Once Upon a Time in Italy

Lovely segment on NPR’s Fresh Air today about Chris Frayling’s new book “Once Upon a Time in Italy”, about Sergeo Leone and the rise of the spaghetti western. The Morricone music alone makes it worth a listen, but better yet are the insights into what Leone was trying to do and what he liked and didn’t like.

Of course, some will think that “A Fistfull of Dollars” and the like marked the descent of Westerns into a cynicism, violence aesthetic, and generally murky morality from which such films never recovered. Fair enough, but that is a very narrow view of what Leone did. More importantly, it ignores that Leone’s films, for all their nihilism and bravura stylistic flourishes, are almost certainly more truthful than most of what had gone before, with the possible exception of a few films like “The Searchers”.

I’m hoping I can make it up to the associated exhibit at the Autry Center in Los Angeles.


  1. For Leone gold, check out the DVD release of ‘One Upon a Time in the West’.
    Masterpiece of a movie aside, the attached interviews and docus serves up a hog’s heaven of material about the big guy.