This article was originally posted on August 26, Morricone, age 86, has continued to work fairly steadily, but it will be exciting for those of us who are fans of the composer to see the spotlight shine brightly on him once again. His influence is monumental across musical genres, and his innovations have been adopted even by avant-garde musicians.
The ticking of a watch in A Few Dollars More. The harmonica melody in Once Upon a Time in the West. In his year career, Ennio Morricone has composed the scores for over movies, reinventing its role and defining the sound of the Italian Western.
The westerns of this small period were often preachy and unbelievable. The film was so successful that it started a new subset of westerns called spaghetti westerns. The subset broke new territory in the western genre with its moral ambiguity and gritty stylization.
Now, fourteen months later they are available separately. Since I've pretty well covered these entertaining westerns in the earlier Savant reviews, I'll discuss their impact in Blu-ray. I've seen or possessed VHS tapes, several incarnations of laserdiscs and two full generations of DVD releases of the first three Leone-Eastwoods, and observed how the quality of the home video image improved over time. Fistful is owned by other producers, and on that title MGM has had to stick with older printing elements.
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Half a century later, Ennio Morricone 's theme from " The Good, the Bad and the Ugly " remains one of the most instantly recognizable and unforgettable pieces of movie music ever. Even if you haven't seen Sergio Leone 's epic Western, you know the tune, and you've probably heard it in other movies and TV shows as some gunslinger sauntered into a dust-blown vista, ready for a shootout. But none of those gunslingers was as badass as Clint Eastwoodwho cemented his icon status for all time when this film opened 50 years ago this week, on January 18,
That tune — including the iconic guitar figure that starts around the second mark — helped spawn a mini-genre of music called spaghetti western which also happens to be the name of the genre of films that inspired the music. I think you also could throw in a touch of dastardly, dark-sounding late-Sixties-style fuzz guitar. But — to get the point already — spaghetti western guitar music is charmingly weird and damn fun to play.
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If it wasn't for Sergio Leone's love of lengthy luncheons, the Spaghetti Western as we know it would not exist. Long lunch breaks got him fired from his second unit job on The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrahand temporary unemployment got him the spare time needed to start writing the screenplay that would become Fistful of Dollars. Then, inLeone used his powerful visual style and a deathly desert setting to bring the screenplay to life and make the film that would forever define the genre.
Howard Hawks, one of the most successful Western directors of all time and a key influence on Sergio Leone, once said a great movie can be defined as one with "three great scenes, and no bad ones. Some might argue his emphasis on great individual moments was to his detriment, as the MacGuffin-laden plots of his films seem to exist mainly as devices on which he can hang his elaborate setpieces, and were subsequently labeled as exercises in pure style. While the artistic and intellectual merits of the three films are up for debate, their influence on modern movies - particularly in the action genre - is not, with legions of filmmakers in debt to Leone to this day.