On Saturday I watched a couple spaghetti westerns with the lovely Laura, in what shall be dubbed as Spaghetti Western Fest 1. (I chose these by going down the IMDB Top 250 and finding the best-rated ones and also by looking at Sergio Leone movies.)
The first one that we saw was Once Upon a Time in the West. This is a complex story about a number of outlaws of mysterious backgrounds who all interact with a woman who has just moved out west from New Orleans to find that the husband she was moving out to live with has been killed along with his children. This one is long (2 hr 45 min) and deliberately paced at times. A lot of very intense scenes and a lot of characters to keep track of. It took some patience but I liked it.
The second was A Fistful of Dollars (part of the Man with No Name Trilogy with For a Few Dollars More and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly). This is a classic spaghetti western with Clint Eastwood. This has a pretty simple story about a rough newcomer to town playing off of two major warring gangs for monetary gain. Of course our man Clint turns out to not be completely ruthless. I found that this movie ended about half an hour after I expected it to; that is the happy ending came and then the movie continued on, so that it actually a much darker ending. I liked this too, but I think the better of these two is, if you have the patience, Once Upon a Time in the West.
I also had The Good, the Bad and the Ugly but Laura had already seen it, so we chose Fistful of Dollars as the second.
I’d never really seen any Spaghetti Westerns and, in fact, besides the excellent Unforgiven, I hadn’t seen any westerns. I think part of the attraction is in an environment with few laws, what you see is pretty primal, the fight between good and evil, the very base-level human nature comes out.