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Terrific--but why did they break it into parts?

9/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
4 March 2011

"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.

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It's not just a book title anymore

7/10
Author: Grann-Bach (Grann-Bach@jubii.dk) from Denmark
13 May 2010

This is one of the four featurettes on the Special Collector's Edition 2-Disc DVD release of Once Upon a Time in the West, and the third of the three-part making-of production on the movie(note that this documentary does, indeed, give away the ending). It consists of interviews(again with those that appeared on the impeccable commentary track, save for the film historian; the directors, including the "Johns" of Carpenter and Milius, as well as Frayling, the author of the novel that bears the same name as this, return, and are again joined by surviving crew and cast members), the Italian subtitled to English for those of us who can't speak it, and clips of the picture itself. They talk about the themes in Leone's work, whether or not this particular one was political, the US cutting it down, the use of sound, Morricone's score, how important women were to him, his relationship with his actors and their initial reaction to watching the epic. It is all rather interesting and well-edited, and it keeps to a solid pace throughout, never boring the audience. There is no offensive material in this. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about its subject. 7/10

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Short documentary on the themes in Sergio Leone's westerns

8/10
Author: thewholebrevitything from Australia
20 November 2005

Something to do with death.

Sergio Leone was famous for bringing the 'man with no name' character type to life in his westerns, a character he explored in more than a few films - the fistful of dollars trilogy and in his western masterpiece, in my opinion the best western ever made, once upon a time in the west. In once upon a time in the west, Jason Robards character (cheyenne) refers to Charles Bronsons character as containing "something to do with death" in him. Cheyenne is the leader of an outlawed band of cut throats who wear the symbolic earthy orange-red dusters (as seen on the DVD cover). Cheyennes character has seen a lot of death in his time and has dealt out enough too to know exactly what he is talking about. This short documentary explores that concept through the themes and characters in Leones masterpiece.

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