|Index||3 reviews in total|
Finally, the greatest film of all time - "Once Upon A Time In The West"
(yep, my mind's changed again) - is out on DVD!
Of the three documentaries, this my favorite. I love Christopher Frayling, he's an excellent writer (he does make a few factual errors here and there, but his style is exceptionally intelligent, witty, and analytical), and his comments on the film are probably the best of those offered (the commentary he does for the film itself is simply excellent). Also marvelous are Bernardo Bertolucci and Tonino Del Conti, the story writer and cinematographer for the film, respectively (it's a great shame that they couldn't get Ennio Morricone, or Mickey Knox, who did the film's English dialogue and has given a very in-depth interview on the film before), who add very interesting backstory as well as some hilarious anecdotes into the mix. "An Opera of Violence" offers a very interesting insight into the career and life of Sergio Leone, how this film came to be, and a cast overview (including interviews with Claudia Cardinale and Gabrielle Ferzetti) which in of itself is worth watching for. Additional commentary by Alex Cox, John Carpenter, and John Millius is also worth a look. And Henry Fonda and Sergio Leone appear all too briefly in archived discussions from old television interviews.
Though again I would've liked to have seen Morricone and maybe a few others involved with the film here, the documentary itself is wonderful. All three of them are, so I'm not going to comment on every single one.
Ten stars for all of these documentaries.
R.I.P. to Charles Bronson (Harmonica) and Jack Elam (Snaky).
"The Wages of Sin", "Something to Do With Death" and "An Opera of
Violence" are a three-part documentary for the Sergio Leone film "Once
Upon a Time in the West". However, I have no idea why the films were
broken into three distinct parts. After all, there is no logical
reasoning separating the three portions and they all tell about the
making of and the significance of the feature film. I suspect, and I
could EASILY be wrong, that it is because it looks more impressive to
increase the actual number of special features! So, instead of a disk
saying it has one documentary about this, the one for disk two of "Once
Upon a Time in the West" says it has three (plus one additional one
that, frankly, was just terrible---but it was not part of this
trilogy). Because the three short documentaries make up a whole and
they all cover the broad topic, I am not going to try to separately
review all three--it just doesn't make any sense.
As far as the documentary as a whole goes, it is very good because it achieves something that is of the utmost importance--it instills excitement and appreciation within the viewer for the feature. While I must admit that I like "Once Upon a Time", I also have always thought it over-long and in need of a better editing (shortening a few scenes and not cutting out subplots like they did on its American release). But, given the commentaries by so many learned people it makes me want to go back and reevaluate the film--perhaps they have a point. Additionally, lots of great background material is given as well as film clips and production stills. It's a shame that the director, Leone, died so young. They only included a couple short clips from hi and couldn't really let him speak for himself about this film or his thinking that went into the creative process.
If you love "Once Upon a Time in the West" or love films about film making or are a film student, then this multi-part documentary is for you. Well written, coherent and filled with insight and enthusiasm--see this DVD extra and not just the feature film.
This is one of the four featurettes found on the Special Collector's Edition 2-Disc DVD of Once Upon a Time in the West, and the first of three parts detailing the making of the movie. It consists of interviews(recent as well as older ones; some of them in Italian, but subtitled), and a few stills and clips of the film. As the beginning of a trilogy, it is primarily concerned with the early aspects of Leone's life and career, the casting and similar. Those who did the excellent commentary track for the picture itself are among the speakers(including the director "Johns", Carpenter and Milius), and Frayling clearly knows what he's talking about. It's cool to hear Fonda(R.I.P.) and Cardinale reminisce; it's too bad we don't get Robards and Bronson(R.I.P.), I suppose they couldn't find any fitting material. This is well-edited throughout, and rather interesting. It keeps to a nice pace, not rushing and delivering a good amount of information for a 29 minute running time. This documentary does not spoil anything other than the opening sequence and an early reveal or two. There is no offensive material in this. I recommend it to any fan of the subject matter and/or of Sergio. 7/10
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