Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Best Western

Clint Eastwood reminisces on starring in the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns:
Originally Leone wanted the cowboy star Rory Calhoun for the title role, but settled for the 34-year-old Eastwood. "Because I was cheap," he laughs. "Sergio spoke very little English, and I didn't speak any Italian at that time. So we got together with an interpreter when I reached Rome. And through the interpreter – plus a lot of hand signals – we kind of got the idea." For the part of the Stranger, later dubbed by savvy American marketeers as "The Man with No Name", Leone trusted Eastwood to sort out his own wardrobe, and he duly arrived on set with a selection of hats and ponchos. "I also went out and bought a bunch of cigars that I thought would look good in a Western," he recalls. "I had no idea they'd taste so vile! But I brought those along with me and I gave them to props and we cut them all up. They were long cigars, called Virginia. I made a slew of them that I carried around in my pocket: different lengths to match up with different scenes."
To me, there's no question the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the greatest western ever.

I could never get into the older John Wayne/Gary Cooper films. The old timers talk about High Noon. It was a good movie but the shootout at the end was ridiculous. Gary Cooper is shot at 4000 times and never gets hit, while his single hip shots from a revolver take out individual bad guys. Grace Kelly even laughably joins the action.

No, give me Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name. (Blondie!) The anti-hero, opportunist, who is looking to make a buck. To me that represents the freedom and nihilism of the old west.


  1. I'm not surprised. Clint Eastwood walks on his hind legs, like a little Rory Calhoun.

  2. A strange reference Patrick. I had to google it. Cute rabbit!

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