Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Following the 1971 release of Duck, You Sucker, Sergio Leone became fixated on the idea of adapting Harry Grey’s mobster novel The Hoods into an epic movie about organised crime in the United States, a dream that finally emerged after 13 long years as Once Upon a Time in America. The challenges of getting that […]

Once Upon a Time in America was the most hard-fought film of Sergio Leone’s career. He turned his attention towards adapting Harry Grey’s partially autobiographical mobster novel The Hoods at the very beginning of the 1970s, but a combination of rights issues, financing, and the sheer damn scope of the thing meant that 13 years […]

Following the 1971 release of Duck, You Sucker, Sergio Leone became fixated on the idea of adapting Harry Grey’s mobster novel The Hoods into an epic movie about organised crime in the United States, a dream that finally emerged after 13 long years as

Beginning with Once Upon a Time in the West, in 1968, it becomes difficult to separate the facts in the case of Sergio Leone from the complex layers of myth that he eagerly gathered around himself once it became clear that he was an Important Director. That means that one cannot trust all the details […]

Once Upon a Time in the West opens with a sequence of about 14 minutes or a touch under, that functions very much like a short film prequel to the movie proper, and it is as such the best film of director Sergio Leone’s career. I would very much like to call it the best […]

There is no doubt that A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More are good, even top-notch Westerns. Certainly, lesser movies have remained classics for longer, and if Sergio Leone had never put his name to another film after 1965, I have little doubt that we – by which I primarily mean Western […]

One can devote a lifetime to studying the Italian B-movie industry and still never fail to be awestruck by how majestically crude it could be at its most mercenary. The rule there, as everywhere else in commercial cinema has always been that success begets imitation,* but while any American hack producer, name-your-favorite Roger Corman wannabe,† […]

In 1961, Sergio Leone cast an actor from an American TV Western in one of his movies. The actor was Rory Calhoun, and the movie was The Colossus of Rhodes. In 1964, he again cast an actor from an American TV Western in one of his movies. The actor was Clint Eastwood, and the movie […]

Sergio Leone received onscreen credit for directing only seven features, and of that number, five are Westerns. We’ll never know exactly what it was that drove the man to focus so relentlessly on one single genre, but one of the reasons, surely, was that he was really damn good at it. Right out of the […]

Being the first in a retrospective series celebrating the work of legendary Italian genre film director Sergio Leone The name of politician and author Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton is but poorly remembered now, though he was once one of the most popular English-language novelists in the world in his heyday, back in the first half of […]