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Western, Go Home! Sergio Leone and the “Death of the Western” in American Film Criticism

Western, Go Home! Sergio Leone and the “Death of the Western” in American Film Criticism Western, Go Home! Sergio Leone and the “Death of the Western” in American Film Criticism william mcclain I am showing the Old West as it really was . . . Americans treat westerns with too much rhetoric. —Sergio Leone (qtd. in “Hi-Ho, Denaro!” 57) when italian direc tor sergio leone’s A in his noted book on the Italian spaghetti West- Fistful of Dollars arrived in the United States ern, describes American critical reception of the in early 1967, the American film industry and spaghetti Western cycle as to “a large extent, the critics who observed it were in a state of confined to a sterile debate about the ‘cultural ferment. Critics could sense that the American roots’ of the American/Hollywood Western.” He cinema was changing and that its old pieties remarks that few critics dared admit that they and genres, often spoken of in the same were, in fact, “bored with an exhausted Holly- breath, were in a vital sense dying out. Among wood genre.” Pauline Kael, he notes, was will- them, the Western was perhaps the great- ing to acknowledge this critical ennui and thus est barometer—the genre long seen as most appreciate how a film such as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Film and Video University of Illinois Press

Western, Go Home! Sergio Leone and the “Death of the Western” in American Film Criticism

Journal of Film and Video , Volume 62 (1) – Feb 21, 2010

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
ISSN
1934-6018

Abstract

Western, Go Home! Sergio Leone and the “Death of the Western” in American Film Criticism william mcclain I am showing the Old West as it really was . . . Americans treat westerns with too much rhetoric. —Sergio Leone (qtd. in “Hi-Ho, Denaro!” 57) when italian direc tor sergio leone’s A in his noted book on the Italian spaghetti West- Fistful of Dollars arrived in the United States ern, describes American critical reception of the in early 1967, the American film industry and spaghetti Western cycle as to “a large extent, the critics who observed it were in a state of confined to a sterile debate about the ‘cultural ferment. Critics could sense that the American roots’ of the American/Hollywood Western.” He cinema was changing and that its old pieties remarks that few critics dared admit that they and genres, often spoken of in the same were, in fact, “bored with an exhausted Holly- breath, were in a vital sense dying out. Among wood genre.” Pauline Kael, he notes, was will- them, the Western was perhaps the great- ing to acknowledge this critical ennui and thus est barometer—the genre long seen as most appreciate how a film such as

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Feb 21, 2010

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