Saturday, 5 April 2014

Ennio Morricone and the Spaghetti Western

Anyone who has ever watched one of the so called the Spaghetti Western films will immediately know the familiar music which was often composed by Ennio Morricone. The first few bars of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is instantly recognizable. His music is haunting, suspenseful with the touch of Mexican which is needed as most of these films are set around the Mexican border. Maned Spaghetti Westerns due to the themes of an American western and also because they were directed and mostly made by Italians, Sergio Leone being one of the biggest known directors. The original name was Italian Style Western. They were actually often filmed in Spain or other countries, but some were made in  Italy. I know about some being filmed in Italy as my father had a bit part in one of them, as well as most of the young men of the town who all jumped at the chance, not only to earn a few Lira but also to be in a film - guess people wanted their 15 minutes of fame even back then. I think they must have enjoyed dressing up as cowboys too.

These films were cheaply made, dubbed very badly into English, plots which resembled each other, but weren't they compelling? Such violence, not usually my thing but the humour put into them made it watchable. All underscored by the most amazing, well, score.  Ennio Morricone used unusual instruments to set the films off, things like whips and gunshots which perfectly set the tone of the films up. There usually isn't a lot of narrative in these films as they're much more visual with lots of close ups, Morricone's sharp whistles and other strange instruments helping you to feel the emotions which aren't being spoken in the film. If it weren't for the music the films would have been much less watchable. I even have an old album of Spaghetti Western music.

The YouTube video above is from Once Upon a Time in The West which has the violence, lots of close ups, the humour which really makes it for me, and that all important haunting music composed by Ennio Morricone, some of the main ingredients of these movies. My Favourite of this genre are 'The Good, The bad and The Ugly' and 'My Name is Nobody' - both incidentally about a man with no name. What was you favourite, or is this film genre not one you like?


Anonymous said...

How can it be that I have never heard of a Spaghetti Western? What I've missed!

Thanks for the video clip.
Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!


DayDreamer said...

They used to be very popular. If you don't like violence then it may be better that you missed them but really they are terrific films.