Tag Archives: Spaghetti Western

‘Luis Bacalov – Il grande duello aka The Grand Duel (1972)’

The ‘Spaghetti Western music enjoy” Channel on Youtube has a number of great full scores up currently. Here is the memorable score for the twilight western ‘Grand Duel’ (1972).

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Coming Soon! Spaghetti Western Trailers: Man of the East (1973)

1973 comedy starring Terence Hill.

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Gordon Mitchell Film List!

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Gordon Mitchell plays a memorable supporting role in Sartana the Gravedigger, the topic of Episode 2 of the Django Rising Podcast. Here is a great list of his many films.

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From Mike Wass at the Idolator: “Ray Liotta Stars In David Guetta’s Spaghetti Western-Themed “Lovers On The Sun” Video: Watch”

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From Mike Wass at the Idolator: “Ray Liotta Stars In David Guetta’s Spaghetti Western-Themed “Lovers On The Sun” Video: Watch”

This is very cool! Ray Liotta looks the part of the spaghetti western villian!

Mike Wass writes:

David Guetta teased the follow-up to 2011 breakthrough LP Nothing But The Beat with a trio of unusually hard electro-house buzz singlesbefore retreating to more familiar ground on the Avicii-assisted, Sam Martin-voiced “Lovers On The Sun”. The blockbuster collaboration now gets a suitably epic visual starring Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta.

It’s refreshing to see a comparatively big budget video in the DIY era and the French DJ makes every cent count with a special effects-filled extravaganza. The veteran movie star plays a villain intent on torturing our hero when he is saved by a poncho-wearing babe with magical powers. It’s a clever twist on your typical spaghetti western with a better than average soundtrack. Watch up top.

Do you love David’s latest video? Let us know in the comments below.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.

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Spaghetti Western Theatre: Duel in the Eclipse (1968)

It is so cool that you can find movies that were once rare on Youtube. For today’s Spaghetti Western Theater, here is Duel in the Eclipse (1968). Here is the SWDB page, if you are interested.

First time I saw this film, I was not in the mood for it and thought it was silly. When I rewatched it several months later, I really liked it. It is an over-the-top acid western like a very unusual way of telling the story.

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Weaving authenticity and meaning in genre film: “SHOOTING ‘SIX BULLETS TO HELL’ IN ALMERIA’

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Danny Garcia had an interesting post late last year over at his A Spaniard In The Workz blog. In it, he briefly wrote about wrapping up shooting on a low budget western titled ‘Six Bullets To Hell’. He wrote:

They said we were crazy. And yes, it was hot, it was dusty, it was real hard work but it was also great fun to shoot a real Spaghetti Western with a bunch of great actors and a great crew right in the middle of July AND right in the hottest spot of Spain: the desert of Tabernas in Almería

Almería had been the European Hollywood in the 60’s and 70’s, a good number of films where shot in that area of Spain every year. Fifty years ago, there’d be a couple of movies shot there everyday. Everybody in the small town of Tabernas would be somehow involved in the productions: the shops, the restaurants, horse wranglers, drivers, electricians, carpenters, extras, etc.

The great Frank Braña (R.I.P.), who worked in Almería hundreds of times (even with the Master Sergio Leone in all his westerns) told me there wasn’t a single hotel in Almería when they started shooting there in 1964. The cinema industry helped that city grow big time. . .

. . . As fans of the old Spaghetti Westerns, this was the perfect chance for all of us to shoot in legendary sets like the Oasys (aka MiniHollywood), Sergio Leone’s set, the very same set he built with Carlo Simi in 1965 for For a Few Dollars More (and was also used in classics like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Hannie Caulder, Doc, etc) and also at Fort Bravo, where Ringo Starr did Blindman and where greats like Lee Van Cleef, Jack Palance or Charles Bronson starred in great westerns like Death Rides a Horse, Chato’s Land, etc. So we were literally standing on the footsteps of giants.

What stuck me as I read this was how it showed just how profoundly the Italian westerns of the 1960s-70s completely transmuted the Western genre. The term ‘Spaghetti western’ was coined by American film critics that wanted to mark out these Italian films as cheap knock-offs and fakes. In fact, this is how the Italian filmmakers initially viewed them as well. Look at how the names of directors and actors were changed in order to fool Italian audiences into believing that these were American productions. The most famously example is, of course, Sergio Leone appearing under the alias ‘Bob Robertson’ in the opening credits for Fistful of Dollars (1964) (an alias that actually goes back to his director father and the silent film era).

After Leone had the resources to make big budget productions, he made an interesting choice. He planned on shooting much of his masterpiece Once Upon A Time In The West (1968) in the ‘real West,’ Monument Valley, Arizona. Of course, this was John Ford country. Here, the legendary American director had filmed many of his most iconic Westerns. In deciding to film there, Leone was creating a link with these places, locations, and films. From them, he was gaining something . . . authenticity.

However, after the economic, artistic, and cultural success of Leone and other European filmmakers in remaking the Western from Italian, Spanish, or German perspective things changed. Today, when young filmmakers want to give their films a link to the classic cinematic images and experiences of the past, they don’t travel to John Ford country. They travel to Leone country, the Almerian desert in Spain. In his blog post, Danny Garcia promotes his film by focusing on the locations and actors that provide a link to the Eurowestern boom of the 1960s.

As Chritopher Frayling points out in this great biography of Sergio Leone: Something To Do With DeathLeone inverted the situations and rhetoric of the Hollywood Western to create new and interesting effects. Perhaps this is the ultimately the most interesting inversion that he accomplished.

 

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Spaghetti Westerns and Reggae on AllMusic

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Interesting information about the international popularity of Spaghetti westerns in this review by Mark Deming of “The Big Gundown: Reggae Inspired by Spaghetti Westerns”:

 

While the average American’s perception of reggae music tends to be centered around ganja, good times and Jah, anyone who has seriously studied Jamaican popular culture knows that they value the bad ass above and beyond all else, so it’s no wonder that Italian Westerns from the 1960s and ’70s were a popular item on the island. Violent, amoral and invariably dominated by charismatic anti-heroes (and equally fascinating villains), “spaghetti westerns” were the cinematic bread and butter of the rude boys who dominated the early Jamaican reggae scene, and it’s no mistake that Jimmy Cliff‘s character in The Harder They Come checks out Sergio Corbucci’s classic Django shortly after arriving in Kingston — and flashes back on the flick during his final gun battle with police. No small number of primal reggae tunes were inspired to some degree by the great Italian Westerns, and The Big Gundown collects 26 tracks from the Trojan Records archives which owe a debt of influence to classic spaghetti westerns. While many simply draw their titles from favorite movies, such as “A Taste of Killing” by the Upsetters or “Savage Colt” by the Eldorados, several feature bizarre recitations that mimic and/or pay homage to classic bits of business, most notably “They Call Me Trinity” by Joe Whiteand the Crystalites and Lee Perry‘s “Clint Eastwood.” A few also interpolate bits of classic movie themes, and some sort of award ought to go to Lloyd Charmers‘ amazing “Dollars and Bonds,” which in both music and narrative brings together 007 and The Man With No Name for the first time. Even if you have no interest in European genre cinema, there’s plenty of excellent early reggae on this collection (all cuts were recorded between 1968 and 1972, and remastered with no fear of bass), with the oddball vocal treatments and echoey instrumentals on many tracks pointing to the dawning of dub, which lurked around the corner. Ideal intermission music for your next Sergio Leone Film Festival, and a lot easier to dance to than those Ennio Morricone discs.

 

 

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Monkey social cognition tested by viewing Leone’s “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” (1966)!

Spaghetti western reveals differences between human and monkey brains   Mo Costandi   Neurophilosophy blog   Science   theguardian.com

From The Guardian’s Neurophilosophy blog: 

In a 2004 study, Uri Hasson and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance to scan the brains of five participants as they watched a 30 minute clip from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. They found that the film activated widespread regions of the cerebral cortex, especially in the visual and auditory parts of the brain, and that the activation patterns were remarkably similar in all of them. This high degree of synchronicity led the researchers to the conclusion that films can make their viewers’ brains tick collectively; it also led to a new field called “neurocinematics,” which aims to assess the similarities in participants’ brain responses during film watching. . . 

 

. . . They recruited 24 human participants, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan their brains as they watched the same film clip. This confirmed that the film clip evoked the same pattern of brain activity in all the participants, as in the 2004 study. They then did the same with four macaque monkeys, each of which was shown the same clip six times, and found that all four animals also exhibited the same activity patterns as each other across multiple viewings. Next, the researchers compared the activity patterns they observed in the human participants with those of the monkeys, focusing on 34 distinct regions the visual cortex.

 

In both species, visual information is processed in a hierarchical manner. The earliest stages of visual processing take place in the primary and secondary visual cortical areas, often referred to simply as V1 and V2, which contain cells that respond to the simplest features of a scene, such as contrast between adjacent areas of the visual scene and the orientation of edges. Each successive stage of processing encodes increasingly complex features, with higher order visual regions encoding complex features such as object categories. . .

 

. . . Like most other films, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a complex multisensory stimulus, filled with rich, operatic imagery and, of course, Ennio Morricone’s unforgettable score. It is, however, fairly safe to assume that humans and monkeys will interpret the film quite differently, and this is one of the major limitations of the new method. We understand the language used in the film and its emotional content. We follow the plot as it progresses, anticipate what is going to happen in the next shot while we watch, and may also make associations with the film, such as watching it on an earlier occasion at a friend’s house.

 

“I’m pretty sure the monkeys aren’t worrying about plot twists,” says Yarkoni, “but the biggest limitation is the fact that two regions activated at similar times aren’t necessarily supporting the same cognitive processes.”

 

“Suppose we both watch The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” he explains, “but every time Clint Eastwood is on screen, you focus on how his presence furthers the plot, whereas I focus on what a nice-looking man he is. You might conclude that you and I have differently organized brains, because different parts of our brains seem to respond to the movie in similar ways”.

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Spaghetti Western Theater: Django Defies Sartana (1970)

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It used to be hard to find these more obscure titles. Now you can watch them on Youtube!

I am a big fan of Pasquale Squitieri;s other western, Vengeance Trail (1971). That movie has a great score and strong Western alla’Italiana cast (Leonard Mann, Klaus Kinski, Ivan Rassimov). This movie is more like the dozens of ultra cheap late spaghetti westerns being made quickly in the sand pits and hills outside of Rome by the likes of Demofilo Fidani or Gianni Crea. However, this is generally better made and acted. . . and perhaps makes a little more sense than the average D-grade spaghetti western of the early 1970s. I rated this movie 6 of 10.

SWDB synopsis:

Django comes to town to discover that his brother Steve, accused of robbing a bank, has been lynched. Django believes the real culprit is Sartana and challenges him to a duel. Just in time he discovers that the author of the crime is an important local figure and Django and Sartana join forces to punish him.

 

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