westerns. The film became a template for a burgeoning Italian Spaghetti Western industry and is also notable for its use of the 2-perf Techniscope format which Leone used on all his Westerns. The film stars Gian Maria Volonté and is scored by Ennio Morricone.
Wednesday, January 18 • 7, 9:30 • 132m
For A Few Dollars More
Sergio Leone, 1965 • Eastwood was initially uninterested in working on For a Few Dollars More, the second installment in the Dollars Trilogy, because he had never actually seen the first, despite starring in it. Leone quickly rushed him an Italian language copy, and after viewing it, Eastwood instantly agreed to make the second flim. In it, Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef play two bounty hunters in pursuit of a ruthless outlaw, "El Indio" (Gian María Volonté) and his gang of thugs, one of whom is played by Klaus Kinski. The movie culminates in perhaps one of the most poetic duels in cinematic history, set to Ennio Morricone's fantastic score.
Wednesday, January 25 • 7 • 161m
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Sergio Leone, 1966 • This third, final, and most epic installment of the Dollars Trilogy stars Eastwood (Blondie), Van Cleef (Angel Eyes) and Eli Wallach (Tuco) as three gunmen vying to be the first to find buried confederate gold. Blondie and Tuco become reluctant partners in search of money and the gold. The pair is captured by the Union army whereby the ruthless Angel Eyes gets into the hunt. The three meet for a final shootout in a vast grave yard where they will either taste death or the ecstasy of gold. The film features the most iconic of Ennio Morricone’s scores.
Wednesday, February 1 • 7 • 145m
Once Upon A Time In the West
Sergio Leone, 1968
• Based on a story by Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento, the film marked a shift in style for the director. The takes became much longer by filming the movie much like a music video to the prerecorded soundtrack of Morricone. Leone liked to let the songs play out rather than cut them short. Charles Bronson stars as Harmonica, a quiet and mysterious man seeking revenge for his brother's brutal slaying. Henry Fonda stars as Frank, a villainous land grabber who terrorizes the town and must face down Bronson. The film also stars Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale.
The previously scheduled 35mm print for Once Upon A Time in the West did not arrive as expected. As such, this screening will be digital (DVD) and admission will be free.
Wednesday, February 8 • 7 • 93m
Sergio Corbucci, 1966 • This spaghetti western stars Burt Reynolds, in only his second leading role in a feature film, as Navajo Joe. A group of scalp hunters ravage a Navajo village and kill Navajo Joe's wife. Joe follows the scalpers to a small town. There he hires himself out as a mercenary, after the townspeople, suspicious of Native Americans, reluctantly accept his offer of a dollar a head. The film is notable for having a Native American hero, portrayed by the part-Cherokee Reynolds. It also marked the first collaboration between Corbucci and Ennio Morricone, who scored the film under the name Leo Nichols.
Wednesday, February 15 • 7, 9 • 100m
Death Rides A Horse
Giulio Petroni, 1969
• This film will replace our previously scheduled screening of The Mercenary due to scheduling conflicts.
Wednesday, February 22 • 7 • 157m
Duck, You Sucker! / A Fistful of Dynamite
Sergio Leone, 1971 • John Mallory (James Coburn), an Irish Republican Army explosives expert, encounters a wily bandit, Juan Miranda (Rod Steiger), and his family of robbers while hiding out in Mexico. Mallory manages to make Miranda and his family unwilling heroes in the Mexican Revolution as they try to carry off what they believe is a large bank heist. The film is lighthearted at first, but turns melancholic before the end. The strange title is a loose translation of an Italian insult that Leone defended by saying that it was a common American colloquialism. (The film is also known as A Fistful of Dynamite.)
Wednesday, February 29 • 7, 9 • 97m
Enzo Castellari, 1976 • Keoma (Franco Nero), a 'half-breed,' returns home from the Civil War and finds his brothers have sided with an ex-Confederate outlaw named Caldwell in the subjugation his town. His brothers seek to drive him out because of his Native American heritage and his determination to liberate the oppressed citizens. Bent on justice and revenge, Keoma, with the help of his father's former ranch hand, tries to root out the Caldwell gang for good, and exact his revenge. The film is considered by many to be the last great film of the Spaghetti Western genre.
Wednesday, March 7 • 7, 9:45 • 131m
Clint Eastwood, 1992 • William Munny, a now-retired hired gun killer, takes on one last job after many years of dedicating himself to farming. The movie is notable for being much darker in its treatment of violence in the mythic Old West than earlier films. Eastwood leads as Munny and Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris fill out the all-star cast. The movie was dedicated to Don Siegel and Sergio Leone. It won four Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Supporting Actor (Hackman). Eastwood was also nominated for Best Actor.
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