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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 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 director sergio leone's A Fistful of Dollars arrived in the United States in early 1967, the American film industry and the critics who observed it were in a state of ferment. Critics could sense that the American cinema was changing and that its old pieties and genres, often spoken of in the same breath, were in a vital sense dying out. Among them, the Western was perhaps the greatest barometer--the genre long seen as most uniquely American, most assuredly linked to the national character and mythology, seemed to be evolving into a new, rougher beast. And for critics, Sergio Leone's films were clearly part of the problem. Leone's Dollars trilogy, starting with A Fistful of Dollars (1964, US release: January 1967) and continuing with For a Few Dollars More (1965, US release: May 1967) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966, US release: December, 1967), was neither the entirety nor the beginning of the "spaghetti Western" cycle in Italy,1 but for Americans Leone's films represented 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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University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1934-6018
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Abstract

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 director sergio leone's A Fistful of Dollars arrived in the United States in early 1967, the American film industry and the critics who observed it were in a state of ferment. Critics could sense that the American cinema was changing and that its old pieties and genres, often spoken of in the same breath, were in a vital sense dying out. Among them, the Western was perhaps the greatest barometer--the genre long seen as most uniquely American, most assuredly linked to the national character and mythology, seemed to be evolving into a new, rougher beast. And for critics, Sergio Leone's films were clearly part of the problem. Leone's Dollars trilogy, starting with A Fistful of Dollars (1964, US release: January 1967) and continuing with For a Few Dollars More (1965, US release: May 1967) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966, US release: December, 1967), was neither the entirety nor the beginning of the "spaghetti Western" cycle in Italy,1 but for Americans Leone's films represented

Journal

Journal of Film and VideoUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Feb 21, 2010

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