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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 2 December 2003
'Once Upon a Time in the West' is an opera. Its direction and music tell more than any script could. The film is a calculated, lyrical work of genius and my favourite film. From the off, Sergio Leone has surpassed his 'Dollars' trilogy and has produced a poignant farewell to the Western, before moving on to make 'Once Upon a Time in America'. Orignially made soleley to please the studio, Leone's masterpiece combines some big names on screen (Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson) and off screen (Bertolucci and Argento!) to create a stirring Western that's as ritualistic as a samurai film. Three characters are brought together because they each have a score to settle with stone-cold sadist Frank (Fonda). As the film continues (at a pace which Hollywood audiences would not accept), we begin to realise that Leone is counting down... to death. The characters don't expect to survive and are simply awaiting the inevitable. The pace of the first 10 minutes sets the standard and if you don't like those 10 minutes, switch off - in fact, stop reading now. This is more than a Western, it's a ceremony, played out to Ennio Morrocone's greatest score ever - the film was shot to fit the music! The words "best ever" can be applied to any of the following... 'duel' 'one-liners' 'scenery' 'direction' 'score' 'villian' and anything else that I've missed. Once Upon a Time in the West, there was a DVD collector's edition. This double disc set boasts some superb commentaries from various people (inc. John Carpenter!) and some interesting documentaries. Nevertheless, you buy a film FOR THE FILM! In this case, you pay £15 for the greatest western ever and two and a half hours of beautiful filmmaking.
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